Alien Rescue Team: Development Model & Awards

Alien Rescue team consists of a group of graduate students working collaboratively under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Min Liu and Dr. Lucas Horton at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Liu directs and supervises all aspects of the project (design, development, implementation, and research) and Dr. Horton provides guidance on the design and technical aspects of the project. Harnessing students’ diverse talents and ideas is a major characteristic of the design and development process. Students’ engagement in the project is largely driven by their interests in creating a quality technology program to enhance learning while developing multimedia production and research competencies. As the program evolves from one version to another, team members’ skills also progress and reflect current industry best practices and trends. This process has provided opportunities for students to prepare for future careers as multimedia designers and developers, instructional technologists, and educational researchers. If you are interested in joining the team, please contact Dr. Min Liu.

Current team members include:

Former team members include:

V 8 Online version (Web GL version)

V 7 Online version (Web GL version)

  • Wenting Zou (Ellen), Ph.D. 2020
  • Sa Liu (Lisa), Ph.D. 2018
  • Emily Naul, M.A. 2018
  • Liuyi Shu, M.A. 2018
  • Larissa Rodionov, MEd. 2018
  • Dongwook An (Louis), Med. 2019

V 6 Online version (Web GL version)

  • Sukanya Moudgalya, M.A. 2017
  • Siqi Yi, M.A. 2017
  • Jina Kang, Ph.D. 2017
  • Sukanya Moudgalya
  • Hyeyeon Lee

V 5 Online version (Web GL version)

  • Yajun Qiu, M.A. 2016
  • Peishan Xu, M.A. 2016
  • Caroline Cancelosi, M.A. 2016
  • Sara Stamets, M.A. 2016
  • Logan Theodore, MEd. 2016
  • Jeffrey Hodson
  • Jake Henson, MEd. 2016

V 4.1 Online version (Unity game engine version)

  • Jaejin Lee, Ph.D. 2015
  • Jason Harron
  • Amy Maxwell, M.A. 2015
  • Elena Winzeler, M.A. 2016
  • Ryan Myers
  • Mengwen Cao, M.A. 2014
  • Jason Rosenblum
  • Matthew O’Hair
  • Chu-Wei Lu
  • Cynda Fickert
  • Alexandra Young

V 4 (Unity game engine version)

  • Michael Andersen
  • Royce Kimmons
  • Woonhee Sung
  • Yin Li
  • Laise Santana

V 3 (Torque 3D game engine version)

  • Paul Toprac

V 2.1 (CD Version)

  • Susan Pedersen
  • Doug Williams

V 1.5 (CD Version)

  • Suzanne Rhodes
  • Arie I. Stavchansky

Many graduate and undergraduate students have worked on different aspects of the program at different times. We appreciate very much their contributions. Check more info here.

History and Awards

The development of Alien Rescue began as a cooperative venture among several units at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in response to a lack of quality research-based learning software. Since conception in 1997, the program has progressed from a prototype in 1998 to version 2.1 (created in Macromedia Director and delivered on CD-ROM) in 2001, to version 3.2 (created using the Torque Game Engine) in 2008, to a web-based version (created in the Unity game engine) in 2012 to the new WebGL version delivered entirely online in 2017.

The design and development of Alien Recue is primarily driven by team members’ interests in producing a high-quality learning environment while learning multimedia production skills and by a desire among faculty mentors to support students in preparing for future careers. While a small amount of funding has been used to support some development work, purchase software, provide teacher training, and provide server space, development is largely supported by the time and effort of the students and faculty.

Alien Rescue has received funding from places such as KDK-Harman Foundation, ESA Foundation, Texas Space Grant Consortium, American Honda Foundation, Dell Foundation, NASA Space Telescope Science Institute, Tyco Foundation, Verizon Foundation, GTE Foundation, and Motorola Foundation; as well as several units at the University of Texas at Austin including the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment, College of Education, University Research Institute grants, and the Charles A. Dana Center.

If you would like to contribute, please contact Dr. Min Liu.

World Conference on Educational Media and Technology

In June 2016, the paper describing our development model received Outstanding Research Paper Award from the World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (Edmedia).

American Educational Research Association

In April 2016, the research study conducted using Alien Rescue received Best Paper Award from Applied Research in Immersive Environments for Learning (ARIEL) SIG of American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Association for Educational Communications and Technology

In November of 2013, Alien Rescue won the Outstanding Practice Award sponsored by the Design & Development division of AECT.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology

In November of 2012, Alien Rescue won the Interactive Learning Award sponsored by the multimedia division of AECT.

Learning Software Design Competition

In 2001, Alien Rescue received the First Prize in the nationwide Learning Software Design Competition sponsored by the University of Minnesota.

Best Educational Application

Alien Rescue also received honorable mention for ingenuity in the Best Educational Application category of Macromedia eLearning Innovation Award Program in 2001.

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