Coastline Community College has created a cybersecurity-themed online game to help improve area high school students' English and math skills.
"Cyber Attack" quizzes players about grammar and math. If players answer correctly, they stop a hacker from compromising a bank's security data. If they answer incorrectly, the bank's information is compromised.
Plans to create the online game began in 2014 when the Fountain Valley-based college noticed students interested in its cybersecurity program were performing poorly in math and English.
"They didn't think it was a problem," said Judy Garvey, who leads Coastline's Extended Learning team. "We needed some kind of fun way to prepare them for the placement tests and brush up on math and English skills."
The college received a grant from Orange County Pathways — an organization that connects educators with business leaders — to create the game.
Initially, faculty developed about 200 questions per subject. With money to spare, Garvey said they took it a step further by sprucing up the graphics for both the online version and the eight arcade-style machines they made. Those have been loaned to Early College, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach high schools.
Early College Principal David Martinez said it's a "fun opportunity" for students to prepare for placement tests.
The arcade game has been available to students during breaks at the Costa Mesa campus for over a month, Martinez said, and they are still determining how to incorporate it into the school curriculum.
Freshmen Drake Sisk, 14, said he thinks the cybersecurity storyline is cool.
"It's fun for an educational game because it presents it in an interesting way," he said, adding that it's a more entertaining way to practice skills than worksheets.
To play the online game, visit apps.coastline.edu/games.