Digital ECALC Deployed

Development Update, Katelyn Procci No Comments

Katelyn Procci | February 10, 2012

Almost exactly one year since we began, this past Tuesday we wrapped development on the Digital ECALC project. Developed by the UCF Substance Use Research Group (SURG), ECALC stands for “Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum.” It is an instructor-led, group-based intervention to educate students about expectancies associated with alcohol in an attempt to reduce heavy drinking.

When students think about the way drinking alcohol makes them feel, they often report that they are outgoing, happy, and carefree. These effects, however, run contrary to the actual physical effects of alcohol consumption, which include dizziness, slowed reactions, and nausea. These positive effects are expectancy effects, which are effects we’ve come to associate with alcohol through experience, such as repeatedly seeing alcohol consumption in party situations. This occurs because we have been conditioned to feel happy, silly, outgoing, etc., while drinking alcohol. Researchers have even found that people can even exhibit these positive expectancy effects associated with drinking while consuming beer that they believe to be real, but is actually non-alcoholic.1

ECALC was constructed to educate students about the powerful effect of expectancies. When students drink heavily, they are often striving to experience these expectancy effects. This presentation reveals the truth about alcohol and that these effects are independent of actual consumption. This encourages students to rethink the decision to drink heavily.

RETRO was tasked with taking the content from the original ECALC presentation, which was based in PowerPoint, and turning it into a more engaging, interactive experience. We incorporated interactive minigames and demonstrations, narrated animations, pictures, sound clips, and video clips. Our former programmer, Dan Brown, even lent us his voice for the presentation’s guide, Scientist Dan. Our enhanced version of the presentation is scheduled to go live in front of UCF students all next week.

So, I’d like to take a moment to thank my wonderful development team for all of their hard work: Greg Pardo (programmer), Danielle Chelles (artist), Jenny Vogel (voice talent coordinator), and Dan Brown (the voice of Scientist Dan). Also, a huge thanks goes to our sponsors/SMEs from SURG — Dr. Dunn, Tom Hall, Amy Schreiner, Abigail Fried, and Alyssa Boucher.

You can read more about the project and see some screen caps on the Digital ECALC project page.



1. If you are interested in this line of research, check out the work of Dr. G. Alan Marlatt.


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