The escape room at the Curtains University at Dubai International Academic City Image Credit: Arshad Ali/XPRESS

DUBAI: Curtin University Dubai is hosting a pop-up escape room in its Dubai International Academic City premises to help students develop problem solving skills and get into a teamwork oriented mindset.

All the rage right now, escape rooms are immersive adventure experiences where players are put into a scenario and must try to ‘escape’ a room within a set time limit by solving a series of puzzles using clues, hints and strategy.

Phenomenal growth

Since its debut in Tokyo around eight years ago, the escape room industry has grown by leaps and bounds. There are nearly 3,000 escape rooms worldwide but a university is the last place you’d expect to find one.

“And this is what makes the escape room at our university so special,” said Olivia Atkins, programme co-ordinator at Curtins University.

She said the university’s student council and faculty members came up with the idea of hosting a pop up escape room in the university premises because they wanted to make summer vacations more meaningful and fun for students who stayed behind in the UAE.

“So we made this assignment-based adventure game where participants are required to apply analytical and critical thinking skills to find their way out. The idea is to help students work as a team, identify their strengths and weaknesses and learn how to handle pressure,” she said.

Participants have 70 minutes to figure out how to escape the room by looking for clues and solving six puzzles to go from one step to another to ultimately get out of the room.

This XPRESS reporter put her problem solving skills and logical thinking to the ultimate test as she worked as a team with university student Raj Sagar to find her way out of the escape room in less than half an hour.

Professor John Evans, pro vice-chancellor of Curtin University Dubai said there is much to learn from the experience.

“Escape rooms not just offer a fun-filled experience, they also improve analytical skills and strenghten critical thinking both of which are essential prerequisites in streams like computer science and engineering,” said professor Evans. The pop-up escape room at Curtin University will run until this month end.