Your objectives for this course are to
- explore definitions of important concepts such as game and funlearn about the origins and historical development of video games,
- expose yourself to a broad range of games,
- gain experience recognizing and interpreting basic game elements (goal, risk, fiction, emotional engagement, rules, outcome, values, consequences, close playing, etc.),
- develop an awareness of the complex cultural context within which games exist (children’s culture, geek culture, women’s issues, political issues, economic issues, aesthetic issues, etc.),
- and ultimately, to discern the core cultural values represented in a particular game.
To that end, you will:
- play several games on the syllabus, read three books and additional shorter articles as assigned,
- complete quizzes and exercises to ensure that you are keeping up with the readings and to evaluate your progress,
- participate regularly in classroom and web-based discussions, and
- write a formal research paper (minimum 10 pages).
Neither ability to “win” a game nor programming/design talents are germane to the subject of this course.
At the end of this course, you should be able to
Demonstrate competence in the critical reading of complex cultural texts (including games, cultural responses to games, and the academic study of games)
Engage intellectually with your peers (in person and online)
Write a college-level paper that appropriately uses primary and secondary sources to defend a non-obvious claim (without minimizing or neglecting opposing or alternative views)
From the syllabus for the course I’ll be teaching starting Monday. It’s a three-credit online course, compressed into three weeks.
For the first time, I’m going to be making extensive use of our course-management system (for multiple-choice questions and to handle the details about whether a student has submitted an assignment on time).
An even number of men and women have enrolled in the course. Tomorrow I’ll create blogs for those students who haven’t had me before.
I’ve never taught an all-online course before. I’m used to a teaching style that depends heavily on open discussion, but I’m offering a lot of discussion prompts and multipart written exercises. Naturally I hope the student blogs are a vital part of the course, but I think it’s also important to have a backchannel, so that neither I nor the students feel like we have to perform in public all the time.