20 Jan 2010 [ Prev | Next ]

Daily Update: Jan 20

General Comments

I'm glad to see the activity in the student-led discussions.  Let's all do our best to keep the momentum going as we reach the end of the line.

We only have one assigned reading for today, but I have posted a new discussion topic on Modding, Machinima and Motion Capture.  Please take a look and share your thoughts on how gaming technology helps us tell stories in other media.

Yesterday I spent all day marking term paper rough drafts. I really enjoyed reading what you accomplished.  I learned about games that I haven't played, I read your references to academic studies I didn't know about, and I got to wrestle with some challenging and insightful new ideas. 

A Word on Beta Releases

Game developers usually release a near-finished version of a game to a small group of volunteer playtesters.  During the trial run, the developers eagerly look for the flaws their beta testers encounter. Of course, designers hope there won't be any big flaws, but if the testers find them at this early stage, you can be sure that the paying customers will find them, too. Better to catch those problems early, while there's still time to address them.

Your rough draft is a beta release of your ideas.  So, when you do your peer review exercise, think of yourself as testing out the ideas your peers are exploring, and if you run into any weaknesses, tell your peers now, while they still have time to work on the issues (and time to ask for help).

Responding to Feedback

When I submit an article for publication or a report to a committee, of course I'd rather hear "This is fantastic! Don't make any changes, you're finished!" 

When instead I hear, "This is mostly okay, but these parts need more work," I admit that sometimes I get a sinking feeling. 

But in the long run, I realize that people who make substantial, candid suggestions -- especially when they make them in private, so as not to embarrass me -- are valuable resources.  They are not simply trying to point out all my flaws to make me feel bad. They are, instead, giving me secret tips that I can use to improve an end product that has my name on it. 

Any feedback that comes before the deadline tells me what is working and what isn't working, and that helps me plan the time remaining until the final deadline. I can't act on every single suggestion, but I can try to decide what changes will have the greatest impact.

About the Revision Process

I'm glad to see plenty of evidence of students who are taking the peer review assignments seriously.  (Be sure to give yourself enough time -- it takes a while to read and comment on a research paper).

When you get feedback (from peers, and from me), remember that constructive criticism helps you deliver a better final product. 

Any time you have the opportunity to revise a paper, fixing spelling mistakes and moving commas around may get you a few points.

The word "revise" means "to see again." To take the full advantage of the opportunity to revise, recall that -- instead of making local insertions and edits -- I'm asking you to rethink, remove, and rebuild those parts of your paper that didn't help you advance your goal. (Are you summarizing the game plots, instead of analyzing them? Are you summarizing your sources, instead of using them to advance your own ideas?)

As I noted in a few recent e-mails, I would be happy to arrange a telephone conference, to discuss your first steps, as you contemplate your revision assignment.

What can I do to help? Please post your thoughts on this page, or send me an e-mail directly. I'm happy to do what I can to help you do your best work.


Leave a comment

          1 2
03 04 05 06 07 08 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30