03 Jan 2010 [ Prev | Next ]

Introduction to the Course (Start Here!)

EL250 Video Games.png

Hello, and welcome! This website, http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL250, is your main resource for the course.

Every day at about 4pm I will post a message pointing out exactly what you should do for upcoming assignments.

I'm still ironing out details, so some of the other pages on this site might refer to things that are still developing.

The course blog will have a separate page for each discussion topic, each individual assigned reading (or media clip), and due dates for exercises and major papers.

(See the Course Overview for a bit more on how the online course will work.)

Your First Assignments

Our first discussion topic is the one you're reading now -- "Introduction to the Course."

Why did you choose to take this course? What do you hope to gain from it?  Have you taken an online course before?  What questions do you have about how the course works?

Post your responses here on this page. If you have questions or comments about anything you find on the course website, feel free to post here, or on other pages as well.

The first assigned reading (it's really an audio clip) is "What is Fun?"  That page has a few prompts for how I'd like you to proceed. You can find the other assigned readings for today if you click on the date in the calendar on the upper right of this page. (In the future, assigned readings are due at 10am on the day they appear on the syllabus, but for this first set of readings you have until Tuesday.)

The first exercise, which is due Tuesday, is Ex 1: My Gaming Anecdote. (Instructions are on that page.)

Upcoming Assignments

If you look at the top of this page and click the "Outline" tab, you'll see a list of items for every day the course meets.  In the future, I won't post a special entry reminding you to look at that outline -- I'll just expect you to go there and see what's on the list for the day.

Generally, homework that's listed for a particular day is due at 10am.

Each day at about 4pm, I will post discussion questions that assume you have already finished all the work that is listed for that day. You'll have about two days to respond to those discussion questions. At first, you'll respond by posting a comment here on the course blog, but soon you'll have your own SHU weblog. You may, if you wish, respond to prompts by posting YouTube videos or audio clips.

We'll also do some work via e-mail, GriffinGate, and Turnitin.com. Details will be posted well before you need them.

The welcome page and the syllabus contain much more information about the course, including details on the importance of time management and how I handle late work. I won't repeat all that here, but I do invite you to look it up in the syllabus. If you're ever feel unsure of what to do on a particular assignment, or you're working ahead and you would like for me to flesh out a particular page, just send me an e-mail or post a comment on the blog, and I'll tend to it as soon as I can.

If you have not already received your books, please order them today, before you do anything else, and get express delivery. The first textbook-related assignment is due Wednesday.



It does not sound like a very good reason, but to be honest I took this course mainly because I wanted to rack up a couple of credits towards my major in order to finish in four years. I also, however, am interested to see what this course entails. I am not much of a videogame player, but I know that they have had a massive impact on our culture. For this reason, I think that this course will have a lot of interesting topics to discuss.
Because I am not extremely familiar with videogames, I want to learn about the different aspects of this form of entertainment. More specifically, I want to learn how they are created technically and also how the storylines are formed. Hopefully this course will help me in that.
I have never taken an online course before, which makes me a somewhat apprehensive. I am not the most technically savvy person, so I have a feeling that the different postings and turning in of assignments might cause me a little bit of trouble. I think that it should be simple enough to get the hang of, though, as the course proceeds.

I took this course mostly because I love videogames and thought it would be interesting to study them in a more academic nature. Also, I thought it would be a good start to help me with my degree in journalism, because I hope to one day write reviews for videogames as part of my occupation as a journalist. I hope to find a greater appreciation for videogames from this class—although I’ve always thought that videogames were more than just entertainment, it’d be nice for me to finally be able to back up these claims. I’m also interested in learning the history of videogames, because as much as I am a gamer, I’m not all that familiar with the original games prior to Super NES. My only question about this course is when are we supposed to use our blogs instead of just posting on the course website? I’m used to writing a blog for each assigned text, so this is kinda new for me. This is also my first online class.

The main reason for choosing to take the Video Game Culture and Theory course was that I was short six credits in order to graduate in May. I am working full-time and attending Seton Hill University part-time to obtain my Bachelors of Arts in Music. I already have a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Millersville University (2003). Since this will be my second degree, I am exempt from the Liberal Arts requirements; however, I misunderstood the fact that I still needed to take a minimum of 48 credits at Seton Hill University to graduate. Therefore, I figured that an online class would be the most beneficial towards my already hectic schedule and will allow me to still graduate on time.

This course appealed to me mainly because I play and enjoy video games. I also have a younger sister who writes several blogs reviewing video games, comic books, books, and movies, and I wanted to gain a broader understanding of the video game culture to relate better to her perspectives and bond more with her tastes.

This will be my first online course, and I have to say that it makes me nervous because I definitely enjoy learning in the classroom setting where you can have more one-on-one interaction. Luckily, I am willing to learn and open to trying, and there is always a first time for everything. My main question regarding the course is due dates and grading policies, since it will be a fast-paced class. What happens if life and work interfere with a 10 am deadline once or twice? I promise to work hard and do my best.

Beth Anne: Entertainment is certainly an important function that games play in our culture, but as the course progresses I think you'll encounter some other ways to think usefully about games. One of the units will look briefly at the coding aspect of games, and you will have the opportunity later to try out a programming environment designed to teach computer science skills to elementary students. If you're interested in the technical side of games, I think those units will be particularly interesting to you.

I'm sure you're not the only person who's a little worried about the online nature of the course, but I think you're approaching it with the right attitude. Yes, there will be a few bumps as we all get used to this method of delivery, but if we keep the lines of communication open, we'll work our way through it.

If you're coming into the course with a love of video games, you'll have a knowledge of some specialized vocabulary and cultural values. But since games are such a rich subject, and there are so many different kinds of games, chances are we'll spend only a little time studying the kinds of games that you like best, and a lot more time talking about games that you wouldn't necessarily choose to play "for fun." It's the same situation we face in a literature class, unless of course you're lucky enough to find a whole course devoted to your favorite author, and there's nothing that author wrote that you don't love madly.

On Tuesday I plan to introduce the whole class to the SHU weblog system, but if you've already blogged for me in a different class, and you'd like to start using your blog right away, be my guest.

Nice to meet you, Susan. I'm glad that this course fit into your busy schedule, and also help you bond with your sister. (Please feel free to recommend anything your sister has written, if you feel it would help the class understand something we're talking about.)

Missing one or two deadlines by one or two hours is probably not anything to worry about.

You can find the full policy for late submissions in section 5.2 of the syllabus.

It might take me two or three hours to mark all the assignments that are due on a given day. If I finish the stack of on-time submissions, and yours still isn't in, then I will notice. If your paper comes in while I am still marking the others, then I probably won't notice.

Of course, if half the class has missed the deadline, then I will finish marking the on-time assignments sooner, so I will be more likely to dock the late assignments.

Any new learning environment can cause some jitters, so I think a little uncertainty is perfectly normal. But you're not in this alone. I'll try to be as clear as possible about what is due when, how and where to submit it, and what I'll be looking for when I evaluate it. Any time you have a question, please feel free to ask, either by posting a comment on the course blog or by e-mailing me directly.

Susan, did that answer your question? Thanks for sharing your concerns.

Thank you, Dr. Jerz. That does answer my questions, and I will reference my sister's blog if it will help a class discussion.

The main reason I took this class was to gain a few extra credits without being overloaded during the spring semester. I also love to play video games so this class sounded interesting and appealing to me. Although I enjoy playing video games, I mostly only play sports games. I was very interested in this course because I beoieve it would open my mind up to the other genres of video games that are out there today.
I am hopefull that this course will widen my knowledge on the topic of video games as well as introduce me to new things I knew nothing about before. The creation of video games has always been a mystery to me and hopefully this class will give me a little more insight on how video games are created.
This is my first online class and I am curious to see how I will handle this style of course compared to a course that is tought in the classroom.

Great to hear from you, Keith. Sports games are a genre that I probably know the least. We will look a little bit into games as code, and as I mentioned to Beth Anne, we will spend a little bit of time sampling a kid-friendly programming tool that elementary school students have been using to create games, so I do hope those units will offer you some insight. Yes, being open to exploring other kinds of games will be important, since we all have different tastes and for the first part of the course, I've chosen a selection of games that I'm qualified to teach. I hope you'll find the online environment productive and worthwhile. It certainly forces us to think rethink a lot of things we take for granted about education.

I took this course because I wanted to gain a more clearer perspective on video games and its culture. The course seemed interesting so I figured why not. I hope to gain a lot of information from it. I am an Xbox 360 gamer, and want to read the opinions of others on the course site, how they view games,and the types of games and theories we will be studying.
I have taken many online courses at SHU over my four years of education and found most of them to be informative and fun. I appreciate online courses because one is able to go about them at their own leisure. The fast track online courses are key because they end early enough in the semester that one is able to focus on other studies.
As for questions about thecourse, I have none. I have taken a variety of courses from Dr. Jerz over the years so I pretty much know what to expect.

I took this course because games interest me. The history around them, the cultural impacts, and the communities they create are unlike anything else. Being able to study them academically seemed like a natural progression from enjoying games as a purely leisurely activity.

I hope to take away from this course a better understanding of how the whole medium has evolved over the years and how different issues have been dealt with, such as games ratings, increased graphic violence, and portrayals of gender.

I have never taken an online course before and upon looking at this site yesterday I felt like a lone Terran marine staring at a Zerg rush; scared, feeling helpless, and in desperate need of backup. But, with the realization that I have plenty of time to get everything done, as long as I manage my time, this newly built bunker will help me survive throughout the course.

The only question I have is: what goes where and when? But with the instructions on the assignment page and the outline and syllabus to reference, I feel confident that everything will get where it needs to be, and I have already answered my own question.

I took this course mainly to gain some credits for my major, but I have always been an avid gamer. My first game console was a Super Nintendo and I currently play games on my Xbox 360 and PC. For a period of time, I had actually considered a career in game design so I think that my taking this course is also my way of fulfilling that part of me. Over the course of the class I hope to gain further insight into the industry, how it has evolved over the years and mostly what drives people to play certain games and what makes some franchises/genres so successful. I look forward to working with all of you.

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