Draft outline for Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds online course

I’m teaching a course on games and learning during Pepperdine’s summer session. It’s an online course for masters students getting an ed tech degree who may or may not be completely new to the topic, so I’m throwing in as much as I can. 🙂

I’m pretty excited about it! Midway, the students and I will meet face to face at GLS and playtest their in-progress game designs.

Anyway, here’s the preliminary outline that I just threw together. It’s a lot to cover in 12 weeks.

  1. intro to game studies: definitions, magic circle, narratology v ludology, disciplines, art
  2. why games for learning: content v systems, computational thinking, ecology, projected ID, Theory of Fun
  3. game genres and mechanics, tabletop and digital: Board Game Geek, RPS, killscreen, Analog, Well Played
  4. survey of games, simulations, and VWs for learning: COTS v designed, GLS, MIT, Harvard, Indiana, ASU, UCLA, Irvine, UCSC, CGS
  5. game design processes: Aldrich, Schell, Kultima, Rogers
  6. user studies: engagement, flow, play testing
  7. play test during GLS
  8. mods, theorycrafting, memes: Elitist Jerks, Skyrim
  9. assessment: the big black box?
  10. studying gaming and gaming culture: ethnography, Coming of Age in Second Life, Leet Noobs
  11. gamification, badges, connected learning
  12. outstanding issues

I’ll be posting updates to the syllabus as I fill in details, assignments, readings, games to play, etc. to this blog, hopefully making the course design process as transparent as possible. It’s like a process painting but in course design form. Thoughts? Did I leave anything out?


3 thoughts on “Draft outline for Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds online course”

  1. Excellent preparation material for teaching the course, good for you!
    In fact this is also a good material to present in the on going game design conference in SF now.Too bad that you are not attending…….
    How about the copy right if it is totally transparent?

  2. Sounds like it’s going to be a great course! You might think about adding an 11.5: In-game skills acquisition for professionals There are lots of media anecdotes and a small but growing body of research on how professional recruiters have learned to inquire about an applicant’s gaming experience. A good recruiter can tease out how your role as a guild officer may have prepared you to take on an early leadership role and buffed your conflict-resolution, team facilitation and strategic planning abilities.

    Also, once you’ve done all the hard work of preparing the course for this summer, you should think about how to use the same material in other venues. Coursera if you can find a participating academic institution to sponsor you, or Udemy if you want to try the for-profit route. Looking forward to seeing the syllabus!

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