Freelance Knight

Game Studies Course #2: History – Part 1

Game Studies Course #2: History – Part 1

Game Studies Course #2: History – Part 1

The Game Studies Course is moving along in the process of becoming a become a full course offering at Taylor University. We still have a semester of work ahead of us before we officially teach the course. I thought it might interest you to see how we have gotten to the current stage in the development of this course. In Part 1 of the course history, I am sharing the timeline up until now.

Timeline

  • August 13 to 18, 2013 – Gen Con 2013– Conversation with gaming friends, who are also Taylor University alumni, was early genesis for the concept of the course. This was just some banter among friends about how it would be fun to take a class in game design and wouldn’t it be cool if Taylor offered such a class. That got me to thinking.
  • August 2013 to July 2014 – Spent the year mulling over the course idea in my head and talking about it with my game group and other gaming friends. I was still unsure of how to proceed with the design and what elements Taylor would require. I have background in Curriculum Design from my Masters degree, but I had not done a full course design process at Taylor before.
  • February 2014 – Amazing timing of an event leads to the game design course growing. I was approached to teach a summer Taylor University Online course in E-Commerce and also to redesign that course for future students. This is my first official opportunity to design a course from the ground up following Taylor’s curriculum requirements. What perfect timing.
  • March to July 28, 2014 Researched and redesigned the E-Commerce course.  With confidence gained redesigning the online course and thinking about Gen Con coming up again, I decided to write up my initial thoughts for a “game design” course at Taylor. At that point, I was still thinking tabletop game design and had not shifted it to game studies.
  • August 6, 2014 – Submitted initial proposal for a Game Design Course to the Taylor University leadership. Discussion commenced regarding the possibilities for this course and where it might fit in the university’s curriculum.
  • August 13 to 17, 2014 – Gen Con 2014. Discussed Game Design Course idea with various game industry friends. There was interest in the course and willingness to be guest speakers on various topics.
  • September 2014 – Based on discussions with Taylor University leadership, I proposed the course concept to the Dean who oversees IAS courses (Inter Area Studies). I felt as a Tabletop Game Course it fit best as a multidisciplinary course.
  • October 2014 – Discussions with Dean of IAS determined there was not interest at this time in a Game Design course focused on Tabletop games. The topic of gaming was of interest and the Dean encouraged me to think of other alternatives for the course. Through discussions with my friend, Dr. Jon Denning, we developed a modified concept for proposing this to the CSE (Computer Science and Engineering) Department.  Dr. Denning’s interest is in computer graphics and he had been planning an upcoming GameJam at Taylor.
  • November 3, 2014 – Dr. Jon Denning proposed the modified course to the Chair of CSE Department as a hybrid course of Tabletop and Digital Games.  The department faculty were mixed on the idea but willing to listen.
  • November 22, 2014 Inaugural CSE GameJam is a success. I spent time with Dr. Jon Denning and we discussed the course concept with the students. They really liked the idea if it could fit within their curriculum requirements.
  • December 2014 – Reworked class to fit a potential Systems model and proposed the new course “Game Studies” to the CSE Department Chair. This would be a hybrid course that teaches both Tabletop and Digital Game Studies with elements of Game Theory, Game Mechanics, Gamification, Iterative Design, Systems Analysis, Game Design, and Game Industry. There was enough interest now to put it on the next Department Meeting Agenda.
  • January 8, 2015 – Dr. Denning discussed new Game Studies course idea at CSE Department Meeting. Interest had increased in this new Game Studies concept and they wanted further information.
  • January 2015 – Kept refining course and looked into Dr. Morgan McGuire’s course as an example. Dr. McGuire is a professor friend of Dr. Jon Denning. He has had success with his gaming course and had some very good pointers.
  • February 24, 2015 – I attended the CSE Department Meeting for a vigorous discussion of the course design, how it could fit into the CSE or Systems curriculum, follow-up courses, and a concept for prototyping the course for a year.  Dr. Denning and I received tentative approval for course and were asked to make some changes and submit it officially.
  • March 2015 – Reviewed potential textbooks.
  • April 2015 – Lots of discussion and debate whether course should be COS, SYS, or IAS.
  • April 17, 2015 – 2nd CSE GameJam. Again discussed with students and clarified aspects of the course that would interest Tabletop and Digital interests. Lots of interest in the course by the students with a large number planning to sign up for it.
  • April 2015 – Started contacting publishers to utilize their games in our course for critical analysis by students.
  • May 2015 – Course officially approved by CSE department as a SYS 270 Selected Topics. This defines it as a one semester course under trial to see if it should be submitted to Committee for approval. We will teach the course Spring Semester 2016.  Lots of process and paperwork to finalize the course as it is officially offered for students.
  • June to August 2015 – Keep communicating with publishers regarding games for the course. Reading and reviewing further possible textbooks. Developing and proposing semester lesson plans.
  • July 28 to August 2, 2015 – Gen Con 2015 – Talked to quite a few designers and publishers about possibly speaking in the course. Acquired some demo copies of games for course use as well.
  • September 2015 – Current. Dr. Denning and I had to set the course aside while we started the Fall Semester at Taylor University. Now that we are a few weeks into the Fall Semester, we are starting back up our discussions and work on the course. We have many things to do this semester including finalize our textbook choice, determine day and time to offer the course, choose a classroom/lab location best suited for the course, choose and acquire the final games for critical analysis by students, finish the lesson plans, and line up guest speakers.

In Part 2 of the course history, I will discuss the evolution of the course from fleeting concept in my head, to a Game Design course concept, to a full Game Studies Syllabus and Course Plan. Are there specific aspects of the history of this course you would also like me to cover?

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