Going through the Expo floor at GDC is a rather unique experience. Like a highly expressive game (Minecraft or Sim City, for example), the experience is different for each person depending on their personal actions and goals. Students and unemployed developers looking to get jobs will be networking in the aisles, hanging out at the company booths, and maybe walking randomly through other areas to pick up swag or play with cool-looking toys. Professors network with industry on behalf of their students, and also visit the other school booths so they can all compare notes on who is best representing themselves. Exhibitors do... um... whatever they do. And so on.
Personally, I walk around looking for themes (this year I saw heavy representation of IT companies, cloud computing services, social media support services, middleware, geographic regions trying to attract companies, and schools trying to attract students - note the irony here, since most students at GDC are already at a school so it's a bit late to recruit).
School booths are interesting. Some show off student projects and allow you to play them. Others just show video. One showed a bunch of design docs and art bibles and other written works for a current student project in progress. Most have at least some printed documents talking about their academic programs, classes and curriculum. I always look at these to see what they're teaching kids these days.
One particular school I encountered, I won't name names, had a degree in "game design" (those were the exact words used). When I look at the core classes, I see: a token programming class, a level design class, and a dozen art/animation classes. Hopefully anyone reading this immediately sees the problem here. Obviously, the school did not.
I brought this to the attention of someone at the booth, who pointed me to a director-level person in the same booth. This director looked at me like I was from Mars, as if she couldn't understand why I was concerned or what the problem was. It concerns me because this isn't just a problem with a single school, it becomes a problem for every school. Imagine if a biology degree at School A was equivalent to a chemistry degree at School B, a physics degree at School C, and a science degree at School D. And biotech labs have to put this all together to figure out who actually learned the skills they need to hire. Even if just one school screws this up, the message to industry is "ignore the name of the degree on every resume you receive because it might be lying to you about what it means." But I'm an outsider to the school, and I have no influence to fix this myself, even though it totally screws me over, even if I'm teaching somewhere else.
I think the solution here has to come from industry. I would love to see more industry professionals stopping by the school booths, taking an honest look at what they're presenting, and calling them out on it -- in public, right there on the show floor, if need be -- if they are peddling the academic equivalent of snake oil. If every developer that passes through the expo takes five minutes to do this with just one school, any school that is just blatantly lying to its students about the value of its curriculum will hear that message over and over, loud and clear. So... any takers?