Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kurt Squire on Curricular Models

Another wonderful talk from the IGDA Educational SIG at GDC, courtesy of Kurt Squire. These are my notes:

A few years ago, we had: Game Dev programs (DigiPen, Full Sail); “Art and Design” schools (but with few game-specific offerings); ETC at CMU (grad school only); Computer Science; Media Arts & Sciences; Instructional Design; and for college dropouts, the School of Hard Knocks.

Today, we have game design degrees! Why? Popularity (or, increased enrollment); Intellectually interesting; Training for the game industry; Core disciplinary issues: interactivity, teamwork, etc. (carries over to many other fields).

There are lots of different ways to study games.

All faculty who teach games ought to play them, regularly.

Consider a “boot camp” introduction model: low-level courses that show that game development is very hard work, to turn away the students who aren’t self-motivated or serious about making games their career.

What happens outside class is more important than in class. Set up your academic program to encourage out-of-class work. One thing that can help a lot: have your university provide an open lab space where students can work on their own game projects – ad-hoc, informal, driven by excited students.

Have students work in teams. Have your faculty understand (and teach) cooperative learning.

You and your students will have many iterations for everything: individual projects, courses, and overall curriculum. Learn from failures.

Create opportunities for celebration, community ritual. Example: student project showcase at the end of each year.

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