An Overview of Institutional Support for Game Students in Higher Education

Zagal José P.
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

What are some factors that contribute to the success of a game program? The curriculum and how it is taught, the way a program is organized, and understanding game students are all important factors. There is an additional aspect: the role that extra- curricular initiatives and supports play. We report on an interview study where game educators discussed the things their game programs do outside of the classroom to support and help their students. These efforts are grouped into initiatives that contribute towards strengthening a community of learners, those that help students develop their professional identities, efforts for broadening student’s experience, and managing/creating relationships with the game industry. By presenting and collecting these initiatives we can identify possible gaps in a program and encourage a more holistic perspective on higher education focused not only on the curriculum, but also on those things that can happen in between or adjacent to coursework.


Designing Inside the Box or Pitching Practices in Industry and Education

Altizer Roger Zagal José P.
2014 DiGRA '14 - Proceedings of the 2014 DiGRA International Conference

Pitching, the act of trying to convince others to support the development of a project, has a long, storied tradition in the game industry. This practice has also been adopted by game educators and incorporated into their curricula. In project-oriented classes it is common for students to pitch games to classmates, industry panels, and faculty. Using a series of vignettes, informed by anonymous industry professionals, we explore the mores and myths of pitching. These vignettes reflect a variety of pitching practices in companies both large and small. We also present a pedagogical tool, the Design Box, discuss our experiences using it, including common critiques, and illustrate its use for creative ideation as well as persuasive potential. The Design Box is a method we present for adoption, critique and evaluation. We conclude with a call to explore more practices that find their referent in ‘the industry’ and the development of appropriate pedagogical techniques we can incorporate in game education programs.


Game Development: a Teaching Challenge [Abstract]

Divotkey Roman Karrer Martina Diephuis Jeremiah
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

Cogaen is a component-based game engine that addresses the issues of diversity and continuity of development interests as part of a game development curriculum.


A Survey of Final Project Courses in Game Programs: Considerations for Teaching Capstone

Zagal José P. Sharp John
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

Game design and development programs often include a final project or capstone course as a means of assessing the cumulative theory, processes and techniques learned by students through the program or department’s curriculum. While these courses are prevalent in programs around the world, there has yet to be a study of how, why, and to what end these courses are designed and run. We review the literature on capstone courses, discuss the findings of a long-form survey administered in early 2011, and propose a set of framing questions for the design and implementation of capstone courses. Survey findings include common goals of capstone courses, make-up of faculty teaching these courses, the support obtained and desired for the courses, the technologies used to create capstone projects, the methods of project management used in the courses and the expectations of faculty teaching the courses.


Better Game Studies Education the Carcassonne Way

Hullett Kenneth Kurniawan Sri Wardrip-Fruin Noah
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

As game design programs become more common, educators are faced with challenges in bringing the formal study of games to students. In particular, educators must find ways to help students transition from viewing games purely as entertainment to a field worthy of critical study. One aspect of this transition is to view games on the level of mechanics rather than purely in terms of aesthetics. The study described in this paper was conducted to test the hypothesis that exposing students in an introductory game studies class to German-style board games would lead to improved understanding of game mechanics. The data gathered shows that the students who were exposed to these types of games did exhibit a greater understanding of game mechanics at the end of the course.