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Come for the Games; Stay for the Games Research: Undergraduate Games Research


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A case study on implementing an undergraduate games research and scholarship initiative, this talk outlines the formation, initiation, challenges, and future of the Games-Engaged Analysis and Research Group (GEAR) at George Mason University. The talk will address: the challenges and opportunities presented in collaboration between faculty from disparate disciplines; transdisciplinary and humanities approaches to games research; practical concerns involving funding and student participation non-credit-bearing activity, and the benefits of incorporating undergraduate researchers in serious games studies.

Published in: Education
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Come for the Games; Stay for the Games Research: Undergraduate Games Research

  1. 1. Come for the Games… Stay for the Games Research
  2. 2. Come for the Games, Stay for the Games Research: Undergraduate Games Research Seth Andrew Hudson Game Writing Computer Game Design Program Douglas Eyman Writing and Rhetoric English Department
  4. 4. Collaborative Project Scholarship Development Proposal: Digital Games Research from a Humanities Perspective • Mason’s Students as Scholars Program • Collaborative Scholarship Development Grant Need: No place in the undergraduate curriculum university-wide • Computer Game Design program heavy on collaborative production • Writing and Rhetoric program offered only a handful of courses • Student demand for such work, even if traditional course not available
  5. 5. Original Faculty Team • Seth’s work focused on pedagogy in games, student development, and narrative in games. Background in the humanities. • Doug’s work examined the practices of writing within, around, and about games. • Steve’s work focused on games as examples of rhetorical practice, with a strong interest in theory-building. • Beth’s work focused on games and performance.
  6. 6. Proposal • Start an extra-curricular research group that would focus on humanities approaches to game research • Faculty would facilitate, but would promote student-initiated research projects • Initial funding covered some game systems, games, and 2 Oculus Rift systems.
  7. 7. Multidisciplinary Games Research Rhetoric Communications Professional Writing SociologyHistory Anthropology Economics
  9. 9. Early Efforts • Faculty Brainstorming • Initial Student Involvement • Advertising/Recruiting • Creating a Model • Sustaining Efforts 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  10. 10. Early Efforts – Faculty Brainstorming • Budget • What do we need? • What do we spend money on? • Student Buy-In • Not for academic credit? • What is games research? • Sustainability • How can we keep students coming back? 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  11. 11. Early Efforts – Initial Student Involvement • Reaching out to our classes • Emphasizing novelty of approach • No current model • Students have freedom in direction • Allowing ideas to form organically • Meet once a week • See what transpires 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  12. 12. Early Efforts – Advertising/Recruiting • Focus on marketing • Started with acronym 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  13. 13. Early Efforts – Developing a Model Productive Fun • Allowing students to enjoy play while embracing research opportunities 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  14. 14. Early Efforts • Students participating in faculty scholarship Presented at: Collaborated with:
  15. 15. • Scholarship + Data Collection + Play
  16. 16. Early Efforts: Games + Pizza + Scholarship • Expose students to games research and scholarship 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  17. 17. EVOLUTION
  18. 18. Welcome faculty/coursework from classes 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  19. 19. Academic Resources
  20. 20. Incorporate rigor in research Following protocol AND having fun; Buy-in from new participants 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  21. 21. Students Take Ownership GEAR becomes a Registered Student Organization (RSO) 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  22. 22. LESSONS
  23. 23. Lessons from early efforts • ‘Pulling the trigger’ • Reach out to campus community • Foster student leadership • ALWAYS PLAY, always. 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  24. 24. THE FUTURE
  25. 25. The Future • Keep the drawing board up • Let students pursue interest • Encourage publication • ALWAYS PLAY, always. 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM
  26. 26. Q & A
  27. 27. Contact Information 8/29/2017 3:18:31 AM Seth Andrew Hudson Douglas Eyman