Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recruitment for the Virginia Ball Center, Spring 2012

(My proposal to the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry was recently approved, and so begins recruitment. What follows is the statement I will be spreading around campus in order to recruit students into the project. I welcome your feedback on the announcement itself, and I encourage you to share the announcement with any BSU undergraduates who might be interested.)

In Spring 2012, I will be mentoring a team at the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry (VBC) in a seminar entitled "Games and Learning: The Underground Railroad." We will be exploring the intersection of play and learning within the challenging context of American slavery. The team will work together to design and develop a game based on the Underground Railroad, a game that is both fun and educational, whose playing and enjoyment will result in a deeper understanding of the theme.

This is an ambitious student-driven project, and its success requires a team of talented and dedicated students. Game development requires creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration. We will need artists, writers, programmers, editors, marketers, managers, musicians, and researchers. The input of historians and anthropologists will be as important as that of designers and technologists.

Our community partner for this project is Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. We will also be visiting the Indiana State Museum, the Levi Coffin House, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

The VBC provides a unique experience in undergraduate education. It is the ultimate immersive learning experience: students spend the entire semester working together on this one project, meeting in the beautiful Kitselman Center off the main BSU campus. Students earn fifteen credits for participating in the VBC seminar, and the VBC staff and I will work with your major and minor departments to ensure that you continue making progress in your studies through your participation.

The application process involves completing a form and providing two letters of recommendation, with interviews following. Application instructions can be found online.

About the faculty mentor: I am an associate professor in the Computer Science department, and I have been researching game design and development with BSU students since Summer 2006. Our most ambitious project to date has been Morgan's Raid, a history education game for Indiana 4th-graders developed over three semesters. I am interested in software development, board games, computer games, and the science of teaching and learning. Much of my recent scholarship has been on what people learn by creating games, and I am excited to work with an interdisciplinary team at the VBC.

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