Back at the beginning of the month I posted about a Massive Open Online Course on Games-based Learning. The course is running for a total of six weeks and we are now close to the end of week three so it is time for a mid-term paper.
To re-cap here is the schedule for the six weeks.
Week 1 Games Based Learning/Game Principles.
Week 2 Overview of Commercial Off the Shelf Games
Week 3Gamification or Behavior Motivation Elements for the Classroom
Week 4 Epistemic Games
Week 5 Introduction to Alternate Reality Games (ARG)
Week 6 Assessing Student Learning and Data Collection
With 244 or so registered participants, the course is not so Massive as other open online courses I have attended. Others have had 2000+ registrations. This is good news in terms of getting to know people in the course and possibly a limitation in that this MOOC course is designed along a connnectionist model that I think benefits from the wisdom of crowds. Here is a bit more on moocs as they are big news these days.
It seems to me that the majority of the participants are educators although I did see some organizational training people in the course. Gaming experience varies in the group. Those with experience tend to be of the online gaming variety. Scott Nicholson, another NASAGAN, is the only one who has mentioned face-2-face gaming to any extent. Nonetheless, the principles discussed apply to both online, video, and face-2-face. I do think that more about face-2-face games would be useful when it comes to the examples used in the course. There is much that both the online/computer/console based world and the face-2-face games and activities can learn from one another.
The course consists of self paced reading or watching recorded material along with two live events each week. One a twitter-based chat and the other a second life gathering. The second life gathering is also shown as livecast through Google+hangouts on air which shows up on a youtube video. I had not seen this livecast technology before. It is impressive. I did go in and stumble around in Second Life but it is taxing on my machine. (a fairly typical business class laptop). I think that the tech hurdle on Second Life is still a challenge and being a N00b in second life I was distracted by trying to orient myself. The youtube broadcast worked better for me in terms of sound and video. Of course I lost a level of participation. You can watch all of the youtube video recordings for the course on the course channel. The third week ended with this excellent live streamed interview with Chris Haskell with the 3D GamesLab at Boise State
There are also some worthwhile videos, here are a few:
In addition we have sampled online games to get a sense of how they might work for education.
The course platform is unique, the designers have used Shivtr.com a games guild server which gives it a wonderful look and feel complete with appropriate titles and awards. It serves very well as a course platform. Very comparable to moodle or blackboard, and more fun. The entire course is open so you can view the course content without registering if you like. You do need to register to post. People are still joining and I encourage you to give it a try. The one downside of the gaming server is that it is blocked for some companies sites.
To help me keep track of the course, I created a personal dashboard, sometimes called a Personal Learning Environment. You can use it as well if you would like to poke around. I have included course feeds as well as blog and twitter searches for course related material. By the way, the page also contains feeds from previous moocs that I have attended if you would like to compare them a bit. I am also tweeting a daily paper.li that is built from course and twitter feeds. My efforts earned me an award in the course as Curator.
More about the course in the upcoming weeks. Please share your thoughts about the Game MOOC concept as the NASAGA ning could easily serve as a course platform if we had enough interest and volunteers to help with the design.