How we think about this course

Things to think about

If you are going to spend a trimester working in this field, ask yourself: "what would be the most useful, valuable thing I could produce that would enhance my professional standing?"

That is what the 2nd assignment is intended to produce.

Working backwards, what then is the aspect of the field that I should work on to inform the production of the resource?

The 1st assignment has two purposes: to generate background ideas for your resource and to give you an opportunity to practice writing a scholarly paper, something you will do in most other courses.

What do I need to do to get through?

The thing most, if not all students focus on at the beginning are the assignments, the things that will earn you credit towards completing the requirements of the course.

The simplest way to think about what you have to do is begin thinking about the 2nd assignment. The text from the course profile reads:

This assessment draws on your work in the first assignment. Assignment 2 requires you to design, prepare and trial a professional resource which explores the educational aspects and issues that relate to the topic of the scholarly paper. The paper can take a variety of forms. The choice of the format will depend upon the professional needs and interests of the student.

The text from the profile that describes the 1st assignment reads:

This assessment asks students to identify an aspect of digital culture which is of interest to them professionally. They are required to locate research papers and related online resources related to the aspect of digital culture to inform the preparation of a scholarly essay.

The best way to make progress is to use your notebooks to record your thinking about these related tasks. This will also help you take from the set material each weak, the ideas and information that can inform your thinking.

More generally

The approach we have taken to digital culture and games is broadly anthropological, that is, we are asking, what is going on here? While such an approach tries to see things with naive eyes, it is always difficult to see things without the intellectual baggage we bring to the work.

My approach to teaching is well captured in Bret Victor's short, excellent piece: some thoughts on teaching. This quote will signal the general argument:

Real teaching is not about transferring "the material", as if knowledge were some sort of mass-produced commodity that ships from Amazon. Real teaching is about conveying a way of thinking. How can a teacher convey a way of thinking when he doesn't genuinely think that way?

So the course is not about how we think about the heady mix of digital culture, games and education. If you way of thinking about these things shifts during the course then I'll be well pleased.