Technology, particularly over the past decade, has changed very rapidly. New forms of media are emerging and evolving. Now a doctoral student at the University of Florida is using a computer game to teach 21st century skills. What do you think? Is this silly or innovative? Sound off below.
September 13, 2010
The Best College Course Ever?
Playing the real-time strategy video game StarCraft isn’t just for frittering away afternoons in students’ dorm rooms. It’s now for college credit, too.
University of Florida (UF) education technology doctoral student Nathaniel Poling is teaching the eight-week, two-credit class, “21st Century Skills in StarCraft,” this fall, using the internationally beloved computer game to hone students’ on-the-go decision making skills, resource management skills, and penchant to analyze ever-changing scenarios in the complex game’s platform.
Poling’s course will be conducted entirely online and is limited to 20 students who have, at the very least, “basic knowledge” of StarCraft, a game that pits three species battling for supremacy in the far reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy.
The StarCraft course doesn’t offer a step-by-step strategy for mastering the game—which has sold more than 11 million copies since its release in 1998—but it helps students develop skills that would serve them well in the modern workplace, according to Poling’s class outline.
The class isn’t all about video game analysis, however. Poling’s students will be required to complete weekly game play that will be viewed and scrutinized by classmates looking for the best ways to adjust strategies on the fly and beat opponents who were slow to adapt or doomed by a misconceived plan.
“In this course, learners are in an immersive real-time environment,” Poling said in a Sept. 2 UF blog post. “They are constantly forced to gather, analyze, and synthesize information from a wide variety of sources and act in a high-pressured, fast-paced environment.” Those are the same skills that employers covet in today’s information-based economy, the thinking goes.
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