Handholding your Learning, or what FFXIV has to do with my (real-life) job

I’ve played games since I was a toddler, and I’ve been teaching either myself or others since not long after that. Games and teaching/learning are both intricately woven into who I am, so rather than try to separate them, I’ve decided to embrace this delightful marriage. I’m starting today by talking about Final Fantasy XIV in the context of education, technology, and the human process of learning.

Much of my educational work has recently centered on online learning, including massive open online courses (MOOCs) in the form of Coursera or edX, where millions of individuals take university courses for free. In these classes, video lectures guide students through content while quizzes and exams test their progress. What does this have to do with games? Well, if you’ve ever heard the term “theme park” applied (negatively) to an MMO, I’m about to explain just what MOOCs and other online education platforms similar to them have in common with MMOs.

Disney Theme Park


Cities: Skylines has politics?!

Cities:Skylines is the latest darling to hit the PC market. Everyone, or just most people, is calling it “the SimCity we deserved.” It’s a classic city-sim with the familiar task of zoning land to balance residential/commercial/industrial demands, while keeping basic services operating in your city before it implodes due to your own negligence, or well, your own negligence, since there are no disasters in this game. It’s fun, has a robust modding community already, and scratches the city-building itch without all that EA bad feeling creeping in.

Where we're going, we don't need straight roads.

Where we’re going, we don’t need straight roads.

So what’s wrong with it?

It’s not that it’s wrong, necessarily, just that it has some political assumptions that are too simplistic. Yes, that’s right, a city-building sim has politics. More


This morning, the 4th annual Digital Media & Learning Competition was announced on the theme of “Badges for Lifelong Learning”. Around 10:15am or so, Twitter started erupting in very odd comments tagged with #dmlbadges from HASTAC’s live feed.

Very big claims. I reacted quite strongly, as did many of my colleagues, and we were branded “haters”. But we weren’t hating – we were critiquing. I worried throughout the day though that I had “critiqued” too strongly. Maybe I had assumptions that weren’t correct. Maybe I was too invested, had too much at stake. Maybe I was just a grad student who should have kept quiet and let the big guns sort it out. More

Community Toss 8/17/09

This may come off as an ‘I’m-too-lazy-to-blog’ entry, but really, I’ve just been gone over a week and my inbox is flooded. Might as well share the love as I wade through it.

A Syllabus on Transmedia Storytelling. Considering my own plans for a class through Sweetland that focuses on interactive fiction and comparative epic, I was overjoyed to see someone’s syllabus up that I could pull ideas from. Take a look – I’d love comments and I’m sure Henry would as well.

An essay on the organic process of myth-merge (it communicates a notion -> it’s a word) in Dominions 3. I love looking at how game designers/writers take myths from various cultures along with their own original lore and combine them in some grand cauldron to create a new something wonderful (hopefully). This essay can serve as an interesting model to see either how to or how not to communicate intricate details of storytelling in games.

Adult gamers are fat and depressed!! I wonder when they do studies like this if they consider which came first – the depression or the gaming.

BrainHex: How do you play? I love surveys, especially those that make you analyze everyday activities. Yes, for some of us, gaming is part of our everyday lives. Jealous much? XD

All right, you’re probably drowning in work and raising your fist at me for not providing anything original, but to cheer you up, please watch the most famous Internet video of the week – the Guild’s Do you want to date my avatar? It’s worth every second.