I have been teaching a course called Creating Games since 2008. It fulfills a Creative Thought requirement in our General Education program and so is focused on the creative process as it applies to game design and development. The course has evolved significantly since I first started teaching it. My thoughts about the course have evolved significantly since I first started teaching it. Since the beginning, however, the course has been project-based with a significant portion of the semester dedicated to the development of an original board game.
Over the years, I have used a variety of texts to support the course. These texts have been wonderful and helpful but as my own thoughts about the material evolved, I increasingly honed in on what I thought were the important points from the texts and supplemented and editorialized more and more, relying less and less on the text in my teaching. I also recognized that as tuition, room, and board costs have risen at my public institution, the extra cost of textbooks has become more and more of an obstacle to students being able to participate fully in their educational experiences in the classroom. I have also become interested in OER in particular and open pedagogical practices in general and the ways in which we can remove barriers to education. In Spring 2020, my class moved from being a 3 credit course to being a 4 credit course so I needed to rethink quite a bit of the structure. These various material realities converged so that I decided I would not require students to purchase a text but would instead create my own set of materials.
As I began the work of developing my own materials, I did something that I am kind of shocked I had never done before–I searched for open educational materials that others had created before me. I had been using online materials for years but they tended to come from places like the Game Developers Conference web site and YouTube channels like Extra Credits. There is some amazing material about game design on the web. But I hadn’t looked for actual educational materials. So I felt incredibly lucky and grateful to find Ian Schreiber’s online game design course. His course focuses on developing an actual board game just as mine does. He has even put in some of the same constraints that I have–for example, both of us say that trivia games are off-limits for the game project and for similar reasons. I include most of the material with similar emphasis in my course as he does in his. I do things in a bit of a different order and with some different examples but Ian’s material matches the way I teach my course remarkably well.
The major difference between Ian’s online course and the text I created is that his course stands alone while my text does not. I wanted to create a textbook to support my face-to-face class while his material is intended to be an entire online course. That said, I will make the materials that I use in my course freely available as I develop it. As I said, the move from 3 to 4 credits requires some rethinking of the structure of the course so I will update my web site with a link to my full course when it becomes available. In the meantime, I am happy with the text and look forward to using it with my students.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.