June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Computing & Information Technology
24.1165.1 - 24.1165.16
Teaching interdisciplinary teamwork through hands-on game developmentCOURSE is an innovative project-based course at UNIVERSITY that gives a diverse set ofundergraduate students the opportunity to develop video games in a business-like setting. Thecourse allows students to exercise their technical and artistic skills on a multi-semester projectwhile also developing their teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills.Many of our former students now have careers in the video game industry or in a computerscience related field.The course is modeled after a business where the instructor assumes the role of chairman oradvisor and the students elect their own management and form teams to work on projects. Anyundergraduate who has the skills to fill a need in the COURSE is allowed to enroll for one ormore semesters. Many students enrolled in the course choose to take it nearly every semesterduring their academic career. Although most of the students are pursuing computer sciencerelated degrees, the COURSE also attracts students interested in 2D art, 3D art, sound design,and electrical engineering. Currently, 14% of the students majoring in computer science relateddegrees in the COURSE are women compared to 6% in the computer science department overall.The diversity of students in COURSE gives students the unique opportunity to learn how to workeffectively with people who have different abilities, backgrounds, and interests.COURSE is popular with students, industry, and the community. It has grown from 25 studentssince its inception in Fall 2004 to more than 60 students in Fall 2013. The growing size ofCOURSE is evidence that it is fun and engaging. At the beginning of a typical school year,student management assigns students to teams based on their skills and backgrounds. Wetypically aim to have games completed by the end of the school year. Most game ideas areproposed by the teams themselves in the fall semester, but some projects are assigned to theteams by student management and the faculty advisor. Teams are assigned projects when, forexample, companies sponsor and commission a game from the COURSE or when we agree todevelop games as a component of a federal grant. COURSE has also committed to developing aplatform used by an annual artificial intelligence programming competition. This popularcompetition attracts corporate sponsorship and more than 170 participants from UNIVERSITYand a neighboring university in Spring 2013.In this paper, we will focus on the policies and techniques that we have successfully used toattract, organize, motivate, and evaluate the students in the course. We will also talk about howstudent management and the faculty advisor work together and delegate responsibilities. Wehope that COURSE can serve as one possible model for instructors at other institutions whodesire to implement a similar course.
Kuhl, S. A., & Pastel, R., & George, R., & Meyers, C. M., & Freitag, M. L., & Lund, J. M., & Stefaniak, M. P. (2014, June), Teaching Interdisciplinary Teamwork through Hands-on Game Development Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23098
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