Otago Daily Times

Uni to trial video game path­way in cur­ricu­lum

- HAMISH MA­CLEAN hamish.ma­clean@odt.co.nz Science · Video Games · College · Computer Science · Gaming · Higher Education · University of Otago · New Zealand · Otago · Otago Polytechnic

VIDEO games have been big busi­ness for years.

Now, in­creas­ingly, they are be­com­ing a fix­ture in higher learn­ing.

The Univer­sity of Otago has con­firmed plans to pi­lot two video game cur­ricu­lum path­ways in 2021.

This fol­lows last month’s news a new video game train­ing pro­gramme would be­come avail­able at Otago Poly­tech­nic, thanks to an agree­ment be­tween the Dunedin­based New Zealand Cen­tre of Dig­i­tal Ex­cel­lence (Code), Swe­den­based com­pany Fu­tureGames and the poly­tech­nic.

A univer­sity spokesman con­firmed this week both game devel­op­ment and game stud­ies could be­come named ma­jor and mi­nor ar­eas of study at the Univer­sity of Otago in the fu­ture.

The game devel­op­ment path­way would con­sist of mostly ex­ist­ing cour­ses in com­puter sci­ence and in­for­ma­tion sci­ence, cre­at­ing the more ‘‘tech­ni­cally ori­ented’’ of the two.

It could be anal­o­gous to the foun­da­tions of a com­puter sci­ence bach­e­lor of sci­ence in game devel­op­ment.

The game stud­ies path­way would fo­cus on the study of ‘‘games as cul­tural, as well as tech­ni­cal, arte­facts’’, the spokesman said.

The pro­gramme would take a the­o­ret­i­cal, his­tor­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tional, and ‘‘even po­lit­i­cal’’ ap­proach, he said.

This route for stu­dents would be com­pa­ra­bly smaller, some­what anal­o­gous to a “game stud­ies” mi­nor, he said.

It would in­clude the devel­op­ment of a pa­per on cre­ative writ­ing for games and in­ter­ac­tive me­dia through the depart­ment of English and lin­guis­tics.

At present, the first steps were be­ing taken by the de­part­ments of com­puter sci­ence, in­for­ma­tion sci­ence, and English and lin­guis­tics, but would in­clude con­tri­bu­tions from a num­ber of ad­di­tional de­part­ments.

For in­stance, in the Codealigne­d “Games for Health” fo­cus, joint ven­tures with health sciences would be of cen­tral im­por­tance, the spokesman said.

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