Home Page Image

Student Learning Goals>
Outcomes Expected for All FIP Courses

Close Reading Rubric>
Evaluating an Analysis of a Game

Design Document Prompt>
Instructions for a Collaborative Multi-Modal Assignment

Design Document Rubric>
Evaluating a Collaborative Multi-Modal Assignment.

Serious Games Prompt>
Reflections on a Persuasive Game

An Award-Winning Research Paper>

An Institutional Assessment Report>

Works Cited List>

Caveats and Conclusions

In looking at the picture of “undergraduate literacy” that emerged from the experience with gaming across the curriculum, Krapp still hesitates to generalize from this case study.

I wish I could say that collectively, they validated US12ABC's assumption that new media literacy can benefit enormously from solid historical and conceptual frames of reference, and that computing culture has much to learn from many other corners of campus. Unfortunately, to make such claims is to ignore that we were dealing with a self-identified subgroup among the first-year student population. To expect that any 80 freshmen would have taken as much to the topics, assignments, and that their writing would have shown equal degrees of improvement over the course of a year, is probably not permissible. However, I was very satisfied with the progress we made each year with the students.

Professor Krapp’s caveats are well observed, and we would not want to foster a sense among readers of this article that the approach to gaming here is “full proof” or necessarily leads to great and sophisticated gains in meta-awareness of the complexities of literacy across the disciplines.

Nonetheless, faculty—and, we believe, students—gained considerably from thinking about games across disciplinary divides. Tomlinson points out both a con and a pro in coordinating this rich pedagogical experience: “There were logistical challenges coordinating across three professors and two TAs. However, the benefits of cross-disciplinary collaboration made it worth it.” Part of the logistical challenges lay, as noted, in coordinating multiple faculty and teaching assistants in offering a course experience. Faculty and TAs had some initial concerns in particular about divvying up the writing instruction component of the sequence. But, in ways that seem germane to the course, faculty and TAs benefited significantly as pedagogues by talking across and through their disciplinary divides and differing pedagogical assumptions—a “cross talk,” as it were, that neatly parallels students’ having to grapple with “cross talk” about the different literacies of gaming. Frost notes that, if he had to do the course sequence all over again, he would insist on even more talk; he felt that, for all of their collaboration, faculty and TAs could have benefited even more from additional discussion and dialogue. Indeed, Krapp notes that he would have provoked more dialogue amongst students, to parallel faculty and TA conversations:

We were not always sure whether it was a good thing or not that students kept their teams for more than one quarter - often we felt mixing them would have kept things fresher - but overall, they enjoyed team work as much or more than they enjoyed their individual work. However, it was not always easy to grade them each on the basis of group work; often, team submissions masked a weakness in one team member, or failed to fully credit a strength in another.

What Krapp points to—the difficulties of managing and evaluating collaborative work—mirrors conversations and frustrations about collaboration shared by writing instructors across the country. But he doesn’t advocate for dumping such experiences. Rather, as Alexander points out in a recent article on gaming in the composition course, he suggests that what might be “most compelling” about gaming is the “collaborative nature of most of the writing in gaming spaces” (46)—and the collaborative nature of the construction of games as well.

In many ways, one might argue that the development of meta-cognitive awareness of the complexities of literacy acquisition and literate performance across disciplines may have little to do specifically with gaming and much more to do with approaching a topic, an object of study (or any object of study) from muti- and inter-disciplinary perspectives. Such may be the case. We believe, however, that gaming offered students not only an attractive and contemporary object of study, but that gaming, due to its own dependence on complex rhetorical awareness and performance, serves as a nearly ideal example of computational media through which to help students develop the kinds of meta-cognition about communication that might usefully transfer to other platforms, other disciplines, and other ways of knowing.