Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What May Be "The Best College Class Ever"

The University of Florida has a very controversial class on its campus at the moment. The students play StarCraft, a popular computer game, for course credit. The class' instructor, Poling, says that the video game helps develop students' "on-the-go decision making skills, resource management skills, and penchant to analyze ever-changing scenarios." Students will not only have to play the game themselves, they also go through other classmates' plays anid determine which decisions were intelligent and which skills need to be developed more thoroughly. Poling's class also requires group work and written assignments.
Advocates of technology-based education are hoping that Poling's class will change the perceptions of these types of classes. If his class has the correct ratio of academic challenge to gaming, technology-based classes could become more accepted in the academic community.
While I understand that this class is more than just playing a computer game, I have a little trouble viewing it as a "real" college course. I do not see how a class where one plays a computer game and assesses others' gameplay can be on par with history classes or calculus. I think that bringing more technology into classes is almost always a good thing, but I do not think that going as far as centering a course around a computer game is where our technological advancements should be headed.