Course Schedule

Part 1: Theories of Diversity and Social Justice Applied to Digital Culture/Games as Reflections of Contemporary Culture

In this section of the course, you will read about theories relating to diversity and social justice and pair these theories with one of most impactful media object in contemporary culture––video games. As Tristan Donovan says, “The real history of video games is a story of human creativity, aimed by technological growth” (9). We will examine this claim from a variety of diverse perspectives through the specific lens of social justice. Special Note: You should bring to each class period that we meet:

  • Both books
  • Any digital device you normally use to access the internet (if you do not have a device, let me know on the first day of class)
  • Any media you need to take notes. You are welcome to record our class with a sound recorder.

Monday, August 22
Intro to course

Wednesday, August 24
Replay: Chapter 1, “Hey! Let’s Play Games!”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 77, “How Homophobia Hurts Everybody”
Media to Experience:

Friday, August 26
Replay: Chapter 2, “Avoid Missing Ball for High Score”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 98, “The Social Construction of Disability”
Supplemental Readings:

Media to Experience:

Independent Research #1: Take any ONE of the games discussed in the book thus far (and highlighted in the videos), and discuss challenges it may poses for people with disabilities in any of the three “classes” listed as part of the CVAA (this information is found in the article, “New Requirements”). Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

Monday, August 29
Replay: Chapter 3, “A Good Home Recreation Thing”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 25, “Class in America––2006”

Supplemental Readings:

Media to Experience:

Wednesday, August 31
Replay: Chapter 4, “Chewing Gum, Bailing Wire and Spit”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 5, “Five Faces of Oppression”

Media to Experience:

Friday, September 2
Replay: Chapter 5, “The Biggest Eureka Moment Ever”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 6, “The Cycle of Socialization”

Media to Experience:

Independent Research #2: Take any ONE of the games highlighted in the book and in videos for this week, and discuss possible ways it may have or may not have encouraged an environment of oppression. Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

Monday, September 5: Labor Day

Wednesday, September 7
Replay: Chapter 6, “High-Strung Prima Donna” & Chapter 7, “Pac-Man Fever”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 120, “There Is Nothing Wrong with You: For Teens” & Chapter 61, “Masculinity as Homophobia”

Media to Experience:

Friday, September 9
Replay: Chapter 8, “Devilish Contraptions”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 64, “Violence Against Women Is a Men’s Issue”

Supplemental Reading:

Media to Experience:

Independent Research #3: Respond to Saar’s contention that video games promote violence toward women. You may use any of the games listed for this week’s viewing to back up your own claims. Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

Monday, September 12
Replay: Chapter 9, “Uncle Clive”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 127, “Reflections on Liberation”

Media to Experience:

Wednesday, September 14
Replay: Chapter 10, “The French Touch”
Readings for Diversity: Chapters 1 & 2 (“The Complexity of Identity” and “Who Am I? Who Are My People?”)

Media to Experience:

Friday, September 16
Replay: Chapter 11, “Macintoshization”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 97, “Historical Theoretical, and Foundational Principles of Universal Instructional Design in Higher Education”

Those students able to come to campus for class will meet me in VCLS 210 to tour the Electronic Literature Lab and experience hands-on play with some of the 45 vintage Macs available. Those unable to come to campus can pursue independent research on this day. I will make a sign up sheet available to you so that I can manage the number of students in the lab. Everyone is still responsible for the readings.

Media to Experience:

Independent Research #4: In what ways does the GUI interface introduced by Apple promote the principles of instructional design? Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

Monday, September 19
Replay: Chapter 12, “A Tool to Sell Software”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 65, “Out-of-Body Image”

Media to Experience:

Wednesday, September 21
Replay: Chapter 13, “I Could Have Sworn It Was 1983”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 129, “Toward a New Vision”

Supplemental Readings:

Media to Experience

Friday, September 23
Replay: Chapter 14, “Interactive Movies”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 132, “Courage”

Supplemental Reading:

Media to Experience:

Independent Research #5: Connect two reading assignments to one video game you have studied in this course. Explain how that particular game fits or does not fit the views promoted in the readings. Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

Monday, September 26
Replay: Chapter 15, “You Must Be a God”
Readings for Diversity: Chapters 23 & 24 (“Religion in American Life” and “Breaking a Sacred Taboo”)

Media to Experience:

Wednesday, September 28
Replay: Chapter 16, “A Plane to Moscow”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 7, “Structure as the Subject of Justice”

Media to Experience:

Friday, September 30
Replay: Chapter 17, “Sega Does What Nintendon’t”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 10, “The Real Problem with Indian Mascots”

Supplemental Reading:

Media to Experience:

Independent Research #6: Discuss the controversy concerning sports teams using “Indian” names. Incorporate the readings and games you have studied (or know) to make your point. Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

Monday, October 3
Replay: Chapter 18, “Mortal Kombat”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 12, “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”

Supplemental Reading:

Media to Experience:

Wednesday, October 5
Replay: Chapter 19, “A Library in a Fish’s Mouth”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 24, “The Personal is Political”

Media to Experience:

Friday, October 7
Replay: Chapter 20, “The Ultimate Display”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 36, “Why Can’t Everybody Fear Me Like That?”

Supplemental Reading:

Media to Experience:

Independent Research #7: Purple Moon and Biblical Adventures were but two of the attempts to broaden the appeal of games. The book however focuses much of its attention on commercial games to the neglect of this area. Identify and discuss one game not listed in this book that takes a social justice approach. Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

Monday, October 10
Replay: Chapter 21, “We Take Pride in Ripping Them in Shreds”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 63, “A Movement to End Sexist Oppression”

Supplemental Reading:

Media to Experience:

Wednesday, October 12
Replay: Chapter 22, “Beatmania”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 96, “Historical and Cultural Influences in Deaf Education”

Media to Experience:

Friday, October 14
Replay: Chapter 23, “You Haven’t Lived Until You Died in MUD”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 130, “What Can We Do?”

Supplemental Reading:

Media to Experience:

  • “Cuendillar,” a MUSH based on Wheel of Time series
    You will need to download a free client software program. I am using Atlantis, which works well with a Mac.

Independent Research #8: Considering how seriously people take their online lives today, whether it is a gaming environment or social media, respond to Dibbell’s essay, answering this question, Is rape really rape in virtual space? Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

**** Team Designation for Game Assignment is due. One person from each team must send me the list of team members on the team by 5 p.m. today!

Monday, October 17
Replay: Chapter 24, “Second Lives”
Readings for Diversity: Chapters 104 & 105

Media to Experience:

Wednesday, October 19
Replay: Chapter 25, “Little Computer People”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 110, “Facilitating Transitions to College for Students with Disabilities from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds”

Media to Experience:

Friday, October 21
Replay: Chapter 26, “All-Access Gaming”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 111, “Learning Disability Identity Development and Social Contract”

Supplemental Readings:

Media to Experience:

Independent Research #9: Respond to the theme/stance found one of the two supplemental readings or the chapter from Readings for Diversity. Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

**** Project Scope for Game Assignment is due. One person from each team must send me the genre and what you are planning to achieve with your game 5 p.m. today!

Monday, October 24
Replay: Chapter 27, “The Grooviest Era of Crime”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 114, “A Key to Developing Positive Youth-Adult Relationships

Media to Experience:

Wednesday, October 26
Replay: Chapter 28, “Magic Shooting Out of People’s Fingers”
Readings for Diversity: Chapter 137, “Top Youth Activism Victories of 2009”

Media to Experience:

Friday, October 28
Those students able to come to campus for class will meet me in VCLS 3 to tour MOVe Lab and experience hands-on play with Oculus Rift. Those unable to come to campus can pursue independent research on this day. I will make a sign up sheet available to you so that I can manage the number of students in the lab. Everyone is still responsible for the readings.

Independent Research #10: Select any one of the topics you explored during the semester and discuss it further. Distill your thoughts into 250 words or less. This work is due before noon next Monday, uploaded to the class Dropbox.

 

Part 2: The Practice of Diversity and Social Justice in Digital Culture

In this section of the course, you will apply what you have learned about diversity and social justice to produce or revise a video game. I have set aside VMMC 111 (Multimedia Lab) for the class during the semester on MWF from 12:10-1:00 p.m. so that you have access to the technology you need to produce your projects. See Assignment Sheet for details.

Monday, October 31
Production time
Wireframe is due

Wednesday, November 2
Production time

Friday, November 4
Production time

Monday, November 7
**** Storyboard for Game Assignment is due at the end of class today; also Statement of personal philosophy is due today by 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 9
Production time

Friday, November 11: Veterans Day

Monday, November 14
Storyboard is due

Wednesday, November 16
Production Time

Friday, November 18
***Social justice issue & three to five ways is due today by 5:00 p.m.

Monday, November 21-Friday, November 25
Thanksgiving Holiday

Monday, November 28
**** Prototype for Game Assignment is due at the end of class today.

Wednesday, November 30
Production time

Friday, December 2
Production time
***Draft of paper due by 5:00 p.m.

Monday, December 5
**** Beta Version for Game Assignment or Draft of Report is due at the end of class today.

Wednesday, December 7
We are moving back to our regular classroom on this day
**** Game or Report is due at the end of class today.

Friday, December 9
Final Paper is due at the end of class today.
We will be in the computer classroom on this day.