On the edge of the universe, a tiny speck of light catches the attention of a Sarbonian colony ship. But then the unexpected happens, and now the economics of survival is all that matters.
That’s beginning narrative of a new class on microeconomics that just started at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. From there, the students jump into a video game. The entire class is a video game! NPR’s All Things Considered reported on the class today. The page has an audio link to the story that requires Real Media Player.
I’ve been intrigued with the idea of a game as a class or as part of a class since I first wrote my City Council newsgathering simulation in 1989. The web version that I still use as part of my beginning newswriting class, and is used by a number of instructors across the country in college and high school journalism and political science classes, is quite crude with compared with a game like this one, or even the Second Life game that I wrote about here the other day.
I wish my imagination and energy would take me to the level that would develop an entire newswriting or mass media survery course in game format. It probably would be highly marketable and popular with students. I write here often about the online publication associated with our newspapers. But I’m also interested in the concept of distance education. My online mass media course that I’ve been teaching for the last eight years was one of the first online journalism courses in California. I wish more instructors would look at distance education. While it clearly is not something for all students or teachers, we could serve a larger audience if more instructors would try. Indeed, you’ll recall that one my earlier posts on this blog suggested focused distance education as a solution to our ever-increasing problem of community college students struggling with math courses.