Courses Taught

C&I 277: Videogames & Learning

Videogames have become one of the hottest topics in media, education, and technology. Recent research across fields as disparate as science, literacy, history, visual processing, curriculum, and computer science suggests that videogames aren’t just fun – they’re actually good for your mind as well. In this three-credit writing-intensive course (fulfills Comm-B requirements), we discuss current research on the kinds of thinking and learning that goes into videogames. We investigate the benefits and drawbacks of this digital gameplay, covering everything from perception and attention in first person shooters to the development of historical understanding in games like the Civilization series, from socialization in massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft to issues of violence and racial representation in titles like Grand Theft Auto, from the inherent tensions between contemporary youth culture and traditional education to new developments in games for learning intended to bridge that growing divide. [syllabus]

C&I 606: Critical Education Practice on the Internet

Online technologies have profoundly contributed to a dramatic techocultural shift in contemporary society, transforming how we learn, work, play, and socialize. This course is designed to introduce teachers and education researchers to contemporary online practices, focusing particularly on those found outside of classrooms, in the everyday life worlds of (mostly middle and high school) students. Weekly, short theme papers replace the standard course paper, with students required to master at least one new online technology (of their choice) throughout the semester. [syllabus]

C&I 675: Research on Online Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds (such as those found in massively multiplayer online games or MMOs) function as naturally occurring, self-sustaining, indigenous online communities of learning and practice. As such, their study tells can us something important about how online communities form and function out “in the wild” (Hutchins, 1995). In this course, we review the research on virtual worlds, highlighting the import of this research for understanding thinking and learning, on the one hand, and the structure and function of schooling, on the other. [syllabus]

C&I 975: Analyzing Online Social Interaction

Online tools allow interaction across a range of modalities, enabling not only asynchronous and synchronous text as interaction but also voice-over-IP, video-chatting, and even avatar mediated joint activity in fully rendered online 3D worlds. The goal of this course is to develop a wider repertoire and deeper understanding of research methods for analyzing the forms of social interaction enabled by such tools. The focus of this course is on the development of methodological chops, with weekly seminars organized as data analysis sessions and the final course project consisting of an in-depth analysis if one’s own data.  [syllabus]