Hello! It’s been a while since my last update. I made it through finals week, and then my 2-week summer course happened, PSY 225: The Cognition of Game Playing. From my perspective, and I think from my 8 students’ perspectives, it was a success. I had a lot of fun teaching the class, the students enjoyed it, and I believe they learned some cognitive psychology as well. Here is the syllabus, and the revised schedule. Things went pretty much according to plan, except that we didn’t play quite as many games as listed (though at most only one got cut out per day, or we didn’t play through a whole game as planned). We went back and forth between discussing material and playing games. As you can see, I picked games that tied to the topic we just talked about (for the most part), and used that to jump start some good conversations. The textbook was okay (perhaps as good as any textbook, I suppose), and we had some good discussions surrounding Jamie Madigan’s Getting Gamers book.
I would call the course a success. I would change a few things here and there, as I would with most courses. I need to figure out a better way to more tightly couple the game playing with talking about cognitive psychology, and for when I teach this as a regular semester course, I need to think about how to make the course work for 25 students. It worked great with 8.
Of the couple dozen games we played, Secret Hitler was their favorite, somewhat surprisingly. We ended up playing it 3 times in a row on the last day. Other favorites included Carcassonne and Dixit. I also brought in my Playstation VR setup and we enjoyed it for part of one class, talking about various psychological issues relating to virtual reality.
Now that we are through that experience, and the kids have ended their school year (and, we took a couple days off to visit Disney), I will buckle down to my main summer activities: sabbatical stuff with the Glazer Children’s Museum, vacation bible school, a chapter I’ve been asked to write about blogging, and what I’m really looking forward to, creating a podcast! I have the first one about done. Once I get two, maybe three in the can, I’ll get them up on iTunes and figure out how to make a bigger splash on this site.