Uni to trial video game pathway in curriculum

The University of Otago clocktower. Photo: ODT files
The University of Otago clocktower. Photo: ODT files
Video games have been big business for years.

Now, increasingly, they are becoming a fixture in higher learning.

The University of Otago has confirmed plans to pilot two video game curriculum pathways in 2021.

This follows last month’s news a new video game training programme would become available at Otago Polytechnic, thanks to an agreement between the Dunedin-based New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (Code), Sweden-based company FutureGames and the polytechnic.

A university spokesman confirmed this week both game development and game studies could become named major and minor areas of study at the University of Otago in the future.

The game development pathway would consist of mostly existing courses in computer science and information science, creating the more ‘‘technically oriented’’ of the two.

It could be analogous to the foundations of a computer science bachelor of science in game development.

The game studies pathway would focus on the study of ‘‘games as cultural, as well as technical, artefacts’’, the spokesman said.

The programme would take a theoretical, historical, educational, and ‘‘even political’’ approach, he said.

This route for students would be comparably smaller, somewhat analogous to a “game studies” minor, he said.

It would include the development of a paper on creative writing for games and interactive media through the department of English and linguistics.

At present, the first steps were being taken by the departments of computer science, information science, and English and linguistics, but would include contributions from a number of additional departments.

For instance, in the Code-aligned “Games for Health” focus, joint ventures with health sciences would be of central importance, the spokesman said.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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