Rensselaer Research Review Winter 2010-11
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Multiplayer Game Playing at Rensselaer
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* Lee Ligon

Lee Sheldon, co-director of the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program

Rensselaer Professor Offers Educational Lessons Taken From Game Design

GSAS In the News
In Lee Sheldon’s “multiplayer classroom,” each student is a player who starts the semester game with zero “points” — a level that corresponds to the letter grade “F.” With each move they make, the students rack up points, and their grade goes up. Rather than fret about losing an A, as the semester progresses in Sheldon’s classroom, the grades only get better.

The grading scheme is one example of the fresh perspective games offer in the classroom, according to Sheldon. A pioneer in applying game design to education and co-director of the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program at Rensselaer, Sheldon describes the benefits to education in his new book, The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game, recently released by Cengage Learning.

His book is the first detailed guide to teaching classes — from middle school to universities — based on principles of video game design, specifically multiplayer game design. His work was recently highlighted in and article in Forbes magazine on the growing trend on college campuses to use interactive gaming techniques in the classroom.

The Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) program

The Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) program at Rensselaer was launched in the fall of 2007 to provide a comprehensive understanding of interactive digital media, a balance of disciplinary competencies, and the mastery of a self-defined set of interrelated disciplinary challenges at the nation’s oldest technical institute. GSAS has been named among the top 15 out of 150 undergraduate game design programs in the United States and Canada, according to a new survey from the Princeton Review.

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“Multiplayer Game Playing at Rensselaer”
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