Progressive and emergent games / online courses

I’ve been looking into an interesting course going on right now, Understanding Video Games, at Coursera by Leah Hackman and Sean Gouglas (Alberta University). It’s a rather institutional Massive Open Online Course, not the connectivist style we experience at connectedcourses, but I’m very interested in the subjects they teach.

The three main parts of the course are developing the terminology that enables us to talk about video games,
exploring how these terms are used in theoretical frameworks to interpret games, and turning these theories toward cultural aspects of games in order to understand how the medium has impacted society.

I’m not much of a gamer myself, but I do think game culture can teach as a lot about web culture in general and about some of the basic inspirations of connectivist MOOCs. More specifically I think that open-ended, sandbox-like games and Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs) are somehow among the ancestors of online, learner-centric open-ended courses.

One of the interesting concepts we study at the Video Games course are “emergent” and “progressive” games.
“Progressive” is not a political term here, it simply describes games that have little freedom of choice within the game, and “emergent” describes games with much freedom of choice within the game. This reminds me of the distinction between this Video Games course (progressive) and the connectedcourses (emergent).

Anyway, games and virtual environments seem like an interesting topic today, as Microsoft just bought Minecraft for $2.5bn (and not long ago Facebook acquired Oculus Rift for $2bn). Let’s hope Microsoft will not turn out to be a giant Creeper for the Mincecraft community…

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About rolandlegrand

I'm social media manager at Mediafin, the publisher of Belgium's leading business newspapers De Tijd and L'Echo. I have a special interest in the intersection of immersive media, business and philosophy.
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3 Responses to Progressive and emergent games / online courses

  1. Susan says:

    I was thinking/wondering the same thing about Minecraft/Microsoft!

  2. I am in the Connected Courses too. Was never a gamer myself and in fact I rather hated computer games and thought them to be boring, frustrating, silly and many other things. On the other hand I love Virtual worlds as creative stimulating environments and have been experimenting with using them to learn, teach and connect with people and interests. In regards to games, I changed my mind 🙂 . I love learning, so for a course about Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds it was an option to look at the use of games as well and I jumped in. Now I play WoW and learning a lot from different aspects of the game (see this ). Q: I was wondering how would you categorize WoW (Wold of Warcraft), as emergent or progressive. I am curious.

    • rolandlegrand says:

      I would say: WoW is emergent or progressive, depending on your own game style. That style can change: maybe at first very progressive as one wants to level up, then more emergent in order to explore and socialize.

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