Earlier this year, University of California at Irvine announced that it had established its Center for Computer Games and Virtual Worlds in collaboration with the Institute for Software Research and the Game Culture and Technology Laboratory.
The center, which is under construction, plans to offer courses in the anthropology of virtual worlds, games as performance art, games as literature, and even game criticism.
Nearly two dozen faculty members from computer science, arts, humanities, social science, and education will collaborate in the center tackling topics as diverse as brain-computer interfaces, human-computer interaction, intellectual property in virtual worlds, and games for teaching constructive social values. The film and media studies department also carves out machinima as a separate area for exploration.
If construction is completed on time, next fall UC Irvine will expand its offering from the center and debut a four year undergraduate program allowing students to declare "game science" as their major. "There are people who will say we're pandering to a trend," said Dan Frost, an informatics lecturer who teaches a popular computer game development course in an interview with the LA Times today. "But this really is intellectually justified. Universities are always doing things that seem crazy at first."
There are currently courses in Computer Game Development - a project course mostly for seniors where students work in teams of three or four to design and implement a working game, and "Computer Games as Art, Culture, and Technology," which is a three quarter sequence for freshmen that studies games from a number of perspectives while fulfilling part of the campus' writing and general education requirements. "Studio Art 135, Gaming Studies" has also been an opportunity for students to make critical analysis of various genres of games and gaming theory through playing, writing, and discussion.
A significant number of faculty are doing research related to computer games, and at the University of California, undergraduate education often follows faculty research interests.
Sources:Posted by rsk at December 1, 2009 11:57 AM