[games_access] I need copies of any game Accessibility Syllabus

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Sat Mar 1 18:23:05 EST 2008


Hi Tom,

I taught a game design course last semester where accessibility was
one of the major points within each "talk" (I say this versus
"lecture" because due to the academic diversity (comp sci, history,
journalism, psychology, marketing, etc) of the class, we re-created
the course on the fly to be a "class as game studio" instead of a
traditional lecture-based class) and class meeting. But because it
was a class that was being created as we went through the semester, I
only have a syllabus that I thought might work but did not and isn't
very helpful as a class syllabus for others to follow. So I had a
syllabus that I completely threw out the window after the first class
meeting.

That being said...I'm working on getting the course better laid out
on paper for next year (I'm not teaching this semester). It's not a
class entirely on game accessibility but, rather, a class in game
design that includes accessibility throughout the course. How this
was done was through the limited (so far) readings on game
accessibility and then my engaging them in design discussions about
"ok, but what if your player had ______ " (fill in a disability
type), how would we re-work this and so let's assume 50% of our
audience will have XYZ, how do we take our game idea and make it work
(and make sure it's fun) for those with and without XYZ as an issue
that keeps them from gaming?

Anyway, it's not something that "reads well" on a syllabus (ie, it's
hard to convey how I brought it into the course on paper) -- it's
more of a way of teaching/talking about design that considers all
kinds of gamers and gaming equipment that someone might be using. I
had over 200 people on the waiting list for the course, as it was
simply called "video game design" and mentioned that accessibility
would be covered in the course timetable "blurb." But the cynic in me
wonders how many students would have taken the course and/or would
there have been a waiting list if I called it "video game
accessibility" instead? Sigh. So I'm wondering if the way to teach it
at your University would be to integrate it into all/some courses
instead of covering it as a semester-long course that only talked
about accessibility? I don't know -- I can see it working both ways
but it depends on your students and what they are hoping to get out
of game design courses.

Keep in mind, that we offer VERY few courses in video game ANYTHING
at University of Illinois -- sad, but true. So my course was one of
two classes on the topic at this 40,000 person university and the
other was pure theory. Maybe I still would have had a large waiting
list because the students want to take courses on the topic and it's
just not covered. But because my class was the only other class and
was designed to be practical, teaching game design fundamentals were
necessary and then using accessibility as a "design application" in
every assignment and talk worked out the best for my class. Had I
only talked about game accessibility, I would have left a lot of
students confused because they wouldn't have the background into what
goes into making a game in general. So that was my particular
situation.

I'm not sure if that helps you or not -- I'd certainly be willing to
work on something more formalized than what I wrote. Also, Kevin
Bierre at RIT is also on this list and I think he'll have a lot to
say about how he's integrated game accessibility into his classes.

Does your department focus entirely on disability studies and
therefore this class would be a "disability applied to video games"
or is it a game design curriculum (not necessarily a department on
game accessibility) and this course would be an elective class in
that setting?

At the Game Developers Conference I met the leaders of the Game
Curriculum SIG and I'm wondering if we could get a cross-SIG project
going? That SIG has made lots of curriculum guides (in fact, most of
their members are curriculum design experts) but, as they admit, game
accessibility isn't yet a major part (any part?) of them. So they are
interested in how to include accessibility -- we are the ones who can
help guide them. If you (or anyone else on this list) are interested
in this, let me know and I'll do a round of e-introductions off-list
to start the ball rolling. That might be the best way to get a lot of
ideas about how to include accessibility in game design programs and
it would be getting to people who can really make change happen at
many universities. I know you are just trying to find out ways right
now for your own program but I think that these people could help all
of us who try to teach about game accessibility at different
universities.

Sound interesting? It would be something to tell your boss that you
are involved with in order to help provide content for your web site
for your university.

Michelle


>Hi everyone, I am Tom Roome and I a have been assigned to develop an

>education game Accessibility web site. I need some examples of

>course syllabus for game accessibility. Yes, I know all about the

>game Accessibility web site already, but my boss wants something for

>the University. Please, send me whatever you have. So far, me and

>my department keep going around in circles try to figure out the

>best way to teach this information to our students. I was in SL

>with a island that I was developing as a education space, but never

>could get the University to support me fully, and they took to

>island a way.

>

>I would be open to all ideas to teach this subject.

>

>----------------------------------------------------------------

>Thank You,

>Tom Roome

>ATEC Teacher Assistant

>The University of Texas at Dallas

>E-mail: thomas.roome at student.utdallas.edu

>

>

>

>________________________________

>

>From: games_access-bounces at igda.org on behalf of John Bannick

>Sent: Wed 2/27/2008 4:06 PM

>To: games_access at igda.org

>Subject: [games_access] The ALERT Project is Finally Out

>

>

>

>Folks,

>

>Our company just released the Accessible Learning through Entertainment and

>Recreation Tools (ALERT) project.

>

>It's a free on-line service for people searching for free or low-cost

>accessible computer games suitable for learning or rehabilitative

>environments.

>

>It provides the following:

>

>1. Where to get those accessible games

>2. What to look for in selecting those games

>3.How to apply those games to learning objectives

>4. Who to go to for help

>

>The accessibility accommodations include blindness, low vision, color

>blindness, deafness, motion impairment, and cognitive impairment.

>

>The ALERT project is being publicized to school psychologists, special

>education teachers, geriatric care managers, the early stage Alzheimer's

>community, and the brain training market. Hopefully it'll get some

>accessible games into the hands of people who can use them.

>

>And yes, the free ALERT Game Book that is part of the project is indeed

>very similar to the one I sent to Thomas for the GDC DVD. However, the

>text in this ALERT Game Book is focused on educators and caregivers rather

>than developers.

>

>BTW. Some of you may know that it was a school psychologist's request for

>information on this site that prompted the ALERT project.

>

>If anyone here knows an educator or caregiver who might want to use

>accessible computer games for their work, its a good resource, totally

>free, and doesn't ask for an email address or require registration.

>

>The ALERT project is at www.7128.com

>

>(And I am soooo glad that's finally done. So I can get back to actually

>coding.)

>

>John Bannick

>CTO

>7-128 Software

>

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>

>

>

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