This course concerns Systems Thinking & Games, and how both fields can help people better understand and operate in the world. As recent global events have demonstrated, complex problems are best analyzed and solved using a creative, critical mindset called Systems Thinking–a holistic approach that focuses on interrelations, dynamics, contexts, and outcomes. While Systems Thinking is extremely useful across domains, it is best learned within a specific and familiar context. In this course, you will learn Systems Thinking within the context of Games and Game Design.
Over a period of two weeks, you will design, create, play, and analyze your own games. These collaborative projects will help you better understand and apply two academic themes. First, you will learn how to analyze, deconstruct, and model systems. Second, you will apply this working knowledge through the process of game design. You will explore how games creatively model dynamic systems in a way that affords the analysis and design of functional solutions. Throughout both themes, we discuss theory and research from the fields of Systems Thinking, Activity Theory, Distributed Cognition, Game-based Learning, and Game Design. We use these ideas to better understand how games are "designed experiences" that can aid understanding, solicit problem finding, promote values, and elicit desired behaviors.
Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:
• Design and critical analyze games across media formats.
• Understand and apply principles of Game Design across disciplines.
• Use Systems Thinking to Identify, understand, and model complex problems.
No specific prior experience or knowledge is required. Please note, this course does not require any Computer Programming knowledge and does not include any computer programming assignments. Students should be excited to unpack real-world problems and phenomena through multiple academic lenses, and pursue hands-on Game Design Projects. This course involves nightly readings typically encountered at the Senior or Graduate level, so experience reading and interpreting advanced academic articles is helpful but not required.
Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.