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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Robertson Lee Allen
BIS 236
Bothell Campus

Introduction to Interactive Media

Explores the role of interactive media in shaping society and culture.

Class description

This course focuses specifically on video gaming, looking at the phenomenon from the point of view of the social sciences. As a major part of the class, students will undertake individual research projects by conducting quarter-long qualitative ethnographic research either within an online game itself, or within a gaming community in Seattle.

PRIOR EXPERIENCE WITH GAMES IS ***NOT*** REQUIRED, although an open mind to various new cultures and ways of thinking is.

Ethnographic research methods will be explained in a step-by-step manner as a part of the class, and all readings will supplement student research in some way.

The required text of the course is Celia Pearce's "Communities of Play." Other readings will be provided through online course reserves.

Student learning goals

To enable students to research and analyze games as cultural phenomena.

To introduce students to ethnographies and critical studies of games, gaming, and the game development industry.

To teach students how to undertake ethnographic research and synthesize ethnographic research data into coherent analyses.

General method of instruction

short lectures, student presentations on readings and topics, videos, small group discussion, class discussion

Recommended preparation

Familiarity with (or desire to learn about) ethnography, qualitative research methods, anthropology, or media studies is required.

Class assignments and grading

20% final paper, 5-7 pg. 13% Research project fieldnotes 10% In class group presentation/discussion facilitation (plus 5% participation) 32% 5 Quizzes (drop lowest, 4 x 8%) 20% Participation (includes group presentation/facilitation) 5% Research project proposal


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Robertson Lee Allen
Date: 06/01/2013