Title

Keeping on Track: Using Basecamp to Manage a Classroom-As-Game-Studio

Streaming Media

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

Keeping on Track: Using Basecamp to Manage a Classroom-As-Game-Studio

Josh Fishburn

Assistant Professor, Department of Interactive Multimedia

The College of New Jersey

fishburj@tcnj.edu

I've been teaching team-based, interdisciplinary game development courses for a few years, but this semester am teaching using new technology (the team project management software Basecamp) and envisioning myself in a new role (that of producer in a game company with several current projects). I set a goal that each team would publish their game (as a demo or complete product) by the end of the semester.

As the producer, my job is to make sure that the games get out the door on time. To facilitate this, each student is expected to log at least six hours of work outside of class each week and specifically account for that time in a weekly report. During our weekly four-hour class meeting, I check in with each group, help to identify any blocks to their progress, coordinate playtesting of the games, and offer feedback (and pushback) when needed.

Another notable feature of the course is that, borrowing from *learner-centered teaching* techniques, it focusses on one major collaborative project, with the rest of the points coming from a menu of assignment options from which students can choose to reach their desired maximum grade.

A few questions that I’ve been interested in, for which I plan to get answers from students are:

  1. Does the weekly report, which is viewable to all students in the class, create an incentive to put meaningful work into the class between our physical meetings? How does this compare to your outside work for other classes? How would you explain any difference?
  2. Has Basecamp’s strengths as a team collaboration tool outweighed its weaknesses as a traditional course management tool?
  3. How has the course design (if at all) contributed to your feeling of ownership of your own direction and learning?

For this presentation, I plan to compare the features of Basecamp with those of Instructure's Canvas, the course management system that my campus uses. I’ll share my Basecamp setup for this class, features and structures that I’ve found particularly useful, and how I might have achieved a similar setup in Canvas. Finally, I’ll discuss what I’ve found to be best practices in the context of the questions above.

Session

Presentation

Location

Thomas 224

Start Date

5-18-2017 9:00 AM

End Date

5-18-2017 10:20 AM

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 18th, 10:20 AM

Keeping on Track: Using Basecamp to Manage a Classroom-As-Game-Studio

Thomas 224

Keeping on Track: Using Basecamp to Manage a Classroom-As-Game-Studio

Josh Fishburn

Assistant Professor, Department of Interactive Multimedia

The College of New Jersey

fishburj@tcnj.edu

I've been teaching team-based, interdisciplinary game development courses for a few years, but this semester am teaching using new technology (the team project management software Basecamp) and envisioning myself in a new role (that of producer in a game company with several current projects). I set a goal that each team would publish their game (as a demo or complete product) by the end of the semester.

As the producer, my job is to make sure that the games get out the door on time. To facilitate this, each student is expected to log at least six hours of work outside of class each week and specifically account for that time in a weekly report. During our weekly four-hour class meeting, I check in with each group, help to identify any blocks to their progress, coordinate playtesting of the games, and offer feedback (and pushback) when needed.

Another notable feature of the course is that, borrowing from *learner-centered teaching* techniques, it focusses on one major collaborative project, with the rest of the points coming from a menu of assignment options from which students can choose to reach their desired maximum grade.

A few questions that I’ve been interested in, for which I plan to get answers from students are:

  1. Does the weekly report, which is viewable to all students in the class, create an incentive to put meaningful work into the class between our physical meetings? How does this compare to your outside work for other classes? How would you explain any difference?
  2. Has Basecamp’s strengths as a team collaboration tool outweighed its weaknesses as a traditional course management tool?
  3. How has the course design (if at all) contributed to your feeling of ownership of your own direction and learning?

For this presentation, I plan to compare the features of Basecamp with those of Instructure's Canvas, the course management system that my campus uses. I’ll share my Basecamp setup for this class, features and structures that I’ve found particularly useful, and how I might have achieved a similar setup in Canvas. Finally, I’ll discuss what I’ve found to be best practices in the context of the questions above.