If you want to take a 2 credit online course and meet the prerequisites, you too could be playing Starcraft 2 and watching replays to improve critical thinking and decision making.
21st Century Skills in Starcraft is an 8 week entirely online course that uses the popular real time strategy (RTS) game Starcraft to teach valuable 21st Century Skills through a hands-on approach. With society becoming increasingly technology-based and fast-paced, it is important for professionals to be highly proficient in skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, resource management, and adaptive decision making. These skills are fundamental in Starcraft and therefore make the game a highly effective environment for students to analyze and take action in complex situations. Computer and video games of all types have become a major part of today’s entertainment and technology worlds. Also, online education is an area of intense growth with many employers and professions using online courses and workshops for career development. This course synthesizes the three threads of 21st Century skill development, gaming, and online education into an innovative and experiential approach that encourages students to identify, learn, and practice crucial skills and apply and relate them to real-world situations. It does not teach about Starcraft, but rather aims to utilize the game and the complex situations that arise within it to present and develop the important skills professionals will undoubtedly need in the 21st Century workplace.
This course includes required weekly game play, viewing and analysis of recorded matches, written assignments which emphasize analysis and synthesis of real/game-world concepts, and collaboration with other students. Due to the unique and innovative nature of this course, there are several requirements that students must meet. Students taking this course must have access to computer (PC or Mac) and Internet resources outside of UF labs since it requires the installation and playing of a computer game. Students must also have at least basic knowledge of and experience playing Starcraft. Students must also be independent, self-motivated, and able and willing to learn in an entirely online environment. Enrollment is limited to 20.
Nate Poling is a UF educational technology doctoral student at the College of Education. He teaches EME2040 Introduction to Educational Technology and his research interests revolve around the implications and potential of using computer/video games and virtual worlds in teaching, training, and learning.
Poling says: “A student who gets a normal education, gets an MBA, and is in the business world, he could realize that something he learned in his StarCraft course helps him think outside of the box. You synthesize this with an MBA program and voila – you have an innovative business practice.” I have no doubts that the class size maximum of 20 will fill.
Fun fact: two of the five original Lore Hound staff call UF their alma mater. A third Lore Hound writer is from Gainesville and has also taken courses at UF. Do you know who?