In the Spotlight: MTEC 2210 – Game Design & Interactive Media

Header image of course siteThis week we’re spotlighting Professor Boisvert’s Game Design & Interactive Media course (MTEC 2210) in the Emerging Media Technology department. The course offers students a “cross-disciplinary foundation for the design of games and interactive multi-media technology” and may be of interest to artists, engineers, scientists, technologists and more! In terms of digging in, assignments and experiences lead students through the process of deconstructing and reconstructing various websites – thinking through the aims of an organization and the intended audience and design of the website. Students share their reflections on the blog, seemingly as a way of sharing their analysis with the class at large, as well as practicing public writing and reflection.

Professor Boisvert also uses the blog to post weekly reading questions. As the stated question below suggests, these questions ask students to think creatively and collectively about the readings. Judging by the responses, students not only engage one another in discussion about the readings, but given that many students seem to filter their responses through their own experiences, also build rapport and familiarity with other students. In this way, the reading response questions also function to grow community in the classroom and among students, enriching their participation in the class and their education at City Tech more broadly.

example of reading response question

These assignments and class activities ultimately prepares students to begin thinking through the design of a game. This also takes place on the blog, which is now – in theory – a familiar and friendly place to share and get feedback from peers and Professor Boisvert. As the end of the semester nears, check back to see how student-generated games like Space Pirates or League of Rappers evolve!

In the Spotlight: Story-telling in Interactive Fiction, FYLC

FYLC course site header for Story-telling in Interactive Fiction

This week we’re shining the spotlight on Story-telling in Interactive Fiction, a first year learning community (FYLC) organized by Professor Jackie Blain who teaches English, and Professor Candido Cabo and Professor Ashwin Satyanarayana who teach Computer Science courses. The three courses in this community will support students in creating an interactive fiction game over the course of the semester.

Storytelling is one critical and tricky aspect of an interactive fiction game, and is the main focus in the English class of this FYLC. In interactive fiction games, storytelling is more complex than in a novel because the ‘interactive’ component of ‘interactive fiction’ means those ‘reading’ the story get to participate and make certain decisions about how the characters’ stories unfold. Thus the storyteller – here, the students – needs to create multiple scenarios and options that allow readers to forge their own path. This process can seem intimidating, particularly if one is an inexperienced storyteller. Seeming to anticipate this, Professor Blain has scaffolded the writing assignments so that students begin developing their storytelling skills by telling the stories they know best – those about themselves!

Storytelling is not the only challenging aspect of this FYLC. Students will also need to develop the technical skills that will be needed to actually create the game. In the computer science courses students will discuss programming and games, Game Design Documents and learn how to use Python, a programming language, to create a video game based on the story developed in their English course.

We encourage you to check some of the stories students are now sharing through various assignments, such as the About College project where students will reflect on their first weeks at CityTech, and to check back at the end of the semester to see what kinds of games students have come up with, and if possible, play a few of them!

In the Spotlight: Our Places: How We Commemorate

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In Our Places: How We Commemorate, students in Prof. Mary Sue Donsky’s course LAW 2301 Estates, Trusts and Wills, a research class, explore memorial sites of the deceased. Taking their legal study out of the classroom, they research and photograph these sites, taking a close look at the ways that we commemorate the dead. Then they share their learning and reflections with each other. Examples include memorials for celebrated baseball player Tony Gwynn, for the actress Anita Ekberg, and for those lost in 9/11. Take a look to see more.

In the Spotlight: Thomas Ahrens International Work/Study Programs – Paris

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A group of Hospitality Management students is participating in an exchange program with students from Universite d’Evry in Paris for the month of June.  They’re taking turns writing “Paris Correspondent” blog posts reflecting on their activities each day, including plenty of photographs!  It looks like a great experience, and we’re happy they’re sharing it with the OpenLab community and beyond!

In the Spotlight: Exploring Quantitative Reasoning

Created by Quantitative Reasoning Fellow, Yoonhee Kang, as a part of the Math Department’s Quantitative Reasoning (QR) program, this site features many great resources on QR and offers a space where those interested in QR can share and discuss ideas.  The site is well-designed, and contains information on QR, workshops for students, posts on QR in everyday life and various professions, and videos about QR.  Take a look!

In the Spotlight: Irene Iarochevitch’s ePortfolio

Irene’s Iarochevitch’s excellent portfolio is well-designed and structured, highlighting her work in a number of courses through video, photographs, and writing.  The portfolio focuses on her ambitious senior thesis project, or “culmination project,” for which she is building a laser harp, an electronic musical instrument.  Her portfolio was also discovered by another harp-maker, who left a comment with some suggestions for the harp. It’s always great to see these kinds of interactions on the OpenLab, where student work can indeed attract an audience that reaches beyond the classroom!

In the Spotlight: Gothic NYC

This project was created by students in Prof. Laura Westengard’s course, ENG 3407: Gothic Literature and Visual Culture.  Students have posted photographs, video, and written about numerous Gothic sites in New York City, analyzing them through the theories and concepts they’ve been learning in class.  For those interested in taking their own spooky tour, the students created a Google Map that includes all the locations on the site.  Check it out, but as they warn, enter at your own risk!

In the Spotlight: Culinary Improvisation

Students in Prof. Claire Stewart’s Culinary Improvisation course are reflecting on their cooking techniques and the foods they use for weekly improvisational challenges in the kitchen.  We were impressed with the detailed descriptions of their process, accompanied by photographs they took themselves.  By reading through their posts and comments they’ve made on each other’s work, you get a sense of the community they’re building in the class.  Take a look at what they’re up to, but with a warning that it might make you hungry!

In the Spotlight: JR CNC Router Table

This senior design project was created by a team of mechanical engineering students, Josel De la Cruz, Ronald Valenzuela, Jeffrey Lim, and Raymond Persaud.  We didn’t know anything about router tables before looking through this project, but we thought it was a great example of how the OpenLab can be used to organize and showcase group projects.  It turns out we learned something new, too!

In the Spotlight: Not Only the Dead Know Brooklyn

This week we’re featuring Professor Rob Ostrom’s ENG 1101 section, Not Only the Dead Know Brooklyn.  Students have just posted some excellent multimedia presentations, in which each group researched a neighborhood in Brooklyn and explored the changes in that neighborhood over time. Students did a great job, and have posted their work on the course site in multiple formats including video, sound, and Prezi and PowerPoint presentations.  Take a look!