Workshop: Teaching Game Studies: from Beginner to Advanced Pedagogies

Game studies courses are proliferating across colleges and universities at the undergraduate as well as graduate level. Some classes are affiliated with game design programs while others are not. They are offered in a wide range of departments and disciplines, including media studies, communications, computer science, sociology, English, education, political science, and many others. The primary goal of such courses is not to teach game design skills, but instead to teach critical analysis skills as well as the history and context of digital games. This workshop will allow instructors of such courses to gather and engage in post-mortems of those class experiences, and troubleshoot best practices for course and assignment design.

This workshop is a continuation of past events held at both DiGRA and FDG during the last two years. Over 100 individuals have participated in those sessions, sharing information, syllabi, assignments, activities, and strategies for successful teaching. We have released reports of those activities and collected syllabi and assignments on our related website for the wider community as well. This workshop is a continuation of those efforts. It is aimed at both beginning and advanced instructors who wish to improve their teaching practice. We will ask that experienced instructors share copies of their successful syllabi and assignments/activities; and that newer instructors bring their own ideas for discussion and review. We hope to bring in a pedagogy expert, if we can secure the funds to do so.

Participants will gain access to a range of syllabi for and example assignments from game studies courses currently being taught. They will also obtain feedback on their own syllabi, including help with assignments, reading selections and overall course goals. Participants will be able to develop best practices on teaching game studies and on how to integrate game play into courses. Finally, the workshop will add to our repository (from those willing to share) of game studies courses currently being offered.

The workshop will also reserve time for discussion based on specific participant interests, such as discussion of best practices in teaching/learning strategies, and the place of MOOCs and other pedagogical innovations in game studies teaching and curriculums.

Planned activities

All accepted submissions will be shared with workshop participants in advance, in order to preserve workshop time for in-depth discussions and planning.

Upon completion, participants will be asked to write reactions to the workshop activities as teams, commenting on ideas and potential practices that arose from group discussion. Those documents, along with revised course syllabi that participants wish to provide will be posted online, and should provide a guide for those who were not able to attend the workshop.


Mia Consalvo is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal. She is the co-editor of Sports Videogames and author of Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames. She has most recently completed the books Players and Their Pets with Jason Begy and Atari to Zelda: Japanese Videogames in Global Contexts, a book about Japan’s influence on the videogame industry and game culture. Mia runs the mLab, a space dedicated to developing innovative methods for studying games and game players.

Christopher A. Paul is Associate Professor and Chair of the Communication Department at Seattle University. He is the author of Wordplay and the Discourse of Video Games and is finishing a book that analyzes meritocracy and its connection to toxicity in the culture surrounding video games. He has presented his work at numerous academic and industry conferences. He is the vice-president of the Digital Games Research association.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions must include the following two components or will not be considered:

  1. A completed syllabus for a course related to game 
studies. Submissions may also include relevant assignments (Please note: courses should NOT focus on game design or on development. While creating a game may be one element of a game studies course it should not be the central focus of the course).


  1. Participants can submit a 500-750 word proposal for a potential assignment or activity for a game studies related course. The proposal should be as detailed as possible, including guidelines and learning outcomes or objectives.

More information about the workshop can be found at


  1. Welcome and housekeeping – 15 minutes
  1. Syllabus reviews

(overview of courses and what went right/wrong; 5 minutes per presenter) – 60 minutes

  1. Potential assignments reviews

(feedback and discussion on activities + assignments) – 60 minutes

  1. Break
  1. Roundtable discussion

(more feedback and discussion on participant identified topics) – 60 minutes

  1. Final session – future plans (45 minutes)


Submissions of syllabus and post-mortem are due April 1, 2016

Decision notification: April 20, 2016

Please email all submissions as a single PDF file to Mia Consalvo at