Major Updates to “Intro to Open Ed” RPG Syllabus

So far the response to the redesign of the Introduction to Open Education course has been great (already coverage in the Chronicle and the syllabus has been online less than a week). There’s been good critical feedback as well; the newly revised syllabus has a completely revamped Grading section based on Lynn Taylor’s comments (for those of you who don’t know Lynn, he’s the Director of the Open High School of Utah and you’ll be getting to know him well in the years to come).

I sincerely wish I could do something with Stephen’s comment about how the early quests are rather dry, but hey – do you remember the training quests in Lineage (attacking a dummy-scarecrow thing until you’d successfully hit it 300 times or something)? Or those early levels in WoW when you spent mind-numbing hours gathering herbs and figuring out which creatures you could and couldn’t really attack? The attentive reader of the syllabus will notice that the Quests are roughly structured around Bloom’s taxonomy, and yes – those early quests do involve a lot of “remember” and “understand” initial skills and knowledge development that a person needs to be able to complete the more difficult tasks.

I’ve pulled out references to “oral exams” and moved all assignments back into the blogs in order to keep more of the content in a written, and more easily shared, format. This should add value both for the on-campus and distance participants.

Some readers have assumed that because the course is modeled after games like WoW that the course will take place in a completely online / virtual world. Not so. The BYU credit-earning crowd will be playing significant portions of the game face-to-face, making their experience more like that of an old-skool RPG like Dungeons and Dragons. However, I’ll work with distance participants in the course to choose a common environment for them to play the game in (play by IM? play by Twitter? play in Second Life?) so that we can all find each other.

I continue to love your feedback. Many thanks for the comments you’ve left and the emails you’ve sent so far… Please keep them coming!

5 thoughts on “Major Updates to “Intro to Open Ed” RPG Syllabus”

  1. If you’d like some help with the game design aspects, I’d be willing to give you a hand. Game design is one of the few things I can say I have work experience at and have been recognized for. It’d be great to be able to help with such a project.

  2. David, very cool concept. I’m excited to see how it turns out. There is one piece I think you might be missing. I wrote about it, probably ad nauseam, on my blog, but I will summarize here.

    A big draw of MMORPG, or any game (online or not), is the competition. Whether direct, or indirect, competition is what draws us to games. We want to see how we stack up against other people. Player vs. Player (PVP) is a very important part of any online game, whether it’s a first person shooter, a MMORPG, or even just tracking awards via X-Box live. We want to a) get a high score, and b) show off that score to others.

    Now, whether or not competition/bragging/smack talk, has any place in an educational setting, can be debated. But if we really want the true draw of games, then we’re going to have to accept the whole package. And competition, sometimes brutal competition, is part of the package.

  3. Hi,

    I am a student in Charles Nesson’s CyberOne course at Harvard Law School. Professor Nesson is a strong supporter of poker in all its forms, and is the founder of the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society, which seeks to broaden poker’s acceptance as a teaching tool. During the course, we fought to gain approval from the MA attorney general for a charity poker tournament, amongst other things.

    This semester, we worked on many poker-related issues, as CyberOne is designed for the “born-digital” generation, and is basically an outlet for Nesson’s various interests.

    I’ve written a short paper on what we did in the class, and, in keeping with the pro-open content theme of the course, would love people to edit it. I’d especially love it if people could add thoughts as to what next year’s class should work on (poker-related or not).

    You can edit directly at:

    I’d prefer if you use your own username, but if lazy, you can use:

    username: cyberoneeditor
    password: cyberone

    Thank you so much.

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