Well, it’s that time of the semester. Grades for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Spring 2017 semester were due Sunday, so it seems that it’s time to offer up a postmortem.
Last time around, I opted to do a postmortem on “Comedy and the Moving Image,” as I felt that it was my most successful course of the Fall 2016 semester. This time, I’m choosing to go with “Frames, Claims, and Videogames.” It must be said that this was not my most successful course of the Spring 2017 semester. That honor would go to “Avant-Garde Film and Video Art“—a fact that is of little surprise, given that it’s now the third time I have taught that class. “Frames, Claims, and Videogames,” by contrast, was a learning experience. It was the first time I’ve helmed a course solely focused on games, without any dependence on a cinema studies context, and it wasn’t taught under ideal circumstances. (As I have mentioned before, it was a late addition to the course roster, which meant that my students didn’t have a very good heads-up about what the course’s material would actually be before they set foot in the classroom.) One could say that it was a trial-by-fire situation, of sorts.
And, in this sense, it was quite effective. To start things off, here are four different lessons I learned over the course of the class:
So I got an email last Saturday from the Liberal Arts Department at the School of the Art Institute, saying they’re short one First-Year Seminar I instructor, and asking me if I could sub in. I agreed.
I’ve already taught First-Year Seminar I at SAIC three times, and have three separate courses ready to go for it. So, of course I did what any sane person would do.
I designed an entirely new course, basically from scratch, in five days.
And it was such a pleasure! Up until now, I’ve never taught any course entirely on videogames. I’ve taught courses that were about half-and-half cinema and videogames, and I’ve thrown short modules on games into just about every course I’ve ever taught, from U Chicago’s Media Aesthetics to DePaul’s Intro to Mass Communication. I had somehow gone my entire teaching career without devoting an entire class to games, though. It seemed high time to rectify that.
The School of the Art Institute spring 2017 semester begins tomorrow, and I wanted to take a moment this week to introduce this term’s classes, as you will likely be seeing posts related to these classes in the near future. First up: the section I’m teaching for SAIC’s First-Year Seminar II course, “Avant-Garde Film and Video Art.”
Now, I’ve taught this course before, and in fact this blog is littered with previous lesson plans I’ve used for it. But I decided to shuffle my syllabus up considerably this time around.