As a graduate student, one of our goals is to produce research that will be useful to the world, that will be known and used by other people. This usefulness can come in many forms; for example, our work can serve to inspire future research, which will take the topic one step further, or it can be used by people in the industry as part of their work. But for any of this to happen, the methods, results, and takeaways of our research need to be communicated to the world. Of course, most research programs require the student to write a thesis or dissertation, but the reality is that very few people will read it besides the evaluation committee. A thesis or dissertation might eventually be also read by other graduate students that are working on the same topic and want to know the existing literature in details. But other than that, most people would prefer to read a summarized version of the research instead of the whole thesis or dissertation.
Therefore, graduate researchers should also try to publish their results in other formats, so they become more accessible to the general public. Some graduate programs even include publication requirements as part of the students’ obligations, particularly when there is public funding involved. But even when it is not a requirement, publishing one’s research results is not only one of the best ways to ensure that it can be found and used by other people, but it is also a rich experience for the researcher. This especially relates to the involved writing, the publication, and the resulting networking with other people reading and mentioning your work.
There are many different ways, formats, and venues that can be used to publish original research. In general, we can split them into academic publications – whose primary audience is mainly formed by other researchers – and non-academic – which are more directed to the industry and the general public.
Gamification of University-level courses is becoming a common practice, as many professors decide to try offering their students a more engaging learning environment. Nevertheless, we still do not have a clear idea on how individual students engage differently with a gamified course. But now a detailed, long-term study from the University of Lisbon has presented some insightful observations on this topic.
During the course of their study, the researchers observed three editions of a gamified University of Lisbon course on Multimedia Content Production. The course employed a blended learning method that combined theoretical lectures, lab classes, and an online Moodle component where students engaged in discussions and completed online assignments.
Throughout the years, the researchers have learned from the experience and improved the course’s gameful design. A general observation from the student’s feedback is that they all felt the gamified course was indeed more engaging than the previous non-gamified editions. However, there were some noticeable differences on how individual students engaged with the course, which the researchers sought to investigate.
The third day at CHI PLAY 2016 ended the conference with important discussions focused on play, design, and the games industry. If you have not seen them yet, check the first and second day summaries out before continuing!
The day opened with an open discussion of future suggestions for the conference series and followed with the first Industry Panel, which counted with the expertise of Toni Phillips (Triseum), Sheri Graner Ray (Zombie Cat Studios), and Yelena Balin (b.well). The panelists addressed some of the challenges of the game industry, such as keeping up with the technology, innovating, engaging different audiences, and building diversity into games.
The second day at CHI PLAY had a lot of fun and important research! In case you’ve missed it, read about the first day before continuing.
Annika Waern presented the keynote of the day on Play, Participation and Empowerment, and left everyone reflecting about the opportunities that arise when designers let the players co-create the game rules and boundaries. It was followed by David Cohen‘s talk on Transformation Through Transparency, in which he emphasized the importance of collaboration between educators and game designers for building educational games, as well as the importance of embedding learning in a transparent way to allow players to enjoy playing and increase learning effectiveness.
CHI PLAY is ACM’s international conference on human-computer interaction in play and games. This year, it is being held in Austin, Texas, from the 17th to 18th of October. I’ll be covering some of the spotlights of the conference daily here at the ACM XRDS blog!
After the official welcome, the first day opened with a keynote talk by Jamie Madigan from The Psychology of Video Games. It was a great talk filled with 30 research ideas for game and HCI scholars to investigate in the near future.