Friday, October 24, 2008

Living Epic, the online course, live for registration!

Thanks to the wonderful folks at the UConn Center for Continuing Studies, we've got a very nice gateway into the first tangible effort of the Video Games and Human Values Initiative, my short course in January 2009 for teachers, parents, and anyone else who's interested, "Living Epic: The Power of Video Games in Culture from the Ancient to Modern World." Suitable for a virtual stocking stuffer, this course will be, above all, a great way for us to start reaching an audience of teachers who want to think about the educational potential of games in a new way.

To be completely clear, here's where you register.

The initiative itself now has a spiffy new Ning social network. I beseech you, if you like what we're up to, to head over, join up, and start talking about the future of this conversation. Most importantly, we're starting to talk about the proto-symposium, "Defining Play," inspired by the wonderful work of Corvus Elrod.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Notes from the Spice Mines of Kessel

Apologies for the darkness of Living Epic over the past few weeks. As you’ll gather from the notes below, I’ve been busy not just with my ordinary teaching duties (this semester that’s Greek Civilization, Intermediate Latin, Plato-as-practice, and Plato’s Phaedrus with my advanced Greek students [even more glorious, and even more sexy, in the original]), but also more importantly with the center.

Now that our first grant proposal is in, and I have a better feel for how the whole “You know, you really should give me all your money” game, I’ll be trying to get back on the blog, though I suspect for a while it’s going to be an echo-chamber sort of thing: I’ve got an incredible back-log now of amazingly smart things people like Michael Abbott, Iroquois Pliskin, Corvus Elrod, Steve Gaynor, and Duncan Fyfe have said that I want to comment on, however briefly. Since I’ll be starting to develop the materials for the courses now, also, I’ll be able to post about that, too.

Anyway, the first grant proposal, for a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up grant, was uploaded yesterday. I’ve posted the narrative on the wiki, here. Comments on it are beyond welcome--I would upload my firstborn if I thought it could get a conversation started that would improve the center's self-formulations.

Next up is the Macarthur foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Competition, due in a week. The money would go to making our own persistent world with Sun’s Project Wonderland resources, and to giving out our first fellowships. In turn, that would mean we could do our first real symposium, and publish the proceedings. It’s all happening, maybe!

I’m giving a lecture, in the fun UConn Honors Last Lecture series, next week called “Bioshock in Plato’s Cave: How Video Games Can Lead Us into the Light.” Two weeks later I’m doing a scholarly luncheon talk at the UConn Humanities Institute called “End-Game Gear and the Multiplayer Epic from the Iliad to World of Warcraft,” which is pretty much an academic version of “Achilles’ Phat Lewtz,” which in turn is the prelude to what I hope will be my first peer-reviewable classics ‘n’ gaming article.

Finally, we’re getting very close to registration for the courses in January and the spring semester. I’ll post again with the relevant links soon!