Ohio Students Learn Art From Minecraft

Ohio Students Learn Art From Minecraft


A digital class in a virtual campus takes field trips to simulated spaces, for real life credit.

Are games art? The debate has been raging for years, but instructors at Bowling Green State University in Ohio say yes - and they're willing to give out college credit based on that claim. The university's student-run newspaper reports that virtual art classes have been educating scholars using Second Life and is now branching out to include Minecraft as well.

Students attend these online classes by getting together with their classmates and instructor at a virtual campus in Second Life. There, they stroll their avatars through in-game art galleries and visit recreations of famous places like the Sistine Chapel. Students also undertake individual projects to demonstrate their digital creativity.

The program has taken a turn for the blocky with the addition of Minecraft to its curriculum. It began with a contest where players - that is, students - were given a finite number of blocks and a limited amount of time to go make art happen. The game is now used in more academic environments, such as freshman Michael Reasoner's student methodology project. "For the project, we had to come up with a question," explained Reasoner, "and my question was 'What would life look like in Minecraft?'" He then crafted a replica of the Bowling Green campus in the game, though presumably with a higher population of zombies and creepers.

Another student in the class used their project to blur the line between games, recreating Angry Birds with Minecraft blocks. "People make all sorts of crazy things in Minecraft," Reasoner said. "It takes time and talent to do that; you can't just walk up to a pottery wheel and make something perfect."

The Minecraft portion of the curriculum doesn't seem too different from what players would be doing with the game anyway, but there's something to be said for testing the boundaries of creativity within games. It can't hurt to take a step back and look at games with the same academic scrutiny with which we observe other mediums. Plus, with some transfer literature credit from Rice University, maybe one day it'll be possible to earn a whole degree with video game studies.

Source: BG News


So let me get this straight...

I can graduate from college--a university, no less--playing Minecraft?

I'm not sure whether to make the 'missing the forest for the trees' joke or the 'Suddenly Minecraft does a tired old idea and that makes it new... somehow' joke... so I'll do both!

Games are art, ya jackass. Why the hell are you putting them in a virtual world to do art when they can make real art in real life? Study the games, or make artwork like a normal person. This seem needlessly complicated. Its putting essentially sculpting or painting into a game just because.

It's called a level editor, and the people are called level designers. They have classes for them at universities. You're being a pretentious douche by labeling it an art class and saying its a new idea.

Also, no this is not playing Minecraft for credit, this is creating art for a class and getting credit, the art just happens to be made in Minecraft. If any college gives you credit for playing games, run. They are a scam or not accredit (or wasting your time).

"I majored in Video Game studies." Man, that will be one useless degree.

Well there is always that one class where you get credit for trying, but the lowest entry point isn't something you should strive for... or make news about.

I thought that Businesses and Universities using Second Life was history. That's more 2006-8. It was going to change the world, and yet it really didn't as it was a pain in the arse.

Though I guess looking at art and architecture sort of makes sense really as it gives you a freedom you don't get with pictures, videos and diagrams.

I remember going to an IBM Second Life seminar when at University. It was hilarious. It started late as there was a mix up with sim access permissions, people were walking into each other and flying around as for a lot of people this was there first time using SL, and since none of the people hosting had the bright idea of using microphones you waited forever as they typed out lengthy paragraphs in general chat. Basically imagine trying to give a lecture in World of Warcraft.

It's quite an apt comparison as the lecturer from my university who was in the audience was dressed in Dominatrix/Gothic Lolita mix outfit, and I was a Dalek :D

Boy did I go to the wrong art school. I wish it was 2003 so I could go there instead.

Remember kids: Art Institute of Washington is a waste of your time & money.

"I majored in Video Game studies." Man, that will be one useless degree.

Unless you're trying to get a job as a game designer at a company that makes games.

Ah BGSU, the good old alma mater. When I was attending there (graduated in 2008) was when the Digital Art classes were starting to explore Second Life. Basically for a project, we loafed around in SL, then we had to make art about our experiences (in Photoshop and shit), then we displayed it within SL like it was a gallery. Suffice to say, my entire class made art about all the bad things about it (focus on material things, the overabundance in sex, all that fun jazz.), so that was funny.

But it was an interesting idea to say the least. It was the first time anyone had considered including games in the Digital Art classes. I thought that would have been a one time thing, so I'm glad to see that they're still exploring it. Wish I could see the end result with the Minecraft addition.

Boy did I go to the wrong art school. I wish it was 2003 so I could go there instead.

Remember kids: Art Institute of Washington is a waste of your time & money.

Any EDMC Art Institute school is usually a waste of time & money.

Unless you're trying to get a job as a game designer at a company that makes games.

My degree is in Simulation and Game Development, I don't think I would be hire-able if it said Game Studies.

Minecraft? Seriously? I mean it's good and all, but can we stop treating it like the be all end all of games? It's getting old.

Why not have a class in political science about the alliance histories of EVE Online? That would be something, if you ask me. Ten and a half years in and there is more than enough to fill a university textbook, and all of it is applicable to the real world of politics and economics.

Well, good for them! I remember when our Graphic Design teacher tried to get us all into Second Life for similar reasons. I was all up for it. I mean, I'm all about MMORPG-- err...having a social life onli-- err... that. So it was fun!

Except for the fact that my peers knew NOTHING about having avatars and text commands and stuff. So the teacher quickly gave up.

Pssh, losers.


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