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Technology Students Learn From Each Other in App Showcase Experience

In an effort to look at continuous improvement in offering students hands on, real-world experience in the classroom, the SITC faculty brainstormed a way to better integrate the experience of the freshman ITC 110 class (Introduction to Information, Technology, and Computing) with teaching upperclassmen how to manage and mentor in a group setting. They had success in the previous ITC 110 class with upperclassmen volunteering to help manage the freshmen app groups. The goal for the fall 2017 class was to continue the mentoring experience but to bring in more upperclassmen to manage the projects and give not only the freshmen helpful and practical advice but to develop the management skills of the older students. 

Students share their creativity during the App Showcase.

They looked to a class called IT 460 (Managing Technical Projects), a senior capstone course in which students learn organization and leadership techniques and are given an individual management assignment. This seemed like the perfect solution so the faculty decided to move forward with the idea of using these students to mentor and manage the freshmen projects. 

Mid semester app projects were proposed by the students within the ITC 110 class and teams were created. Each team consisted of two or three managers and six ITC 110 students (two Computer Science majors, two DET majors and two IS/IT majors).  Every Tuesday, the ITC 110 class would begin with a visit from the project managers to their respective group where they would spend about 15 minutes to talk about progress of the app, goals for the week, and to answer any questions their ITC 110 team had about the process. At the end of the semester, it was each team’s turn to present their app at the ITC 110 App Showcase.  Click on the link below to enjoy a short video clip of Dr. Ray Pettit interviewing student app developers and managers, talking about what they learned in this unique process.

ITC 110 App Showcase

Global Game Jam 2018

Global Game Jam is a 48 hour game development challenge that happens all around the world during the last weekend of January (January 26-28, 2018). The GGJ is a unique opportunity where students are challenged to do things they might normally not be doing in the classroom. As the GGJ website states, “Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development”. Students are learning skills that are pushing them to be their best and fulfill the vision for the game as well as challenging their time management and work ethic. The goal is to create a prototype of a game that the students can continue working on and improving after the two day event is over. Many of the games created in the previous Global Game Jam events have gone on to become fully realized games.

Global Game Jam was created to help people of all backgrounds around the globe come together to create a video game or non-digital game, like a board game or card game. The event also helps bolster the creativity and artistic expression in the gaming industry with more ideas and prototypes not yet introduced. Despite having only 48 hours to create and collaborate, this brief amount of time is meant to assist students in creative thinking and problem solving skills, ultimately resulting in what may be small but innovative and experimental games.

DET Professors Rich Tanner and Brian Burton are an invaluable resource to students learning gaming development.

This is ACU’s 8th year to participate in the GGJ event. The concept for this event is simple – on Friday evening participants gather at approved Jam sites around the globe and are welcomed with a brief introduction and information from the international coordinators. The theme, which has been kept a secret, is announced and then teams form, ideas are shared, and everyone works to try and create a prototype of their game, based on the theme, by Sunday afternoon. Last year, Global Game Jam had 700 locations in 95 countries  where over 7000 games were created in one weekend!

DET students creating virtual reality experiences

Global Game Jam prides itself on helping to encourage new friendships through collaboration, as well as increasing confidence and opportunities within the gaming development community. The goal of GGJ is to stimulate teamwork with others and is not a competition.

This incredible learning experience is not limited to those in the technology department/major but is open to anyone who has interest in creating a game. Register for the Global Game Jam at https://globalgamejam.org/2016/jam-sites/abilene-christian-university.