Tag: conference

Article: Gaming the Conference

Article: Gaming the Conference

The Conference on College Composition and Communication has added a different spin this year with a quest based activity called “C’s the Day” where attendees fulfill challenges. The quest system, set up by gaming enthusiasts among the conference planners, has a series of challenges to complete such as, ”Give a comprehensive, 15-second description of the entirety of your research. Extra points for each theorist you can coherently mention in the allotted time.”

While the injection of a gaming element would in theory liven up normally quiet conferences and I like the concept, I am not sure how well the clash between work and play will resolve. To make the system work,  a critical mass of attendees need to participate or else it becomes awkward. However, the rigidity of the work/play paradigm in academia tends to put the brakes on things: an up and coming grad student is going to take cues from the senior members of her field. In my own graduate experience, a serious attitude was seen as a prerequisite to be taken seriously.

However, I believe it could work, but I don’t think idea goes far enough or takes advantage of modern technology. Personally I would add, “Instagram selfie with panel chair” and “Perform a 15 second interpretive dance of your research and upload it to Vine. Double points if in front of a crowd of more than 10 or the keynote speaker.” To incorporate some massively multiplayer online gaming design philosophy, a balance needs to be struck between solo and group content while maintaining a certain quotient of fun. While pushing attendees in the direction of more interaction is no doubt one element behind the C’s the Day intentions, not everyone is going to be keen on the idea and some will dismiss it. The key is to be able to work with and around these gates to experiencing content. In MMO terms, the gates would normally be gear and experience. In live-action gaming, gates would be acceptance and the ability to carry out at least some content within individual comfort levels. Utilizing an AR app, such s the interesting ARIS system developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or other smartphone/tablet apps for photos might provide for more complicated quests that still operate within a broader comfort zone.

Still, look at those sweet prizes: First prize is guaranteed publication! Second prize, a shiny horse!

Gaming, conferences and sparkleponies.