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#7927571 Jun 03, 2013 at 05:28 PM
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Not sure what the forum etiquette is here, so making this a new thread instead of a reply.

I don't really like, or agree with the "gamer disposition" article. I think it lumps way to many diverse people into one narrow little category. Maybe my definition of "gamer" is way to broad, but exactly who are we describing here? Only MMO players? Or only players who play online games with other people? What about people who play single-player games, they're "gamers" too. What about LARPs or Historical re-enactors? What about people who play only one MMO, but it consumes their life? Is this a person who's going to be flexible and open to change when the next big path roles out?

With that out of the way, let me address each of these "qualities".

They are bottom-line oriented.
This may well be true, but I don't thinks it's necessarily a good thing. This need for "rewards" is not usually a good thing, especially in school. (I often hear "what do I need to do to get an A?", instead of "what do I need to do to get better at this?") The focus on the "bottom-line" tends to make everything else irrelevant, even if that's actually where the rewards are.

They understand the power of diversity.
Putting all the toxicity of language aside (because that's a whole other issue), I still don't see much of this. Sure, most MMO's require diverse group roles, but some of those are favored by players more than other. In WoW, healers and tanks were always in short supply. Why? Because they were the hardest to play well, and the first to take the blame when things when wrong. So while player's may recognize that they need others, that doesn't mean they've got the right attitude to work with others or even take up a non-rewarding role to help out a group.

They thrive on change.
All the hate that comes out anytime there are big changes to game should make it clear how false this is. As far as students go, software upgrades seem to make them all very upset, so I can't say I've observed this in my classrooms.

They see learning as fun.
The see learning about things that they're currently passionate about as fun. Anything else just gets in the way of their bottom line.

They marinate on the "edge."
This is probably the one I agree with most. Many students will seek out new and personalized ways to solve problems. But, only if it won't affect their bottom line (aka grade). This means getting this to happen in a formal education setting is pretty rare.
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#7927961 Jun 03, 2013 at 06:58 PM
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I believe the "etiquette" would have to be subjective to the game and the players. Its what the culture bases itself around. Some things might go unspoken while others are placed right in the user agreement. When applied to students it would have to be a balanced mix of what is acceptable in the game and what is acceptable in class.
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#7931080 Jun 04, 2013 at 11:20 AM
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I think that you'll encounter this problem whenever you try to lump people into a category. For example, in our school district we are constantly talking about traits of "the 21st century learner." The point isn't necessarily that every student in our school will meet the criteria but that, overall and as a group, you can make certain generalizations that will apply to a large majority of the group, and I think that's what this article is doing.

Regarding your other comments, I'd like to challenge your comment about change. I think gamers DO like change, but they're critical and hard to please. For instance, the new Xbox. I don't think gamers object to a new Xbox, but they do object to what they perceive as changes being made for no reason but to rip them off and invade their privacy.

I agree that it's hard to establish this type of learning in traditional schools, but like the article authors, I think it may be worth investigating the change.
Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom... do work that changes the world. -Will Richardson

http://www.gamifymyclass.blogspot.ca
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#7931145 Jun 04, 2013 at 11:30 AM
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#7927571 blueAppaloosa wrote:



I don't really like, or agree with the "gamer disposition" article. I think it lumps way to many diverse people into one narrow little category. Maybe my definition of "gamer" is way to broad, but exactly who are we describing here? Only MMO players? Or only players who play online games with other people? What about people who play single-player games, they're "gamers" too. What about LARPs or Historical re-enactors? What about people who play only one MMO, but it consumes their life? Is this a person who's going to be flexible and open to change when the next big path roles out?



I do see your point about the audience for this article. Since John Seely Brown wrote it for the Harvard Business Review, it is very much written for management. I think the focus is MMO players and that he doesn't consider single player gamers, board gamers or live action role-play (LARP). Here's an additional video by him that I think is broader and considers anyone involved in a participatory culture.

PBS Digital media - New Learners of the 21st Century http://video.pbs.org/video/1767466213

Also when I want to look more in depth at MMO players, I usually go to the Daedalus Project. While it finished in 2011, we'll be looking at some their material and findings over the next weeks.




twitter @kzenovka
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#7931192 Jun 04, 2013 at 11:38 AM
Guild Officer
73 Posts
I think your forum etiquette is just perfect, blueAppaloosa! Thank you for taking the initiative and beginning a new topic of discussion - and for beginning with such a well ordered and famously communicated argument.

I think that the majority of your points about the "gamer disposition" are entirely reasonable assertions, blueAppaloosa! We live in a post-modern time and grouping is most certainly a slippery slope. That said, we have to do it to a certain extent (analytics, demographics, and learning styles... oh my! :-P)

My understanding of the term "gamer culture" is contextualized within a framework leaning more towards structuralism. I see individuals who embody this style of curiosity as critical thinkers who have been given the opportunity to practice learning structures in a connected environment. Please keep this in mind while I expand on some specific points you made, if you'll humor me. ^_^

Your response to the assertion that gamers "...are bottom-line oriented" as limiting is a great point! That said, I would argue that the awesome thing about game structures is that the good ones offer a means for participants to see their progress, what is needed for them to develop, etc. before they are able to advance to a new quest, etc. So, while a person may be focusing on obtaining a specific item, level, etc... progress is halted until objectives are met. So... yes, the bottom line (end objective) is in the forefront of decisions, but the structure of the game is allowing each to become comfortable evaluating his/her place in relation to that goal. I think this ultimately translates to the intrinsic motivation all educators hope for.

Do gamers understand the power of diversity? Indeed "...most MMO's require diverse group roles, but some of those are favored by players more than other." While it can be frustrating to see the more difficult roles held in higher esteem, I would argue that this reinforces a very sensitive understanding of that diversity. Of course, as you mention, this doesn't mean "they've got the right attitude to work with others or even take up a non-rewarding role to help out a group." That said, the gamer culture is fiercely loyal and lovingly self-policed, so when individuals engage in such tomfoolery they are generally all but blacklisted from the "good" activities (sometimes even activities required for advancement) until they learn to behave according to the etiquette of the context.

Thriving on change is tricky. In the instance of gaming, one might consider change within the created universe as an illustration of this assertion. Most of these changes don't impact the basic structure of the game, but add additional content. In the context of an MMORPG the impact any individual can have on the world is mitigated by other participants. That persistent reality is an easily digestible way for there to be enough change for engagement, but not so much that one is put off.

So, then, how can we help students feel as though software updates are necessary, not scary, and an opportunity for better graphics, etc (bottom line?). Just as with WoW patches... updates can be overwhelming and result in a host of other issues (...Are your drivers updated?... Do you have the most up to date service pack?). Could we possibly engage that bottom line mentality and remind gamer students why these actions are necessary? Most of the hard core gamers I know learned how to build computers from the ground up for the sole purpose of making sure their equipment was/is of the highest quality for better visual quality, faster connection speed, and more... This does bring us to your assertion about learning, though.

Games Based Learning Mooc (gamesMOOC)
FRCC Humanities Instructor
The best combination of technophile and luddite

Twitter @ThereseEllis
Google+ therese.catherine.ellis@gmail.com
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#7932062 Jun 04, 2013 at 02:28 PM
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@ThereseEllis I've rarely been accused of being unwilling to share my opinions. :) I'm also known to be kinda argumentative, so don't take my arguing as having any sort of actual malice behind it.

I think all of these qualities make for good "gamers", I'm just not sure they make for good employees/students.

Games themselves (good ones) are very good at structuring rewards and showing progress. They're also good at making sure you're prepared for the next level. Much of the "real world", however, is not so well structured, so gamers of this type are often unprepared for having to deal with the uncertainties of life. Being all about the bottom line in a game is fine, but that attitude in "real life" can be damaging, especially if the bottom line is not well defined or keeps changing.

For group diversity, the problem is that what I saw was the exact opposite of what you describe. More difficult roles were held in lower esteem than easier ones. In WoW, high esteem goes to high damage output, and high damage classes are the easiest to play. Tanks do less damage, and are generally held in lower esteem. Healers do almost no damage, which not only makes them difficult to play alone, but they're also almost always the first to take blame when things go wrong (whether they're at fault or not). The attitude I saw was mostly "I recognize that I need these roles filled in instances, but *I* don't want to do it". This is not an attitude I want on a team project.

It's true that changes in content are generally easier to accept than changes in structure. (Although not a guarantee, as expansions/patches do not please everyone.) However, going back to my "real world" comparison, this isn't really the way the world works. Being ok with one narrow type of change doesn't really mean a person "embraces change". I think my current students are less accepting of change than any I've seen before. They are practically terrified of being outside their comfort zone, which makes it very hard to teach them new things.

I usually do try to soften the blow of software upgrades by explaining why they're necessary, and how working in industry is going to be full of them. However, one of the biggest complaints I hear from students is when the text/tutorials don't match the version of the software. Sometimes the changes are large, and sometimes minimal, but changes like this, and the fact that it takes time for people to make new texts/tutorials, is something they're always going to have to deal with.
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#7932096 Jun 04, 2013 at 02:34 PM
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#7931145 kae wrote:


I do see your point about the audience for this article. Since John Seely Brown wrote it for the Harvard Business Review, it is very much written for management. I think the focus is MMO players and that he doesn't consider single player gamers, board gamers or live action role-play (LARP).



I figured this was the case, but part of my dislike of this writing comes from the fact that he's using a broad term "gamers" to describe a small subset of the gaming population "MMO gamers". It's like saying "dogs are hard to groom because they have long hair", when this really only describes a small subset of dogs. (Sorry that comparison is kinda lame, couldn't come up with a better one off the top of my head.)
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#7932146 Jun 04, 2013 at 02:42 PM
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@missrithenay I understand the problems with generalizing, but I think this article takes it so far as to be damaging. The qualities describes are those of a small subset of "gamers", specifically "MMO gamers". Ascribing them to the entire population of gamers (including single-player, board games, mobile games, etc) is inaccurate and gives a false impression.

i think gamers (both MMO and other types) do *like* change, but only if it benefits them (or they think it will). People always love the idea of "better graphics" on consoles, even if we're reaching the point where we haven't even topped out what we can do on the last one. (And setting aside the fact that good graphics don't equal good games...which is another argument.) They don't like change that *might* challenge their perceptions of themselves, or move them out of their comfort zone.

(As a side note, I'm not defending the new XBox or PS4 in any way. I think they're dong a lot of really terrible things involving privacy and ownership rights, but that's also another issue.)
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#7933801 Jun 04, 2013 at 08:30 PM
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No malice received! ^_^ Argumentation is part of discourse. Playful sparring, as it were.

I would certainly agree that the real world does not mirror games. But, one would argue, games are art and mirror life. While there is structure, the very participation of individuals adds a more humanistic element. Still...your concern with the ever changing bottom line is certainly valid. I think that fluidity can become a source of opportunity for the connected educator (I'm a fan of framing).

For instance, your statement of student reaction "I recognize that I need these roles filled in instances, but *I* don't want to do it". still implies a sensitive understanding of that diversity... especially when one considers the reasons why individuals would make that choice. Is it I don't want to do it?... or I really just don't want to be "the first to take blame when things go wrong"?What do you think? I would use this as a means to engage in discourse.

Still, if you have students who are uncomfortable with clenchus, self-examination, whatever you will call it, then the above is pretty moot, huh? ^_^



#7932062 blueAppaloosa wrote:



I think all of these qualities make for good "gamers", I'm just not sure they make for good employees/students.

Games Based Learning Mooc (gamesMOOC)
FRCC Humanities Instructor
The best combination of technophile and luddite

Twitter @ThereseEllis
Google+ therese.catherine.ellis@gmail.com
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#7937480 Jun 05, 2013 at 01:58 PM
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I have been interested in the discourse in this discussion. So many good points being made, and I can say that gamers have an easier time of working in online classes and adjust to the increasing amount of work/examples/support that we at my community college are putting into Desire2Learn, our platform for our classes.

I find that those with gaming experience have an easier time looking for what they need in the way of content. This version of D2L was designed to work with tablets and smart devices so the format was changed.

I still have students needing help to sign in, get password back, find something, load to a dropbox or open a discussion. I have my classes in computer rooms, and I just say, "who needs help" and "is there someone next to them to show them that" I have found those I know to be gamers are more likely to jump in and help their classmates with the technology. Also they are more likely to ask their "pod mate" (they are three to a row so I call them pods) next time.

I am getting less emails and less texts for help with material.

I also think gamers are good readers and good at analyzing the flow or direction of the material and understand the "leveling up" of doing things in order and processing their schedule and work load.

That doesn't mean they are better students, they just have an easier time of working with the technology needed for the class.

It is hard to focus on high levels of technology even if I have serious gamers in the class, and they seem to gravitate to my classes, because I have those struggling to learn Microsoft Word, Power Point, finding out how to take a test online or even get to the class website, and some don't even have cell phones or a computer at home. . . I need to consider all their needs and experiences.

What is the technology level of your students?

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#7937506 Jun 05, 2013 at 02:02 PM
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I've been thinking about the change issue a lot. Strangely enough, it was an episode of Doctor Who that really got me thinking. The Doctor changes and at first I'm always reluctant to accept a new actor. But if the change is positive I adapt. Of course, if not...

Humans in general - not just gamers! - are funny when it comes to change. We resent changes to our favourite shows, games, etc. - but we also don't like it when they stagnate. It was Dr Who that triggered the thought, so I kept thinking of TV and made the leap to The Simpsons, a show that once was the epitome of nerdom but stuck around so long, doing the same thing over and over, that everyone just stopped watching. Well, SOMEONE must still be watching, but I really don't know who!

My point is that as humans we really seem to both crave change and resist it. When we look at gamers as a group, keeping the human response to change in mind, I wonder whether they are more or less adaptable.
Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom... do work that changes the world. -Will Richardson

http://www.gamifymyclass.blogspot.ca
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#7938922 Jun 05, 2013 at 07:22 PM
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"My point is that as humans we really seem to both crave change and resist it."
Yes, I think you're onto something here. We want change, but we also fear it. We tend to want things to change to our benefit, and not want change that puts us in a worse position. I think it can be very hard to see the outcome of a given change before it actually comes to pass which is why we both crave and resist it.

"What is the technology level of your students?"
This is a very good point. I also tend to have mixed classes, with some being very comfortable with everything, and some who need help checking their email. I also find it challenging to keep the tech-savvy people interested without going over the heads of the more technically challenged. Part of what I try to teach is how to go out and find the information you need, in order to help yourself. Getting the students to help each other is always golden when you can make it happen.

"But, one would argue, games are art and mirror life. "
Absolutely. Games are artifacts of society and culture, and therefore will always reflect some aspects of it. However, we get to pick and choose which aspects of life we incorporate into our games, so game experiences are not always directly translatable into real world experiences.

"For instance, your statement of student reaction "I recognize that I need these roles filled in instances, but *I* don't want to do it". still implies a sensitive understanding of that diversity... especially when one considers the reasons why individuals would make that choice. Is it I don't want to do it?... or I really just don't want to be "the first to take blame when things go wrong"?What do you think? I would use this as a means to engage in discourse. "
This is true. I'll admit I've been studying games longer than I've been teaching, so I still find it difficult to recognize opportunities to get the students really thinking about these things. (Although self-motivation is something I really try to get students thinking about in my game design class. Knowing why *you* do/hate/enjoy/etc something can be very useful in figuring out why others do/hate/enjoy/etc something. And this is key to being a good game designer.)
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#7939461 Jun 05, 2013 at 09:48 PM
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187 Posts
#7938922 blueAppaloosa wrote:


"What is the technology level of your students?"
This is a very good point. I also tend to have mixed classes, with some being very comfortable with everything, and some who need help checking their email. I also find it challenging to keep the tech-savvy people interested without going over the heads of the more technically challenged. Part of what I try to teach is how to go out and find the information you need, in order to help yourself. Getting the students to help each other is always golden when you can make it happen.



I teach similar classes. Often, students will show up in my introductory computer graphics class in their last semester of their degree. Very frustrating.

I've taken to having them create a customized learning path using an online video tutorial site and showing proof of concept as they go. They listen to the videos in class and research other more advanced topics.

Peer learning is always golden, too. Sometimes it's a challenge to keep going, though.

Something that I notice and try to encourage also, beyond being able to cope with change, is a certain flexibility of mind. Students always act like the software will fall apart if they touch it! Then they act like I am the end-all be-all of answers. It takes quite a bit to wean them of that sometimes.

---

Relating back to the Gamer Disposition discussion, though: When I first was exposed to the Gamer Disposition, it smacked to me of the author using the negative connotations of someone being a gamer to attract attention to the article.
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#7942558 Jun 06, 2013 at 01:01 PM
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The video tutorials idea sounds neat. While I don't think there are any organized learning paths of videos set up for what I teach, maybe I could find some various ones to organize.

"Students always act like the software will fall apart if they touch it!"
Haha, so true. I can't tell you how many times students will come up and ask me if something will work, and I tell them to just try it. I'm not sure if they're afraid the software will fall apart, or if they can't even handle that tiny little bit of being wrong (failure). Either way, I definitely encourage them to play with the software on their own (and save first if they're worried about screwing something up).
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#7945265 Jun 06, 2013 at 10:34 PM
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187 Posts
#7942558 blueAppaloosa wrote:

The video tutorials idea sounds neat. While I don't think there are any organized learning paths of videos set up for what I teach, maybe I could find some various ones to organize.

"Students always act like the software will fall apart if they touch it!"
Haha, so true. I can't tell you how many times students will come up and ask me if something will work, and I tell them to just try it. I'm not sure if they're afraid the software will fall apart, or if they can't even handle that tiny little bit of being wrong (failure). Either way, I definitely encourage them to play with the software on their own (and save first if they're worried about screwing something up).



Or you could give them a series of topics to research to find tutorial videos. The nice thing about videos is that it's easy to see whether they're on-task as you walk by. :-D

"However, we get to pick and choose which aspects of life we incorporate into our games, so game experiences are not always directly translatable into real world experiences. "
I'd argue that we do this with education as well!
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#7945429 Jun 06, 2013 at 11:40 PM
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73 Posts
#7942558 blueAppaloosa wrote:

The video tutorials idea sounds neat. While I don't think there are any organized learning paths of videos set up for what I teach, maybe I could find some various ones to organize.



Teacher curation is definitely an option. Another option is to ask each student to create a video, curate, or otherwise contribute a relevant resource to illustrate his/her understanding of the concept.
Games Based Learning Mooc (gamesMOOC)
FRCC Humanities Instructor
The best combination of technophile and luddite

Twitter @ThereseEllis
Google+ therese.catherine.ellis@gmail.com
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#7947828 Jun 07, 2013 at 12:33 PM
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Yes, I like the idea of having students go out and find what they need. I worry that this will get me into trouble as far as meeting specified "learning outcomes". It will take the students longer to find the videos than for me to point them out, and while I think the ability to find them is super important (moreso than the content they learn from the videos in some respects), that usually isn't specified in the learning outcomes for any particular class.

(I'm kinda sensitive to this because I've taken a lot of criticism for not sticking to specified learning outcomes in the past. Especially when it comes to getting the students to take initiative for their own learning, or having them do learning outside of class-time.)

I'd love to have them create their own videos...but this would require me to teach them a whole new skill-set (i.e. how to make/edit a video) which I'm not sure I can squeeze in anywhere. Student curated resource galleries (maybe using forums?) could be an option, although I haven't had much luck with it in the past. I will have to think on ways to better integrate this into my courses.

"However, we get to pick and choose which aspects of life we incorporate into our games, so game experiences are not always directly translatable into real world experiences. " I'd argue that we do this with education as well!
Absolutely agreed here. There's only so much you can teach, and you have to pick and choose what merits class-time.
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#7948327 Jun 07, 2013 at 02:21 PM
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354 Posts
I think just about everyone who has used games based learning has had to content with questions or criticism with specified learning outcomes. This is how I dealt with it. I'm in the Colorado Community College System, so I follow along with 80/20 rule. 80% of the content should match the common course competencies. Using this percentage, I was able to teach a Sports Marketing course that was listed as MAR 216 Principles of Marketing. (Yes all the students knew ahead of time and could opt in or out.)

Complying with the 80/20 requirement is also allowing the WoW in Business project to use World of Warcraft for business and economics courses.

As far as video creation, we've been doing that for a few years with our student and we start out light. Depending on the course, animoto may be as far as we ask the students to go. But for the courses I've been working with at Front Range Community College, we emphasize more of a Machinima 4 Mere Mortals. So the emphasis is on conveying the content rather then on production value.

Our discussion on use of video and social media are increasing at my community college. During our in-house Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference we had two sessions on transmedia. The second one ended up being a brainstorm on how to add "creating and conducting a webinar" over Skype or Google Hangout for a Business Communications course this summer and still have it fit in the common course competencies. Also for our HLC accreditation program we are developing student learning outcomes that include students being able to do research across platforms to include searching for videos and effectively using them.

twitter @kzenovka
www.center4edupunx
Games MOOC Instructor and Designer
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#7948782 Jun 07, 2013 at 03:57 PM
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I'm in the CCCS as well, and while I've heard of the 80/20 rule, a lot seems to subjective to interpenetration. Exactly how does one measure "content/competencies"? If there are 10 items listed I have to cover at least 8 of them? Or 4 of every 5? Or do some have more weight than others? Some learning outcomes/topics can be interpenetrated in different ways as well, which makes the whole thing even more subjective.

I've also taken criticism for adding content, even if we still cover 80% or more of what's listed.

I'm not really here to gripe about the difficulties, but I do find it frustrating to talk about neat ideas with other educators and then take criticisms when I try to actually apply these things to my classes. This isn't the first educator online group thingy (sorry, it's Friday and I can't come up with a better term) I've been a part of, so this is something that seems to come up a lot for me.
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#7953331 Jun 08, 2013 at 05:30 PM
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73 Posts
@blueAppaloosa

I agree that the 80/20 rule is highly subjective. That said, I would also argue that the objectives can be rather broad.
Games Based Learning Mooc (gamesMOOC)
FRCC Humanities Instructor
The best combination of technophile and luddite

Twitter @ThereseEllis
Google+ therese.catherine.ellis@gmail.com
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