As first and second year students, most of them have a fairly rigid idea about education. So when I proposed that we would spend 4 weeks or more playing an MMORPG at the conclusion of the semester, they all thought I was just a bit odd. But, today, they talked their way through some complex ideas comparing the elements of Diablo III to one other text (The Bug, Clockwork Orange, Passion of New Eve, “Prometheus,” or Frankenstein). I’ve blogged throughout the semester over at Norton’s FairMatter about this, a Brit Lit survey course, and my pedagogical ethos of “screwing around.”
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    listening to final projects in TechnoLit: Diablo (in Diablo III) compared to Victor Frankenstein, both as the same type — interesting
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    Interestingly, they have max of 3 mins to overview of final project but don’t have to take all 3 mins. everyone is taking their 3 mins!
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    They can talk their ideas with complexity & depth. wondering if this translates into their writing. hmmm…
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    now, one is discussing the gender differences between the male & female barbarian in Diablo III — or lack of differences.
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    she’s showing a screencast video of the game play for both. then made a video
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    No one wants to be the female barbarian because she’s not attractive — that’s part of the thesis in this project. (interesting!)
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    I asked them to be creative w/technology but then didn’t demo how to do things like screencasts bc wanted to see if they could figure it out
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    Wel, well, well, about 1/3 of them did screencasts (some came to ask me about it). These frosh are more willing to play (?)
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    Next up, a technolit-er has made Clockwork Orange into a game like Diablo III
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    Interesting: clothing in Diablo III & Clockwork Orange. Alex wears odd stuff to differentiate himself but D3 hero adds clothing for power
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    A common idea: zombies are evil in Diablo III even though they lack free will in being turned & attacking the hero. interesting
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    This semester, we turned the anti-hero into the hero — well, because technolit-ers seemed to like these anti-heroes better.
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    For this student, our modern-day hero is ultimately the dark, anti-hero.
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    Next up: comparison between Victor Frankenstein & the female Wizard in Diablo3 – complete opposites. who’s more successful at the quests?
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    Now, comparing the Monk hero in Diablo 3 to Alex in Clockwork Orange. The Monk doesn’t have a backstory, only mythology. interesting
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    Another student says: Diablo III is a world that’s in desperate need of heroes. In Clockwork Orange, need for heroes but less desperate
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    Woah! Not only did 34 of 37 frosh finish this course all the way to the end (which is unusual for SJSU since we have a dropout rate of 55%)
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    but just got 4 hugs & 5 handshakes for an awesome class (that has *NEVER* happened). I’ll take that, you sappy lil frosh….
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    Started this year w/a sabbatical & goal to evolve/rise above/lighten up. These frosh make me think might have achieved that a lil bit?
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    Now, I wonder if I converted anyone in my frosh gen lit course into an English major?