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Apparently StarCraft is getting some love at the university level. According to Kotaku, the University of Florida is using the real time strategy game to teach its students resource management skills. Before any of you slackers get excited (me included), the class featuring SC is only open to students in the honors college who have some familiarity with the game.

Taught by Nate Poling, a Ph.D candidate at UF, the class description reads, “With society becoming increasingly technology-based and fast-paced, it is important for professionals to be highly proficient in skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, resource management, and adaptive decision making. These skills are fundamental in Starcraft and therefore make the game a highly effective environment for students to analyze and take action in complex situations.”

In a recent interview with MIT’s Technology Review, Poling stated, “A student who gets a normal education, gets an MBA, and is in the business world, he could realize that something he learned in his StarCraft course helps him think outside of the box. You synthesize this with an MBA program and voila – you have an innovative business practice.”

I should state that UF isn’t the first college to include StarCraft into its curriculum. A few years ago California-Berkeley’s renowned Haas School of Business offered a course on competitive Starcraft.

Personally, I think this is a pretty cool idea. Unfortunately for me, Ohio State doesn’t really offer that many avant garde classes. The closest things I’ve heard to something like this comes from my brother. When he was going to Hamilton College he told me that his roommate, who was majoring in history, had to lead a class discussion on Medieval Total War. While that’s pretty cool, it’s no StarCraft 101.

What do you guys think about this? Does your school offer anything remotely close to a class on StarCraft? How about other videogames? On a related note, what games do you think would be great for higher education purposes?

  1. This is great! First Portal becomes part of the reading curriculum at one university, now StarCraft is used as a business simulator? Seriously, what next? Age of Empires as a history tool, or ICO and Okami for art majors?

    • Alan Wake for English majors such as myself… well maybe not :)

    • Personally, I think Half-Life 2 would make a great companion “novel” for 1984.

      Also, forgot to add. There’s an honors course here at Bradley titled “Art of Virtual Reality” that is taught mostly in Second Life. I suppose that sort of counts.

    • You know me man, I think Half-Life 2 is the greatest achievement in gaming (in terms of narrative structure etc.). There have been many a time where I wanted to cite it in some papers for class…

  2. I think this is awesome, and it would be really interesting to see more competitive games discussed on a more analytical level. Even if someone’s not interested in becoming a serious competitor, competitive games – or really, competitive anything – teaches a lot of valuable life lessons.

    Also, that Berkeley class sounds dope. David Sirlin, the guy responsible for the balance changes in Street Fighter 2 HD Remix, attended almost every session of that Berkeley class and did a write-up on all of them. It sounded super cool.

  3. …. Ugh. In a way this is sort of neat and all but I can’t help but know that there are far better ways to teach resource management with much easier to make real world connotations. This seems like someone is just reaching for headlines or some professor just wants an excuse to get paid to play starcraft 2. I used to play a weekly D&D game with a english professor who made his students do reports on Watchmen and other well known graphic novels just because he personally liked them so it wouldn’t surprise me.

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