Course Meeting Times

Seminars: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


This course has no prerequisites.


Run as a workshop, students collaborate in teams to design and prototype games for social change and civic engagement. Through readings, discussion, and presentations, we explore principles of game design and the social history of games. Guest speakers from academia, industry, the non-profit sector, and the gaming community contribute unique and diverse perspectives. Course culminates in an end of semester open house to showcase our games.


  • Serious Games Research
  • Designing Games for Social Change
  • Learning and Games
  • Purposeful Game Assessment
  • Potentials and Limits of Games for Change


  • Exploring the field of serious games research and design
  • Experimenting with serious game design
  • Using different research and design tools
  • Reflecting and effectively communicating your own learning about serious games and design

Requirements and Grading

Readings (On-going—10% of grade): All students are expected to do the readings, submit a short (one paragraph) reading response, and participate in discussions of the readings in class.

Class Participation (On-going—25% of grade) Most class time will be organized as discussions, design experiments, workshops. Texts must be read and each student will organize one class with their team.

Short Papers (Due Session 7, 11—20%): Students will write two short papers (~2 pages each), one assessing a serious game, one reflecting on design experiences

World Peace Game Designs (Due Session 22—20%): Each team will write a short proposal for their video games for social change to be discussed in class. The game concept will be submitted to the competition.

Final Paper (Due Session 26—25%): Each student will write a paper (8–15p) about a. their game design concept, b. their reflection on the design, c. the potential impact of the game, d. the limits and, e. lessons learned.