Brett Boessen


I teach media production and theory at Austin College in north Texas. I've been interested in games as media forms for several years, though I studied the more traditional film and TV back in the day, so most of my approach to games has been self-taught/directed. I'm particularly interested in digital networked media-making and pedagogy.

  • Session Proposal: Textual Analysis Tools Brainstorm


    One problem we have in trying to study games in an academic setting is that in many cases, the elements of a game we’d like to study are inaccessible because they require great skill on the part of the player (i.e., not every great scholar of games will be a great player of games).  If there were some way to tease out areas or levels in games expressly for scholarly study — a “god mode” designed for research and criticism — this would help us immensely in plumbing the depths of a game more effectively.

    In this session, we would brainstorm the possibilities for developing such tools: conversations with developers, somehow programming such tools ourselves (and by “our” I certainly don’t mean to include myself), or somehow to collectively achieve a similar end through shared logins, save files, etc.

    I’m guessing that this sessions would be highly speculative and very well might come to nothing in the end.  But for someone who wants to be able to have the same fine-grained access to games for study that I have to movies and other media, it seems like this group is one of the most likely gatherings at which to actually generate a workable solution.

  • Session Proposal: Quest-based Evaluation Schemes

    I’m interested in the idea that the A-F grading scheme might not always be the best one — :) — and that a game-like (gamified?) structure for student evaluation would be more effective in at least some cases.  Lee Sheldon and David Wiley have written about quest-based course structures, and I experimented with the idea two years ago, with mixed results.
    The session would include discussion of the possibilities, critiques of previous attempts, and possibly even brainstorming specific syllabi structures for future attempts.