2017 Spring Studio Course Description

Course information

Course numbers
CS299, CS345, CS499
MWF 9:00–10:50 AM in RB368
Paul Gestwicki, Ph.D.


In this immersive learning course, we will work together to create an original educational video game. We will adopt a contemporary iterative and incremental approach, using modern tools and techniques of game development.

This project is a collaboration with Camp Prairie Creek—a free summer camp run by the Muncie Sanitary District that includes themes of environmentalism, sustainability, water quality, and outdoorsmanship. Our game will complement the needs and values of the Camp.

As an academic inquiry, our work together will be framed by these essential questions:

Since this is a three-credit course, you should expect to devote nine hours of attention to it per week.


We will be using Google Drive to share project-related files. You will need to sign up for a Google Account, if you don't have one already. Configuring two-step verification on your Google Account is so strongly recommended it may as well be required. Share your Google Account name with the professor as soon as you can to get access to the shared drive.

Student evaluation

Your grade for the course will be determined based on your end-of-iteration essays and a personal portfolio.


We will be working in multiple iterations, using what we learn in each iteration to improve our products and our processes. Each student will be responsible for writing an essay at the end of each iteration. The essay should explicitly draw upon one of the essential questions listed above.

Please note that I use “essay” in the classical sense: an essay is a written attempt at understanding something new. An essay is not a staid five-paragraph construction but a an epistemic grappling with the unknown. This means a composition is not an essay until it offers something new to the conversation.


Each student will create a personal portfolio—a collection of artifacts created during the project. These artifacts can be anything you created during the course of the project that you feel is a good representation of your learning and contribution. We are a multidiscplinary team, and I anticipate great variety in what artifacts are selected. Each artifact in the portfolio will be accompanied by a brief reflective statement that explains the context and relevance of the piece.

Each student will have their own folder on the shared drive for maintinaing your portfolio. Your folder must have a text document called “Contents” that lists your portfolio contents, including the date each item was added, your reflective statement, and a link to the artifact itself. By default, I assume the artifacts will also be in your folder on the shared drive, but if you also maintain a public portfolio on the Web, you could instead link there. The following video tutorial demonstrates how to manage different kinds of media in your portfolio.


As usual, I will be using my triage grading rubric. Briefly, each item is graded on a three-point scale of incorrect (1/3), partially correct (2/3), or correct (3/3). These correspond to D, C, and A grades, respectively.

At the end of each iteration, I will review your end-of-iteration essay as well as your portfolio, expecting to see at least one new artifact each iteration. These will be equally weighted into an iteration grade.

Your final grade in the course will be computed by taking 85% of your iteration grade average and 15% from the final exam.

Notice for Students with Disabilities

If you need course adaptations or accomodations because of a disability, please contact the instructor as soon as possible. Ball State's Disability Services office coordinates services for student with disabilities; documentation of a disability needs to be on file in that office before any accomodations can be provided. Disability Services can be contacted at 765-285-5293 or dsd@bsu.edu.