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Collaboration, Teamwork, and Team Cohesion in a Starcraft 2 Digital Game-Based Course

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Material Information

Title:
Collaboration, Teamwork, and Team Cohesion in a Starcraft 2 Digital Game-Based Course
Physical Description:
1 online resource (242 p.)
Language:
english
Creator:
Poling, Nathaniel D
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching and Learning
Committee Chair:
Dawson, Kara Mariehopkins
Committee Co-Chair:
Ritzhaupt, Albert D
Committee Members:
Terzian, Sevan G
Leite, Walter Lana

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
21st -- academic -- andragogy -- based -- century -- cohesion -- collaboration -- commercial -- computer -- constructivism -- cots -- critical -- development -- dgbl -- digital -- education -- educational -- environment -- experience -- experiential -- game -- games -- honors -- information -- innovative -- instruction -- instructional -- leadership -- literacy -- management -- media -- methods -- mindtool -- mindtools -- mixed -- off -- online -- pedagogy -- personality -- problem -- professional -- program -- project -- qualitative -- quantitative -- real -- reflection -- resource -- risk -- shelf -- simulation -- simulations -- skill -- skills -- solving -- starcraft -- strategy -- team -- teamwork -- technology -- the -- thinking -- time -- training -- video -- virtual
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre:
Curriculum and Instruction thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract:
Innovative pedagogy is required if today’s learners are togain the crucial competencies necessary to succeed in tomorrow’s increasinglyinterconnected and technological world. This mixed methods research examinesthe design, implementation, and study of an academic online digital game-basedcourse developed around the popular commercial real-time strategy (RTS) game StarCraft 2. This undergraduate Honorscourse was offered over a two-year period at a major research university in theSoutheastern United States and used a constructivist and experiential learningperspective to teach 21st century skills such as critical thinking,problem solving, and collaboration. More specifically, this research looks athow learners’ attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of collaboration,teamwork, and team cohesion were influenced by participation in the course. A modified quantitative instrument found the StarCraft 2 course did influencelearners’ attitudes and perceptions regarding some of the facets of teamcohesion. Qualitative interviews further helped explain the collaborativeprocesses and leadership dynamics which were present in both the academic anddigital game-play contexts of the course. This research also discusses the StarCraft 2 course design, thequantitative and qualitative instrumentation used, the sociocultural and equityconcerns which arose during the course’s design and implementation, theimplications for different professional fields, and the recommendationsresearchers and educators interested in digital game-based learning (DGBL)pedagogical approaches should consider. As technology constantly evolves,pedagogies which harness its power such as online education and DGBL have greatpromise. This research aims to help guide researchers and educators inadvancing the online education and DGBL fields so as to achieve that potential.
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Nathaniel D Poling.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local:
Adviser: Dawson, Kara Mariehopkins.
Local:
Co-adviser: Ritzhaupt, Albert D.

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
Classification:
lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID:
UFE0045876:00001

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Collaboration, Teamwork, and Team Cohesion in a Starcraft 2 Digital Game-Based Course
Physical Description:
1 online resource (242 p.)
Language:
english
Creator:
Poling, Nathaniel D
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching and Learning
Committee Chair:
Dawson, Kara Mariehopkins
Committee Co-Chair:
Ritzhaupt, Albert D
Committee Members:
Terzian, Sevan G
Leite, Walter Lana

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
21st -- academic -- andragogy -- based -- century -- cohesion -- collaboration -- commercial -- computer -- constructivism -- cots -- critical -- development -- dgbl -- digital -- education -- educational -- environment -- experience -- experiential -- game -- games -- honors -- information -- innovative -- instruction -- instructional -- leadership -- literacy -- management -- media -- methods -- mindtool -- mindtools -- mixed -- off -- online -- pedagogy -- personality -- problem -- professional -- program -- project -- qualitative -- quantitative -- real -- reflection -- resource -- risk -- shelf -- simulation -- simulations -- skill -- skills -- solving -- starcraft -- strategy -- team -- teamwork -- technology -- the -- thinking -- time -- training -- video -- virtual
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre:
Curriculum and Instruction thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract:
Innovative pedagogy is required if today’s learners are togain the crucial competencies necessary to succeed in tomorrow’s increasinglyinterconnected and technological world. This mixed methods research examinesthe design, implementation, and study of an academic online digital game-basedcourse developed around the popular commercial real-time strategy (RTS) game StarCraft 2. This undergraduate Honorscourse was offered over a two-year period at a major research university in theSoutheastern United States and used a constructivist and experiential learningperspective to teach 21st century skills such as critical thinking,problem solving, and collaboration. More specifically, this research looks athow learners’ attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of collaboration,teamwork, and team cohesion were influenced by participation in the course. A modified quantitative instrument found the StarCraft 2 course did influencelearners’ attitudes and perceptions regarding some of the facets of teamcohesion. Qualitative interviews further helped explain the collaborativeprocesses and leadership dynamics which were present in both the academic anddigital game-play contexts of the course. This research also discusses the StarCraft 2 course design, thequantitative and qualitative instrumentation used, the sociocultural and equityconcerns which arose during the course’s design and implementation, theimplications for different professional fields, and the recommendationsresearchers and educators interested in digital game-based learning (DGBL)pedagogical approaches should consider. As technology constantly evolves,pedagogies which harness its power such as online education and DGBL have greatpromise. This research aims to help guide researchers and educators inadvancing the online education and DGBL fields so as to achieve that potential.
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Nathaniel D Poling.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local:
Adviser: Dawson, Kara Mariehopkins.
Local:
Co-adviser: Ritzhaupt, Albert D.

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
Classification:
lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID:
UFE0045876:00001


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1 COLLABORATION, TEAMW ORK, AND TEAM COHESI ON IN A STARCRAFT 2 DIGITAL GAME BASED COURSE By NATHANIEL D. POLING A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUI REMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013

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2 2013 Nathaniel D. Poling

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3 To my Mom and Dad

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS As fair warning, this section of the dissertation will read like a bad Oscar acceptance speech I would like to thank my parents first and foremost for helping me get to the place where I am today. The countless hours my dad spent trying to help me understand AP Calculus and all the grammar advice my mom gave me have all played an invaluable role in shaping my identity as a designer, scholar, researcher, and teac her. I want to thank my grandmother for being so supportive as I waited almost an entire summer before I heard that I had gotten accepted into my doctoral program. Oftentimes it is easy to take things too seriously and in the process of losing focus one te nds to forget to have some fun and enjoy the moment. The path towards a doctorate is not an easy one. If it were a digital game, a PhD would entail beating countless bosses, continually leveling up, exploring many different immersive environments, and slay ing an infinite number of monsters of all sorts. In retrospect I would have to thank my middle school basketball "C" team teammates -Oliver Chiang, Tim Chan, and Rickie Hung...and Sam Lim who tried his best to help us develop our skills -for learning toget her with me that winning isn't everything and that sometimes the better path is to take everything with a grain of salt and to have fun. After all, we were a horrible basketball team, but we had a ton of fun and created many fond memories. Doctoral school can be a lonely time, but like any journey, the right travelling companions can make all the difference. I want to thank Tyler Houston who gave me such wonderful level of emotional support as I slaved away in front of the computer screen typing countless pages only to delete those pages and start over. During my know what I would have done without her

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5 love and support. I want to give a big shout out to Nathan H enry with whom I would talk about all things geeky and nerdy Our debates and arguments about politics and StarCraft strategies helped keep me sane. I always seemed to have the upper hand when it came to S t arCraft your massed marin es tended to easily melt against my lurkers or psi storms! I would also like to thank Chris Frey for organizing our always awesome intramural sports teams and for always having a positive attitude that tended to be contagious. I want to acknowledge Brian Schilling for our always eventful...and numerous...trips to Disneyworld and Epcot that always seemed to be the perfect way to leave the stress behind...if only for a moment. I would also like to thank Aaron Akins and Matt Joseph for always being gracious hosts whenever I would decide to head up to Washington, DC. I always retu rned from those visits with fresh perspectives and new ideas. During my doctoral career and the process of writing this dissertation, there were many times I considered quitting. I want to thank Dory from Finding Nemo for her incredibly inspiring words of encouragement..."Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming..." Those words helped me keep swimming...albeit sometimes quite slowly...but I always managed to somehow keep moving forward. In the time I spent in my progra m, many faces came and went. However, one fellow doctoral student helped push me along...and dragged me forward whenever it seemed like I had stalled. I want to thank Nicola Wayer for allowing me to be a duckling. I would have surely been totally lost with out the advice every doctoral duckling needs to learn. I also want to acknowledge Cathy Cavanaugh for being an awesome advisor and being so supportive of my StarCraft 2 course research. Without her guidance and

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6 feedback, I fear the StarCraft 2 course would have been over before it had really started. I want to acknowledge Brenda Lee for being so positive and supportive as I was actually writing this dissertation. I probably complained to her more than I should have, but she was always so understanding and u pbeat. She definitely helped me in my quest speak, earn the achievement of killing as many trees as I did. I had an awesome committee that was supportive and helpful every step of the way. I want to than k my chair Kara Dawson for being so thoughtful and for helping me plan ahead, my co chair Albert Ritzhaupt for providing so much constructive criticism and feedback, Sevan Terzian for challenging me to consider the sociocultural implications of my research and Walter Leite for helping me understand the complicated world of research statistics. Last but not least, I want to acknowledge all the Protoss Zealots, Terran Marines, and Zerg Hydralisks for their sacrifices during the countless games of StarCraft 2 that were played during the course of my StarCraft 2 research. The fictional universe you exist in has helped me make a significant contribution to the real one I live in. My life for Aiur!!!

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7 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 11 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 12 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 15 Research Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 15 Research Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 17 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 19 Research Question ................................ ................................ ................................ 20 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 20 Research Significance ................................ ................................ ............................ 21 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 25 Organization of the Study ................................ ................................ ....................... 25 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 26 Organization ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 26 Constructivism and Experiential Learning as Research Lenses ............................. 26 Digital Gaming ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 32 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 32 Constructivism ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 33 Experien tial Learning ................................ ................................ ........................ 34 Digital Gaming in Education ................................ ................................ ............. 37 Online Education: Overview ................................ ................................ .................... 47 StarCraft 2 Course ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 50 StarCraft 2 Game Overview ................................ ................................ ............. 50 StarCraft 2 Course Design Process and Overview ................................ ........... 56 21 st Century Skills ................................ ................................ ............................. 60 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 60 New world and new skills ................................ ................................ ........... 61 Groups and teams ................................ ................................ ..................... 65 Cooperation, coordination, collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion .. 67 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 78 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 78

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8 Research Approach: Mixed Methods ................................ ................................ ...... 79 Research Perspective ................................ ................................ ............................. 81 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 82 Sample ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 82 Quantitative Methods ................................ ................................ ....................... 84 Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ) ................................ ................. 84 Partial validation procedure ................................ ................................ ........ 88 Modified GEQ administration and data collection ................................ ...... 92 Questionnaire data analysis ................................ ................................ ....... 93 Qualitat ive Methods ................................ ................................ .......................... 94 Individual interview procedure and data collection ................................ ..... 94 Interview data analysis ................................ ................................ ............... 95 Study Validity ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 98 Quantitative validity ................................ ................................ .................... 99 Qualitative trustworthiness ................................ ................................ ......... 99 Subjectivity Statement ................................ ................................ .......................... 100 Limitations of the Study ................................ ................................ ......................... 102 Delimitations of the Study ................................ ................................ ..................... 102 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 104 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 104 Quantitative Results ................................ ................................ .............................. 104 Qualitative Results ................................ ................................ ................................ 116 Integration of the Quantitative and Qualitative Data ................................ ............. 119 Digital Gaming and StarCraft Experience ................................ ....................... 121 Digital gaming experience ................................ ................................ ........ 122 StarCraft experience and skill level ................................ .......................... 124 Gaming and the real world ................................ ................................ ....... 126 Digital games as exploratory environments ................................ ............. 127 Background and Perspectives of Collaboration ................................ .............. 128 Digital gaming and collaboration ................................ .............................. 129 Personal preferences of teamwork/colla boration ................................ ..... 129 Experience/exposure to collaboration/teamwork ................................ ...... 130 Definition and characteristics of collaboration/teamwork ......................... 133 Perceived benefits of collaboration ................................ .......................... 135 Group Functioning ................................ ................................ .......................... 135 Group dynamics ................................ ................................ ....................... 136 Group communication processes ................................ ............................. 139 Leadership ................................ ................................ ............................... 140 Te am/group role ................................ ................................ ....................... 142 Task/responsibility delegation ................................ ................................ .. 142 Group frustration ................................ ................................ ...................... 143 Lessons Learned ................................ ................................ ............................ 144 Learning collaboratively vs. learning alone ................................ .............. 144 Learning to collaborate and communicate ................................ ............... 144 Results Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 146

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9 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 148 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 148 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 150 Digital Gaming and StarCraft Experience ................................ ....................... 152 Background and Perspecti ves of Collaboration ................................ .............. 160 Group Functioning ................................ ................................ .......................... 165 Lessons Learned ................................ ................................ ............................ 169 Key Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 170 DGBL and the Need for Socially Responsible Educational Practice .............. 171 DGBL and Teaching Collaboration ................................ ................................ 175 DGBL and Teaching Leadership ................................ ................................ .... 177 Need for DGBL Specific Quantitative Instruments ................................ ......... 178 Applicable to a Wide Range of Professional Fields ................................ ........ 180 Recommendations ................................ ................................ ................................ 181 Ensure DGBL Robustness ................................ ................................ ............. 182 Support Learner Collaboration ................................ ................................ ....... 187 Draw upon Theory from Other Fields ................................ ............................. 188 Create DGBL Specific Quantitative Research Instruments ............................ 188 Caveats ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 189 Future Directions ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 190 Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 195 APPENDIX A COURSE SYLLABUS ................................ ................................ ........................... 199 B COURSE DESCRIPTION ................................ ................................ ..................... 204 C GROUP CRAFT ASSIGNMENT 1 ................................ ................................ ........ 206 D GROUP CRAFT ASSIGNMENT 2 ................................ ................................ ........ 209 E GROUP CRAFT ASSIGNMENT 3 ................................ ................................ ........ 211 F GAME PLAY AND REFLECTION PAPER ................................ ............................ 213 G LEADERSHIP SURVEY AND MEYERS BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPE SURVEY ACTIVITY ................................ ................................ .............................. 215 H IRB FOR THE QUANTITATIVE PHASE OF THE STUDY ................................ .... 216 I IRB FOR THE QUALITATIVE PHASE OF THE STUDY ................................ ....... 220 J THE MODIFIED GROUP ENVIRONMENT QUESTIONNAIRE ............................ 223 K INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ................................ ................................ 225

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10 LIST OF REFERENC ES ................................ ................................ ............................. 227 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 241

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11 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Levels of complexity in StarCraft 2 ................................ ................................ ..... 55 2 2 Characteristics of teamwork and collaboration ................................ ................... 72 3 1 Research questions, data collection, and data analys is ................................ ..... 79 4 1 Constructs of team cohesion in the GEQ ................................ ......................... 105 4 2 Compiled statistics for the modified GEQ ................................ ......................... 106 4 3 Correlations and descriptive statistics and factors of team cohesion ................ 108 4 4 Correlations between the four separate aspects of team cohesion .................. 109 4 5 Means and standard deviations of the pretest and posttest modified GEQ ...... 111 4 6 Main qualitative themes and subthemes. ................................ ......................... 118 4 7 Research question and data sources ................................ ............................... 119

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12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Organization o f the literature review. ................................ ................................ .. 27 2 2 The relationship between constructivism and experiential learning. ................... 29 3 1 Overview of the projec t design. ................................ ................................ .......... 81 3 2 Factors that determine group cohesion. ................................ ............................. 86 4 1 Thematic framework and interplay between quantitative and qualita tive data. 116 5 1 Thematic framework and interplay between quantitative and qualitative data. 149

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13 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy COLLABORATION, TEAMW ORK, AND TEAM COHESI ON IN A STARCRAFT 2 DIGITAL GAME BASED COURSE By Nathaniel D. P oling August 2013 Chair : Kara Dawson Cochair: Albert Ritzhaupt Major: Curriculum and Instruction technological world. This mixed methods research examines the design, implementation, and study of an academic online digital game based course developed around the popular commercial real time strategy (RTS) game StarCraft 2. This undergraduate Honors course was offered over a tw o year period at a major research university in the Southeastern United States and used a constructivist and experiential learning perspective to teach 21 st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. More specifically, th attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion were influenced by participation in the course. A modified quantitative instrument found the StarCraft 2 course did influence attitudes and perceptions regarding some of the facets of team cohesion. Qualitative interviews further helped explain the collaborative processes and leadership dynamics which were present in both the academic and digital game play contexts of

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14 the course This research also discusses the StarCraft 2 course design, the quantitative and qualitative instrumentation used, the sociocultural and equity concerns which arose professiona l fields, and the recommendations researchers and educators interested in digital game based learning (DGBL) pedagogical approaches should consider. As technology constantly evolves, pedagogies which harness its power such as online education and DGBL have great promise. This research aims to help guide researchers and educators in advancing the online education and DGBL fields so as to achieve that potential.

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15 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Research Context In one of his most popular songs, t he great American mus ician Bob Dylan sings that (Dylan, 1964). At the time this song was released in 1964, American society was indeed being monumentally altered by the civil rights movement and the push for LGBT and s rights These lyrics still hold true today as change s both sociocultural and technological continue to shape society by influencing how it behaves, communicates, interacts, and views itself as well as helping to define its values and perspectives. Dylan was not alone in recog nizing the integral role change plays in human existence. T he late influential Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing noted e live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing (Lain g, 1967, p. 1). These words perfectly capture the essence of change defined society Digital and Internet technologies have profoundly altered and continue to alter the ways people live, work, learn, and play (Shafer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005 ). Smartphones and tablet computers are inextricably intertwined with daily life. Technological advances influence how businesses function and the competencies employees must possess. In an increasingly interconnected and technological world workers need well developed 21 st century skills such as collaboration and teamwork skills since they must work with others often across great distances and multiple time zones to complete complex heir employees (The Partnership for 21 st Century Skills, 20 13 ; Casner Lotto, 2006) as they seek to succeed in an economic climate defined by change and interconnectivity.

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16 Technology can also help enable education to move beyond the boundaries of the physic al classroom and the time constraints of the traditional class period. Online education is increasingly prevalent and accepted (Allen & Seaman, 2008) and has been shown to be as effective as traditional face to face instruction (Bernard et al., 2004; Johns on, Aragon, Shaik, & Plama Rivas, 2000; Carey, 2001; Dutton, Dutton, & Perry, 2001; Lam, 2009). The educational field has come to recognize the social and economic potential of using new digital and Internet technologies especially online learning and digi tal game based learning (DGBL) to help facilitate teaching and learning. Online education continues to become increasingly accepted and implemented at all levels of education from K 12 classrooms to large state research universities and Ivy League institut ions with many even offering entirely online degrees. Technological advances are also shaping entertainment. Digital gaming has become an extremely prominent socioeconomic force as shown by the Entertainment gaming industry is now a $25.1 billion dollar business and 72 percent of all American households play digital games ( Entertainm ent Software Association 2011). There is also increasing crossover between education and digital gaming with the rising prominen ce of digital game based learning (DGBL), where digital games are used to help facilitate learning. Shafer, Squire, Halverson, and Gee (2005) note digital games can help facilitate meaningful learning in an increasingly complex and technological world. Dig to merge this motivation with academic content (Prenksy, 2003). As such, DGBL is a field full of promise and potential.

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17 Research Problem One o f the major challenges continually facing educators is just how to prepare people for success in a society defined by continuous technological change. This concern was evident even during the mid 20 th century when McLuhan and Fiore (1967) memorably wrote t caused much tension. Such words certainly still ring true and researchers and educators play pivotal roles in helping ensure learners are well equipped to face the challenges ahead. Many researchers a nd educators have come to realize that perhaps one of the best ways to prepare learners for a technological society is to use new technological approaches to facilitate teaching and learning. Digital game based learning (DGBL) is just one avenue being expl ored by educators seeking to ensure that learners are equipped to succeed and thriv e As digital games become incr easingly popular and ingrained in contemporary society, more and more people across demographics are now seeing them as acceptable forms of entertainment. Traditional stereotypes of gamers as invariably being yo ung socially awkward adolescent males are giv ing way to the perspective that anyone can be a gamer from the woman in line at the grocery store playing games on her phone, to the businessman sneaking a few minutes of his favorite title on his work laptop, to college students sitting amid empty pizza b oxes glued to the gaming consoles in their dorm room s Noting this, game developers are continuing to create a wide variety of games for a wide range of genres many of which overlap and for a wide range of devices including computers, console s, and smartpho nes. As educators continue to teach and train future generations, they must consider how they will reach and engage learners who have or are growing up with a sometimes

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18 overwhelming number of different technologies and digital entertainment and communicat ion options. They are faced with the question: How can you connect with learners who are accustomed to instantaneous anytime anywhere access to information and who are used to highly engaging and immersive multimedia? This research proposes that using digital games in education especially commercial off the shelf (COTS) games is one possible answer. Interactive and experiential digital games have the potential to appeal to and engage learners. W ell designed DGBL approaches using COTS games are promising because they blend sound pedagogy with the high quality and immersive multimedia environment s to learners engaged in the learning process but can also provid e the multimedia and technologically rich environment s which they can relate to and connect to t heir everyday lives One of the best way s to reach digitally connected and multimedia shaped learners is through digital technologies and multimedia. Me dia cent ered educational approaches like DGBL can meet learners where they are rather than continuing to have them sit passively i n increasingly alien and one dimensional classroom setting s that bear declining resemblance to the technologically interconnected real world in which they are living. After all, it really does not make much sense to continue to apply 19 th century pedagogy to 21 st century learners. Despite the immense promise and potential of mergin g digital games and pedagogy, t here needs to be more wor k focusing specifically on DGBL approaches and course s to enable researchers and educators to better understand the use of digital games, their potential, their implications, best practices for their use in education and training and how to evaluate their effectiveness DGBL is a

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19 way forward in the field of education and researchers and educators must continually design and study new ways to move ahead Purpose of the Study This research proposes a possible way forward that researchers and educators can follow and us e for guidance or reference as they continue to create, design, and study education for the 21 st century. The purpose of this research is to document and examine the effectiveness of an innovative DGBL instructional approach. More specifically, the purpose of this sequential explanatory mixed methods study is to look at the ways participation in an online digital game perceptions of team cohesi on. Examining perceptions of team cohesion, which is a and experiences with collaboration and teamwork in the StarCraft 2 course context. Collaboration and teamwork can be difficult to measure be cause they involve complex interpersonal interactions and are dynamic multidimensional constructs. It is therefore beneficial to the inquiry process to utilize a research documented concept related to collaboration and teamwork that is capable of being measured. In this research the con Questionnaire (GEQ) specifically measures team cohesion. Th is research includes two phases. The first consists of administering a modified version of the GEQ as a pre test and posttest to measure learner s perception s of team cohesion. The second phase consists of individual qualitative interviews to examine learner s attitudes and perceptions of collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion. The rationale for using both

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20 quantitative and qualita tive data is that the individual interviews may help inform understanding of the quantitative data. Online learning, DGBL, and mastery of skills such as teamwork and collaboration l worlds. This research specifically focuses on an implemented online digital game based course designed to help prepare undergraduate learners for the fast paced technological world they will soon be entering. This sequential explanatory mixed methods stu dy uses a questionnaire and individual qualitative interviews to examine learner perceptions of collaboration and teamwork as measured by team cohesion. The study aims to look at team cohesion and how it relates to enrollment in an online digital game base d course and to learner characteristics. Examining team cohesion can help inform the understanding of the collaboration and teamwork that occurred in the StarCraft 2 course. Research Question Using the diverse concepts of online education, DGBL, construct ivism, experiential learning, team cohesion, and 21 st century skills such as collaboration and teamwork as guides to inform inquiry, this research study focuses on the following research question: RQ: In what ways does participation in an online digital g ame based course Hypotheses Based on the growing body of research regarding digital games and DGBL and also on the complex and collaborative nature of modern digital games, it is predicted that enrollment and participation in the StarCraft 2

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21 perceptions of collaboration and team cohesion The course was designed to be highly collaborative. For the entire duration of the 8 week course, learners will be wor king with their assigned group to complete academic projects and participate in collaborative game play. The collaboration duration, intensity, and level of immersion should result in increased positive perceptions and attitudes towards working with others It is also predicted that the StarCraft 2 course learner characteristics will positively correlate to their perceptions of collaboration and team cohesion. For example learners with more college experience and more experience playing digital games and StarCraft should have more positive perceptions towards collaboration and teamwork than their less experienced peers. Learners with more college experience would most likely have more experience collaborating at t he college level. T hose with more digital gaming and StarCraft experience should have more experience collaborating with other digital gamers. This prior experience should translate to there being a positive correlation between learner characteristics (e.g. digital game experience, StarCraft exper ience, and college experience) and their perceptions of collaboration and teamwork. Research Significance This study is significant because it presents and examines an educational rich, immersiv e multimedia based world and the world they experience in the classroom. This research aims to help create more suitable 21 st century pedagogical strategies to help reach and engage 21 st century learners. It is also significant because it details the desig n, development, implementation, and study of an innovative DGBL course that was implemented at a major research university. While COTS games have been and are

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22 used in both K12 and higher education, DGBL courses where the entire course is taught using a digital gam e are exceedingly rare. This research was able to be conducted because of the extensive amount of freedom and autonomy the researcher/course designer had in creating both the DGBL course and the following research study specifically tailored to examine tha t course. Fairly or unfairly, digital games have often been seen in a negative light as mindless entertainment that only promotes violence and antisocial behavior However, this perspective is extremely limited and inherently ignores the fact that there ar e many popular high quality digital games that do not involve meaningless violence and instead have many positive characteristics. This StarCraft 2 credibility and acceptance, add to the research literature, and show that when designed and implemented correctly by knowledgeable researchers and educators, digital games can be leveraged for learning and the teaching of important real world skills. This research is also significant because it examines collaboration, teamwork, DGBL, and online education and how all of these elements relate to an innovative DGBL intervention. Each of these areas has many implications for professional fields such as education, business, social science, and government. While there is an extensive and growing body of research examining each of these separate threads, there is much less that looks at the effects, results, and implications of the cross pollination of the different strands. If the current pace and convergence of technological advances is any indicator, there is and will continue to be a great need to study how these threads interact and what it means for education and training.

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23 There are three other main areas where this research is especially significant. First, it describes some of the design, practical, and theoretical perspectives of an academic course that uses a digital game as the primary mode of instruction. This description is necessary to better understand the context behind this study which looks at learner percepti ons of collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion in the DGBL course. Designing entire academic courses around digital games is a relatively new development in the field of education. It is an instructional approach that is not yet widely used much less st udied and evaluated. One of the challenges to the wider adoption of DGBL courses is their relative scarcity and lack of knowledge of what they look like, how they function, what theoretical perspectives they are based on, and how they could be designed. Th e course description detailed in this research aims to provide some answers to these questions and can help serve as a resource for educators and researchers interested in designing and implementing future DGBL courses. Second, a number of researchers hav e noted serious methodological flaws such as a lack of systematic approaches that adequately examine and take into account a wide range of different variables (i.e. different age groups, tasks, and types of games) (Hays, 2005; Mitchell & Savill Smith, 2004 ; Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004). There is clearly a need for researchers interested in DGBL to produce more robust and systematic research This requires the development of a greater number of validated and reliable research instruments and robust research frameworks and processes. This research uses a mixed methods approach to look at the StarCraft 2 DGBL course and uses a quantitative research instrument exhibiting some preliminary evidence of validity developed in a previous partial validation study to e xamine the academic course. Both

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24 the quantitative and qualitative aspects of this research aim to provide a richer exploration of learner perspectives of team cohesion which can inform the two skill s on which the StarCraft 2 course focuses. Overall, the research design, theoretical perspectives, and methods of this study can provide one way how researchers can more systematically study DGBL courses and DGBL in general. Third, this research is signifi cant because it discusses some of the potential shortcomings when it comes to DGBL approaches namely those related to sociocultural and equity factors. Researchers and educators may often find that it is all too easy to get caught up in the excitement to i ncorporate innovation into the curriculum or get lost in the headlong rush to jump on the technological bandwagon. When it comes specifically to DGBL, it may also be tempting to take a hugely popular digital game that on the surface seems like an ideal ped agogical tool and to incorporate it in to instruction without adequate consideration of demographic. This research cautions that researchers and educators must be socially responsible by not only considering the actual design a nd pedagogy of DGBL courses, but also the games and game genres themselves in order to be as fair and equitable as possible. DGBL holds much promise and potential, but its design and implementation should be accessible and not only restricted to a privileged f ew This research is significant because it consciously steps away from simply heralding the unlimited potential of innovative educational technology approaches and instead takes a more balanced and equitable perspective that researchers and educators shou ld carefully design and implement their DGBL approaches.

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25 Definition of Terms Digital game based learning refers to using digital games in teaching, learning, and instruction (Prensky. 2003). Digital game based course is an academic course that uses a digi tal game as the primary method of instruction. Real time strategy game (RTS) refers to a genre of digital games where the main goal is for players to create bases, create units, and gather resources. RTS games are military strategy games. The end goal is t o win by either forcing opponents to surrender or by completely destroying their bases and units. StarCraft 2 is the second game in the extremely popular StarCraft RTS franchise. Team cohesion is how a group feels and thinks about itself and sticks togeth er as it works towards completing its common goals (Carron, Brawley, & Widmeyer, 1998). Organization of the Study This is a sequential explanatory mixed methods study. Chapter 1 of this study provides the research context, the research problem, the purpo se of the study, the research questions, the research significance, and a brief definition list of important terms. Chapter 2 of this study includes a literature review of all related areas and theories. Chapter 3 details the methodology of the study. Chap ter 4 provides the research findings and analysis of the data. Chapter 5 discusses the conclusions and implications of this study.

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26 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Organization This StarCraft 2 research draws upon a wide range of theory and practice. With so many interconnected threads o f knowledge, it is easy to get confused or sidetracked. To help minimize this, the literature review for this study is conceptually organized into 5 main sections and visually represented by the image shown below in Figure 2 1 on the next page The first s experiential research lenses and why they can provide useful insight into the study of the StarCraft 2 course. The second section discusses digital gaming and includes an overview and sections on constructivism, experiential learning, and DGBL in education. The third section provides a brief overview of online learning. The fourth section revolves around the online StarCraft 2 course and includes an overview of the game as well as an overview of th e course. The fifth section outlines the different skills that learners are expected to experience and learn such as 21 st century skills including collaboration and teamwork. Constructivism and Experiential Learning as Research Lenses Constructivism and ex periential learning are closely related. While constructivism is a broad philosophical and epistemological perspective, experiential learning can be seen as more of a method or approach that specifically looks at how constructivist philosophy can be transl ated and applied to teaching and learning. Please see Figure 2 2 for a visual representation of the relationship between constructivism and experiential learning. Both focus on individuals creating knowledge through experience and personally making s ense of the world around them. Constructivism is an

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27 epistemological perspective which explains how we know what we know where learners create their own meaning and knowledge as they as take new information and compare, contrast, and synthesize it with prio r knowledge. Figure 2 1. Organization of the literature review.

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28 This stance is significantly different than behaviorist perspectives (Kolb, 1984). & Cunningham, 1 996, p. 6) which can include problem based instructional methods which empower the learner and encourage them to take ownership of their own learning. It emphasizes the cognitive processes learners engage in as they evaluate, analyze, and assimilate inform ation. In many ways, experiential learning can be seen as 1984, p. 38). Experienti al learning approaches place heavy emphasis on the learner, the cognitive and affective processes they engage in, and the meaning they create. These approaches encourage learners to go beyond simply focusing on the cognitive thought processes of knowledge creation and to also begin considering their experiences and feelings as they make sense of the world around them. The focus of experiential learning is on application and experience and learning as an ongoing process. Constructivism and experiential learn ing can be informative lenses through which to view this research because of the experiential nature of DGBL and the learner centered academic projects of the StarCraft 2 course, which also includes the use of collaborative Web 2.0 tools. Constructivism se rves as a broader lens while experiential learning helps more finely tune the focus of the research and analysis much like how a telescope uses several lenses together to create a focused picture. The DGBL environment of this research has much potential be cause it taps into the power of digital games which often require not only complex cognitive processes, but also emotional

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29 and affective processes. Gee (2003) notes well made games can provide players and learners with the chance to engage in iterative cyc les where they can create knowledge and synthesize meaning. Figure 2 2. The relationship between constructivism and experiential learning. Having learners actually collaborate to learn about collaboration which this DGBL course emphasize d throughout th e semester is also invaluable because it can help learners engage in meaningful experiences they can directly participate in and observe. Both in the game environment and the academic online course environment, learners were encouraged and expected to creat e their own meaning and understanding using a variety of media and resources in addition to StarCraft 2 Learners were exposed to Web 2.0 tools such as Google Docs, a collaborative online office suite as well as

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30 creative Web 2.0 concept mapping tools such a s Bubbl.us and Gliffy and online presentation tools such as Prezi to help them represent, organize, and disseminate information visually. Using constructivism and experiential learning to examine the StarCraft 2 course can be especially helpful in gaining better insight into digital game based courses and DGBL in general. Well designed digital games can have elements of effective learning (Gee, 2003). Digital games such as StarCraft 2 encourage players to interact with the game environment and to synthesize understanding in a variety of areas such as game mechanics, game controls, strategy, and game storyline. Players immerse themselves in the game and learn by doing and through experience. They must constantly analyze, interpret, and synthesize their unders tanding. Players not only engage in many complex cognitive processes, but also experience affective processes as they react to the games often allow players to connect and p lay with others via the Internet and this brings a highly social aspect to the digital game play experience. This means players are not only experiencing cognitive and affective processes on their own, but they may also be doing so with fellow gamers some of whom may or may not be strangers or real life friends. Playing StarCraft and digital games in general not only encourages players to engage in thinking and reflection, but can also encourage them to experience different feelings such as team camaraderie competition, satisfaction of winning or improving performance, control, challenge, discovery, exploration, thrill, fantasy, and fellowship ( Squire, 2002; Wilson et al., 2009, Garris, Ahlers, & Driskell, 2002; Korhonen, Montola, & Arrasvuori, 2009).

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31 The StarCraft 2 course was designed specifically based from a constructivist philosophical perspective and heavily incorporates experiential learning educational approaches. This is another reason why examining it from a constructivist and experiential learning perspective can be helpful and informative. When it comes to digital game play, learners constantly engage in constructivist and experiential processes where they create and synthesize understanding by combining prior knowledge with newly gathered informa tion. They also formulate problem solving strategies, enact those strategies, and reflect upon the effectiveness of those strategies in order to inform future practice. At all levels, learners are encouraged to actively construct their own meaning through thought, analysis, reflection, and game play experience and relate what they learn to their own individual professional and academic contexts. Academically and professionally, the StarCraft 2 course encouraged learners to create new knowledge by synthesizi ng what they know and learn in the game world with how they can apply those skills and concepts to their real life professional world. It used StarCraft 2 as a digital sandbox where they had to learn to work well with others in order to succeed. Assignment s were varied and ranged from group projects where learners played collaborative StarCraft 2 matches as part of their assigned small group, to more traditional group assignments where learners created a summary document discussing and analyzing their game play and how it related to the real world. Please refer to Appendices C, D, and E for the collaborative academic GroupCraft projects and Appendix F for an example of an individual assignment. There were also individual assignments that focus on the iterati ve nature of digital gaming where learners played

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32 the game and then afterwards reflected on the implications of their performance. Other individual assignments included creative writing, where learners were asked to write a piece of StarCraft fan fiction. Learners were encouraged to collaborate using online document and file sharing applications and were also asked to create graphic organizers using Web 2.0 tools such as concept mapping applications to demonstrate their understanding of important concepts b y synthesizing text and visual information. Digital Gaming Overview The world is changing and continuing to change. It has been nearly forty years since the iconic two dimensional game Pong debuted and digital games now often feature immersive hyper reali stic environments where groups of players can play together and socialize. Digital games have become extremely popular to the point that some franchises such as the Resident Evil survival horror games have even inspired hugely successful Hollywood films. T he American digital game industry has become a significant economic force. Americans spent $25.1 billion dollars on digital games, gaming hardware, and gaming accessories and 72% of American households play digital games ( Entertainm ent Software Association 2011). While the stereotypical portrayal of the typical gamer as being an adolescent male living in the basement seems to persist, in reality, 42% of gamers are female and the average gamer is 37 years old. The Entertainm ent Software Association eport also challenges conception s that digital gamers are only playing violent games. In 2010, game sales nt ( Entertainm ent

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33 Software Association make DGBL a field full of promise. Constructivism Much of the promise educators and researchers see in digital games stems from their tendency to enc ourage and require players to engage in constructivist processes and experiences. Players often take on the persona of a game character, may actively participate in an interactive storyline, collaborate with other players, or solve complex puzzle s and problems. Constructivism is a learning approach that assumes individuals create their own reality based on interpretations of their experiences (Jonassen, 2006). It is a process oriented approach that examines how learners construct knowledge and als o takes into account how they have been influenced by their prior experiences, beliefs, and interpretations. Constructivist educational approaches assume that individuals make meaning of the world and that it does not exist as a separate and independent en tity (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992). Individuals do not passively acquire knowledge, but instead actively create and form it and use their cognitive abilities to organize the world they experience (Von Glaserfeld, 1989). To constructivists, all knowledge and mea are created through different contexts, situations, and experiences. Many digital games consist of highl y immersive and interactive virtual environments where players are free to explore, experience, and create knowledge and understanding. Although over the years other branches of constructivism with differing perspectives have appeared such as cognitive co nstructivism, co constructivism, radical constructivism, and situated constructivism, each share important common elements

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34 prior research, the constructivist approach consider s previous learning as a foundation for new knowledge, sees learning as an active process where communication is crucial, and advocates for learner centered learning environments (p. 14). Huang (2002) reiterates the learner centeredness of constructivism a between the school world and real agree and go a step further when they state how constructivist approaches are connected to real life settings and can offer learners alternate w ays to learn (p. 134). The active learning emphasis of constructivism can help make learning more relevant to learners accustomed to more passive positivist pedagogical approaches. The complexity and fast paced nature of games such as StarCraft 2 have gre at potential for serving as a dynamic environment which can foster constructivist learning. While playing, players constantly construct meaning from the game environment and their interactions with other players. They must also continually gather, evaluate and reevaluate information to be successful. Players make decisions and follow strategies that provide real time feedback. This feedback regarding decisions and actions can help players build their knowledge and experience base. Reflection both during an d after a match gives players a chance to analyze their performance and decisions to help improve future performance. This reflection process encourages them to navigate complex situations in a wide variety of fluid contexts through critical thinking and a nalysis. Experiential Learning Experiential learning is closely linked to constructivism. Lainema and Makkonen

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35 created and recreated in the personal knowledge of the lear learning is essentially constructivism applied to the learning process, or the praxis of constructivism and teaching and learning. Experiential learning theory is firmly rooted in the intellectual work of Dewey, Lewin, and Piaget (Kolb, 1984). There are six major characteristics of experiential learning (Kolb 1984; Kolb & Kolb, 2005). First, learning is a process and ideas are not fixed, but are constantly modified via experience. Second, learning is a continuous process rooted in experience, where old ideas are reevaluated and integrated with new ideas. Third, learning involves navigating and resolving conflicts, disagreements, and differences as well as traversing between states of reflection, action, thinking, and feeling. Fourt h, experiential learning considers learning as a broad process of adapting to the world or the environment that expands beyond the confines of a classroom. Fifth, learning involves interactions between an individual and their environment. It also refers to personal and subjective experience, with their more objective and environmental n experiential perspective of learning considers the learning process as complex, involved, and influenced by environment and experience. Experiential learning involves le arners participating in, interacting with, and applying things they have experienced through interaction with their environment and also exposing them to situations and processes that are often highly variable and uncertain. Experiential learning moves bey

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36 learning experience does not grant learners complete free reign over their learning. Rather, the learning experi ences must be structured to some degree with learning objectives and the entire process should be monitored and facilitated (Gentry, 1990). These approaches encourage learners to learn for themselves in a carefully planned and executed context. Learners ar e expected to use their own perspectives, beliefs, experiences, and personal histories to create their own meanings of knowledge and the world around them. Experiential learning serves as a firm foundation DGBL and can guide the integrat ion of pedagogy wi th gaming (Kii li, 2005). The StarCraft 2 course used a learning environment that encourages players to engage in inquiry, exploration, collaboration, teamwork, and experiential learning. As they practice d they added to and modified their understanding of g ame concepts, game knowledge, and related real world skills. The iterative nature of StarCraft 2 meant players had to constantly adapt to new experiences and negotiate numerous conflicts and differences along the way. Playing StarCraft 2 and practicing for improvement involves the cognitive, behavioral, and affective domains. More specifically, game play requires reflection, action, thinking, and feeling. Players must have knowledge about the important aspects of the game, reflect upon past performance to i nform future practice, and also consider their emotions in a competitive environment. There are also basic skills and competencies such as learning keystrokes and game interface comm ands that are required for game play. The StarCraft 2 course aimed to help in the game environment and to guide them in relating their in game experiences with

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37 their real world academic and professional experiences and contexts. In the course, learners were consistently encouraged to synthesize what they learned in the course and in the game world with what they already have learned and known in their academic and professional worlds. Digital Gaming in Education Although researchers have championed the potential of using digital games in education, educators still face major challenges in designing and implementing DGBL. Both inside and outside the education field, there is skepticism about using games in education stemming from the misconception that digital gaming is solely entertain ment. educators still tend to think of video and computer games as frivolous at best and ames revolve around killing and destruction when in reality, in 2011, 73 percent of all games sold were rated "E" for Everyone, "T" for Teen, or "E10+" which means the content is suitable anyone over the age of 10 ( Entertainm ent Software Association 2011). Digital games have also come under intense criticism for the way they portray women. portr ay women as over sexualized, promote unhealthy female body image, and portray women as weaker and subordinate to males (Ogletree & Drake, 2007; Beasley & Standley, 2002; Downs & Smith, 2010; Dietz, 1998). Squire (2003) acknowledges ism of video games as fostering aggressive and violent behavior, encouraging gender stereotyping, and encouraging unhealthy individualist attitudes. However, he also notes so far the research on digital games has found no

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38 relationship between digital games and maladjustment. In his opinion, the worries and concerns about the negative aspects of video games are largely without merit. In fact, the increasing complexity and collaborative aspects of new games actually hold great promise in increasing engagement and interactivity in teaching and learning. When it comes to using digital games in education, it is important to note they are not the only medium that contains mature and unsuitable content. Other media such as printed literature, music, television, an d film also contain countless examples of violent and unsavory content. There are many excellent examples within those media that could be used and are used in education. Digital gaming is no different and to think otherwise would be holding it to a double standard. Perhaps recognition of this fact is one reason why digital games are increasingly being seen as viable educational tools. Despite lingering misgivings in broader society, DGBL is making inroads in mainstream education. Van Eck (2006) notes that with the relatively recent prevalence of mainstream literature on the potential of gaming in education, the argument can be made society in general has become much more open to viewing games as engaging and possibly having a place in learning. Another pos sible reason for this greater level of openness towards digital games is their increasing popularity and prevalence. This has also captured the notice of educators and researchers (Squire, 2002; Prensky, 2003; Shaffer et al., 2005) and has helped encourage a proliferation of DGBL research. Digital games have the potential to provide learners with a space to develop, practice, and to engage in critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, management, and collaboration. They can then apply what they le arn from these experiences to the real world through learning transfer.

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39 Indeed, one possible benefit of gaming in education is the transfer of learning achieved in games to other contexts (Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005; Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 20 04). Learning transfer is when learning in one context or situation affects or influences learning or performance in different contexts or situations (Lewis, Lange, & Gillis, 2005; Singley & Anderson, 1989). There is some evidence that it occurs successful ly through video and computer games. Sharma, Holmes, Santamaria, Irani, Isbell, and Ram (2007) found that the use of a real time strategy game did result in learning transfer. Other researchers are a little more cautious, noting how game worlds are often v ery different from the real world and this difference may result in poor perspective that the effectiveness of DGBL depends heavily upon the type of game used and the context and way in which it is used. Advances in gaming technology have enabled the creation of immersive virtual worlds which encourage socialization and collaboration. These worlds represent the engaging and effective environments educators seek for a te chnologically advanced era (Squire, 2003). Gee (2003) identifies several principles of good learning that are present in well designed video and computer games. These elements have strong links to constructivism and experiential learning. Games can encoura ge players to create knowledge and to synthesize and refine that knowledge using new knowledge gained from new experiences. Games offer learners a place for both recreation and meaningful learning. The increasingly interactive and immersive environments of modern games encourage player motivation and promote collaboration (Gee, 2003). While many of

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40 these principles have not yet been empirically examined, they can still help guide the research of games in education. As noted earlier, well designed digital g ames can contain elements of both constructivism and experiential learning. In the digital game world players can actively interact, experience, and make decisions rather than be limited to passively watching such as with other media like film or text. Gee (200 7 ) notes how game worlds can be (2003) sees games as environments for active experimentation where players can explore to find understanding of complex concepts. Games can play a large role in 79). They can bridge the divide between what people know and understand, and w hat they experience. Games can also provide learners with an entirely new virtual world to experience (Gee, 2005; Prensky, 2003). When interacting with these environments, players must engage in constructivist and experiential processes. They must create and synthesize their own knowledge from what they know about the real world and what they experience in the game world. Each player may also have a different interpretation of reality within the game world as they each have different prior experiences and perspectives. There is not necessarily any one universal game experience. In experiential learning, individuals are constantly navigating and travelling between states of reflection, action, thinking, and feeling (Kolb and Kolb, 2005). With the development of increasingly immersive games, players now often traverse between worlds and not

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41 just internal states. In many modern digital games, players can actually create different realities within the game environment. Player experiences in game worlds may differ according to genre of game. Technological advances and ubiquitous Internet access have allowed for the increased popularity and proliferation of extremely complex and rich virtual environments that afford players with a high degree of social interaction. Specific genres of games such as (Delwiche, 2006, p. 162). MMOGs with their emphasis on world and social interaction offer players an exponentially greater range and depth of experience than playe rs of other genres of games which do not emphasize social interaction or immersion as heavily. MMOGs and other games also encourage social constructivism. Social constructivism is a branch of constructivism which says individuals construct meaning and know ledge socially and through group interaction (Kanuka & Anderson, 1999). Players in the social MMOG environment often work together to create knowledge or meaning within the virtual worlds they share. In this way, players often function as communities of pr actice, which are informal groups with shared expertise and interest in specific areas who generate knowledge together (Wenger & Snyder, 2000; Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002). MMOGs allow and encourage players to interact within complex communities of p ractice. Learning in the game world tends to be similar to ways individuals learn as members of more conventional real world communities of practice (Delwiche, 2006). Experience is not the only trait of experiential learning good games possess. One of the tenets of experiential learning is that learners must often navigate and address

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42 conflict or solve problems. Good games contain at least some level of conflict and re main do able (Gee, 2003, p. 2). According to Gee (2003), good games also present situations and problems to players which have solutions upon which they can generalize and build upon for future situations and similar problems. They can also present players with opportunities to observe and experience new information and compare it to their current understanding (Squire, 2002). Games do not solely relate to the cognitive domain, but can also appeal strongly to the affective domain by eliciting strong emotion s such as fear, excitement, power, wonder, aggression, and joy in players (Squire, 2002). Researchers have taken several different approaches to using digital games in lea rners as they play through. The main goal of serious games is to educate and train users for a represent a good opportunity for developers to make learning opportunities motivating, fun, and educationally worthwhile (Prensky, 200 3 ; Michael & Chen, 2005). When it comes to using serious games in education, Kafai (2006) identifies two main approaches. Instructionist approaches view digital games as vehicles for learning and pedagogy and the resulting games are characterized by embedded lessons. Constructionist approaches focus on giving learners the opportunity to construct their own knowledge as they point for young gamers into the digital culture not just as consumers but also as

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43 inclusive and can appeal to lear ners who may not initially be gamers. Research shows learners enjoy designing and creating digital games for learning (Kafai, 2006). Kafai (1998) took a constructionist approach that asked students to create their own digital games in the classroom. She fo und that the process engaged both males and females. Researchers are also using instructionist approaches to DGBL Papastergiou (2009) found that using an educational game in computer education was equally motivating for both males and females and that ther e was a similar level of learning. Winn and Heeter (2008) designed a serious game and documented their iterative prototyping design process. A study examining the final version of the game found serious games can successfully engage both females and non ga mers. Other researchers are looking at the potential of using commercial off the shelf games in education. Becker (2006) examines existing pedagogical elements in Nine Even Cultural also se e games as inherently containing learning principles and concepts. This openness to using games in education is due to a shift in education from traditional didactic models of instruction to approaches which encourage learner centered instruction and activ e learning (Garris, Ahlers, & Driskell, 2002). to better cognitive, skill Driskell (2002) also note that one o f the inherent strengths of games is the game cycle,

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44 or an iterative process of evaluation, action, and feedback. Games can produce interest, motivation, and enjoyment in players who then participate in sustained, repetitive play or StarCraft 2 course was built on the premise that learners would engage in some level and form of learning transfer as they applied what they learned in the game world to their own academic and professional contexts. Digital gaming is a frontier at the forefront of educational research. However, like any frontier, there is a certain level of confusion and chaos that requires more systematic research before the frontier is finally settled. Reviews of the rese arch on gaming research in general have found that much of it is characterized by methodological flaws, a lack of systematic and longitudinal studies, and a wide range of different variables (i.e. different age groups, tasks, and types of games) (Hays, 200 5; Mitchell & Savill Smith, 2004; Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004). Hays (2005) studied electronic and non electronic games and found the effectiveness of games in learning depends on the type of game and the situation in which it is used. He also concludes t hat there is no evidence in the literature indicating that games are necessarily any better than traditional well designed instruction. Kirriemuir and McFarlane (2004) note studying games can be an extremely complex endeavor because gaming has implications for many overlapping and related fields such as computer science, psychology, cultural studies, and education. Multiple applicable research fields, great complexity and genres of games, the fast paced nature of game development, and differing research per

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45 In addition to this trend of linking principles of effective learning with digital games, another possible reason fo r a new openness towards DGBL is the nature of games themselves is becoming more nuanced leading to a greater appeal to a broader audience. The gaming industry seems to have learned from the harsh criticism it has received about violence and gender portray al and seems to have finally recognized the value and importance of creating games that have a wider appeal. While violent first person shooters such as the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise are still extremely popular, other recent digital games have proven that more inclusive approaches can be commercially and critically successful. The massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft has millions of players who interact in a persistent virtual world where they can either com plete quests on their own or collaborate with others to successfully negotiate different challenges. The game play includes an emphasis on crafting in game items, exploring, and taking part in an involved story narrative. Players can also customize their c haracters and play either as males or females. League of Legends requires a high degree of collaboration and teamwork if players ar e to succeed Games in the Bioshock and Mass Effect series have a moral and ethical tone. Little Big Planet is an extremely well received and popular puzzle based game that also allows players a high degree of character cus tomization and allows them to create items as well as different levels of varying complexity using a level editor. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a game that emphasizes narrative and allows players to freely roam and explore a vast immersive world. It also allows players to play as either male or female characters and to customize them to a high degree ranging from body shape to

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46 eye color. Portal 1 and its sequel Portal 2 are puzzle based games that have also received much critical and commercial success. P ortal 2 allows for cooperative play. Farmville is a social media based game played by millions that revolves around the processes of creating and sustaining a farm. Angry Birds is also an extremely successful game that focuses on problem solving and also c ontains puzzle elements. Candy Crush helps players practice and refine critical thinking and problem solving skills. Other games focus primarily on creativity. Minecraft is a game that allows players to roam freely across huge maps. The main goal of the game is to create tools and build structures to shelter from predators that come at night. The the game as in most traditional digital games and the focus is not on winning, but on creating and building. It is important to note that although World of Warcraft and Skyrim do contain violence, they do so in a manner consist World of Warcraft is known for its cartoonish game world and its depictions of violence tend to be stylized and non graphic. While Skyrim has more realistic graphics, its violence is within context of the adventure narrative and has consequences for players. What all these games have in common is that they are not the stereotypical first person shooters that show graphic violence. It is significant that so many types of games outside the stereotypical violent first person shoo ter have established a strong presence in the digital gaming landscape and have enjoyed commercial and critical success. The financial potential of these games alone indicates that overly violent and sexualized games are not the only types of games that ca n be commercially successful. The digital gaming industry has

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47 prove to be a huge boon for educators and researchers interested in the potential of DGBL as it provides an i ncreasing number of digital games suitable for use in education and also ensures the relevance of digital games in general Online Education : Overview Technology and education have always had a complicated relationship. The long running debate between Kozma (1994) and Clark (1983) regarding media, technology, knowledge, teaching, and learning illustrates this well. Dede (2008) further shows illustrate an apparently endless searc h for a universal method of teaching/learning that panacea for all of education never ending quest for some elusive pedagogical Shangri La, researchers and educators must recognize learning is diverse and dynamic. Once this is realized, energy ing pedagogical media that provide many alternative ways of teaching, which learners select as they engage in their educational implications for online learning, they mu st remain aware of one major caveat as they navigate the growing body of research on the topic. When it comes to making sense of the literature regarding online learning, Moore, Dickson Deane, and Galyen (2011) note it is important to realize terminology m different expectations and perceptions of learning environment labels: distance learning, e highlights differences in the meanings p eople in different contexts and geographical

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48 locations assign to foundational terms in the field, which has implications for the on regarding terminology is outside the scope of this research, only a relatively superficial overview of online education is offered here, although future work on standardizing the foundational terms is certainly not only warranted, but necessary. Harasi m (2000) notes how the invention of the Internet was a watershed moment created, accessed, and used. This progressive shift has continued through the beginning of the 21 st century, and there has been a fundamental shift in attitudes and it United State Bakia, & Jones, 2009, p. xi). Online instruction and learning has become more important in the co rporate world (Bonk, 2002) and in higher education (Allen & Seaman, 2008). New technology implementation is one of the driving factors behind its development and expansion (Kim & Bonk, 2006). Kim and Bonk (2006) also note how blended learning has much pote ntial. Online education can also play an effective supportive role to traditional education (Larreamendy Joerns & Leinhardt, 2006). As with DGBL research, there is a significant amount of debate and discussion centering on the effectiveness of online edu cation. Tallent Runnels et al. (2006) reviewed the literature about online teaching and learning and found there is a need for

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49 more systematic and rigorous methodological designs because the field is characterized by inconsistent terminology and a lack of theoretical framework for studies. There are also some persistent misconceptions regarding the quality of online learning which is often seen as inherently inferior and lower quality than more traditional face to face instruction. However, the research ten ds to go against these misconceptions. Bernard and traditional face to face educator are comparable. When it comes specifically to online education, the research gener ally indicates that online education can be at least as effective as traditional face to face instruction (Swan, 2003). A multitude of studies have shown there are no statistical differences in the learning outcomes when compared to traditional face to fac e environments (Bernard et al., 2004; Johnson, Aragon, Shaik, & Plama Rivas, 2000; Carey, 2001; Dutton, Dutton, & Perry, 2001; Arbagh, 2000; Lam, 2009). Others have shown that online education is not only as effective as traditional methods, but can be mor e effective (Hiltz, Zhang, & Turoff, 2002). Through their meta analysis of quantitative studies comparing online and traditional learning approaches, Means et al. (2009) found that learners who took all or at least part of a course online performed better than those who experienced only face to face instruction. However, they are also quick to p oint out the online and face to face environments differed greatly in aspects such as time on task. There is some evidence online environments may have certain benef its when compared to traditional settings as online education may help disadvantaged students perform more effectively than traditional classroom based instruction (Lam, 2009). Lam (2009) also found that

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50 although gender is a significant predictor in tradi tional classroom courses, its effect disappears in Web However, regardless of its benefits, it is important to keep in mind effective online education shares one important characteristic with traditional methods solid pedagogy bas ed on theory and practice. To achieve effective online education, it is helpful to subject matter, the instructor or facilitator, and the learner. This advice is very similar to used play a large role in the effectiveness of using games in education. Bailey and Card (2009) also recommend some principles of effective online educati on. According to their findings, online instructors should foster relationships with their students, ensure there is clear and open communication, engage their students, are timely, are organized, are able to troubleshoot technical difficulties, and are fl exible. In other words, online instructors must have sound pedagogical skills just like traditional classroom teachers. StarCraft 2 Course StarCraft 2 Game Overview Researchers have classified digital games into genres such as action, real time strategy and turn based strategy, sports and racing, first person shooter, adventure, and role playing (Laird & van Lent, 2001; Pinelle, Wong, & Stach, 2008), although the delineation between genres has blurred and many current games have elements of multiple genr es. StarCraft 2 is a real time strategy (RTS) game and was chosen to anchor the DGBL course for three main pragmatic and pedagogical reasons. First, StarCraft 2 is the second game in the extremely popular StarCraft franchise. It has immense name recognitio n that can potentially draw the most learner interest. Second,

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51 StarCraft 2 is an RTS game, a genre characterized by large environments and the need for both complex decision making skills and resource management skills (Aha, Molineux, & Ponsen, 2005). Thir d, the complexity of RTS games have the potential to serve as learning environments that can promote and facilitate constructivist, experiential learning, and collaborative pedagogical approaches. Research in DGBL is growing. However, there is a tendency for researchers to not adequately or fully describe the games studied (Ritzhaupt, Frey, Poling, & Johnson, 2012). In recognition of this and because this research revolves so heavily around using StarCraft 2 in a DGBL course approach, it is necessary to pr esent some of the basic concepts of this complex RTS game. StarCraft 2 is an extremely complex and involved game. Foundational understanding of StarCraft 2 and the RTS genre of games is critical to understanding the theoretical, pedagogical, design, and re search implications of the StarCraft 2 course. First released in 1998, StarCraft has become an extremely popular commercial RTS game. It is a cult classic and is still being played today. An updated sequel, StarCraft 2, which this research uses, was relea sed in 2010. StarCraft 2 retains much similarity to its predecessor, but features enhanced graphics and updated units and capabilities. Despite these differences, both games are solid examples of the RTS genre. In the digital game world, many games come an d go, but the StarCraft series has demonstrated remarkable staying power as it has remained relevant in popular culture since the late 1990s. StarCraft 2 is a military science fiction game that has two major game play components. First, there is a story dr iven single player campaign mode where the player completes chains of related scenarios and where the computer

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52 is an opponent. Second, there is a multiplayer mode where the player competes against other player(s) on a single game map. The player may choose to play against a computer player or against a number of other human opponents. The most popular matches are 1 versus 1 games where a player goes up against a single human opponent. Players may also play cooperatively with or against up to seven other hum an or computer players. The StarCraft 2 course and this research focus on the collaborative multiplayer option of the game. The StarCraft reached the point where there are professional StarCraft gaming leagues in South Korea where pr ofessional players are sponsored by major Korean corporations in televised tournaments. The popularity of the game has also resulted in a proliferation of international tournaments and competition. A StarCraft culture has also developed where there are als o countless gaming resources including gamer created videos, websites, and forums for StarCraft players to access, discuss, and disseminate game related information. In RTS games such as StarCraft 2 the object is for a player to defeat their opponent(s) Game play revolves around creating units and buildings to create military and economic systems on unique game maps. These maps may have different natural barriers, topography, and resource allotments. Players must balance their economies with military ex pansion and must attack and defend themselves from other players as they seek to do the same. RTS games are defined by several characteristics. They are in real time and not turn based, which means there is constant action. Actions and decisions often have immediate consequences. Turn based games allow players more time to think and make decisions, while the real time nature of RTS games leads to an

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53 extremely fast paced game environment. Players must construct a home base consisting of different types of bu ildings. Each of these buildings produces different units. These buildings may also have prerequisite buildings which must be constructed. Third, players must construct groups of units with different functions and abilities. These units may be classified a s defensive, offensive, or resource gatherers and can be in their base. Sometimes there are multiple levels of each upgrade. Upgraded units are more powerful than uni ts that have not been upgraded. Some units have special recharge. At any one time, a player may be in control of dozens or even hundreds of different buildings and units with varying abilities and qualities. The RTS nature of StarCraft 2 means players must multitask. They must be able manage their existing units, create new units, and attack/defend against their opponent(s) all at the same time. Players must build and main tain an economy in order to sustain their base and their offensive forces. Players must use resource gatherer units to harvest resources which they can then use to build more buildings or units or to purchase abilities/upgrades. All buildings, units, and u pgrades cost resources. In StarCraft 2 there are two types of resources vespene gas and minerals. Each unit, building, or upgrade/ability costs gas, minerals, or some combination of both. Players must create units to attack their opponents or to defend ag ainst them. The end goal of an RTS game match is to either defeat their opponent(s) or force them to surrender. As an RTS game, the game mechanics and game play of StarCraft 2 can be quite complex as players may choose to play as one of three distinct rac es the Terran,

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54 Protoss, and Zerg. Set in the 25 th century, where the three races are locked in a struggle for galactic dominance, each have unique units, buildings, and abilities and therefore require different play styles. For example, the Protoss are a t echnologically advanced humanoid alien race that rely on technology. Their units are more costly, but more powerful. Play style tends to be fairly rigid. The Zerg are an insectoid alien race that relies on large numbers of units to overwhelm enemies. Play style tends to be organic and free flowing. The Terrans are humans and a balance between the Zerg and Protoss, possessing the capability to produce units both in quantity and quality. Terran play style tends to be a hybrid of the Zerg and Protoss styles. S tarCraft 2 is similar to traditional chess in that it has moves and countermoves. Depending on which race they choose and what race their opponents choose, players will use different tactics/strategies and counter tactics/counterstrategies. Players cannot see their player has units specifically at those locations. As such, players must constantly gather to make informed and timely decisions. StarCraft 2 is an extremely intricate environment that has many overlapping layers of complexity. It is precisely complexity that made it a suitable and attractive commercial game on which to base an ac ademic course. In order to succeed, players must use and rely on a wide range of skills such as critical thinking, decision making, management, and collaboration. As these 21 st century skills are such an integral part of succeeding in the game, StarCraft 2 presents a prime opportunity for educators to leverage a popular game for more academically structured learner

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55 Table 2 1. Levels of complexity in StarCraft 2 Level of Complexity Explanation Resources (Vespene Gas or Minerals) Units, structures, and upgrades cost different amounts of resources. Players must balance resources, and econ omic/military capabilities. Races (Terran, Protoss, or Zerg) Each race has different capabilities, requires different play styles, and possesses race specific units/abilities. Map and Topography Each game map has a unique configuration of resource loca tions /geographical topography. Topography influences game play (i.e. units holding the high ground have a damage advantage) Units Each of the three races has both common and unique units/structures. Units may be melee/ranged, offensive/defensive, fast/s low, air/ground, or are particularly weak/strong against other specific opposing units. Some units have a stealth/cloaking ability and are detectable only by special detector units/structures. Upgrades Units can be upgraded to increase defensive/offensi ve performance or to give units new abilities. Sometimes structure upgrades must be developed before other structural /unit upgrades are available to players. Strategies and Tactics As in chess, there are many strategies and counter strategies. Some stra tegies focus on the macro (big picture) game, while others focus on the micro (small picture) game. Formulaic and standard approaches are often modified according to situation and player preferences. Build Orders Chess has standardized opening moves. Sta rCraft 2 has build orders. Build orders are the specific sequences in which players produce units/structures. Each build is linked to an overall s trategy and enables players to maximize the efficiency of their chosen strategy. Build orders are often playe r style specific and heavily influenced by the players chosen race and overall game strategy. Fog of War Players can only see parts of the map/opponents only where there are friendly units or structures. This means that players cannot directly see what t heir opponents are doing for a significant amount of time during a match.

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56 Table 2 1. Continued L evel of Complexity Explanation Real Time The game is played in real time so adaptive decision making, critical thinking and fine motor skills are crucial for players to succe ed. exploration of these skills. The complexity is precisely what gives it so much potential as a rich learning environment that can encourage const ructivist and experiential learning. The table above shows several of the different levels of complexity within StarCraft 2 Keep in mind that many of these levels overlap and interrelate with each other. Table 2 1 describes the multiple layers o f complexity in StarCraft 2 StarCraft 2 Course Design Process and Overview The StarCraft 2 course began as an instructional design project for a graduate level online course development class. From there it was further refined in two independent studies. The researcher approa propose the course be included as an Honors course offering. The Honors Program innovation; course adoption could be made more easily h ere than in other parts of the University. After an initial meeting, the Honors Program expressed interest, but requested the course be further refined. Improvements were made and after a second meeting, the course was approved to be offered through the Ho nors Program as an interdisciplinary studies elective class. The first offering of the course filled up within a day of it being opened for registration, which gives some indication to the popularity of StarCraft Prior to the beginning of the course, due to the heavy student workload, a

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57 design decision was made to reduce the number of credit hours from three to two. The course workload was reduced and a new emphasis was placed on collaborative game play and collaborative academic projects. This decision se rved the dual purposes of reducing student workload, while also more heavily emphasizing collaboration. At the time of this research, the course had gone through five iterations. The 21st Century Skills in StarCraft course was specifically designed to prov ide learners with a structured environment in which to learn about and experience collaboration. StarCraft 2 is used as a mindtool, which Jonassen (2000) defines as any other technology, environment, or activity to engage learners in representing, StarCraft 2 course, learners were encouraged to anchor the concepts they are learning to their own experience s and identities. It was an online 8 week honors course offered through the honors program at a major research university in the southeastern United States. The course was interdisciplinary and focused on professional skills useful in any professional fiel d. It took advantage of the fast paced environment of an RTS game to encourage learners to practice important 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, research literacy, and collaboration in a meaningful and experiential manner. Mult iplayer StarCraft 2 matches require a high level of teamwork and collaboration among group members that goes beyond simply delegating certain tasks and responsibilities. Each player must ensure their actions and decisions are coordinated with their teammat es in order to win the match. They must work together to make complex decisions in real time that determine whether they win or lose.

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58 Academically, each assignment focused on higher order thinking skills such as analysis and reflection and also encouraged learners to constantly link in game concepts with real world ideas based on their own professional and academic contexts and perspectives. The course itself was broken down into eight separate weeks in Moodle, an open source online course management syste m. Each week included all the required readings, links, assignments, and assignment descriptions. There was a mixture of both individual and group assignments that focused on topics ranging from risk management, critical thinking, and problem solving. Thro ughout the course, learners were encouraged to link in game content and concepts with applications and connections to their own real life academic and professional contexts. There were also two mandatory in person meetings. The first was an orientation mee ting before the course actually began to ensure that all potential learners understand the specifics of the course before the drop/add period of the semester ends. The second was right before the course actually began and served as a final overview and opp ortunity for learners to ask questions. Just as careful planning is needed in the design and implementation of games in education, detailed design is required to create effective online courses. The StarCraft 2 ing the educational use of an RTS game, and Collazos, Guerrero, Pino, Ochoa, and 2007) framework for using digital games to teach collaboration. The course also took into consideration what Rovai (2004) and Huang (2002) identify as major principl es when designing effective constructivist online courses. These academic principles were applied to the StarCraft 2 course design. First, courses should be learner centered. The StarCraft 2 course was

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59 designed from a constructivist perspective and heavily emphasize d experiential learning. Second, there should be careful thought with regards to planning and presenting course content. Adequate guidance and support should be provided to learners. The StarCraft 2 course was presented in a well organized modula r format and include d orientation material to help guide learners as they completed the academic and game play elements of the course. Third, online courses should foster interpersonal interaction, positive social discourse, and collaboration. The StarCraf t 2 course included forums where learners interact ed with each other and the instructor. Learners also interacted virtually in the StarCraft 2 game environment as well as in face to face and virtual meetings. Fourth, learning in online courses should be inte ractive and strongly emphasize learner reflection. Learners in the StarCraft 2 course were regularly asked to reflect on their game play, decisions, and performance. They also reflected on connecting the game world with the real world. Fifth, courses shoul d include individual and group activities. The StarCraft 2 course included individual and group work that had to be completed online, during in person meetings, or in the game environment. Group were monitored throughout the course using learner self evaluations and group documentation of meetings, group processes, and StarCraft 2 match performance. Sixth, there should be appropriate assessment of learners. Learners in the StarCraft 2 course were assessed on the quality and completeness of their assignments, their collaboration performance, and how well they related game ideas to the real world and their own personal contexts. er cognitive abilities such as critical thinking, analysis, and evaluation. The StarCraft 2 course

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60 making, and collaboration. While there were some individual assignment s, the course recognized the importance for learners to practice working with others so more emphasis was placed on collaborative group projects that link academic and professional skills with in game concepts. To provide as authentic a collaborative exper ience as possible, learners were randomly placed into groups of three. They remained in their groups throughout the duration of the course. They were randomly assigned to their groups because in the professional world, they may be asked to work with people learners played StarCraft 2 collaboratively with their groups against other random groups online and then documented and reflected on their experiences. Depending on the assignment, lea rners had to analyze their performance and then link everything they have learned and experienced to the academic and professional worlds. 21 st Century Skills Overview The StarCraft 2 course was interdisciplinary and focused on helping learners practice important skills they will need to succeed academically and professionally. Throughout the millennia, humankind has relied on certain skills to survive and to thrive. Humans have long had to work together, be innovative, solve problems, and communicate. No t only did working together and problem solving skills help prehistoric hunters kill giant mammoths to feed their families, but they also aided in building the great pyramids and putting humans on the moon. Innovation fueled the Industrial Revolution and t he Age of Enlightenment and creativity sparked the Renaissance. Now in a digital information age, policymakers, professionals, and educators have placed

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61 renewed emphasis on these same skills that humans have used throughout history. They have relabeled the m 21 st century skills, which refer to a wide range of skills and competencies. The Partnership for 21 st Century Skills is a national organization at the forefront of the renewed focus on critical skills learners and workers need in order to be successful in an increasingly fast paced and connected world. The Partnership for 21 st Century Skills (20 13 ) organizes these skills into a framework consisting of four major groups. Core Subjects and 21 st Century Themes include mastery of such subjects as English, ma th, science, and economics. Learning and Innovation Skills include such skills as creativity and innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration. Information, Media and Technology Skills include information, media, and ICT literacies. Life and Career Skills include such skills as flexibility and adaptability. The StarCraft 2 course aimed to provide learners with the opportunity to actively learn and practice each of these skills in a meaningful, constructivist, experiential, and collaborative environment. New world and new s kills Towards the end of the 20 th century, economists, policymakers, and educators increasingly took note of the pace of global social and economic change. As the 21 st century loomed closer, some made pre dictions that the new millennium would be a drastically different time than preceding eras. Even as early as midway through the century, McLuhan and Fiore (1967) took note of the influence of technology and media and their contributions to making the world a global village characterized by dynamic information flow and creation. A number of people rather accurately it has turned out predicted fundamental economic change and a new economic world order for the new

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62 millennium. Johnston and Packer (1987) predicted that the United States would transition from manufacturing economy to a service oriented economy requiring increasingly skilled workers capable of interacting in redefined professional environments. Reich (1992) noted how increasing global interrelationships and s hifting economic situations were causing American industry to move away from high volume commodity production to high value information generation and management. The United States is not the only nation which has had to undergo radical economic change ov er the past few decades. Tapscott and Williams (2008) note how technological, demographical, and economic change in the 21 st century have enabled and empowered people around the world to become increasingly participative in the global economy. Hitt, Keats, and DeMarie (1998) note that business and government policymakers around the world have come to recognize that the technological advances and increased globalization of the digital age have reshaped the business and industry landscape. Developed nations h ave generally transitioned from regulated and relatively static economies to more dynamic and knowledge driven economies (Audretsch & Thurik, 2000). Economic changes also effect career and workplace changes. Schein (1996) predicted largely correctly that i ndividuals would have more power in career path and development than they had in traditional organization directed career workers are in charge of their own careers and whose roles are dynamic and based on driven economies, individuals are experiencing new forms of social interaction and must be

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63 competent in new professional skills such as information literacy and networked communication in order to succeed (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009). Essentially, in this new world defined by change, successful companies must harness and attract knowledge businesses of the 21 st century must embrace flexibility, develop c ore competences, use new technologies, cooperate, innovate, and invest in training and learning. While they are specifically referring to businesses as a whole, their recommendations are strikingly similar to what the Partnership for 21 st Century Skills ad vocates as important for learners st century learner are similar in that they all describe the learner and wo rker of the new millennium. These individuals live and work in a fast paced world defined by change and require certain skills to navigate and succeed in an unpredictable world. Casner of over 400 American companies identifies skills valued most by employers. These skills include problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, innovation, creativity, information technology application, and communication. The United States is not the only nation which is aware of the importance of d eveloping and harnessing these skills. Internationally, these concepts have become increasingly accepted and embraced. Ananiadou and Claro (2009) sent out a questionnaire study to Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development (OECD) member nations A total of 17 responded and most recognized and accepted the importance of 21 st century skills.

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64 Businesses and governments understand the dynamics of change know that the only way to succeed is to produce and employ workers with new skill sets suited for the new environment. In an increasingly technological and interconnected world, it is imperative for learners to be proficient in 21 st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. degree of social interaction and being able to work together with others, this research focuses on teamwork and collaboration. In an increasingly connected and global world, the ability to effectively and efficiently collaborate and work in teams has beco me an absolute necessity. Tapscott and Williams (2008) note how society at the beginning of the 21 st century is defined by collaboration, innovation, information and technology access and use, peer to peer interactions, and participatory culture. They note collaboration are changing how goods and services are invented, produced, marketed, collaborative and social media have enabled this economic shift. T he lines between consumer and producer have been blurred. In an interconnected world, the English poet that no person is an island. In the past, a consumer may have been relatively isolated due to limits in communication and travel. However, in an era defined by ubiquitous Internet access and social and collaborative media, each individual is now connected to any number of other people on other islands and has the freedom to move around and communic ate freely. In addition, technology and new business models allow groups of individuals to design, create, and market new products in new ways. As 21 st century society continues

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65 to be characterized by social connections, collaboration and teamwork are just a couple of the many skills that are increasingly important for learners to master if they are to succeed. Groups and t eams While groups and teams are often used interchangeably, it is important to note there is a difference between them. Both have disti nct bodies of research (Paulus & Zee, 2004). relatively simple and basic, the concept of teams is more complex. Katzenbach and Smith (1994) make the explicit distinction that teams have a strong emphasis on collaborative performance and joint contribution while small groups may share information and insights, but are not necessarily as focused on performanc e or common element of revolving around the individual, rather than the collective (Katzenbach & Smith, 1994, p. 112). Sundstrom, De Meuse, and Futrell (1990) also note how te ams small groups of (p. 120). For example, a social support group is very different from a sports or mili tary team. For this research the students enrolled in the StarCraft 2 course were divided into small groups that interacted academically and socially. However, they were also considered a team because they were concerned with performance and the production of collective end products (i.e. winning StarCraft 2 matches as a team and finishing collecti ve academic projects as a group )

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66 In their discussion, Sundstrom, De Meuse, and Futrell (1990) note one of the elements of teams is they are dynamic in both their characteristics and their approaches to action as they adapt to their shifting environments. In their study, Devine et al (1999) found that teams are usually driven by consensus, perform multiple tasks, and are peer oriented. While teams tend to be non hi erarchal, they often have a formal leader. Kozlowski and Ilgen (2006) synthesize a seven element definition of the team from the existing literature on the definition of teams and their characteristics. For them: A team can be defined as (a) two or more in dividuals who (b) socially interact (face to face or, increasingly, virtually); (c) possess one or more common goals; (d) are brought together to perform organizationally relevant tasks; (e) exhibit interdependencies with respect to workflow, goals, and ou tcomes; (f) have different roles and responsibilities; and (g) are together embedded in an encompassing organizational system, with boundaries and linkages to the broader system context and task environment (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006, p. 79). Essentially, a team is a special form of group whose interaction and purpose go beyond simple social interaction and relationships. For example, activities/hobbies groups may simply gather together for the social companionship or because they have shared pastimes or inte rests. They often have no unified goal that they need to collectively achieve. Amateur and professional sports teams on the other hand may also gather for social reasons, but have the added goal of contributing in an organized and collective manner to a co llaborative endeavor determine the success or failure of the entire team A military platoon is also a team where individuals engage in distinct social interaction but also must complete a well defined mission wh ere they must engage in a high level of teamwork and collaboration.

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67 Cooperation, coordination, c ollaboration teamwork, and team c ohesion terms such as cooperation and coordinat othe r in distinct ways so it is important when reading and interpreting this research to have a clea r understanding of the terms since each has different implications for teaching and learning. The best way to u nderstand these concepts is to reali ze they are on a continuum moving from cooperation to coordination to collaboration bas ed on the level of organization, formality and risk of the social interactions (Reilly, 2001). Teamwork, which can be interpreted as collaboration occurring in teams comes next in the continuum and is the most formally organized structured interaction. The Merriam Webster Dictionary (2013) defines association learly noting a level of social interaction, is rather vague and highlights the absence of formal organization or leadership structure as the individuals are simply associating with each other for a common benefit. Next on the continuum is coordination wh ich the Merriam Webster Dictionary (2013) defines as This definition also clearly indicates some level of interaction between different elements or people, but it also seems to indicate a greater level of interdependence since there is an emphasis on the functioning and end result of those interaction s. helping guide and drive the process or that there is some loose system that all entities and individuals must adhere to in order to maintain the balance and effectiveness of the coordination process.

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68 Collaboration is more formally organized than either cooperation or coordination (Merriam Webster, 2013). This definition specifically states how people are explicitly working together with others towards a common goal. It goes beyond simple ning process through which parties see different aspects of a problem can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited vision and Gray (1991) modify this original definition and domain engage in an interactive process, using shared rules, norms, and structures, to act or decide on issues related to th (Rochelle & Teasley, 1995) or can be both a process and an outcome at the same time (Gardner, 2005; Macdonald, 2003), but does not automatically happen in the formation of groups or through interpersonal inte raction. Tyre and von Hippel (1997) are clear to point out that just bringing people together and having them interact is not necessarily enough for true collaboration. Rather, the situations surrounding collaborative endeavors and the contexts in which th ey occur should also be considered. The Partnership for 21 st Century Skills (20 13 ) associates collaboration with teams and teamwork as their student outcome statement for collaboration states how learners should be expected to work together in teams, share responsibility, and produce collaborative work. As the most formally structured and organized form of interaction teamwork is work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal

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69 prominence to the efficiency of the whole Merriam Webster, 2013). This definition clearly highlights formal structure and organization. It also shows a high level of interdependence even up to the point of subordination to other team members, the team leader, or the task. In collaboration, indi viduals cede a significant amount of autonomy and instead become part of a collective. Whereas collaboration involves multiple groups, teamwork only involves one and everyone in that group works singularly towards a common goal or purpose. Paris, Salas, an d Cannon Bowers ( 2001 ) note teamwork is when team members integrate and utilize specific cognitive, behavioral and affective skills and competencies to achieve goals and objectives and to optimize their performance. It is characterized by attitudes, adapti ve behaviors, monitoring, feedback, collective action, communication, and flexibility. Teamwork and its underlying behaviors can help groups enhance their performance and accomplish collective tasks (Rousseau, Aub Classifying, defining, and understanding the many different levels, forms, and When examining how humans work together, clearly defining these terms is more than a petty quibbling ove r semantics, but rather a matter of utmost importance. Each of these terms and concepts has important similarities and differences. For any research on cooperation, coordination, collaboration, and teamwork to be meaningful and useful, researchers and educ ators must take great care to avoid using them interchangeably and to only use the appropriate term to refer to and define the appropriate situation(s) Table 2 2 below provides a brief overview of the definitions and characteristics of each term. This res earch specifically chose to look at collaboration because it is explicitly identified as a

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7 0 21 st century skill. It chose to look at teamwork because the Group Environment Questionnaire the quantitative research instrument used in this study was specifically designed to measure team cohesion in a competitive environment which relied on teamwork. Table 2 2. Definition and characteristics of group and team interaction Definition Characteristics Cooperation The association of persons for common benefit (Merr iam Webster, 2013) Defined by informal relationships that have no formal structure or planning. Emphasizes sharing of information and each group or entity retains full autonomy (Reilly, 2001) Coordination The harmonious functioning of parts for effective results (Merriam Webster, 2013) Characterized by more formal and structured relationships that also include division of roles. Emphasis is on common tasks and there is increased communication between each group or entity, which retain autonomy, but also take on more risk because of the more involved extent of the relationships (Reilly, 2001, Winer & Ray, 199 4 ) Collaboration To work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor (Merriam Webster, 2013) Requires more robust and dur able relationship and also an extensive amount of planning and structure. Previously autonomous groups and entities are incorporated while still remaining part of their original groups into a new collaborative structure and there is significant level of ri sk because everyone invests their own resources to achieve a common goal or purpose (Reilly, 2001) Teamwork Work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole (Merriam Webster, 2013) Characterized by a highly interdependent dynamics and constant communication between team members Includes team monitoring behaviors to ensure all members are functioning effectively. There is an extreme level of risk since the absolute interdepende nce of the members behaviors and actions will determine the success or failure of the team in achieving its shared goal or purpose (Jones & George, 1998; Salas, Sims, & Burke, 200 5 ) While in collaboration groups retain some of their autonomy, in teamwork, all members are part of a single group. Requires leadership I t is helpful to consider the similarities and differences between collaboration and teamwork in more detail. There is also an extensive amount of literature for both

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71 collaboration and teamwork Some researchers such as Thomas, Sexton, and Helmreich (2003) use the terms interchangeably. After reviewing the many definitions and principles of teamwork (Salas, Burke, & Cannon Bowers, 2001 ; Jones & George, 1998; Salas, Sims, & Burke, 2005) and colla boration (Gray, 1989; Wood & Gray, 1991; Partnership for 21 st Century Skills 20 13 ), it is clear that the two concepts overlap and share much in common. (Please refer to Table 2 3 below, which shows characteristics of collaboration and teamwork). To avoid becoming embroiled in a semantic debate over the two terms, t his research takes the perspective that while any group can collaborate, teamwork specifically refers to a more directed, coordinated, and focused form of collaboration by a team. Over the years researchers have developed many theories and definitions of teams and teamwork and there are a multitude of factors that have been connected to the concept including team performance and team effectiveness. These two constructs can be helpful in measurin g and determining the level and quality of teamwork engaged ness takes a more holistic perspective in considering not only whether the team performed (e.g., completed the team task) but also how the team & Burke, 2005, p. 557). Team effectiveness has been addressed and defined differently by researchers, but all definitions tend to have several commonalities. Kozlowski and Ilgen (2006) identify the dynamic qualities of team effectiveness and the importance of relatively

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72 intangibl e team qualities. They discuss a total of nine factors which influence team effectiveness. Some are cognitive and include factors such as team climate Other factors are behavioral and center on team competencies. Motivational factors such as team efficacy and team cohesion also play a role in overall team effectiveness. Table 2 3 Characteristics of collaboration and teamwork Collaboration Teamwork parties who see different aspects of a problem can constructive ly explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited vision of what autonomous stakeholders of a problem domain engage in an interactive process, us ing shared rules, norms, and structures, to act or decide on issues related to that c reating solutions or strategies through the synergistic & Yaholkovsk y, 2008, p. 10). Learner standards for Collaboration ( Partnership for 21 st Century Skills 20 13 ) Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member determined by what all others are doing, and the parties must be const antly alert to the ways others are behaving in order to George, 1998, p. 539). Teamwork is characterized by flexible and adaptive behaviors, monitoring of member behavior, interdependence of members, communicatio n, and collective action (Salas, Burke, & Cannon Bowers, 2001, p. 352). Salas, Sims, and Burke (2005) have synthesized a definition of stating that thoughts, actions, and feelings of each team member that are needed to f unction as a team and that combine to facilitate coordinated, adaptive performance and task objectives resulting in value added

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73 Similarly, when it comes to defining team effectiveness, Sundstrum, De Meuse and favor a broad definition that accounts for members' satisfaction and the also includes cohesion, inter member coordination, problem solving, establishing roles and norms, an d mature communication. Cohen and Bailey (1997) echo this when they state team effectiveness is comprised of three major components. The first component produces. The second c turnover. Considering both team performance and team effectiveness is important because a team can still successf ully complete a task regardless of whether or not they actually engaged in optimal teamwork (Salas, Sims, & Burke, 2005). A team that collaborates well and engages in a high level of teamwork, yet does not produce a successful output can still be said to e xhibit a certain level of team effectiveness. An example of this could be a scientific research team or a StarCraft 2 team that works well and collaborates at a high level, but still does not succeed with regards to output (i.e. produces significant experi ment results or a StarCraft 2 match victory). If team effectiveness is measured solely by output, then these teams would be considered ineffective teams even though they actually exhibited high levels of teamwork and collaboration. However, when teamwork a nd collaboration processes are considered in addition to final product, then the teams can still be seen as being effective to a certain degree. They may not be deemed as effective as teams which exhibited high teamwork

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74 and collaboration as well as produce d a successful output, but they cannot be written off as total failures. In the same way, a team that severely lacks teamwork and collaboration may be able to produce a suitable outcome, but could still be considered ineffective. It could have been that th e lack of teamwork and collaboration led to an individual or small group of individuals within the larger group to simply do all the work. Therefore, when it comes to team effectiveness, it is important to consider process and product as well as context. As mentioned earlier by Kozlowski and Ilgen (2006) and Sundstrum, De Meuse and Futrell (1990), team cohesion is a factor that contributes to team effectiveness. Team co c ohesive groups perform better than non cohesive ones and Partington, Tranfield, and Young, 2002, p. 5). Evans and Dion (1991) found in their meta analytic study of group cohesion and performance that there is a positive relationship between team cohesion a nd group performance and that an average cohesive group performed 18 percentile points higher than the average non cohesive group. Gully, Devine and White (1995) also agree that group cohesion and performance her factors such as level of analysis and task interdependence influence this relationship (p. 512). group performance is conceptualized as a behavior instead of an ou (Beal et al., 200 3, p. 998). When it comes to improving team effectiveness, Guzzo and Dickson include the design of the group, the context in which the group functions, and group

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75 e group as well as the group tasks with which it is involved. Evans and Jarvis (1980) refer to cohesion as how attracted members are to their group. Carron, Brawley, and Widmeyer (1998) explicitly mention the affective nature of group cohesion when they de fine together and remain united in the pursuit of its instrumental objectives and/or for the e definitions, team cohesion can be understood as how a group feels and thinks about itself and sticks together as it works towards completing its common goals. Team cohesion is a dynamic multidimensional construct that changes both over the course of ti me and as individual members change (Carron, Brawley, & Widmeyer, 2002). As discussed earlier, group cohesion has implications for group effectiveness and performance (Sundstrom, De Meuse, & Futrell, 1990). There are a number of established studies which p oint to a significant relationship between group cohesion and group performance (Evans & Dion, 1991; Cooper, 2001; Gully, Devine, & Whitney, 1995; Beal et al., 2003). However, it should be noted that when it comes to discussing this relationship, there are many ambiguous, conflicting, and inconclusive viewpoints (Mullen & Copper, 1994). For example, Gully, Devine, and Whitney (1995) and Mullen and Copper (1994) do not explicitly define performance, and Beal et al. (2003) acknowledge performance as having bo th process and product, but choose to focus on aspects of behavioral processes. It should also be realized that some studies do not

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76 support the cohesion and effectiveness relationship (Ancona & Caldwell, 1992). However, while there is wide variation in the quality and nature of the work regarding the relationship of cohesion with performance, there is a general consensus that the two are indeed related (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006). While there are many different aspects of collaboration that could have been studied, there are two main reasons why this research chose to focus on team cohesion. The first reason was because of the significance it plays in group collaboration and teamwork. Collaboration and teamwork are extremely complex social processes. Team co hesion is closely related to the social attitudes, perceptions, and bonds group members form with each other both on a social level and on a task based level. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to use team cohesion to look at the collaborative processes occ urring within the StarCraft 2 groups. The second reason is because there was already a developed and validated research instrument which measures team cohesion in a context not too dissimilar than the StarCraft 2 course. 02) Group Environment Questionnaire was designed for competitive sports teams. The StarCraft 2 game play in the course is competitive albeit via online competition with each group functioning in many ways like a traditional in person sports team. While the re are other well regarded quantitative instruments that examine different aspects of collaboration and teamwork such as collaboration of work groups in a professional conte xt and not on collaboration of competitive teams either in traditional sports contexts or in multiplayer online gaming

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77 contexts. It was thought that using an already validated research instrument would be easier than creating a new one from scratch.

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78 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Overview This research is a sequential explanatory mixed methods study which sought to examine the way s in which participation in the StarCraft 2 course influenced research cohesion. The first phase of the study was quantitative and used a questionnaire that was modified in a previous study and which exhibits some preliminary evidence of validity. The data was statistically analyzed using SPSS software. The second phase of the study involved conducting three individual qualitative interviews. The collected data were analyzed us ing the constant comparative method. This chapter first describes the mixed methods research approach and also the research perspective of the study. Second, it describes the research context in detail including overviews of StarCraft 2 the StarCraft 2 c ourse design process, and the modified Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ) developed in a previous study. qualitative research methods, and sample. This section also discusse s procedures that 1 analysis. Fourth, it discusses assumptions and biases of the study. Fift h, it briefly discusses limitations and delimitations of the study. Table 3 1 below provides the research question, data collection methods, and data analysis methods.

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79 Table 3 1 Research questions, data collection, and data analysis Research Question Data Collection Data Analysis RQ: In what ways does participation in an online digital game based course perceptions of collaboration and team cohesion? Modified questionnaire instrument which exhibits some preliminary evidence of val idity (Carron, Brawley, & Widmeyer, 2002) Individual qualitative interviews (Willis DeMaio, & Harris Kojetin 1999), content analysis (Patton, 2002 ) SPSS, paired samples t test, Pearson product moment correlation calculations Constant comparative method and coding (Patton, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 1998; Charmaz, 2000) Research Approach : Mixed Methods One of the main differences between quantitative and qualitative research is that hereas 15 16). While there are certainly major differences between quantitative and qualitative research methods, there is often a tendency by some researchers to overemph asize these differences to the point where they are seen as divergent and even polar opposites (Howe, 1988). Instead of perpetuating the quantitative qualitative divide which inevitably leads to perpetual philosophical and epistemological disagreements, Ho we which also views quantitative and qualitative methods as compatible. The rigid approach of choosing one quantitative or qualitative cookie cutter approach and attempting to force it to fit a particular study simply does not make sense. When it

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80 be methodological ap propriateness Methodological appropriateness means that designs should be judged on the extent to which they answer the inquiry question at hand, not whether they adhere to some Mixed methods research is an increasingly accepted pragmatic approach which combines quantitative and qualitative methods in such a way that the resulting research is stronger than single method quantitative or qualitative approaches (Creswell, 2009; Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007). Mixed methods approaches emphasize practicality and have three major advantages over single method designs 15). As resea rch in educational technology continues to explore and examine new ways technology is being used in education, the versatility of mixed methods approaches holds great promise. This study was a sequential explanatory mixed methods design, which is rized by the collection and analysis of quantitative data in a first phase of research followed by the collection and analysis of qualitative data in a second phase F igure 3 1 below provides an overview of the overall project design. This model follows quantitative data will be collected in the first phase of the study and qualitative data will be collected in the second phase. The qualitative phase was capitalized to denote this

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81 study placed more emphasis on the qualitative data collection and analysis than on the quantitative phase. During the initial study design, more emphasis was place d on the qualitative phase to acknowledge the fact that results from the quantitative phase would be severely limited due to the extremely small sample size. It was determined the qualitative phase was more likely to provide meaningful and in depth data th an the quantitative statistics. Figure 3 1. Overview of the project design. Research Perspective Mixed methods approaches are rooted in pragmatism (Howe, 1988; Patton, 1990; Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998) and free researchers from being constrained to using a single methodology. Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998) encourage researchers to appropriate, and utilize the results in ways that can bring about positive consequences within yo freedom of choice and the ability to mix and match different methods, perspectives, and frameworks that best fit the specific contexts of their study. It is also significant that the pr agmatic characteristics of mixed methods approaches also share some similarities with constructivist perspectives of teaching and learning. In mixed methods approaches, researchers are free to create hybrid frameworks to help create new

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82 understanding. In constructivist instructional strategies, learners play an active role in creating their own knowledge and learning. Indeed, constructivism is a fundamental thread that ties all the elements of this research together. The StarCraft 2 course design was base d on constructivist theory and revolves around encouraging learners to construct their own meaning through experiential learning. DGBL emphasizes constructivist instructional approaches and experiential learning. Social constructivism plays an integral rol e in the collaborative and teamwork endeavors in the course. The mixed methods approach of this study allowed for the mixing and matching of different methods, which is helpful when studying new and innovative educational technology approaches such as DGBL courses. DGBL often draws from multiple disciplines and bodies of knowledge so it can be very helpful for researchers to take advantage of the more flexible and multifaceted nature of mixed methods approaches because traditional single method approaches m ay not be adequate. Allowing learners to describe their own perceptions and capturing and analyzing this rich data using a multidimensional pragmatic and constructivist research perspective has more potential than simply relying on more close ended approac hes. As technology continues to help facilitate the creation of complex multidimensional learning environments, the multifaceted aspect of mixed methods makes them well suited for use in studying these new instructional approaches. Research Design Sample T he sample for this study came from students who took the Fall 2012 iteration of the StarCraft 2 course. As the course was only available to students in the University

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83 Honors Program, all students were undergraduate Honors students. It was clearly communica ted to potential participants that the course instructor was also the primary investigator, that there were no incentives for participation in the study, and that the data would only be viewed and analyzed once final grades were submitted to the registrar. The course had no restrictions regarding academic majors and there were no course prerequisites other than prior experience with RTS games and StarCraft 2 in particular. Participants ranged from first year students to undergraduates in their fourth year. Because the course used a digital game as the primary resource for instruction and learning, each participant in the sample had experience with digital gaming. Furthermore, because the course description clearly stated potential students must already posse ss basic knowledge and experience with StarCraft 2 the sample included beginner intermediate to advanced skill level StarCraft 2 players who were also full time university students. Participants in the StarCraft 2 course were recruited at the second of tw o required in person orientation meetings as outlined in the course description and also via email. As many participants as possible were asked to take part in phase 1 of the study which consisted of a quantitative questionnaire. After the course was compl eted and phase 1 was complete, participants were then asked and given the opportunity to take part in phase 2, which consisted of individual qualitative interviews. The goal of this two step process was the ability it provided to zoom in on increasingly sp ecific levels of information and also to help triangulate the data for validity purposes. A total of six individuals elected to participate in the quantitative part of the study and completed both the quantitative pre and post test surveys. Seven students filled out the pre test but only

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84 six also completed the post test. Three individuals one freshman, one sophomore, and one senior chose to participate in the individual qualitative interviews. These three participated in both the quantitative and qualitativ e phases of this research. Quantitative Methods Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ) (GEQ) was used in this research study and was chosen after reviewing numerous instruments that measu red various aspects of small groups and collaboration. It was chosen based on its very low cost, its clarity, its documented validity and reliability of the scores and because team cohesion has implications for the collaborative elements of the StarCraft 2 course. Team cohesion has been identified as an element of team performance (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006) and therefore measuring it can provide insight into how effective a group is collaborating. The GEQ was originally designed for use with in person compe titive sports teams and includes 18 items scored using a 9 and use it to study the StarCraft 2 course was based on two main reasons. First, the course has a strong emphasis on competitive and collaborative game play. Second, the GEQ measures aspects of group cohesion and one of the objectives of the StarCraft 2 course is to help learners improve and practice their collaboratio n and small group the game and real worlds. Carron, Brawley and Widmeyer (2002) note the GEQ should be used as a framework and a guide and that researchers studying team cohesion in different

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85 contexts should revise and reword the instrument to fit their purposes. In this research, extensive revisions were completed during an extensive and systematic focus group and cognitive interview procedure to better adapt the in strument to measure team cohesion within the academic, online, and digital game contexts of the StarCraft 2 a group construct can be assessed through the perceptions of individual group members (Carron, Brawley and Widmeyer, 2002, p. vii) shown in Figure 3 2 identifies four factors which contribute to the overall concept of team cohesion: Individual Attractions to the Group Task (ATG T), Individual Attractions to the Group Social (ATG S), Group Integration Task (GI T), and Group Integration Social (GI S). It is important to note that the factors are distinguished by task aspect and by social aspect. The first two factors, ATG T and ATG S focus on individual gr oup T and GI It is important to note the GEQ framework assumes team cohesion is multidimensional and dynamic (Carron, Br awley and Widmeyer, 2002). Group interactions and relationships are fluid and change over time. Not all of the four cohesion aspects need be present in the same proportion for a group to be cohesive. Also, while ATG T, ATG S, GI T, and GI S may help explai n team cohesion, these constructs are conceptually different and have moderate relationship to each other.

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86 Figure 3 2. Factors that determine group cohesion. Because of this, the designers of the GEQ suggest scoring and analyzing each of the individual areas separately, rather than simply combining the four total scores to obtain an overall measure of team cohesion. Combining all the four scores would result in a muddy and unclear picture. The overall team cohesion value can provide some insight into the effectiveness of a group, but studying each individual aspect provides a more detailed and meaningful analysis. In some cases, they note it may be appropriate to separately combine the task oriented factors and to separately combine the social oriented fa ctors. However, any combining of scores should depend on individual The GEQ is a multidimensional construct that differentiates between team k aspects. It is important to note that task cohesion has been seen to predict team performance more than social cohesion (Carless & De

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87 Paola, 2000). This makes logical sense in that a group can still successfully complete a task regardless of how close an d social the members feel towards each other. A dysfunctional group can still succeed at a task. While this may be a valid point, it is important to avoid dismissing o r underestimating the importance of social cohesion as part of overall team cohesion because it has been established that group social processes and relationships do affect group factors such as group effectiveness and group task performance (Jehn & Shah, 1997; Jehn & Mannix, 2001; De Dreu & Weingart, 2003). While social cohesion may not be as strong a predictor as task cohesion, it is still necessary to consider and acknowledge interpersonal group processes since both dimensions of team cohesion overlap an d interact given the very definition of group collaboration. The GEQ has been found to be valid in many studies over the years (Carron et al., 1985; Brawley et al., 1987; Spink & Carron, 1993; Westre & Weiss, 1991; Li & Harmer & Acock 1996). The scores f rom prior test administrations have also been found to be reliable. With regards to reliability the original .70, GI correlation to external variables was calculated. The task cohesion factors and the social cohesion factors were individually correlated with the 10 item Likert scaled Team Player Inventory (TPI). Thi towards working in a group or team environment. The TPI was chosen to help validate

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88 collaboration and teamwork will posit ively correlate with attitudes towards both task cohesion and social cohesion in the StarCraft 2 course. It is logical to assume that most individuals with low predisposition to working in groups will tend to also report less positive experiences when it c omes to attitudes towards task and social cohesion. The TPI was analyzed using principal components analysis and it was found that the instrument was valid and that each of the ten items measured the intended construct (Kline, 1999). Partial validation pr ocedure The partial scale validation consisted of a focus group and four separate cognitive interviews, each following proper IRB protocols. The focus group participants were recruited via in person communication and included five members with a wide varie ty of expert background knowledge and expertise. The group included the following: one tenured educational technology faculty member with extensive experience conducting educational research and focus groups, one tenure track faculty member with both scale validation and StarCraft experience, one educational technology post doc with experience in scale creation and validation, one educational technology PhD student with experience in both playing StarCraft and co teaching the StarCraft 2 course, and one vol unteer undergraduate research assistant with StarCraft experience who also had an integral role in the design, development, and ongoing modification of the StarCraft 2 course. In order to maximize the effectiveness of the focus group, the partial validati on of 2009 ) framework for conducting successful focus groups and incorporated many key recommendations such as using open ended questions and encouraging a permissive environment. The four cognitive interview participants were

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89 u ndergraduate Honors students recruited via email correspondence. Each of them had taken previous offerings of the course. The partial validation of the GEQ followed Willis, DeMaio, and Harris interv iews regarding developing and delivering appropriate questions. It used a verbal probing technique since the purpose of the cognitive interviews was to collect specific data to help inform the item modification process. Questions were also thought out befo re interviews were actually conducted and included both standardized questions as well as flexibility for follow up questions. Results of the focus group and cognitive interviews led to 11 questions being added to the modified GEQ scale. As the course has both an academic and game based context and the original GEQ had only a sports team context, these additions consisted of adding questions that specifically related to team cohesion and the academic side of the StarCraft 2 course. The partial scale valida tion also included conducting a pilot test. This was achieved by administering the modified GEQ as pre and post tests to undergraduate Honors students who were currently taking the StarCraft 2 course at the time of the study. These students were recruited via in person correspondence during a required course orientation meeting at the beginning of the semester. A total of 10 students finished both the pre and post tests. Of these, eight were male and two were female. Academic majors included fields such as physics, astronomy mathematics, biology, and pre med. Since this research used a quantitative research instrument to examine a DGBL course, it is important to discuss the results of the partial validation process of the modified GEQ used in this study. The statistical analysis in the previous partial

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90 validation study of the GEQ was comprised of four main parts. The first part of the statistical analysis examined the correlation of the task cohesion elements of the modified GEQ with the TPI and on the correl ation of the social cohesion elements of the the task and social aspects of team cohesion separately was followed since the two areas are both a part of team cohesion, but h ave been shown to not be highly related to each other. The task cohesion aspects of the GEQ were combined and then correlated with the TPI. The social cohesion aspects of the GEQ were summed and then also correlated with the TPI. A Pearson product moment c orrelation coefficient was calculated to assess the relationship between the task cohesion aspects of the GEQ and the TPI and also the relationship between the social cohesion aspects of the GEQ and the TPI. Both aspects had a significant positive correlat ion with the TPI. There was a significant positive correlation between the overall social cohesion aspect of the GEQ and the TPI, r = .753, n = 10, p = .012. There was also a significant positive correlation between the task cohesion aspect of the GEQ and the TPI, r = .816, n = 10, p = .004. the scores of the modified GEQ was still calcul ated. While the results were not generalizable, they still can help provi de some insight into the effectiveness of the are as follows: ATG GEQ pilot test analysis resulted in si gnificantly higher Crohnbach alpha values in three

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91 of the four areas as shown by the following: ATG .90, GI each of the four tea m cohesion factors has with each other. A Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was calculated to assess the relationship between each of the four aspects of team cohesion. Please refer to Table 1 for all of the correlations. The social cohesion a spects were highly correlated with each other. There was a significant positive correlation between ATG S and GI S, r = .805, n = 10, p = .005. The task cohesion aspects were also highly correlated with each other. There was a signification correlation bet ween ATG T and GI T, r = .795, n = 10, p = .006. On the other hand, the analysis also showed that in some instances the social cohesion aspects were not significantly correlated with each other. There was not a significant correlation between ATG T and GI S, r = .571, n = 10, p = .085. There was also not a significant difference between GI T and GI S, r = .259, n = 10, p = .470. However, there were two instances where the social aspects did have significant positive correlations with the task aspects of tea m cohesion. There was a significant positive correlation between ATG S and ATG T, r = .910, n = 10, p = .000. There was also a significant positive correlation between ATG S and GI T, r = .720, n = 10, p = .019. The fourth part of the partial scale validat focused on using the modified GEQ to measure the effect the StarCraft 2 course had on team cohesion of the students enrolled in the course. Paired samples t tests for each of the four factors of the GEQ were conducted. T he pre test scores (M = 48.00, SD = 10.29) and post test scores (M = 46.20, SD = 10.10) did not differ significantly with

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92 regards to levels of attractions to group based on social interaction (ATG S), t(9) = .896, p = .394. The pre test scores (M = 48.60, SD = 9.19) and post test scores (M = 52.10, SD = 3.81) did not differ significantly with regards to levels of attractions to group based on task (ATG T), t(9) = 1.81, p = .104. The pre test scores (M = 68.70, SD = 11.87) and post test scores (M = 71.20, SD = 8.59) did not differ significantly with regards to levels of group integration based on task (GI T), t(9) = 0.867, p = .409. The pre test scores (M = 14.30, SD = 3.43) and post test scores (M = 13.10, SD = 3.67) did not differ significantly with rega rds to levels of group integration based on social interaction (GI S), t(9) = 1.18, p = .269. The preliminary results from the focus group and cognitive interview procedures of this study pointed to the modified GEQ exhibiting some preliminary evidence of validity with respect to content. The significant positive correlation between the task and social aspects of the instrument and the TPI indicated that it also exhibits some preliminary evidence of validity with respect to external variables. Also, the hi gh Crohnbach alpha values of each factor making up team cohesion while certainly not nevertheless show there is potential for using the modified GEQ to examine team cohesion in academic DGBL courses. Modi fied GEQ administration and data collection The first phase of this research consisted of collecting quantitative data using a questionnaire that measures learner perceptions of team cohesion. It used a 28 item modified version of Carron, Brawley and Widm Questionnaire (GEQ) that was developed in a previous study. Please refer to Appendix J for the items of the modified GEQ. While the previous study was not a full validation

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93 study and not generalizable due to an extremely sma ll sample size, it did find some very preliminary evidence of validity for the GEQ regarding validity with respect to external variables (found by correlating the GEQ with another survey) and with respect to content (found by conducting an expert panel/foc us group and cognitive interviews). When it came to questionnaire administration, in week 4 of the StarCraft 2 course, participants were asked to complete the GEQ pretest which also included a short survey section to collect important demographic and descr iptive data. Week 4 was chosen because it was the midway point of the course and by this time, the groups would have had enough time to become more familiar with their group mates. Since this tions, it was important to give each of them enough time to actually interact with their groups so they could accurately answer the quantitative questionnaire items. In week 8 of the course, participants were asked to complete the GEQ posttest. Emails were sent to participants to remind them to fill out the questionnaires. In both instances, the GEQ was administered via Moodle, the online course management system used for the course. Because the principle investigator of this research was also the course in structor, data was not accessed or analyzed until after the StarCraft 2 course had officially ended and final grades were submitted to the registrar. This was clearly communicated to participants via the IRB consent forms. Questionnaire data analysis The data was analyzed using SPSS statistical software. Paired samples t tests for each of the four factors of the GEQ were conducted to measure learner perceptions of team cohesion. To examine learner characteristics and success in the course, Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were calculated to determine what

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94 characteristics if any were correlated with each of the four factors of team cohesion as measured by the modified GEQ. The results were further analyzed in relation to the qualitative data that were also collected. Qualitative Methods Individual interview procedure and data collection collecting qualitative data via qualitative interviews was followed. Patton (2002) no tes different interview approaches can be combined based on the situation. This research combined the more rigid and standardized planned questions of the standardized open interview approach with the more flexible topic and subject area of the interview g uide approach. The standardized open interview approach helped ensure all participants were asked the exact same questions while the interview guide approach allowed for a degree of conversational flexibility during each individual interview. Patton (2002) notes the two interview approaches have specific strengths. The standardized open ended interview approach has many benefits including the fact that the exact interview protocol is available for readers, the interviews are highly focused and thereby time efficient, data analysis is made easier by the data being already grouped and standardized, and guide approach is beneficial because it relies on the careful planning and ta rgeting of questions to make the most efficient use of the limited time of an interview and also ensures that the data collection is relatively systematic for each participant. This research combines the two interview approaches to take advantage of the re spective strengths of each approach. This hybrid approach offers a certain level of flexibility that

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95 the standardized open ended interview approach lacks and a higher level of standardization that the interview guide alone does not necessarily have. The 1 8 (2009) guidelines of interview question creation and included an opening question, introductory questions, transition questions, key questions, and ending questions. Please refer to App endix K for the interview protocol. While they were originally designed for focus group interviews which are a special form of qualitative interviews the structure and organization of the questions is still informative and useful for individual interviews. Questions included in the interview protocol included many types that Patton (2002) identifies such as experience and behavior questions, opinion and values questions, feeling questions, and background/demographic questions. Please see Appendix K for the interview protocol. Interview data analysis The qualitative focus group data were transcribed and then analyzed using the constant comparative method (CCM). CCM was chosen as the data analysis method for this research because of the relative ease in which it can be applied, its flexibility in allowing for creativity, and its suitability for analyzing and studying social phenomena. in hand with interpretation and it is our opinion that purposeful comparison makes the valuable task of interpreting social creation of codes, categories, and themes, which aligns well with the constructivist perspective of this StarCraft 2 research. Strauss a

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96 ) but that there is no universal approach or recipe. Rather, while remains unique for each inquirer, known only when and if p. 432). To make a ccurate sense of qualitative data, it must be analyzed in a consistent categorizing data helps highli ght themes and patterns in the data (Ryan & Bernard, 2000; Patton, 2002). Strauss and Corbin (1998) identify five important concepts regarding coding. First, coding is concerned with building theory and not only testing it. Second, coding is an analytic to ol that can be used to sift through large quantities of raw data. Third, coding helps researchers consider alternative meanings for phenomena. Fourth, coding is both systematic and creative at the same time. In many ways it is a systematically creative pro The individual interview data in this research was coded according to the constant comparative method (CCM) of grounded theory which allows for comparisons to be made in five major domains (Charmaz, 2000). First, the CCM approach to coding allows comparisons of different people including their views, perspectives, and accounts. Second, it allows comparison of data from the same person w ith data they provided at a different point of time. Third, it allows comparison of incident with incident. Fourth, it allows comparison of data with different categories. Fifth, it allows comparison

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97 of a category with other categories. In this research, b y coding the collected data using CCM, patterns will become evident and theories and themes can be formed. Boeije (2002) notes while CCM is popular and often written about there is a lack of literature which systematically and specifically details how to effectively conduct it. Often researchers will extensively document data collection, but remain vague on their CCM data analysis methods. Recognizing this as a major challenge to systematic CCM research, Boeije (2002) presents a practical and systematic st ep by step guide of how to apply the CCM method. The guide consists of five steps including: comparison within a single interview, comparison between interviews within the same group, comparison of interviews from different groups, comparison in pairs at t he level of the couple, and comparing couples (Boeije, 2002). Since this research only consisted of three participants in one group, only steps one and two were applicable. After the transcripts were completed, they were sent to the participants for member data analysis was started by open coding a single interview to establish categories and codes. These codes were then when further compared and analyzed with each other to determine if new information about a code or category was being uncovered or if old information was simply being repeated. The main aim of this first step of internal message of the in label the categories in this particular interview? What characteristics do fragments with the same co de have in common? What is the core message of this interviewee? Is the

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98 storyline consistent? Are there any expressions that are contradictory? How are all the data ana lysis and the data were color coded in a separate table containing data from each individual interview according to theme/category. Once the initial categories and codes were established, data analysis moved lysis. During this step, multiple interviews coded in the same way as step one are compared. Codes between the multiple interviews are analyzed, verified, combined, or added. In this step, codes often form patterns or natural groupings. The main aim of thi s second step is to conceptualize the subject and to discover the patterns formed by codes and the combinations of codes. During this second stage, Boeije (2002) recommends asking the following same category as B? What do both interviews tell us about the category? What are the similarities and differences between interviews A, B, C . ? What are the criteria underlying this comparison? What combinations of codes/concepts occur? What interpret 398). In this research, the color coded data fragments from each of the three individual interviews were analyzed, compared, and contrasted. The codes and categories were also modified and combined as necessary. The color coded data from each interview was cut and pasted into a master chart that included data from all three individual interviews under the appropriate categories/themes. Relevant supporting quotations were also noted for use in the discussion of the qualitative int erview results. Study Validity Yin (2009) stresses the importance of having multiple sources of evidence when it comes to conducting research and analyzing data. The mixed methods research

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99 design of this study included a quantitative questionnaire, and qu alitative interviews. address the validity of a qualitative study. Quantitative valid ity has not gone undergone a full validation study, the questionnaire does exhibit some preliminary evidence of validity including validity with respect to external variables and content validity. Qualitative trustworthiness When it comes to evaluating the quality of qualitative constructivist research, Lincoln and Guba (1985) propose t hat the traditional concepts of validity, reliability, and used instead. In their framework, credibility replaces internal validity, transferability replaces external v alidity, dependability replaces reliability, and confirmability replaces objectivity. The term trustworthiness refers to how researchers can convince their audience that their research and findings are worthwhile and worthy of attention. There are several triangulation, peer debriefing, and member checking. Other researchers such as Patton (2002) still consider validity and reliability as applicable to qualitative research. This StarC raft 2 qualitative interviews. The data were also member checked via email after the

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100 interviews had been tr anscribed and emailed to the research participants. This research also had solid codes that underwent a systematic coding process and which did not shift after the finalized version had been developed. The validity of the qualitative data collected in this study was addressed by triangulating with the quantitative data and also by member checking. The study also made sure to collect rich, thick description and clarified researcher bias and subjectivity to ensure the highest level of validity and Subjectivity Statement Freely admitting and documenting researcher bias and subjectivity is important to research design. It is important to acknowledge the lenses and perspectives of this work examining the StarCraft 2 course. That b eing said, I am a gamer and an advocate for using technology in teaching and learning. Digital game based learning is an emerging instructional approach gaining increasing traction in mainstream education. Online education has also been maturing since the late 1990s to the point today where many educational institutions at all levels are offering online courses and degrees. I have been researching online education and DGBL over the past five years and have both taught and taken numerous online courses. This extensive experience with online education and DGBL has undoubtedly helped shape my advocacy for online learning and the harnessing of digital games in education. My becoming an online and DGBL learning advocate can be traced to two major factors. The fir st factor was a lifelong love of digital games beginning with Tetris and Pac Man that soon gave way to SimCity and Super Mario Bros. as technologies improved. Playing the real time strategy (RTS) game WarCraft 2 proved to be a watershed moment and led to a love of StarCraft 1 and turn based strategy games such

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101 as the Civilization series. As digital gaming became more social and immersive, my interests in the medium continued with games such World of Warcraft Call of Duty MindCraft and StarCraft 2 Howeve r, it was the StarCraft series and RTS genre in general that held a special place in my heart and had the most effect on my views and perspectives. The second factor which helped shape my online and DGBL advocacy was that I was an English education and Com munications double major as an undergraduate, which led to a prolonged interest in education as well as recognition of the fast paced nature of technology. Undergraduate training in education and communications, two years of public school teaching experie nce, four years teaching at the college level, and a lifelong love of digital games have profoundly shaped my perspectives as an educator and I fully recognize the potential of technology. These factors inspired and facilitated the StarCraft 2 course desig n, its implementation over multiple iterations, and the subsequent research of its effects on learners. This advocacy is a double edged sword. On one hand it helped me create an innovative DGBL course which was offered for two years at a major research uni versity. On the other, however, there is always the danger accused of viewing the world throug h rose tinted glasses, I tend to see things from gamer tinted glasses. I am bringing a passion for online and DGBL and a strong belief that they are viable ways to help empower learners to the table. However, it should always be remembered that I am also b ringing a personal bias by being a staunch

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102 advocate for these methods which will always influence my research perspective and the way I approach and design online and DGBL research. Limitations of the Study This research has several limitations. 1. T he sample for the quantitative phase of the study was not truly random and the size was very small so results need to be interpreted accordingly and are not generalizable. 2. The sample contained only male participants. This was due to self selection in regis tering for the course. One possible reason for the gender disparity is that more males play digital games in general and more males play RTS games like StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 In this study, the researcher had no control over course enrollments. 3. The quantitative instrument used in this research did not undergo a full validation and reliability study. The instrument itself has been drastically modified. The original was designed for use in in person sports teams, but for this research it was applied to an academic online DGBL course. Essentially, the StarCraft 2 course has both a competitive game context, as well as an academic collaboration context, something that the original GEQ was not designed to address. The contexts, while having similarities als o have many drastic differences. The extremely high level of modification is certainly a limitation. 4. The researcher is also the course instructor. This could potentially lead to bias in the data collection and analysis. In this study, there was no way arou nd this. The StarCraft 2 course is so specialized and content specific that no one else in the department had the expertise or the time to teach it. Delimitations of the Study This research has several delimitations that must be kept in mind. 1. The StarCraft 2 course was designed specifically for Honors Program students. These students tend to be highly self motivated, intelligent, and responsible and are a subset of the general undergraduate population. The results of this research cannot be generalized beyo nd the Honors Program context. 2. The course was designed around StarCraft 2 which is a very specific title in a very specific genre of digital game. Therefore, the course and the medium would only appeal to a very small part of the overall Honors Program p opulation. 3. The course was offered online due to instructor time constraints. Students not used to taking online courses or those who disliked taking them would not want to enroll in the course.

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103 4. The course content and research design heavily focused on coll aboration and teamwork skills. This was because the researcher identified working with others succeed in the academic and professional worlds. 5. The course content and research f ollowed constructivist and experiential learning perspectives which means other educational epistemologies and methods were not examined in depth. The delimitations of this StarCraft 2 course research were due to practical reasons. The formal course adopt ion process at the University was known to be extremely time consuming and there was concern a course as innovative as the StarCraft 2 course would be summarily dismissed and not considered. The Honors Program at the University had a reputation for innovat ive instruction, so it was deemed a better idea to approach them to gauge their receptiveness to the idea and if they were willing adopt the course on a more limited basis. The course was designed to be offered online because the Honors Program did not hav e many online offerings in their catalogue and the StarCraft 2 course was conceived as a way to help address this. The focus on collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion was because working with others was a skill identified by the course designer and res earcher (who were informed by the literature) to be extremely important for students to master in order to succeed in the academic and professional worlds. The course and this research adopted constructivist and experiential learning perspectives because o f the experiential nature of playing digital games, which encourages learners to constantly engage in the process of constructing meaning and understanding.

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104 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Overview This research used a mixed methods approach to examine the following research question. RQ: In what ways does participation in an o nline digital game based course This chapter begins by presenting the quantitative and qualitative data. It then discusses how participation in the StarCraft 2 collaboration and team cohesion based on the thematic framework that emerged. The quantitative data is embedded within this thematic framework and the results showed there was int erplay between the quantitative and qualitative data. The thematic framework consisted of four main themes including: digital gaming and StarCraft experience, background and perspectives of collaboration, group functioning, and lessons learned. Finally, th e chapter provides a summary of the results. Quantitative Results Quantitative research participants completed pre and post test administrations of the modified GEQ which measured four different related constructs of team cohesion as noted in Table 4 1 be low. Participants responded to items using a 9 point Likert scale, with 1 representing reverse coded. The quantitative data was statistically analyzed using SPSS. Specif ically, three statistical procedures were performed. First, a paired sample t test was conducted for the modified GEQ pretest and posttest. Second, Pearson product

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105 moment correlation coefficients were also calculated to determine the correlations each of t he four team cohesion factors of the GEQ had with learner characteristics such as digital game play experience, StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 experience, GPA, and year in school. Third a Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was calculated to determin e the correlation each of the four team cohesion factors had with each other as and to determine the validity of the modified GEQ. Table 4 1 Constructs of team cohesion in the GEQ Construct Definition Individual Attractions to the Group Social (ATG S) or her personal acceptance and social interactions with the group. Individual Attractions to the Group Task (ATG T) task productivity, and goals and objectives. Group Integration Task (GI T) similarity, closeness, and bonding within the Group Integration Social (GI S) Individual team m similarity, closeness, and bonding within the team as a whole around the group as a social unit. The quantitative part of this mixed methods research had an extremely small sample of 6 participants, which is a serious research limitation. Three of the participants also participated in the individual qualitative interviews. The sample consisted of all male undergraduates and had an average of 11 years of digital game experience, 6.17 years of RTS game experience, and 4.17 years c ombined experience with StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 Of the six participants, three were in their first year, two were in their second year, and one was in his fourth year. For this research, year in school was

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106 nd year student, etc.). When it came to academic majors, there were two computer science majors, one business management major, one chemical engineering major, one physics/mathematics major, and one nursing major. Statistical analysis focused on using the modified GEQ to measure changes in participating in the StarCraft 2 course. Paired samples t tests for each of the four factors of the GEQ were conducted. Please refer to Table 4 2 below for t test results. The pre test scores (M = 49.33, SD = 6.44) and post test scores (M = 54.17, SD = 7.57) did differ significantly with regards to individual attraction to group based on social interaction (ATG S ), t(5) = 4.49, p = .006. The pre test scores (M = 55.33, SD = 9.05) and post test scores (M = 49.50, SD = 7.06) did not differ significantly with regards to individual attraction to group based on task (ATG T), t(5) = 1.84, p = .126. The pre test score s (M = 76.83, SD = 10.40) and post test scores (M = 82.00, SD = 7.56) did not differ significantly with regards to group integration based on task (GI T), t(5) = 1.64, p = .163. The pre test scores (M = 15.17, SD = 2.32) and post test scores (M = 14.17, S D = 2.93) did not differ significantly with regards to group integration based on social interaction (GI S), t(9) = .577, p = .589. Table 4 2 Compiled statistics for the modified GEQ Mean N Std. Deviation t df p GEQ PreATG S GEQ PostATG S 49.33 6 6.44 4.49 5 .006 54.17 6 7.57 GEQ PreATG T GEQ PostATG T 55.33 6 9.05 1.84 5 .126 49.50 6 7.06 GEQ PreGI T GEQ PostGI T 76.83 6 10.40 1.64 5 .163 82.00 6 7.56 GEQ PreGI S GEQ PostGI S 15.17 6 2.32 .577 5 .589 14.17 6 2.93

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107 Analysis als o included calculating the Pearson product moment correlation coefficients for each of the team cohesion factors of the modified GEQ and learner characteristics such as digital gaming experience, GPA, and year in school. As with the paired samples t test results, great care must be taken when interpreting the quantitative data since the sample size was so small. Please refer to Table 4 3 below for all the correlations. Group integration to the task (GI T) had a significant correlation with StarCraft 1/Star Craft 2 experience, r = .946, n = 6, p = .004. There was also a significant correlation between RTS game experience and StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 experience, r = .836, n = 6, p = .038. There was a significant negative correlation between individual attract ion to group task (ATG T) and year in school, r = .908, p = .012. There was also a significant correlation between StarCraft 1/StarCraft 2 experience and year in school, r = .906, n = 6, p = .013. To partially address the validity of the data recorded by the modified GEQ, this cohesion factors had with each other. A Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was calculated using the modified GEQ posttest to assess the relationship between each of the four aspects of team cohesion. Please refer to Table 4 4 below for documentation of all the correlations. The social cohesion aspects were not significantly correlated with each other. There was no significant correlation between ATG S and GI S, r = .411, n = 6, p = .382. The task cohesion aspects were also not found to be correlated with each other. There was no significant correlation between ATG T and GI T, r = .528, n = 6, p = .282.

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108 Table 4 3. Correlations and descri ptive statistics and factors of team cohesion GEQPost ATGS GEQPost ATGT GEQPost GIT GEQPost GIS Digital GameXP RTSXP SCXP Year GPA HS GPA College GEQPostATGS Pearson Correlation 1 .320 .363 .441 .332 .238 .218 .132 .437 .083 Sig. (2 tailed) .537 479 .382 .520 .650 .679 .804 .386 .876 GEQPostATGT Pearson Correlation 1 .528 .779 .150 .428 .700 .908 .170 .784 Sig. (2 tailed) .282 .068 .776 .397 .121 .012 .747 .065 GEQPostGIT Pearson Correlation 1 .036 .510 .738 .946 ** .746 .400 .27 5 Sig. (2 tailed) .946 .301 .094 .004 .088 .433 .598 GEQPostGIS Pearson Correlation 1 .649 .174 .132 .458 .311 .572 Sig. (2 tailed) .163 .742 .803 .361 .549 .235 DigitalGameXP Pearson Correlation 1 .433 .400 .143 .592 .180 Sig. (2 t ailed) .390 .432 .786 .216 .733 RTSXP Pearson Correlation 1 .836 .759 .191 .529 Sig. (2 tailed) .038 .080 .717 .281 SCXP Pearson Correlation 1 .906 .128 .473 Sig. (2 tailed) .013 .810 .343 Year Pearson Correlation 1 .152 .757 Sig. (2 tailed) .773 .082 GPAHighSchool Pearson Correlation 1 .453 Sig. (2 tailed) .367 GPACollege Pearson Correlation 1 Sig. (2 tailed) *Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2 tailed). **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed).

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109 There was no significant correlation between ATG T and GI S, r = .779, n = 6, p = .068. There was also no significant correlation between GI T and GI S, r = 0.36, n = 6, p = .946. The re was no significant correlation found between ATG S and ATG T, r = .320, n = 6, p = .537. Finally, There was also no correlation found between ATG S and GI T, r = .363, n = 6, p = .479. Table 4 4 Correlations between the four separate aspects of team cohesion GEQ PreATG S GEQ PreATG T GEQ PreGI T GEQ PreGI S GEQ PreATG S Pearson Correlation 1 .320 .363 .411 Sig. (2 tailed) .537 .479 .382 GEQ PreATG T Pearson Correlation 1 .528 .779 Sig. (2 tailed) .282 .068 GEQ PreGI T Pearson Correlation 1 0.36 Sig. (2 tailed) .946 GEQ PreGI S Pearson Correlation 1 Sig. (2 tailed) As the Pearson product moment correlations clearly indicated, the 4 individual factors of the modified GEQ were not found to be statistically significant. Idea lly, the two social aspects of team cohesion should have been correlated with each other and the two task aspects of team cohesion should have been correlated to each other. It is important to note this since it means there are serious quantitative concern s with the instrument used in this study. Since both the task based constructs and the social based constructs are not significantly correlated with each other even though they should be, this brings up serious issues of internal consistency and validity. This severe limitation

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110 must always be considered when taking into consideration the conclusions, interpretations, and discussions of the quantitative data of this study. Although the sample size (N = 6) was extremely small, the reliability of the scores of the modified GEQ was still calculated. While the results were not generalizable, they still can help provide some insight into the effectiveness of the modified GEQ. With G = .75, ATG resulted in mixed Crohnbach alpha values compared to the original values as shown by the following: ATG en from the statistics, the modified GEQ for this research had values close to the original regarding ATG S and GI T, but the values were not close for ATG T or GI S. This is probably because of the extremely small sample size or the large number of revers e worded items which accounted for approximately half of the instrument, and means the instrument shows no signs of being reliable during the administration in this research. Data analysis revealed only a statistically significant positive effect with rega rds to the ATG attitudes and perceptions towards the social aspects of collaboration and team cohesion were most changed by participation in the StarCraft 2 course. However, it can st ill be helpful to examine items from the other aspects of team cohesion and to note the increases and decreases in mean scores between the pretest and the posttest broken down by team cohesion construct and individual item. Table 4 5 below for the means an d standard deviations of all items for both the pretest and posttest administrations of the modified GEQ.

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111 Table 4 5 Means and standard deviations of the pretest and posttest modified GEQ ATG S Pretest Posttest M SD M SD Item 1 Overall, I do not enj oy engaging in the game related social interactions (e.g. Skype/Facebook conversations, planning sessions, collaborative game play) of this group.* 2.00 1.09 1.67 0.82 Item 2 Overall, I do not enjoy engaging in the academic social interactions (e.g. group projects, planning meetings, Skype/Facebook conversations) of this group.* 2.33 1.75 1.67 0.82 Item 4 I am not open to continuing to play collaboratively with my group after the course ends.* 3.33 1.63 3.17 1.94 Item 7 I have made some good friends in t his group. 5.83 1.94 6.50 1.64 Item 8 I am open to staying in contact with members of my group after the course ends. 6.83 1.83 7.17 1.60 Item 11 I prefer to play collaboratively with my group members rather than collaboratively with people not in my gr oup. 4.83 2.86 6.00 2.83 Item 12 I enjoy working with my current group members in this course more than working with other groups. 5.50 2.81 5.83 2.14 Item 15 During this semester, this group is a meaningful social group to me. 4.17 1.83 5.17 1.72 ATG T Item 3 Overall, I do not do my best at being personally involved and committed during group game play.* 1.50 0.55 4.00 3.52 Item 5 1.17 0.41 1.83 1.17 Item 6 I am personally invested in helping my group win games. 7.33 2.25 6.17 3.31 Item 9 This group does not give me enough opportunities to improve my personal game play skills.* 2.67 2.42 2.33 1.03 Item 10 This group does not give me enough opportunities to improve my collaborative skills.* 1.67 1.21 2.83 2.14 Item 13 Overall, I do not like the work style (e.g. communication, planning, time management) of this group.* 2.83 2.23 3.00 1.55 Item 14 Overall, I do not like the play style (e.g. communication, competitiveness, strategies) of this grou p.* 2.17 0.98 2.00 0.89 GI T Item 16 Our group is united in trying to achieve its goals for game play. 7.50 1.05 7.67 1.51 Item 17 Our group is united in trying to reach its goals for academic performance. 7.83 1.17 8.33 0.82 Item 19 We all take r esponsibility for losing any game. 7.33 2.34 8.00 1.67 Item 20 We all take responsibility for any performance that is below expectations on submitted group work. 7.50 1.97 8.00 1.67 Item 22 Our group members have conflicting expectations for game play performance.* 3.50 1.64 1.33 0.52

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112 Table 4 5. Continued ATG S Pretest Posttest M SD M SD Item 23 Our group members have conflicting expectations for 1.83 0.98 1.17 0.41 Item 25 If members of our group hav e problems during game play, other members are willing and wanting to help. 8.00 0.89 8.17 1.17 Item 26 If members of our group have problems during academic projects, other members are willing and wanting to help. 7.67 1.75 8.33 0.82 Item 27 Members of our group do not communicate openly play.* 3.00 2.61 2.17 1.17 Item 28 Members of our group do not communicate openly academic projects.* 2.67 2.73 1.83 1.3 3 GI S Item 18 Members of our group would rather play collaboratively with non group members than play together as a group.* 3.50 1.76 3.67 1.86 Item 21 Our group members rarely socialize together outside of the course.* 7.33 1.21 8.00 1.26 Item 2 4 Our group is open to spending time together inside or outside of the game after the course is over. 6.00 0.89 5.83 1.72 *Items must be reverse scored These items, while not yielding any significant statistical results, nevertheless can help shed light on some of the ways participation in the StarCraft 2 course affected research participants with regards to their attitudes and perceptions towards collaboration and team cohesion. Please refer to The data analysis revealed a statistically significant posi tive effect only with regards to the social aspect of team cohesion (ATG S). Examination of the research even if the differences in means were not significant can still help provide a more comprehensive glimpse at the collaboration and team cohesion dynamics within the StarCraft 2 course. Looking at the actual items

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113 can help provide a more nuanced perspective of the research parti perceptions of collaboration and team cohesion that is not visible when only looking at the overall results of the t tests and Pearson product moment correlation calculations. attraction to group (ATG do not enjoy engaging in the game related social interactions (e.g. Skype/Facebook conversations, planning sessions, or collaborative gam decrease in the means between the pretest (M = 2.00, SD = 1.09) and the posttest (M = 1.67, SD = 0.82). Since this item was reverse coded, the decrease in means actually meant that participants reported an increase in th eir enjoyment in engaging in the social interactions with their group. Item 7 asked participants to agree or disagree with the increase in the means between the pretest (M = 5 .83, SD = 1.94) and the posttest (M = 6.50, SD = 1.64). Item 8 asked participants to agree or disagree with the following n the pretest (M = 6.83, SD = 1.83) and the posttest (M = 7.17, SD = 1.60). Item 15 asked participants to agree or disagree n the means between the pretest (M = 4.17, SD = 1.83) and the posttest (M = 5.17, SD = 1.72). based attraction to group (ATG T), Item 3 asked participants to agree or disagree with the following statem ent:

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114 and the posttest (M = 4.00, SD = 3.52). Since this item was reverse coded, the inc rease in means actually meant that participants reported a decrease in their personal involvement related to the task with their group. Item 5 asked participants to agree or and the posttest (M = 1.83, SD = 1.17). Since this item was reverse coded, the increase in means actually meant that participants reported a decrease in their personal ha ppiness related to the game related task undertaken by their group. Item 13 asked was an increase in the means between the pretest (M = 2.83, SD = 2.23) and the posttest (M = 3.00, SD = 1.55). Since this item was reverse coded, the increase in means actually meant that participants reported a decrease in their personal happiness related to the academics related tasks undertaken by their group. However, it is important to note in game related tasks and academics related tasks. Item 14 asked participant s to agree or means between the pretest (M = 2.17, SD = 0.98) and the posttest (M = 2 .00, SD = 0.89). Since this item was reverse coded, the decrease in means actually meant that participants reported an increase in their personal happiness related to the game related tasks undertaken by their group. perceptions of their group integration based on task (GI T), Item 17 asked participants to agree or disagree with the following

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115 There was an increase in the means betwe en the pretest (M = 7.83, SD = 1.17) and the posttest (M = 8.33, SD = 0.82). Item 22 asked participants to agree or disagree with the decrease in the means between the pretest (M = 3.50, SD = 1.64) and the posttest (M = 1.33, SD = 0.52). Since this item was reverse coded, the decrease in means actually meant that participants felt they had fewer conflicting expectations related to game p lay tasks at the end of the course compared to the beginning. Item 23 asked participants to agree or disagree with the following means between the pretest (M = 1.83, SD = 0.98) and the posttest (M = 1.17, SD = 0.41). Since this item was reverse coded, the decrease in means actually meant that participants felt they had fewer conflicting expectations related to academics related task s at the end of the course compared to the beginning. based on social interaction (GI S), Item 21 asked participants to agree or disagree with members rarely socialize together outside of the and the posttest (M = 8.00, SD = 1.26). Since this item was reverse coded, the increase in means actually meant that par ticipants reported a decrease in their socializing outside of the StarCraft 2 course. Item 24 asked participants to agree or disagree with the

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116 game after the course (M = 6.00, SD = 0.89) and the posttest (M = 5.83, SD = 1.72). Qualitative Results Qualitative data analysis revealed four main themes and 18 related subthemes which helped describe the resear StarCraft 2 course, their perceptions of working with others, and their attitudes towards team cohesion. These four main themes formed a thematic framework. As shown in Figure 4 1 below, the quantitative da ta was embedded within this framework and there was interplay between the quantitative and qualitative data with regards to digital gaming and StarCraft experience and Background and perspectives of collaboration. Figure 4 1. Thematic framework and int erplay betwe en quantitative and qualitative data. Analysis also showed that the three qualitative research participants had extensive experience playing digital games and generally had high GPAs both in high

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117 school and in college. Alex was a first year co mputer science major with an approximate high school GPA of 3.72 and a hopeful approximate college GPA of 4.0. (This participant was in his first semester of his first year at the time of the StarCraft 2 course so he did not have any final grades on his tr anscripts.) This participant had played digital games for approximately 13 years, real time strategy (RTS) games for 7 years, and StarCraft 2 for 1 year. Ben was a second year chemical engineering major with an approximate high school GPA of 4.0 and an app roximate college GPA of 4.0. This participant had played digital games for approximately 11 years, RTS games for 9 10 years, and StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 for a combined 9 10 years. Caleb was a fourth year computer science major with an approximate high school GPA of 4.0 and an approximate college GPA of 3.0. This participant had played digital games for approximately 15 years, RTS games for 15 years, and StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 for a combined 8 9 years. The figure mentioned earlier in Figure 4 1 show s the four major themes which and attitudes towards collaboration and team cohesion. It is important to note in the thematic framework how three of the main themes closely influenced each other while StarCraft StarCraf t experiences with collaboration. Together, these two themes seemed to explain the forces which focused on how StarCraft 2 course. The interaction and relationship between these three themes was explained and

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118 ibes what the qualitative research participants felt they learned overall from the course and their collaborative StarCraft 2 game play. From the four major themes, 18 related subthemes emerged from the data. Table 4 6 below shows all four major themes and their 18 related subthemes. Table 4 6 Main qualitative themes and subthemes. Main Theme Sub Themes Digital Gaming and StarCraft Experience Digital gaming experience StarCraft experience and skill level Gaming and the real world Digital games as explor atory environments Background and Perspectives of Collaboration Digital gaming and collaboration Personal preferences of teamwork/collaboration Experience/exposure to collaboration/teamwork Definition and characteristics of teamwork/collaboration Perce ived benefits of collaboration Group Functioning Group dynamics Group communication processes Leadership Team/group role Task/responsibility delegation Group frustration Lessons Learned Learning collaboratively vs. learning alone Learning to collab orate and communicate As this was a mixed methods research study, the research question was answered using both quantitative and qualitative data. Table 4 7 on the next page below shows the sources of quantitative and qualitative data.

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119 Integration of the Quantitative and Qualitative Data Overall, participation in the StarCraft 2 of collaboration and team cohesion. There was interplay between the quantitative and qualitative data within the thematic framework. T able 4 7 Research question and data sources Research Questions Data Source RQ: In what ways does participation in an online digital game based course influence collaboration and team cohesion? Quantitative 1. Paired samples T test results 2. Discussion of means and SD of non significant items to inform understanding of the qualitative data Qualitative Themes and Subthemes 1. Lessons Learned a. Learning collaboratively vs. learning alone b. Learning to collaborate and communicate 2. Group Functi oning a. Group dynamics b. Group communication processes c. Leadership d. Team/group role e. Task/responsibility delegation f. Group frustration 3. Digital Gaming and StarCraft Experience a. Digital gaming experience b. StarCraft experience and skill level c. Gaming and the real worl d d. Digital games as exploratory environments 4. Personal Background/Perspectives of Collaboration a. Digital gaming and collaboration b. Personal preferences of teamwork/collaboration c. Experience/exposure to collaboration/teamwork d. Definition and characteristics of t eamwork/collaboration e. Perceived benefits of collaboration f. Perceived benefits of collaboration

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120 Please refer to Figure 4 1 earlier in the chapter for a visual representation of the thematic framework. Quantitative data analysis revealed some preliminary evi dence that participation in the StarCraft 2 course did have a statistically significant influence on the collaboration and team cohesion. Results of the paired samples t tests showed that the pre test scores (M = 49.33, SD = 6.44) and post test scores (M = 54.17, SD = 7.57) differed significantly with regards to individual attraction to group based on social interaction (ATG S), t(5) = 4.49, p = .006. The qualitative d ata supported and elaborated and on these findings to provide a more detailed account of the collaborative processes and interactions occurring during the course and during the collaborative group game play. Specifically, qualitative data analysis revealed four main themes and 18 related subthemes shown earlier above in Table 4 7 that helped explain the Both the quantitative and qualitative data indicated that participation in an online digital game collaboration and team cohesion. The quantitative analysis showed preliminary evidence tions and attitudes towards their social attraction to their group. The qualitative data reflected this focus on the social aspect but also provided more information on the research based aspects of collaboration and t eam cohesion which were not indicated as significant in the quantitative data. While the usefulness of the quantitative data was limited due to the small sample size, the qualitative emphasis of this mixed methods research meant that the qualitative interv iews partially made up for this by providing a second source of rich data. The themes and subthemes which

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121 emerged from the qualitative interviews proved to be extremely helpful in helping inform understanding of many of the complex interrelated social proc esses and team cohesion data provided a vague outline of the collaborative processes that were occurring in these groups, the qualitative data helped provide a more c omplete picture of the collaboration and team cohesion in the StarCraft 2 course. The three qualitative research participants were given the pseudonyms Alex, Ben, and Caleb. Digital Gaming and StarCraft Experience This was the first of the four major theme s that emerged from the qualitative data. StarCraft experience was one of two major factors that influenced how they and their groups functioned and communicated during the StarCraft 2 course. Please refer to Figur e 4 1 presented earlier in the chapter for a visual representation of the relationship between the four major themes. Participants with more experience playing StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 and RTS games in general tended to take on or were placed in leaders hip and mentorship roles in their groups while those with less experience were more comfortable following advice and seeking guidance. Alex, Ben, and Caleb noted how mastery and experience in RTS games and StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 specifically seemed to automatically mean the more experienced players became leaders of their groups. Alex specifically noted this from the perspective of a less experienced player and Caleb noted it from the perspective of a more experienced player who was made leader because of his prior gaming history. This dynamic played a significant role in how the small groups functioned. This main theme StarCraft

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122 Digital gaming experience Extensive digital gaming experience was a characteristic that the participants shared. While all three participants had extensive digital gaming experience, there was a significant level of variatio n in the types and genres of games they played. Alex reported playing on a PC as well as on a wide range of gaming systems such as Nintendo GameCube, N64, Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360. Alex also remembered playing educational games in school and reported a speci al affinity for games in the real time strategy (RTS) genre, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre, and the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) genre. He admitted to liking the fun and enjoyable aspects of digital games. While he had limited StarCraft 2 experience, his past experience with other RTS games helped make the learning curve less steep. Some of the digital game titles this participant specifically reported playing in addition to StarCraft 2 included League of Legends R ise of Nations Age of Empires and Age of Mythology Ben reported liking role playing games, strategy games, and indie games, but only a couple of RTS games. He stated digital games were his primary form of entertainment and similar to Alex also noted he got great satisfaction from playing. Some of the digital game titles this participant specifically reported playing in addition to StarCraft 2 included StarCraft 1 Endless Space, and Age of Empires Caleb identified themselves as being a primarily PC game r who tended to focus on role playing games as well as RTS games. He did report some limited experience with console based role playing games. Unlike the other two participants, who seemed to focus more on the casual and enjoyment aspects of digital games, Caleb played RTS games on a more competitive level. Some of the digital game titles this participant specifically reported playing in

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123 addition to StarCraft 2 included StarCraft 1, Mass Effect Dragon Age Final Fantasy WarCraft 1 and WarCraft 3 Prior experience with real time (RTS) strategy games was especially important for the less experienced StarCraft 2 players. Quantitative data analysis showed there was a significant correlation between RTS game experience and StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 experience, r = .836, n = 6, p = .038. One way to see this is that the qualitative data supported the assertion that prior RTS game experience helped provide guidance and a frame of reference for playing StarCraft 2 Alex and Ben mentioned they had played the RTS gam e Age of Empires in the past and Caleb had played the RTS game WarCraft 3 competitively. Prior digital game play experience and familiarity with the real time strategy (RTS) game genre in particular helped one participant who was inexperienced with StarCra ft 2 master the unfamiliar game. [RTS experience] definitely sped up my process of learning in the game select multiple units and you right click to send them somewhere. But a lot of th get used to. But I mean, mostly my prior experience with RTS made the learning curve a lot easier (Alex, personal communication, December 3, 2012). For Alex, recognition of his ow n inexperience with StarCraft 2 even though he had a significant amount of digital game play experience and had played RTS games before caused him to take a more passive role in his group during the course. You guys are way better than I am. So you guys b asically just tell me what StarCraft know more than I do, so I should follow them while trying to learn how to fo leader position (Alex, personal communication, December 3, 2012).

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124 Like Alex, Caleb also noted he lacked experience with StarCraft 2 but was very familiar with the RTS genre. Similar to Alex, this familiarity with the RTS genre in general also although he ended up taking a much different group role when compared to Alex. For real time strategy games I say I would be very expe WarCraft 3 competitively for a couple of years, but for StarCraft familiar with the mechanics of the real time strategy genre (Caleb, personal comm unication, December 17, 2012). Although he had limited StarCraft 2 experience, Caleb was still regarded as an expert in the game by his group because of his extensive prior experience playing other RTS games competitively. Partially due to the other member s of his group being even more inexperienced with StarCraft 2 and RTS games in general, this perception of being an responses showed how their prior digital game and RTS e xperience did influence each StarCraft 2 course albeit in two very different ways. Prior digital game experience RTS experience in particular obviously helped provide some degree of scaffo lding for the quantitative and qualitative research participants as they learned in the course. StarCraft experience and skill level Quantitative data analysis showed preliminary evidence that StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 experience and skill level had a signif icant negative correlation with the Group Integration to the Task (GI T) aspect of team cohesion, r = .946, n = 6, p = .004. This negative correlation provided evidence there was wide variation in StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 skill level amongst the quantitati ve research participants which influenced how well they perceived their collaborative groups were integrated according to the task. (Note GI T

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125 describes how individuals feel about how well their groups are integrated according to task, while GI S describes how individuals feel well their groups are integrated according to social interaction.) The differences in skill level could have meant that more experienced players felt frustrated with their less experienced group mates because they always had to provid e guidance and support. Conversely, the less experienced players tended to like working with their more experienced group mates because they were the ones receiving a significant amount of support and guidance. The more experienced players tended to feel t hat their group was not well integrated based on the task while the less experienced players tended to feel the opposite because of the support they were receiving. From their perspective everything was going well because they did not know any better, whil e the more experienced players were able to see the weaknesses in the caused the negative correlation between StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 experience and Group Integration to the Task (GI T). Interviews with the qualitative research participants supported this. All three participants had significant digital gaming experience. While all had prior experience with RTS games, they differed greatly in their familiarity with StarCraft 2. This had implications for their perceptions of and experiences with collaboration/teamwork and group functioning. Alex was aware of how StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 skill level could affect group collaboration and collaborative group game ly with our specific group dynamic. I think it would have been different if we had all been at the only limited experience with StarCraft 2 and that he was first exposed house. During the random assignment of groups in the course, Alex was paired with one

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126 player who was closer to the same skill level and another one with significantly more experience with the game. He was very aware of his inexperience and made efforts to improve his skills so as to not bring his team down during matches. He reported being nervous at first, but became more comfortable after finding out he was not the only relatively inexperienced player on the team. Alex noted that the d isparity in StarCraft 2 skill level resulted in the more experienced player of the three assuming a leadership and teacher role in the group. Ben reported he played through the single player mode of StarCraft 1 and participated in multiplayer matches when he had time. However, he had less experience with StarCraft 2 since it was first released right when he started college. This participant said his experience with both StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 helped him be able to focus more on the teamwork and collabo ration aspects of the StarCraft 2 course since he did not have to spend a lot of time learning how to play the game. Caleb had extensive experience with StarCraft 1, but had less experience with StarCraft 2 Whereas Alex was the least experienced member of the group and had to rely on others for guidance, Caleb was the most experienced in his group. He had extensive experience with RTS games and some experience with StarCraft 2 leadership and help in learning and executing strat egies and tactics since that member had a clearer understanding of the game. Caleb noted the leadership role he took on in during the digital game play also extended to the academic part of the course and he found himself taking charge of coordinating assi gnments. Gaming and the real world One of the advantages of a mixed methods study is that the qualitative data collected can provide a richer and more complete picture than if only quantitative data was used alone. Two of the three qualitative research pa rticipants specifically noted the

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127 relationship between digital gaming and the real world. Alex was especially interested in the StarCraft 2 course because of his own digital gaming experience as well as digital perienced that cross over knowledge you gain from playing the video game and applying that in real world situations normally, like on a small scale, so I was intrigued in finding out how this could apply on a larger scale, like in actual, micro/macro manag ement and resource management and all that (Alex, personal communication, December 3, 2012). Alex said he was certainly able to recognize the importance of the micro/macro management skills and relate them to real world contexts. Like Alex, B en also clearly saw a connection between digital gaming, StarCraft 2 learning, the application of learning, and the real world. I think it emphasizes the thought process exceptionally beyond any other form of recreation beyond reading or something. It all ows for application of learning and learning simultaneously and it, I think given the right choice of your intellectual development (Ben, personal communication, December 10, 2012). Digital games as explorat ory environments All three participants saw digital games as spaces and opportunities where they could explore and experiment and this affected how they approached and viewed the collaborative game play component of the StarCraft 2 course. They saw how the exploratory nature of StarCraft 2 encouraged experimentation and provided a safe environment for failure as they engaged in the collaborative game play of the course. Alex highlighted the exploratory and iterative nature of digital games and StarCraft 2 i n particular since they allow players to learn from past mistakes and apply those lessons to future game play. There were moments when there was a little bit of frustration among group e

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128 Ben also noted the iterative property of digital games and saw them as safe places to fail and make mista kes because the consequences do not extend to the real world. correct them reason, you can experiment with thoughts and experiment with ideas and if you mess something up, just do it again, and do it again and do it again until you have perfe cted the thing. The lack of consequences allows for free thinking (Ben, personal communication, December 10, 2012). Caleb did not specifically mention digital games as spaces for experimentation, but nevertheless hinted at some of the exploratory freedom t hese environments can provide and the experimental approaches they can foster. For him, the exploratory environment of StarCraft 2 allowed his group to work on different strategies together and to try them out. Towards the end we were communicating and tim ing, our schedules to communication, December 17, 2012). Background and P erspectives of C ollaboration worked and functioned during th e StarCraft 2 course. All three qualitative research participants came into the course with prior experience working in groups at the high school and college level. These previous collaborative experiences helped shape their personal perspectives about wor king with others even before they enrolled in the course and continued to do so throughout the time they were taking it. This main theme had six

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129 Digital gaming and collaboration While only Alex specifically linked digital gaming in general with colla boration, it still proved to be a notable subtheme. He noted the difference between working together with others in a traditional professional context and working together with fellow players in a digital game environment. The urgency and fast paced nature of the StarCraft 2 environment actually acted as a catalyst that accelerated collaboration. It sort of sped up the collaborative process, because most of the time, when you work with a group in a professional environment, you have a long term goal, like, that fast together, and we have to get to know each other or e It is clear this participant felt that both the digital game environment and the process of playing the game influenced how players worked together and collaborated. He felt the eve r present risk of losing and the fast paced nature of many digital games where groups must solve problems and reach goals in a limited amount of time and in a pressured environment both helped contribute to a collective feeling of needing to work together. Speaking to the urgent necessity of working together in complex digital games, Per sonal preferences of teamwork/collaboration All three participants expressed personal preferences about teamwork and collaboration. Alex stated he was very open to collaboration, enjoyed communicating with others, and liked working towards a common goal ev

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130 equally capable of the task. If this was ever the case, he was also willing to help those members and work with them. Ben stated he used to dislike teamwork and collaboration up until his senior year in high school. However, since starting college, he has had the opportunity to work collaboratively during a summer internship. This experience and the StarCraft 2 good when, with people who are as motivate d to accomplish what you want to stressed he really liked working with others and saw some distinct benefits of collaboration. I do like having a team to work with since if getting distracted a lot they can help you keep focused and you can do the ideas off each other to help resolve the problems, since a group of people wi ll always have more ideas than an individual (Caleb, personal communication, December 17, 2012). Alex also said his affinity towards working with others helped nurture and facilitate the overall collaboration and teamwork dynamic in his own small group. Th is preference for group work also helped him have a positive experience working with his assigned group in the StarCraft 2 course. Experience/exposure to collaboration/teamwork ir prior experiences/exposure to collaboration/teamwork also influenced their overall perspectives, attitudes, and experiences in the StarCraft 2 course. The quantitative data analysis indicated preliminary evidence there was a significant negative correla tion between individual attraction to group task (ATG T) and year in school, r = .908, p = .012. These quantitative findings indicated that similar to the StarCraft experience gap

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131 between the quantitative research participants, there was also a college le vel collaboration experience gap. The quantitative research participants with more college experience measured by year in school felt less personal attraction towards their group based on the task while the participants with less college experience felt mo re personal attraction towards their group based on the task. This negative correlation may be because the quantitative research participants with less college experience only had relatively negative high school experiences to draw upon while the participa nts with more college experience could remember more favorable college level experiences during their undergraduate coursework. The more experienced and older college students with strong college level collaborative skills may have felt a level of frustrat ion towards group mates with lesser college collaboration experience and fewer college level collaboration skills. Conversely, the less experienced and younger college students students with less developed college level collaborative skills may have felt t hat working in a college level collaborative environment with more responsible group mates was a hugely positive change from dealing with the irresponsible high school groups to which they were accustomed. The qualitative data supports this view and sho wed that the three qualitative research participants varied with regards to college level collaboration experience. Alex was a first year, first semester student and reported a significant amount of collaboration experience in the school setting and in the digital gaming setting, but not much at the college level. He mentioned how working with his group in the StarCraft 2 course was similar in some ways to his experience in his chemistry lab where he was assigned to work with two other students. Alex noted while the introductory foundational courses of his computer science program were centered on individual work, the StarCraft 2 course

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132 StarCraft on your own or y personal communication, December 3, 2012). Being a first year, first semester student meant that Alex had the least amount of college level collaboration of the three qualitative research participants Ben also had prior experience with collaboration and teamwork. He had some limited experience working in groups as part of other college courses and also gained collaboration experience during a summer internship. Ben recalled some negative experiences w ith collaboration in high school where unmotivated group members failed to complete their assigned work which left the participant to complete all the work alone. However, Alex also noted his collaboration experiences in college have generally been more po sitive since group members have been more willing to do quality work. This led to a more positive collaborative experience in the StarCraft 2 course. The course also helped him determine and evaluate his leadership skills. Similar to Alex, Caleb tended not to enjoy working in groups in high school because there seemed to always be difficulties getting group members to complete their assigned tasks. In contrast to high h e also recognized the benefit of working with others. getting distracted a lot they can help you keep you focused and you can do lem you can kind of bounce ideas off each other to help resolve the problems, since a group of people will always have more ideas than an individual (Caleb, personal communication, December 17, 2012). Caleb said that he had a very positive collaborative ex perience in the StarCraft 2 course and that he now looks forward to working collaboratively with others.

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133 Definition and characteristics of collaboration/teamwork Each of the participants identified different characteristics of collaboration and teamwork a nd how these all related to their experiences with digital games, StarCraft 2 and the StarCraft 2 course. Alex stated the first thing that came to mind when he thought about collaboration was a soccer team or a traditional group project context where ther e was delegation of tasks and responsibilities. For him, regardless of whether it is in an athletic, academic, or professional environment, working with others requires communication and feedback between members. Alex also noted a difference between collab oration and teamwork, with teamwork requiring a greater sense of cohesion between members. Well obviously collaboration and teamwork are closely related because they both deal with the group but I think the key difference is that when team. I feel that there has to be a sense of cohesiveness within the group beyond just communicating goals to one another, but an actual support system where if they decide to take an opposite directi same thing as collaboration, a bunch of individuals working towards a common g personal communication, December 3, 2012). Alex stressed there is a difference between working together with others in an RTS environment and traditional collaboration in an academic or profession al small group environment since there is usually a period of time in which the work and tasks can be completed. However, in StarCraft 2 because of the quick paced nature of matches, players are forced to collaborate effectively in a much shorter amount o f time or risk losing. Because of this, working together in a RTS environment requires especially effective real time communication.

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134 created you can, uh, bounce ideas off each other and that prevents problems from December 10, 2012). Taking the StarCraft 2 course helped Ben realize the synergy required in working with others and caused him to refine his understanding and definition of teamwork. I guess I saw teamwork previously as simply a delegation of responsibility to prevent any one person from having t o do this massive thing. But, through the course, the synergistic effect came out a lot more and I began to see that there is an additional benefit simply beyond dividing the work and that is to get a product that is greater than if you were to do it alone like if you as one person simply had all their ability and one mindset, you would still make less of a product than, the ability divided up amongst different mindsets...this is the synergistic effect (Ben, personal communication, December 10, 2012). The course also helped Ben better understand teamwork and collaboration and appreciate their benefits. Similar to Ben, Caleb also said his definitions of teamwork and collaboration had changed. Before the course, he tended to see only the similarities bet ween collaboration and teamwork, but has since realized there are some important differences. Caleb was able to identify the shift in meanings and how these applied to his own small group interactions in the StarCraft 2 course. I think, collaboration is l of people than teamwork. Teamwork I think is when the group is a lot more organized or they work together a lot. I think, for my group and the class, at first it was kind of like collaboration where we a ll had the same goal but we communicating and timing, our schedules to achieve the goal academically around ea

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135 Perceived benefits of collaboration The perceived benefits of collaboration are one subtheme all three participants men tioned as they reflected on their StarCraft 2 course experience. Alex saw saw the upside of working with others through teamwork and collaboration when he effective group essentially greater than the sum of all its individual parts. He also mentioned how us personal communication, December 10, 2012). Caleb echoes the other two participants and appreciates the support of fellow members of the group or team. problem you can kind of bounce ideas off each other to help resolve the problems since a group of people will always have m ore ideas than an individual (Caleb, personal communication, December 17, 2012). Caleb was the oldest and most experienced in his group and he noted the benefits of collaboration in terms of self reflection when he said, The collaborative element helped m e. I guess since most of the people in my group were kind of younger students than me, it kind of helped me see where I was back then as opposed and compared to where I am now (Caleb, personal communication, December 17, 2012). Group Functioning Alex, StarCraft experience and their background/perspectives on collaboration influenced how their small groups actually

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136 worked together during the StarCraft 2 both areas played an integral part in how each small group functioned, since working and playing together throughout the semester forced members to constantly negotiate and renegotiate their understanding about the game and about working effectively with others. Understanding how their small group worked together and actually experiencing perception and attitudes towards collaboration in the StarCraft 2 course. This main Group dynamics were not the only facto rs which influenced how well their collaborative StarCraft 2 group worked together. Group dynamics and how the members related and communicated with each other were extremely important as the groups worked towards their in game and academic goals. Each of the three qualitative research participants came from different small groups so each had a unique perspective on the teamwork and collaboration he experienced during the course and during collaborative game play. For Alex, being randomly assigned a group a nd forced to work with strangers was actually easier than working with friends or people he knew. He mentioned overall his group was close and that he were friendly towards each other. Interestingly, the digital game environment seemed to have acted as a c During the course at the beginning I barely knew what they looked like. I only had seen their face or profile pictures, so it was kind of weird but once we were all together and in that group environment, we started to like crack

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137 a joke every once in a while and the awkwardness started to fade away. I And then the interest ing thing about your partners being right next to you is that sort of continues outside of the game. So I think, playing the game really quickly and then we were just able to commu nicate fine after that (Alex, personal communication, December 3, 2012). Another factor that helped this participant feel more comfortable with his group was discovering one of his fellow members was also not very experienced with StarCraft 2 He was very nervous at first and feared his relative lack of game experience would adversely affect the group. However, having a fellow inexperienced player and being able to follow the guidance of a more experienced player was comforting. Playing a few StarCraft 2 ma StarCraft 2 experience level, and cracking jokes all helped this group gel and warm up to each other. Alex recalled that his group dynamic was a little disjointed since the group tended to play the required collaborativ e StarCraft 2 matches during one part of the week and then not communicate any more until they had to work on the academic group project assignment. While reflecting on his perceptions and experiences in the StarCraft 2 course, Alex identified some of the personalities, game showed him that having one more experienced player thrust into a leadership role guiding tw place significant pressure on the mentor. Ben also noted how the digital game environment had an effect on the group very professional

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138 played a significant role on group dynamics in this group. Well like I mentioned before, they were, as motivated as I was not only to get a good grade bu t to learn what we were there to learn and try out what you had assigned to try out so such that we can learn that. And, I liked how actually quite fun to work with people like that and it gives me hope for my eventual career. And the fact that it was a video game made it that much more fun to do with people and I think that was a good framework for making it interesting (Ben, personal communication, December 10, 2012). Regardless of how well the group worked together, Ben admitted he did not see the group staying together beyond the end of the course. Caleb said his group took some time to gel, but towards the end of the StarCraft 2 course the group navigated the game play and academic a spects of the course together much more easily. It was not until the fourth or fifth week of the eight week course that the group really came together well. When asked how his group experienced teamwork and collaboration during the semester, Caleb stated: It happened but it took a little bit of time to happen. At first, we were kind of all doing our own thing, and, but towards the end as we met up more often and, played more games together. There was a lot more communication going on and we were able to col laborate better instead of being just three individual players who just happened to be on the same team (Caleb, personal communication, December 17, 2012). certainly evolv ed over the course of the semester, moving from a looser collaborative dynamic at the beginning of the course to a closer, more tightknit teamwork dynamic at the end. I think at first we were just kind of, a lot of individuals kind of being forced together first and then kind of grew stronger as the course went on as we worked to do work. We got closer as a group. Toward s the end I think we were kind

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139 of approaching a team aspect where we were more organized and had a lot more communication, but it took, us a while to get to that aspect (Caleb, personal communication, December 17, 2012). Throughout the course, Caleb said h in his group also meant he experienced a strong leadership aspect during his collaboration in the course. Group communica tion processes The specific ways how each StarCraft 2 group communicated and worked experiences of collaboration. Alex acknowledged the importance for groups to communicate and provide helpful feedback to one another. However, he also said his group was at times disjointed because they never exchanged phone numbers or Skype information, but instead relied solely on Facebook group chat. They would also play all their required coll aborative StarCraft 2 matches in person. When it came to the academic portion of the course, they would wait until a few days before the deadline before beginning to work on the group project (GroupCraft). couple days? communication was really nice, but other than that it kind of like, playing the game and then just a dead zone for a few the project, get the papers done (Alex, personal communication, December 3, 2012). busy schedules.

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140 (Ben, personal communication, December 10, 2012). Similar to Ben whose g also found it hard to meet together. However, as the course progressed and the group began to gel, their communication processes also changed. They primarily used email, Skype, and text messaging to communicate. At first it was very hard to get everyone together. We usually waited till the last day or second to last day before we could finally meet up due to time pressure, but toward the end we were able to meet up throughout the week and just kin could meet up earlier and get our work done as opposed to waiting till the last minute (Caleb, personal communication, December 17, 2012). s entire group met only once in person during the semester. While they began primarily with email communication, they switched more to Skype and text messaging as the course progressed. Since Caleb took on a leadership role and personally preferred a high degree of communication, he took it noted that when communicating with his group, he had to take into account that one member was really only responsive to email while the other was really only responsive to text messages. Leadership Because the small groups were randomly assigned in the StarCraft 2 course and the class had a wide range of individuals with varying StarCraft 2 experience, each group tended to have players of different experience and skill level. Because novices and experienced players were forced to work together, it was not surprising that leadership

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141 online m ultiplayer option is extremely popular and competitive. Players can titles including StarCraft 2 against other players online. Based on their performance and win los s records, players are ranked on a seven level ranking system (bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond, master, or grandmaster). Alex noted that one of his teammates had been diamond ranked at one time and was therefore a much more advanced player than eit her of the other two group members. Because of this, the group automatically placed this individual in a leadership role where he mentored the less experienced players. This Alexlso mentioned how during matches the less experienced players would defer to t he leader/mentor. There was one instance where the two more inexperienced players had been eliminated from the match, but the group leader was able to still win the match against their three opponents. This highlighted the range of skill within the small g roups. Ben had a different and more personal perspective on leadership. He focused primarily on how the StarCraft 2 course had helped him learn, develop, and evaluate his own leadership skills. For him, the course was a focusing lens where he could observ e what I was doing right and wrong and I could see the differences between now and As mentioned earlier, Cale b was placed in a leadership and mentorship role in the group because he was the most experienced StarCraft 2 player. The other members of the group especially looked up to him for guidance on StarCraft 2 strategy and concepts. This leadership role in the digital game environment also extended to the real world academic contexts with Caleb coordinating the group project.

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142 I guess since I was the oldest person in the group, they kind of looked up to me at the start and I was kind of put into a leadership rol e from my group members since they were both younger students and from that I kind of just took over the organizing and getting everything set up from there. I kind of took on a leadership role where I guess I would get us together (Caleb, personal communi cation, December 17, 2012). Team/group role StarCraft experience and leadership position had an effect on the roles they played in their assigned groups throughout the StarCraft 2 course. Alex and Caleb specificall y mentioned how differences of group StarCraft meant that the more experienced players tended to take on the role of mentor or teacher, while the less experienced players tended to take on the role of mentees or stu dents. Task/responsibility delegation The StarCraft play and academic focus meant that delegation of tasks and responsibilities was extremely important for each small group. Not only did all the groups have to delegate tasks in the traditi onal academic group projects, but they also had to determine roles and responsibilities for each group member during the collaborative StarCraft 2 matches. According to both Alex and Ben, the delegation of work and responsibility for the academic group pro delegation. part which is 2 playing with all the websites and all of the graphic designs stuff, so it got when we were asked to make a chart I would take care of that, whereas __________ and __________ would work on the more verbal answers. It was like being able to divide out assignments not just based on who gets

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143 who gets how many, but who is better at doing what (Alex, personal communication, December 3, 2012). This delegation also extended to the digital game play environment where the group leader would assign different strategies and attacks for the members to use and execute. consideration. He specifically discussed how to proceed if these interests overlapped. For the most part we kind of told each other what we wanted to do and if it o ahead and do it. If it overlapped a bit we would figure out who would be best for what role. Since I knew more about the game mechanics, usually I would do the section that was based very heavily on the game mechanics. And then they would do something mo re group focused so we would figure out who would do what after the game depending on our personal preferences if there was some overlap about who we thought would be better at what topic (Ben, personal communication, December 10, 2012). Group frustration Because of both the varied StarCraft 2 busy college schedules; it was not surprising that there was some group frustration. Alex specifically highlighted some of this frustration that his group experienced. There were moments when there was like a little bit of frustration among that. It was all friendly (Alex, personal communication, December 3, 2012). When it came to the academic side of the course and with communication in general, At the beginning there were some, I guess there were some negative experiences as far as communication and getting everyone on the same page, but after we got that all worked out it was a very positive experience. It was fun to meet the new people and work with them on the project (Caleb, persona l communication, December 17, 2012).

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144 Lessons Learned All three participants were able to synthesize new understanding of teamwork and collaboration after taking the StarCraft 2 course by reflecting on their own digital gaming and StarCraft 2 experiences, t heir previous collaborative experience, and how their small group functioned during the semester. Since the course had already ended at the time of the interview data collection, participants were able to provide a more holistic account of their perspectiv es and attitudes towards collaboration during the StarCraft 2 course. This main theme had 2 subthe v Learning collaboratively vs. learning alone While all three participants in general seemed to have found the StarCraft 2 course both meaningful and useful, it was Alex who especially noted that the learning process he experienced working collaboratively with others was different from the learning processes he enga ged in individually. He clearly saw the benefits of collaborative learning, even going so far as to say it is a superior way to learn. It was very interesting because learning a skill in a group dynamic is much different than learning a skill on your own. learning a skill in a group would be more efficient (Alex, personal communication, December 3, 2012). Learning to collaborate and communicate In genera l, according Alex, Ben, and Caleb, the StarCraft 2 course had a positive influence on their attitudes and perceptions towards working together with others. They also learned how to better collaborate and communicate. Alex specifically noted how he learned

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145 201 2). Ben learned that collaboration with likeminded and motivated individuals with the right attitudes can be a positive experience. The course has made him more excited and optimistic about future collaboration and opportunities to work together with other s. In my previous experience, it was just the lack of motivation and maybe presence of motivation was actually very shocking in a good way. It makes me more optimistic about it (Ben, personal communication, December 10, 2012). Both Ben and Caleb stated they were more optimistic about collaboration. Caleb said personal communication, December 17, 201 2). Caleb had the most to say about lessons he learned from his perceptions and experiences collaboratively working with others in the StarCraft 2 course. Being older and more experienced, Caleb learned how to sympathize, empathize, and work together with younger group members because he knew where those younger members were coming from. He also stated how he had a positive prior collaborative experience in another class and this course has reinforced those positive perceptions about working together with o thers, so much so that he actually are looking forward to future collaborative work. Alex noted he learned how to work with group members with different communication styles and how to take charge of a group project. I think that I still enjoy it very muc experience that you can learn a lot out of. But I think you would have to look over some of the, I guess, downsides at the beginning especially with communication and maybe getting all the group members to work toge ther, say you had different personalities or work styles, but after that I think it can still be a very positive experience (Caleb, personal communication, December 17, 2012).

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146 Results Summary The quantitative and qualitative data analyzed in this research helped provide a clearer understanding of the collaborative processes and team cohesion dynamics present in the StarCraft 2 course. The research question examined the ways participation in an online digital game s of collaboration and team cohesion. There were five main findings. First, data analysis revealed preliminary evidence that participation in the StarCraft 2 course did lead to a ns and attitudes towards their social attraction to their group (ATG S). Second, there was a statistically perceptions of how close their group was regarding task (GI T) and r StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 experience. Third, there was a statistically significant negative according to their task (ATG T) and their year in school. Fo urth, qualitative data analysis showed there were four main themes and 18 related subthemes that helped explain and and team cohesion. Fifth, closer examination of th e modified GEQ items generally supported that the StarCraft 2 attitudes and perceptions towards the social aspects of collaboration and team cohesion, but that it was important when considering the task b ased aspects of team cohesion to remember that in DGBL environments there are game based tasks and academics based tasks. In general, both the quantitative and qualitative results indicated that participation in the StarCraft 2 course tended to influence t perspectives of the social aspects of team cohesion and the task based aspects. The

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147 perspectives of the task based aspects of collaboration and team cohesion were also influenced by participation in the StarCraft 2 course.

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148 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Overview This research examined how participation in an innovative online DGBL course using the RTS game StarCraft 2 s of collaboration and Collaboration and the ability to work effectively with others are vital skills learners will world. Modern digital games can be highly complex and require significant levels of collaboration between players. These highly fluid and dynamic environments encourage experiential learning and have potential for pedagogy (Gee, 2003; Shaffer, Squire, Hal verson, & Gee, 2005; Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004). Seeking to build upon the innate experiential nature of digital games, the StarCraft 2 course was carefully designed based on constructivist and experiential learning principles (Jonassen, 2006; Duffy & J onassen, 1992; Von Glaserfeld, 1989; Kolb & Kolb, 2005) since constructivist instructional approaches can be an effective way to merge digital games with pedagogy (Kii li, 2005). The StarCraft 2 course builds upon prior work by Gros (2007), who also studied the educational use of an RTS game, and Collazos, Guerrer o, Pino, Ochoa, and Stahl (2007 ) who developed a framework model for using digital games to teach collaboration. As the StarCraft 2 course was designed as an online course, the educational material and activities were use of RTS games.

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149 This chapter discusses each of the major themes which ca me up during the qualitative data analysis and how the quantitative results fit into this thematic framework. Please refer to Figure 5 1 for a visual representation of this framework and the interplay between the qualitative and quantitative data. (Note: t his is the same diagram as first mentioned in Chapter 4 reproduced here for convenience.) Figure 5 1. Thematic framework and interplay between quantitative and qualitative data. This chapter also discusses the results, recommendations, implications, cav eats, and conclusions of this research. Overall, the data from this mixed methods research indicated the StarCraft 2 perspectives and experiences. The quantitative results from the six participants who took part in the quantitative part of the study indicated a statistically significant increase in their feelings of social attraction to their group (ATG S) after taking the course. Also, a

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150 ignificantly correlated with each other and with several of the modified GEQ constructs of team cohesion. Examination of the differences in the mean scores of specific items between the pretest and posttest also helped provide a fuller picture of how colla boration was actually occurring in the course. However, it is absolutely critical that it be remembered that the modified GEQ administered in this research had severe limitations regarding internal consistency, validity, reliability of the scores, and resu lts should be interpreted accordingly. The qualitative results from the three interview participants also indicated the StarCraft 2 course had an effect on their perceptions and attitudes towards collaboration and how they experienced working with others. Qualitative data analysis and perspectives. Please refer to Figure 5 1 for a visual representation of the themes that emerged from the qualitative data analysis. Each of the three participants noted their digital gaming/ StarCraft 2 experience and their background/perspectives of collaboration influenced how their groups functioned and interacted. The quantitative data is interwoven within the themes of digital gaming a nd StarCraft experience and background and perspectives of collaboration. Each of the three qualitative research participants synthesized new learning and perspectives regarding collaboration by considering their prior experience working with others, their digital game experience, their experience with StarCraft 2 and their actual collaborative experiences in the StarCraft 2 course. Discussion With regards to the first research hypothes i s of this study, the quantitative results show ed that enrollment and participation in the StarCraft 2 DGBL course did increase one of the four aspects of team

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151 cohesion their personal social attraction to their groups ATG S). The null hypothesis for regarding this one as pect was rejected at the .006 level of significance with regards to the personal social attraction to group ( ATG S ) team cohesion aspect of the modified GEQ. The null hypothesis regarding the other three aspects failed to be rejected at the 0.05 level of s ignificance. For the second research hypothesis, the results did not show a positive correlation between StarCraft 2 perceptions of collaboration and team cohesion. Rather, two negative correlations were found. Pa StarCraft 1 / StarCraft 2 experience had a negative correlation with their perceptions of how close their group was regarding task (GI T). Because of this, the null hypothesis could not be rejected at the 0.05 level of significance. However, ther e was a statistically significant negative correlation at the 0.01 level of significance. their personal perceptions of how close their group was according to their task (ATG T) Because of this, the null hypothesis could not be rejected at the 0.05 level of significance. However, there was a statistically significant negative correlation at the 0.05 level of significance. These results when interpreted together more holistically with the q ualitative data help paint a fuller picture of the effects the StarCraft 2 course had on learners. The mixed methods approach helped synthesize a richer and more complete understanding of the effects of the StarCraft 2 course. Each of the four themes and related quantitative data which emerged from this research has important implications for researchers and educators seeking to design, implement, and examine DGBL courses. This research examined how the StarCraft 2 and perceptions towards collaboration and working with others. Participating in and studying collaborative groups can be an extremely complex task since so many different factors

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152 contribute to group success. Kerr and Tindale (2004) succinctly capture this sentiment most of our theories and methods would suggest. The difficulty has and continues to be, is research addresses this question by using mixed methods in an attempt to explore the complexities of collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion within the StarCraft 2 course. It also looked at leadership within the small groups, a theme not initially co nsidered at the onset of the study. (The importance of group leadership only became evident during the qualitative interviews and data analysis.) The qualitative data analysis pointed to a number of important factors related to each theme with implications for the design, implementation, and study of DGBL courses. This section specifically discusses each of the major emergent themes, how the quantitative data fit with the qualitative findings, and how what was learned is related to the literature. Digital Gaming and StarCraft Experience Each of the three qualitative research participants noted digital gaming and StarCraft 2 experience was an important factor in determining and establishing the social processes and leadership structure of their individual g roups. These findings regarding leadership were unexpected and only came to light during the qualitative data analysis. During the planning for this research, it was assumed that digital gaming and StarCraft experience was going to be an important factor w hen it came to the research StarCraft 2 course. However, at that time it was not known in what ways or to what extent this experience was important. Subsequent qualitative data a nalysis clearly pointed to digital gaming and StarCraft experience having implications for the leadership decisions in their

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153 groups. Indeed, a StarCraft skill gap tended to play an integral role in how the three research participants collaborated, function ed, and delegated leadership. The important part of their collaboration experience and group integration during the StarCraft 2 course. Past research has shown leadership pla ys an integral role in group performance and effectiveness (Burke et al., 2006). Of the three participants in the qualitative part of this research, one took on a leadership role in his group, one was not the leader but still explored leadership concepts w ithin his group, and one took on the role of follower in his group. All three participants said that in their groups, experienced group members who were more comfortable with the game tended to take on or be placed into leadership roles. Lesser skilled par ticipants tended to defer to more experienced peers based solely on game experience without considering any other leadership qualities. This dynamic caused or influenced by the StarCraft skill gap may be attributed to the social identity theory of leadersh ip. While there are many leadership theories, the data collected and analyzed in this study points to the social identity theory of leadership being especially helpful because of its emphasis on social dynamics. This theory also makes sense in this resear because digital gaming is often a highly social process. The social identity theory of leadership states leadership is a group process and a complex interplay of factors at both the individual level and at the group level including social iden tity, self categorization, self esteem, and social attraction (Hogg, 2001; Hogg & Knippenberg, 2003). This theory also says leadership tends to fall on individuals who possess more of the prototypical traits of good leadership. Because of this, individuals possessing more

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154 Knippenberg, 2003). As part of society, group members have been conditioned and socialized to follow deeply rooted social norms, expectations, stereotypes, and T groups in the StarCraft 2 course where the more experienced players were considered prototypical players/leaders and where the less experienced players automatically defe greater game experience as a desirable prototypical leadership quality. Data from all there seemed to be the assumption that the better StarCraft 2 player would automatically make the better leader. This occurrence may have been caused by inadequate guidance for course learners regarding leadership and leadership delegation, which brings t o mind a student assumed leadership without faculty guidance, selection was often connected to students' perceptions of which team member had the most technical knowledge relevant to the particu their overall impression of them. In the StarCraft 2 course, participants had a high opinion of participants with greater StarCraft 2 experience and considered these individuals to be the best leader candidates based on this evaluation.

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155 Digital game and StarCraft 2 experience influenced not only leadership dynamics, but also hinted a t some of the other complex social relationships present in collaborative groups which have implications for group performance and effectiveness. One participant expressly stated how he felt he was the least experienced player in his group and therefore wo rked especially hard so the group would not fail. This indicates what is capable members of groups working at conjunctive tasks (i.e., where the poorest performance defines the group score) increase their eff StarCraft 2 groups. A collaborative StarCraft 2 match as played in the StarCraft 2 course with a group of three people playing against another group of three people is in many ways a conjunct contingent on their ski lls and knowledge base. In collaborative StarCraft 2 matches, often other two group mates are unable to provide adequate assistance, that player is often eliminated, th ereby completely changing the dynamics of the match. Elimination of a player turns a 3 versus 3 match into a 3 versus 2 match, which severely limits the chances of success for the group of two. Therefore, the better the least skilled player in a group play s, the better the chances are of the group succeeding. In this research, the research participant who reported being the least skilled in his group worked extra hard an d motivation to improve his performance so as not to let his group down. Had this individual not expended the extra effort to improve and instead simply let his group carry

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156 the tendency for individuals to expend less effort when working collectively than when working 9 3, p. 681). Digital game and StarCraft experience also affected how the quantitative research participants felt about their groups regar task (GI T). While the prediction that the StarCraft 2 would positively correlate to their perceptions of collaboration and team cohesion was not proven by the data collected in this research, there were a couple of statistically negative correlations that proved to be extremely helpful in understanding the collaboration and social dynamics in the small groups The negative correlation between StarCraft skill and GI T sheds light on h ow the StarCraft skill level gap within the leadership delegation. In general, more experienced group members tended to be less according to the task than less experienced group members. This could have stemmed from the more experienced members feeling frustrated with their lesser skilled group mates and the less experienced members appreciating the help and guidance from their men tors. In hindsight, more guidance in the course should have been specifically provided regarding both leadership and mentor mentee relationships. This could have been valuable for all of the course participants and could have helped strengthen the small gr oup bonds. While none of the qualitative research participants mentioned personality during their interviews, in hindsight it would have also been an excellent construct to examine since many researchers (Stogdill, 1948; Hogan, Curphy, & Hogan, 1994; Zacca ro, Foti, & Kenny, 1991) have considered it to be a major factor when it comes to leadership and

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157 leadership delegation. Although not explicitly explored in this research and certainly an area for future inquiry personality could have played some part in ho w leaders were influential with leadership. Personality is not the only factor which influences and affects leadership. Zaccaro (2007) notes how leadership traits go beyond an personality and extend to their values, problem solving skills, and cognitive abilities. such as these are precursors to leadership effectiveness. The oversight in this research of not examining personality and leadership is even more regretful because one of the assignments in the StarCraft 2 course was for learners to take a shortened Internet version of the Meyers Briggs personality type indicators an d also a short leadership styles survey. Please refer to Appendix G for the assignment. Including discussion about these during the qualitative interviews could have provided an even richer picture of the s, attitudes, and experiences of collaboration as well as leadership in the course. One other important observation regarding the leadership findings of this research d since this research did not initially intend to examine that construct, the interview protocol did not ask for their precise definition, explanation, or experiences. The qualitative data seemed to show the research participants had extremely traditional and rigid perspectives on what leadership exactly meant and entailed, with it primarily being seen

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158 simply as a role or position. This is not surprising given that the research participants were undergraduates and probably relatively inexperienced when it c ame leadership and its complex dynamics. However, leadership is highly complex and Scribner, Sawyer, leadership as a phenomenon exclusively associated with specific roles, positions, or Since it is a social construct, leadership could have been examined in this research in a similar manner to how collaboration was examined. Exploring the social aspects of leadership and collaboration and the interplay between the two could have provided an even richer picture into the experiences the research participants experienced in the StarCraft 2 course. If leadership had been identified as an area of inquiry during the initial design of this research, more probing questions could have been included that could have more closely examined the leadership dynamics in the StarCraft 2 s, the social identity theory of leadership with its prototypical leader figure seemed to best fit the data the qualitative research participants provided. Had leadership been formally included in the interview protocol, further probing may have provided m ore data identifying other leadership theories that could have helped explain the leadership frameworks in the StarCraft 2 course. Relational leadership theory could have also helped explain the leadership dynamics since it considers both leader attributes process of social construction Bien, 2006, p. 654). Having more specific data leadership dynamics specifically played out in their groups could have helped shed light

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159 on which leadership theory or theories could best explain what occurred in the collaborative groups. More than one theory may explain leadership in a given context. Kark and Van Dijk (2007) combined and integrated multiple leadership theories to help explain and understand leadership dynamics. They combined self regulatory focus theory and self concept based leadership theories to explain how leadership is the c influence on their followers stemming from different traits and motivations. The collection of more in depth leadership data would definitely have helped add to the rather limited and one dimensional perspective on leadership thi s research has provided. Digital gaming and StarCraft 2 experience was an especially important factor for the qualitative research participants in the StarCraft 2 course. Not only did this experience provide familiarity with the course material, but it als o had a direct impact on StarCraft skill level gap existed. This gap played a role in help ing form some of the collaboration dynamics present in the StarCraft 2 course groups such as the Kohler effect. It influenced how research participants at different ends of the skill level spectrum perceived their groups with regards to team cohesion and a lso helped determine the leadership decisions of these groups. In turn, these leadership decisions and structures played an integral role in how each group actually functioned and collaborated. Since leadership was such an important theme in this research, it is unfortunate the relationship between personality and leadership was overlooked during the planning of this research and that leadership was not initially identified as an integral factor affecting collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion. Had the leadership factor initially been a

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160 research focus, it could have been incorporated into the qualitative interview protocol and therefore more thoroughly explored and interpreted using multiple perspectives of leadership theory. Research participants could have been asked about their personal experiences and definitions of leadership similar to the way they were asked about their definitions of collaboration and prior experience. Examining digital game experience, leadership, and personality all together wou ld have provided a fuller look at collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion in the StarCraft 2 course. Background and Perspectives of Collaboration Digital game and StarCraft experience as well as leadership were not the only factors which influenced the group dynamics and functioning in the StarCraft 2 course. collaboration also influenced their attitudes towards collaboration. Data analysis revealed they had very different collaborative experiences in college than in high school. The three participants reported having generally negative collaborative experiences prior to starting college and mostly positive experiences so far at the college level. It is noteworthy even thou gh some participants reported negative high school collaborative experiences they continued to recognize the positive benefits and potential of collaboration. All three participants noted their definitions and understanding of teamwork and collaboration w ere broadened after taking the course and that they valued the social interaction and affective support they experienced in their groups. The participants also reported increased skill and experience in working and interacting with others, both in the acad emic environment and in the StarCraft 2 game environment. They reported a generally positive collaborative experience in the StarCraft 2 course, with two

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161 participants expressly stating how they now looked forward to future collaborative projects after the experiences they had in the course. Prior experience and exposure to collaboration has been identified as a factor in the success of collaborative projects. Cummings and Kiesler (2008) found individuals who had collaborated in the past with each other had stronger collaborative bonds while working together on current projects. This prior collaborative experience also reduced the collaboration experience in general, Bru neel D'Este, and Salter (2010) note it can play a major role in helping reduce and mitigate barriers to current and future collaboration. In their study of undergraduate engineering students, Colbeck, Campbell, and Bjorklund ollaborative experiences both negative and positive helped provide them practical insight into effective collaboration such as how to set goals, develop leadership skills, and divide tasks. Prior collaborative experience also had an effect on group leaders class or out of class group experiences were more likely to assume leadership and more likely to attempt to 78). Such learners also tended to describe their group experiences in terms of interdependence and how tasks and responsibilities were delegated amongst group members. Huxham (2003) explains the complex interactions inherent to collaboration using themes such as membership struc tures, leadership, common aims, power, and trust. The qualitative research participants experienced dynamics related to each of these themes and also learned to set goals, develop leadership skills, and divide tasks like Colbeck, Campbell, and Bjorklund (2 000) found in their study of undergraduates. This research is noteworthy because it has provided some documented evidence the

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162 three participants were able to learn the same skills in a DGBL course environment as those reportedly learned in a traditional fa ce to face college course environment. Similar to the StarCraft skill gap observed earlier there also seemed to be a college level collaboration experience gap. The hypothesis that predicted the StarCraft 2 ly correlate to their perceptions of collaboration and team cohesion was not proven by the collected data. Rather, there was a statistically significant negative correlation where the quantitative research participants who had more college experience as me asured by year in school felt less personal attraction to their groups based on task than the participants with less college experience. This could have been because those with more college level collaboration experience felt some level of frustration with group mates with less experience. Those with less college level experience could have really enjoyed their StarCraft 2 group because the more responsible nature of working with peers at the college level was so different than past negative experiences the y had in high school. As with the StarCraft skill gap, in hindsight the course should have provided more guidance and frameworks about how to ensure small groups collaborate fairly, smoothly, and effectively. This research discovered firsthand how importan collaborative experiences when assigning learners to small groups. Colbeck, Campbell, and Bjorklund (2000) suggest educators and researchers should take the extent and s into consideration when creating small groups since those who have worked more with others in small group settings are more likely to have developed expertise in managing conflict and solving problems that will benefit the entire group. They also note ed ucators should provide a high level of guidance when it comes to collaboration to maximize group effectiveness and streamline

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163 their collaborative processes. Unfortunately, at least one of the three qualitative research participants felt there was a lack of such guidance in the StarCraft 2 course. He felt the StarCraft 2 course did not include enough scaffolding to guide him and his group as they started working together and that learners were simply thrown together and expected to collaborate. This was part of the course design, which aimed to create a real world collaborative experience. Members were randomly assigned to groups using an online random group generator tool with no attention paid to individual characteristics in an effort to simulate real life professional situations where learners would have no say in the group they were assigned to work or collaborate with and where guidance is often sparse or nonexistent. Heterogeneous groups do have their benefits and past research has shown working with ot hers who have different learning styles and are of different gender/race can be beneficial (Hunkeler & Sharp, 1997). However, after analyzing the interview data, there was evidence from two of the three participants that in the StarCraft 2 course, this hig h degree of randomness actually hindered the small group experience since the course duration was so short and such a large proportion of time and effort was spent simply getting to know each other and figuring out the basics of group collaboration. A mor e effective way to have addressed the StarCraft 2 course group suggest assigning learners t o groups based on different criteria such as prior group experience. There would still some element of randomness and working with strangers, but the groups would also likely have a firmer foundation to build upon. Shih et al. (2010) studied collaboration in a digital game environment and recommend educators

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164 remember individual learning styles, learning motivations, and learning strategies can influence collaboration in DGBL contexts. Other criteria could include factors such as digital game experience or p ersonality types. When it came to the StarCraft 2 course specifically, considering collaborative experience, digital game experience, and StarCraft experience when forming the small groups could possibly have positively affected how the groups delegated l to provide the course participants with a smoother, yet at the same time authentic collaborative experience. Background a nd perspectives of collaboration played an important role in how the StarCraft 2 course groups worked together. The research participants were able to learn from past experiences both negative and positive to set goals, develop leadership skills, and divid e tasks. The results also revealed two main areas of improvement regarding the collaborative aspect of the course design and implementation. First, due to the StarCraft skill gap which became evident during the data analysis, the completely random group as signment was not the most effective grouping strategy for the course. This skill gap in regards to both StarCraft and college level collaboration influenced the leadership structure of the groups and how they collaborated. This could have been addressed by more carefully considering learner characteristics such as digital gaming experience and prior collaboration experience. Second, there may not have been enough scaffolding and resources to help guide novice collaborators. Providing more material and guida nce in how to collaborate with others and how to delegate leadership could have helped give the StarCraft 2 course groups a firmer foundation as they started working and playing together. Since the duration of the course was so brief, more

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165 scaffolding coul d have saved groups time and effort and could have helped streamline their collaborative processes. However, it is important to keep in mind that regardless of the level of support and scaffolding regarding group collaboration and leadership, some learners would still be dissatisfied since not all learners enjoy group collaboration. decisions of the groups, the qualitative research participants still generally enjoyed their collaborative experiences and felt the course was a meaningful experience which taught them how to collaborate. It is noteworthy one of the elements they enjoyed most was the social interaction which occurred in their groups and the affective support they received from their group mates. Group Functioning Qualitative data analysis revealed social interactions and group dynamics had an important influence on how groups actually functioned. Additionally, the three qualitative research participants reported communication, logistics, scheduling, and group based and game based group interactions. They found the social interactions in their groups extremely meaningful for the learning processes they ex perienced during the course. This emphasis on the social aspect of collaboration is noteworthy. During their interviews, each of the three participants reported experiencing a sense of camaraderie and common purpose as they played collaborative matches and worked together on group projects. They experienced increased team cohesion and positive experiences in the affective domain. Humans are social creatures and depending on the genre and specific game, modern digital gaming can be an extremely social and em otional activity.

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166 Researchers and educators interested in DGBL should focus not only on the content and processes of using games in education, but also on the affective domain since feelings, emotions, and social processes play a significant role in digita l gaming (Garris, Ahlers, and Driskell, 2002; Squire, 2002; Wilson et al., 2009). The experiential and immersive nature of many digital games means players can experience a wide range of feelings including but not limited to competition, captivation, contr ol, completion, challenge, discovery, exploration, fantasy, fellowship, sympathy, thrill, and relaxation (Korhonen, Montola, & Arrasvuori, 2009) as they interact with the game and/or with other players in highly complex and detailed virtual environments. T his emotional connection means they have a vested interest in what they do and what occurs. The DGBL environment combines the motivational and enjoyment factors of digital games with academic and professional learning. Well designed and effectively impleme nted DGBL approaches have the potential to encourage learners to care not only about the game play, but also about learning. The enjoyment experienced by learners in DGBL environments can help them become more emotionally invested in the knowledge building processes of academic learning. While DGBL environments can certainly offer many innovative and immersive ways to learn, there is one important characteristic which need to be considered. DGBL can include many affective dynamics not necessarily present i n traditional classroom settings. Researchers and educators should be prepared to use this to their advantage in promoting learning as well as prepared to handle situations where emotions can get out of hand (i.e. when learners become too competitive or be lligerent, or when they begin belittling fellow players). The StarCraft 2 course syllabus in this research specifically

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167 conduct for learners. Proactive measures such as this c an go a long way in mitigating and avoiding many potential difficult group problems. Please refer to Appendix A for the Fall 2012 StarCraft 2 course syllabus and Appendix B for the course description. In this research, when it came to the communications an d logistical side of their technology to communicate and coordinate. This research aligns with the findings of others who have also studied online collaboration and comp uter mediated communication (CMC). Stacey (2007) studied graduate level learners in an MBA course who collaborated together via CMC and identified some of the many ways they worked together collaboratively. Learners tended to engage in the social construct ion of knowledge, give and receive feedback, share diverse perspectives, share resources/ideas/advice, and provide socio affective support for their group mates. The (2 noted the social relationships learners formed online helped develop trust and emotional support that in turn helped facilitate communication and learning. The three qualita tive research participants in the StarCraft 2 course reported similar experiences and used tools such as Skype and Facebook group chat to communicate. One participant noted how their group used humor and the fun of playing StarCraft 2 to strengthen social bonds. Another interview participant also recalled how his group became socially closer as they played and worked together more. All three participants reported their groups were places where they could find support socially, academically, and digital game wise.

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168 effectiveness. All three qualitative research participants noted how practical also to th e challenges. Two of the three participants specifically mentioned how their groups tended to struggle with communication and coordination early in the course even though they had access to technologies such as Skype, Facebook, email, and text messaging. O ne participant reported how his group did not exchange phone numbers or texts and this led to some scheduling and deadline issues. Another participant noted how his group mates had a difficult time working together until they all received the appropriate c ontact information from each other. After they had the information, their collaboration became more effective. This participant also related how as group leader, he learned to communicate with his group mates on their preferred medium of communication one group member preferred texts while the other preferred emails. These struggles with working together were not surprising and echo Baltes et al. (2002) who found groups using CMC are not necessarily significantly any better than groups working in a solely f ace to face environment. The two StarCraft 2 reported experiences demonstrate that CMC and online technologies alone are insufficient when it comes to achieving collaborative group success. Rather, these technologies must be used along with other small group processes such as establishing workflows, setting up communication/scheduling frameworks, and focusing on the socio affective dynamics of the group. Researchers and educators must remember collaborative DGBL courses and any online c ourses in general should have adequate resources and frameworks in place to help guide learners as they decide how to communicate as a group. Providing a list and description of different CMC and cloud

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169 based Web 2.0 productivity tools could help improve co mmunication and small group collaboration effectiveness. While the groups in the StarCraft 2 course also met occasionally in person, these tools would have still proven to be useful for online collaboration on the academic group projects. Group functioning was an integral factor which influenced how the research participants both quantitative and qualitative experienced and felt about working with others. Communication while collaborating is crucial and all three qualitative research participants used moder n communication technologies to coordinate their academic project related tasks and their collaborative StarCraft 2 game play. The participants learned that merely having access to these tools was not sufficient to working effectively. Rather, they had to actually use these tools appropriately and also be flexible regarding learned collaboration and effective communication within small groups revolves around getting to know th eir group mates, being flexible, and being willing to experiment to find which communication processes work best in facilitating smooth group functioning. Lessons Learned Overall, the three qualitative research participants reported learning a significant amount about collaboration, teamwork, and leadership as they progressed through the StarCraft 2 StarCraft 2 experience, collaboration experience, and how their group actually functioned all influenced what lessons th ey felt they had learned and their perspectives about collaboration. Qualitative data analysis indicated the three participants generally had increased positive attitudes and perspectives towards collaboration and also noted the course helped reinforce the ir views of its value and potential.

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170 Each of the three participants reported having generally positive experiences working with their groups and stressed one of the most important lessons they learned from both the in person and online collaboration proce sses was that collaboration is essentially about managing human relationships, maintaining effective communication, (2007) findings in that social relationships are cru cially important when it comes to online collaboration. Overall, the three qualitative participants expressed that through the StarCraft 2 course, they were able to synthesize new attitudes and understanding towards collaboration from their prior collabora tive experiences and that they had improved their skill in setting goals, being leaders, and delegating responsibilities. This is similar to what Colbeck, Campbell, and Bjorklund (2000) found in their research of collaboration in a traditional face to face college course. The lessons the three qualitative research participants reported learning show how the StarCraft 2 course was in many ways an effective environment for groups to experientially learn about and practice complex and dynamic collaborative pro cesses. Key Implications This StarCraft 2 course research has five key implications not only for the future design, development, implementation and study of DGBL approaches but also for the educational potential of digital games in general. The first im plication is that the genre of game used in DGBL approaches matters a great deal when it comes to equitable and socially responsible educational practice. The second implication is that the experiential nature of d igital games and DGBL approaches both have potential in teaching collaboration skills in a meaningful way. The third implication is that DGBL approaches which focus on the social and collaborative nature of digital games have the potential to

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171 teach learners effective leadership skills by giving th em an opportunity to actually lead and manage The fourth implication is that researching DGBL approaches is challenging due to the often highly fluid, complex, and immersive nature of modern digital games and that DGBL specific research instruments should be developed and used The fifth implication is that DGBL learning approaches can be applicable to a wide range of professional fields for a wide variety of different purposes. DGBL and the Need for Socially Responsible Educational Practice In retrospect the StarCraft 2 course is an enigma that simultaneously exceeded expectations in some areas yet also fell short in others On one hand it is a carefully designed DGBL course that was not only conceived and designed, but was actually implemented for t wo years at a major research institution during which it attracted significant national and international media attention. It exceeded all design, implementation, and popularity expectations and brought together research from many different fields to infor m, guide, and facilitate innovative technology integration into education. The StarCraft 2 course proved it was possible at a major educational institution to teach and sustain a DGBL course that used a popular commercial off the shelf game. However, like all research, there were limitations. A closer examination reveals that while the course was indeed carefully designed according to theory and practice w hen considered from a sociocultural and equity perspective it fell short of expectations in that it on ly served an extremely limited demographic It was available only to Honors students and appealed to a much smaller subset of those learne rs predominantly male who enjoyed playing real time strategy games The enigmatic nature of the StarCraft 2 course hig hlights the need for researchers and educators to

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172 carefully consider the genre of games used in their DGBL approaches as well as their intended learner demographic. Unfortunately, in this research, there was not enough consideration of the implications of using a real time strategy game to build a DGBL course. From the onset of the course inception and development, the course was specifically designed for the fact the research er had finite resources and time and because it was seen as the best way to get the course approved. T he Honors Program had a strong history of accepting innovative instructional methods and offering innovative courses. Getting an innovative course accept ed and offered at a major research institution can be a challenging and involved task and every effort was made to design the StarCraft 2 course in a way that maximized its potential for adoption. I n the case of this research, StarCraft 2 was chosen based heavily on the popularity of the game and the fact that the University of California, Berkeley had offered a StarCraft course the previous year which aimed to help learners become better players. Having a prestigious university already having offered a cou rse using StarCraft was seen as helping provide support for the course adopt ion at the institution where this research was conducted. At the time StarCraft 2 seemed like an extremely suitable game to build a DGBL course around due to its complexity and suitability in teaching important 21 st century skills such as collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking The intent was t o go beyond the Berkeley course which inspired this research and actually focus on the academic and professional skills the game could help develop and teach. While much thought had been given to the design and content of the course, not nearly enough consideration had been given to the sociocultural and equity factors inherent to a DGBL course --especially one which used a

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173 ga me with a predominately male player base. The decision to use a real time strategy game practically guaranteed the exclusion of female learners as this genre predominately is played by males D uring the course development, these factors became increasingly evident and modifications were made to the course, the course description, and the course material/assignments to appeal to a wider range of learners (i.e. more collaborative game play and collaborative projects.) However, this was a case of too little to o late and over the two years the course was offered, these changes turned out to be inconsequential in recruiting a more gender balanced course enrollment as the real time strategy genre ensured a continued predominantly male enrollment. While this was fo reseen during the course design, it was not until after the course was being offered that the gender disparity in the course enrollments became fully evident. Once implemented, it was not feasible to move the course out of the Honors Program or to change t he game that was used. From a sociocultural and equity perspective, several factors of the StarCraft 2 course helped contribute to this subject matter and appeal to an elite group of overwhelmingly male learners meant that the course essentially provided an already privileged learner demographic with yet another resource while the general student population was unable to participate or experience any of the benefits of its innovative approach Ironically, however, without the immense name recognition of the game and the fact that the University of California, Berkeley had previously offered a course based on StarCraft the StarCraft 2 course detailed in this research would probably never had come to fruition. In many ways, the StarCra ft 2 course represents a danger which every educational technologist and DGBL researcher faces. The educational technology field is driven by interest in using innovative technological approaches in education. Practical

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174 r esearch and resource constraints of ten mean these innovative approaches may be implemented only where the innovative technologies can be afforded and where they can be more easily implemented. This can often result in situations where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. More afflue nt educational institutions and school districts can afford to provide innovative approaches for their learners who already may tend to be academically high er achieving while the less affluent and lower achieving institutions and districts may miss out. In many ways the StarCraft 2 course enrich ed the already wealthy while neglecting the poor. It was offered and available only to Honors students, who already tend ed to have access to a wide range of support and resources. It also only catered to real time st rategy game players, who are predominantly males and by their gender tend to be more privileged in society. In serving what basically what amounted to a male elite, the course reinforced societal hegemony even though it was never its intent. The implicatio ns of this research are clear. Educators must not only consider the hows and whats of education, but they must also keep in mind the whos In th e movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan t he Vulcan character Spock took an apt perspective that is applicable to the sociocultural implications of this research e needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few ( Sallin & Meyer 1982 ). Although Spock is a fictional character, his words still have great weight for educators in our own very real wor ld. In the case of this StarCraft 2 research, the needs of the few outweighed the needs of the many. In a fair and democratic society, educators should do their best in helping all learners succeed while not focusing entirely on one subset. While there wil l certainly be technologically inno vative approaches where it will not be possible to cater to every learner or to provide them with access the StarCraft 2

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175 target demographic should serve as a warning to researchers and educators of potential concerns when it comes to equity in designing, developing, and implementing DGBL approaches and courses M uch caution and careful thought should be considered during future work in incorporating digital games into education so as to appeal to and most effectively impact the greatest number of learners as possible. In retrospect, a broader seminar based DGBL approach that incorporated a variety of digital games would have probably attracted and served a much more diverse range of learners than the singular focused StarCraft 2 course. This research has shown that systematic and pedagogically sound design is not sufficient in creating effective, fair, and equitable DGBL approaches. Careful consideration of the type and genre of game as well as aud ience is paramount if a wider demographic of learner is to have the opportunity to experience and benefit from innovative DGBL educational approaches Despite its weaknesses, this research has nevertheless proven DGBL is gaining increasing traction and acc eptance in education. It has shown it is possible for DGBL to be implemented in more involved contexts outside of more isolated uses in single classroom lessons or after school activities. For all its strengths and weaknesses, this research has helped adva nce the DGBL field by carefully documenting the design, development, and implementation of an innovative digital game based instructional approach. DGBL and Teaching Collaboration Despite its shortcomings, t his StarCraft 2 research still has much to offe r as it can help inform best practices regarding DGBL. It demonstrates the potential popular, complex games can have in engaging and teaching learners important real world skills. It also highlights some of the important social and equity factors researche rs and educators must consider when developing and implementing DGBL instruction. When

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176 learners play digital games, they are engaging in often complex processes and interactions with each other and with the game in those virtual environments. When they pla y digital games with others, these processes and interactions often become even more complex because another process collaboration is introduced into the environment. Zagal. Rick, and Hsi (2006) note games traditional board games and digital games 37). Whitton (2009) believes DGBL has potential in higher education because it can aid level transferable skills such as analysis, critical evaluati on, autonomy, and team working which are all skills the StarCraft 2 course focuses on. This research was specifically three phase m odel developed for teaching collaboration using digital games. It is important to remember collaboration can be seen as both a product and a process. When playing collaborative digital games, learners must navigate two processes to reach an end product or goal in the game the actual process of playing the games and also the process of collaborating with others while playing. Essentially, they must use one process to facilitate another process. Being able to effectively function in such a complex environment is an invaluable skill for learners to be able to take to the real world, where they will be expected to engage in many complex and often collaborative environments as professionals. DGBL provides an enjoyable and immersive way for learners to engage in c omplex processes. In the StarCraft 2 course, learners engaged in the collaboration process not only in the digital game environment, but also in the more traditional academic group project environment. They were forced to navigate two worlds and to become fluent in each. The StarCraft 2 course essentially

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177 encouraged learners to be bilingual and to be able to navigate seamlessly between the worlds. The digital game environment provided learners with an opportunity to experience and practice actual collaborat ion in a meaningful real time context. DGBL and Teaching Leadership The StarCraft 2 course also holds promise with regards to teaching leadership skills. While this research did not initially focus on examining leadership in the context of the StarCraft 2 experiences with group dynamics and functioning during the semester. Leadership also influenced and informed their experiences, attitudes, and perceptions about working with others i n collaborative contexts. DGBL courses have great potential in helping teach learners how to collaborate because digital games can represent learning spaces where learners can negotiate and renegotiate what they know and understand about social roles and w hat it takes to lead. Many modern multiplayer digital games require a significant level of collaboration and also force players to work together to successfully accomplish goals and tasks. As such, they also can become excellent environments in which to st udy leadership in action. Social identity theory (Hogg, 2001) may be a useful lens researchers can use to better understand leadership, teamwork, and collaboration in digital game environments. The theory also has implications for any group collaborating virtually since interactions will undoubtedly rely on different communications technologies and groups may be tempted to automatically delegate the member perceived as having the most technological skill as leader without consideration of other leadership qualities. More fully understanding leadership dynamics and qualities can help educators and researchers

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178 create more effective DGBL approaches that teach learners important leadership, teamwork, and collaboration skills. Need for DGBL Specific Quantitative Instruments Both human learning processes and digital game playing processes can often be highly complex. As technology evolves and an increasing number of people play digital games, the delineation between the real world and the digital game world will c ontinue to blur. The increasing relevance of these worlds to more people makes the research of these spaces not only interesting, but necessary. While modifying existing instruments designed to study traditional learning environments and group contexts see ms logical when researching DGBL, there are several factors that may mean these instruments may require extensive modification and adaptation. For example, digital game environments also include other factors in the affective domain not necessarily conside red in traditional professional or academic contexts such as feelings of enjoyment, competition, camaraderie, and pride. Since DGBL merges the academic context with a gaming context, traditional research instruments designed only to examine the academic co ntext may prove to be unsuitable for use in a digital game environment. This research was designed based on the assumption that modifying and adapting the GEQ was the best course of action since creating a new instrument would have required time and resour ces not available. The partial validation process for the modified GEQ conducted during a previous pilot test modified the instrument to such an extent that it was essentially an entirely new instrument. This drastic modification was necessary because the StarCraft 2 course had an academic context and the original GEQ was not designed with academics in mind.

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179 This research clearly illustrates the predicament facing researchers and educators interested in quantitatively examining the effectiveness of DGBL. E xisting research instruments could be modified to address a DGBL context and undergo a validation process. However, as with the example of the modified GEQ in this research, there is always the risk of the existing instrument not aligning closely enough wi th the DGBL context resulting in the need for extensive modification. On the other hand, while it may take a significant amount of time and effort, new DGBL specific instruments could be created that take the unique academic and game play factors inherent to DGBL into consideration. These new instruments could potentially be extremely valuable and insightful because of their ability to examine the complex dynamic nature of digital gaming environments and their related embedded social interactions. Either of these choices would require a significant amount of time, resources, and patience, but this research suggests the latter may be the most viable way forward. After all, if so much time and effort must go into modifying an existing instrument, it makes sens e to simply apply that effort into creating a DGBL specific instrument capable of examining the DGBL environment and the processes which occur in it. Creating a robust and popular DGBL course using a suitable popular digital game that could be offered over multiple semesters and years could be a first step. Then the instrument could be developed, pilot tested, and validated using students from the multiple iterations of the course. The StarCraft 2 course is an example of such a course that could be used as the foundation for future research in developing a DGBL specific quantitative instrument that can popular enough to be offered for multiple iterations. This means the course s hould have academic value and the digital game used should be popular and have name

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180 recognition. Both of these factors can go a long way in satisfying university administration as well as learners. Applicable to a Wide Range of Professional Fields As noted earlier, digital gaming is becoming increasingly intertwined with modern society. Individuals from all walks of life, backgrounds, professions, and educational and levels are playing a wide range of different games in different genres. The experiential le arning dynamics that can be promoted and facilitated by digital games have great potential in teaching valuable skills such critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, leadership, and analysis skills. All of these skills are directly applicable to a wide range of professional fields. The findings of this research regarding collaboration, teamwork, team cohesion, group dynamics, and leadership are applicable to a wide range of professional fields including education, business, government, social scien ce, and military/law enforcement. The content of the StarCraft 2 course which included skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, resource management, risk management can also be helpful to these wide range of professional fields. The course demonstrates how learners can be exposed to all these important concepts using a collaborative and innovative DGBL approach. In this increasingly networked world, individuals must be able to work together effectively with others. Due in large p art to technological advances, the compartmentalized and individual nature of past periods of human existence have been replaced by a high level of interconnectivity and interdependence. Today, almost all professional fields will require individuals to in teract and collaborate with others at some level and also to utilize many different skills. This research can help researchers and educators better understand how innovative educational approaches like DGBL can be developed, designed, implemented and

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181 studi ed. For the business and government fields, the complex real time nature of DGBL can help provide hands on training for individuals who need to have strong critical thinking and problem solving skills. DGBL approaches like the StarCraft 2 course can provid e environments where business and government professionals can learn about resource management, time management, organization, optimization, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. Digital games are often highly social and the group dynamics and functioning se en in the StarCraft 2 course demonstrate how complex human and collaborative group interaction can be. The rich social fabric of collaborative groups in this research and in collaborative digital gaming in general can certainly inform and help guide social scientists interested in exploring online collaboration and group dynamics in virtual digital game environments. As some of the participants in this research noted, DGBL environments can provide safe places for experimentation and practice. Those in the m ilitary/law enforcement professions may find these immersive and often collaborative contexts to be valuable in helping individuals sharpen their risk management, adaptive decision making, and leadership skills. Learning and mastering these skills which in the real world are often the difference between life and death in a meaningful yet safe digital game environment can help military personnel or law enforcement officials when they are actually faced with these choices to act appropriately and accordingly. Recommendations This research presents four major recommendations based on the results of this study as well as on prior research. The first recommendation is to ensure that the DGBL approach or course is robust and fair R esearchers and educators should ensure any DGBL course s they develop is well designed where the digital game play is clearly linked

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182 to academic objectives, procedures, and outcomes and are inclusive, fair, equitable, and take sociocultural factors into consideration The s econd recommend ation is to support learner collaboration. I f the DGBL course incorporates collaborative learning and small groups, researchers and educators must carefully consider just how to assign learners to groups and what scaffolding/resources to provide as they co llaborate together. T he t hird recommendation is to draw upon theory from many different fields to inform the course design and instruction. W hen designing collaborative DGBL, researchers and educators should consider drawing upon multiple leadership and co llaboration theories. Leadership and collaboration are closely intertwined and as this research has shown, it is impossible to examine one without the other. The f ourth recommendation is to create DGBL specific quantitative research instruments to study wh at occurs when learners play digital games and interact in DGBL environments. DGBL environments are highly complex and since they blend the academic and digital gaming worlds together, research of these environments require s instruments specifically design ed to capture both. Ensur e DGBL Rob ustness DGBL is much more than simply taking a digital game and haphazardly incorporating it into a lesson and then expecting the process to be effective and to run smoothly. Researchers and educators should ensure that t he DGBL courses they design and the approaches they choose are carefully planned and are grounded in theory and practice. The StarCraft 2 course followed best practices as much as possible and this section details how this was achieved for this research. D GBL is increasingly being accepted and studied by researchers and educators (Van Eck, 2006; Squire, 2002; Prensky, 2003; Shaffer et al., 2005). Well designed digital games can help facilitate meaningful learning, motivation, and collaboration (Gee, 2003) a nd players may transfer

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183 learning from the digital game world and apply it to other real world contexts (Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005; Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004). While this perspective of the potential for DGBL approaches may be prevalent amo ng the proponents of using digital games in education, such innovative instructional methods tend to face more scrutiny and skepticism from areas of the educational field that adhere more strictly to more traditional pedagogy. Recognizing this, during the planning and development stage of the StarCraft 2 course, careful emphasis was placed on creating a well designed and pedagogically sound course that taught learners meaningful real world skills. The StarCraft 2 course was developed on the premise that whe n based on solid theory and pedagogy, well designed DGBL courses using commercial off the shelf games can have great potential as effective learning environments (Gros, 2007; Yang, 2012). The course design took the perspective that the effectiveness of usi ng digital games in education is related to the context and manner in which they are used (Hays, 2005).The course was carefully developed to blend educational theory, digital gaming, and online education to teach crucial 21 st century skills essential for l earners to succeed in the real world such as collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. The course was developed according to constructivist and experiential learning principles (Jonassen, 2006; Duffy & Jonassen, 1992; Von Glaserfeld, 1989; Kol b & Kolb, 2005) because of their ability to encourage learners to connect what they learn with the real world (Huang, 2002; Lainema & Makkonen, 2003). Constructivist pedagogy can represent a feasible way to integrate digital games with teaching and learnin g (Kii li, 2005). One of the skills focused on most was collaboration, which is highly valued by employers and increasingly important in a fast paced interconnected world (Casner Lotto, 2006; Ananiadou & Claro, 2009). As collaboration and teamwork played s uch an

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184 integral role in the StarCraft 2 course, several different extensive bodies of research were consulted including research on groups and teams (Sundstrom, De Meuse, & Futrell, 1990; Katzenbach & Smith, 1994; Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006; Forsyth, 2009) c ollaboration (Gray, 1989; Wood & Gray, 1991; Rochelle & Teasley, 1995; Gardner, 2005; Macdonald, 2003; Tyre & von Hippel, 1997), and teamwork (Salas, Burke, & Cannon Bowers, 2001; Jones & George, 1998; Salas, Sims, & Burke, 2005; Rousseau, 2006). All of these areas of research proved to be invaluable in helping guide, design, interpret, and understand both the StarCraft 2 course and the subsequent research study. This StarCraft 2 research used a commercially available digital game in an aca demic environment similar to Yang (2012), who took the commercially available strategy game SimCity and studied its use and effect on learning achievement and found that when used appropriately along with suitable design and assessment, DGBL can foster lea rning motivation and problem solving. Learners taking part in carefully planned and implemented DGBL instruction can achieve similar academic achievement as learners experiencing traditional instruction. This research also closely aligns with and builds up on work done by Gros (2007), who examined the educational use of another commercial RTS game Age of Empires II from the perspective that effective DGBL includes four main stages of learning: experimentation, reflection, activity, and discussion. Similar to learners in the StarCraft 2 course had a chance to plan, strategize, and play collaborative matches. During the reflection phase, they were able to look back and evaluate their decisions. In the ac tivity phase, using other tools, resources, and materials in addition to the game, learners completed assignments specifically designed with their game play in

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185 mind. In the StarCraft 2 course, the discussion phase where learners discussed what they had lea rned and experienced was sometimes part of a larger assignment or in some cases was the entire assignment. All the course content and assignments contained at least three of the four elements. The course was also designed specifically to be as collaborati ve as possible. The StarCraft 2 course design followed a similar framework as the three phase model Collazos, Guerrero, Pino, Ochoa, and Stahl (2007) developed for teaching collaboration using digital games. First, initiation conditions for the collaborati on were set where the following factors were considered: type of activity, nature of collaborators, group heterogeneity, interdependences, collaboration setting, collaboration conditions, and collaboration period. Second, the collaboration was structured t aking into account the following: activities, people and roles, tools, and group processes and products. Third, the collaboration was maintained by multiple iterations of both digital game play and academic group projects. The StarCraft 2 course design bui framework of facilitating collaboration via digital games to create the framework for collaboration learners would follow and use in the course. The StarCraft 2 course was designed as an online course to provide learners with the opportunity and practice to collaborate virtually. In an increasingly interconnected world, learners must be able to collaborate with others virtually from a distance in addition to working with peers face to face. Online education is becoming increasingly prevalent and major economic and educational forces (Harasim, 2000; Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, & Jones, 2009; Bonk, 2002; Allen & Seaman, 2008). It has been shown to be as effective as traditional face to face instruction (Bernard et al., 2004; Swan, 2003;

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186 Johnson, Aragon, Shaik, & Plama Rivas, 2000; Carey, 2001; Dutton, Dutton, & Perry, 2001; Arbagh, 2000; Lam, 2009). These factors and continuous technological advance s mean learners have a high chance of taking online courses for educational or professional development purposes sometime during their lives and careers. The always keeping the subject matter, the instructor, and the learner in mind at all times when it came to the online course structure, content, and activities. The online StarCraft 2 course follows a research avenue identified by Moreno Ger, Burgos, and Torrente (2009). Th based increasingly collaborative and interactive features of learning management systems (LMS) are the same as those that are pr esent in digital games. It is important to keep in mind that there is a major difference between this previous work and the StarCraft 2 research. While Moreno Ger et al. (2009) focused on educational games either embedded in LMSs or deployed through them t o allow the course instructor to direct and control the learning, the StarCraft 2 course used an LMS only to deliver the content and administer assignments. It was through carefully designed content and assignments that the course instructor was able to fa cilitate learning in the digital game environment. This integrating digital gaming into the curriculum and also takes into account many of the perspectives of Moreno Ger et al. (2 009) have regarding integrating DGBL with online learning.

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187 Support Learner Collaboration Just as researchers and educators should carefully plan the design and implementation of DGBL, if the instruction includes any learner collaboration, they should also pay special attention to supporting learners who may or may not have much prior collaboration experience as they engage in the collaborative activities and game play. To help overcome or even avoid any group problems, researchers and educators should foll group communication strategies, group scheduling tips, and information on how to work with different personalities in the scaffolding information provided during the first part of the course. The results from this research also suggest learners need to be provided with ample guidance and resources on how to choose effective leaders and what constitutes effective leadership since it is a major factor which helps determine gro up effectiveness and success (Burke et al., 2006). All of this support should be brought up early in the course and also reinforced throughout its duration. Effective group collaboration relies heavily on social relationships (Stacey, 2007) so groups shoul d also be given specific guidance in how to work with people from different backgrounds and how to manage conflict. Providing adequate guidance and scaffolding can help groups mitigate, avoid, and handle many future problems that may potentially arise. T o help overcome or even avoid any group problems, researchers and educators such as group communication strategies, group scheduling tips, and information on how to work w ith different personalities in the scaffolding information provided during the first part of the course. The results from this research also suggest learners need to be provided with ample guidance and resources on how to choose effective leaders and

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188 what constitutes effective leadership since it is a major factor which helps determine group effectiveness and success (Burke et al., 2006). All of this support should be brought up early in the course and also reinforced throughout its duration. Effective grou p collaboration relies heavily on social relationships (Stacey, 2007) so groups should also be given specific guidance in how to work with people from different backgrounds and how to manage conflict. Providing adequate guidance and scaffolding can help gr oups mitigate, avoid, and handle many future problems that may potentially arise D raw u pon Theory from Other F ields While educational theory will provide the most guidance when it comes to designing effective DGBL approaches, researchers and educators sh ould not hesitate to draw upon theory in other fields to help guide their decision making and design frameworks. When designing collaborative DGBL, researchers and educators should be guided by multiple leadership group dynamics, and collaboration theorie s. Leadership and collaboration are closely intertwined and as this research has shown, it is impossible to examine one without the other. Future research should avoid the oversights of this study which did not include leadership as a variable to be studied and always include it as an integral factor in collaborative environments and contexts. Create DGBL Specific Quantitative Research Instruments During this research, a search for a suitable instrument to examine the StarCraft 2 course was conduct ed. Unfortunately, no suitable instrument was found and an existing quantitative scale had to be modified. However, the existing scale had to be modified to such an extent that it may as well have been a new instrument, which undermined the decision to mod i fy rather than create. Other r esearchers and educators should do everything in their power to avoid this predicament and instead consider creating DGBL

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189 specific research instruments. One of the challenges of studying DGBL is that it merges academics and d igital game play. Many existing validated instruments were designed for solely academic or professional contexts. There is also a lack of validated instruments designed to specifically measure digital game contexts. As this StarCraft 2 research has shown, modifying existing instruments for DGBL contexts which may become an extremely time consuming and involved process may result in them being modified to the extent they become essentially completely new instruments. This defeats the purpose of the modificat ion process, which is to avoid creating an instrument from scratch. Therefore, if a significant amount of time and resources are going to be invested already, the logical approach is to instead use them to create new research instruments specifically desig ned to examine DGBL contexts. Caveats When considering this research it is important to keep a few caveats in mind. First, the course was only eight weeks. With an intervention this short, there may simply have not been enough time for much effect and thos e that were seen may have been minimal. Group formation entirely random and was rushed. By the time the groups were finally solidifying, the course was over. Second, the course was conducted online which minimized face to face interaction, although some gr oups did meet occasionally in person. Social interaction was a major theme in the data and the online nature of the course may have inhibited some of the social dynamics that would have otherwise developed in a more traditional face to face environment or even in a blended learning environment. Third, the modified Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ) had to be modified extensively to fit the online digital game context. This instrument was initially chosen because of its documented validity and reliability of its scores in past test

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190 administrations Designing and developing an instrument from scratch for the StarCraft 2 course would have been too time and resource intensive so modifying an existing instrument was seen as a better alternative. However, the i nstrument ended up being modified so heavily to fit the unique digital game based environment of the StarCraft 2 course that it became almost an entirely different instrument. As such, to ensure its validity and reliability, a full validation study would n eed to have been conducted. Fourth, the sample size was extremely small with six participants for the quantitative part of the research and three participants for the qualitative part. The entire course enrollment was only 16 students. Due to the nature of the course and the fact that males are much more likely to play digital games and RTS games like StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 the course enrollment was entirely male which means the research only examines collaboration in a DGBL course from the male persp ective. Fifth, there were serious validity and reliability concerns with the modified GEQ due to the extremely small sample size and extensive instrument modification. However, despite these caveats, this preliminary research still offers valuable insight into the implications and potential of DGBL course implementation and study. Future Directions While this research certainly has its drawbacks and limitations it has nevertheless proven it is poss ible albeit on a very small scale in this particular case for well planned innovative education to become more widely accepted at the highest levels of academia. It is clear that Bob Dylan is right and that the times are indeed changing and that change is being driven by innovation The StarCraft 2 course has dem onstrated that in education a field still dominated by the traditional direct instruction educational methods common since Plato and Aristotle innovation and change can still take root

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191 and flourish The business leader and best selling author C. William Po llard recognized hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow (Pollard, 1996 p. 114 ). Researchers an d educators must not This link between education and innovation was also readily apparent to the late management consultant, educator, an d author Peter Drucker a man for work that does not yet exist and cannot yet be clearly p. 126). His words seem to ring especially true in a world where technology and the way s humans communicate continue evolving After all, r esearchers and educators have a firm and clear mandate according to the popular Did You Know YouTube video about the exponential change that defines sin ce (Hale, 2008). The late economist and Harvard business professor Ted Levi tt perhaps sums up just what has energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement an (Minow, 2011). However, the scholar and organizational consultant Warren Bennis cautions that this progress will not come e asily since repeated attempts, endless demonstrations, monotonous rehearsals before innovation can be accepted and internalized by an organization. T courageous patience (Bennis & Namus, 1997, p. 49). For innovative educational approaches to

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192 become more widely accepted and implemented, researche rs and educators must embrace innovation and change and and persistence as they continue to research, design, and implement innovative ideas and methods in education. This section discusses just a few of the man y avenues future researchers and educators may choose to follow based on this StarCraft 2 course research While the dynamic complexity of the DGBL field is certainly challenging, this makes it an exciting area to study and research. By developing and appl ying more systematic approaches to DGBL in the design of academic instruction, in game choice, and in research methodology researchers and educators can gain clearer insight into how digital games exactly influence teaching and learning. This research gen erated some very preliminary indications that a DGBL course specifically focused on teaching towards working with others. There are four main avenues that future r esearch about the design, development, and study of DGBL courses could follow. The first possible future avenue could be that researchers interested in using major COTS games should choose to develop DGBL courses that use multiple games to help participant s learn collaboration and teamwork. Course developers could pick at least one other more gender inclusive digital game in addition to RTS games like the StarCraft series that would appeal to both males and females. Games such as Minecraft which are not com petitive and which focus on creation and building could be included in the curriculum. Turn based strategy games such as those in the Civilization series could also be used since they have a broader scope that includes culture and geography and have goals in addition to just eliminating

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193 opponents, the main objective in RTS games. Strategy games like those in the SimCity series could also be more inclusive environments in which male and female learners could explore and learn. RTS games should still be part of the curriculum albeit in a reduced role because they offer a unique and authentic environment for participants to collaborate in real time and encourage sound decision making in high pressure situations. However, the addition of other digital games woul d offer learners different perspectives and environments in which to learn and hopefully also draw a more diverse enrollment. The second possible future avenue of research could be to design and examine DGBL courses that are blended, rather than entirely online. In this research, participants reported the course positively influenced their feelings and perceptions towards the social aspects of collaboration during the semester. They felt some aspects of increased team cohesion as their groups continued to collaborate throughout the semester. This course was online so it is possible that participants could have felt an even greater degree of positive change had the course been in person or blended. While participants in the online StarCraft 2 course were abl e to gain more experience collaborating virtually with their group, the more intense in person interaction of a blended learning environment could have given them an even more meaningful experience. Gaining collaboration experience in a hybrid online tradi tional face to face context could be valuable to participants because this is what they would most likely be faced with in an increasingly interconnected and technological professional world. The blended environment would also allow for the use of non digi tal games such as traditional board games, where learners could play games such as Risk or Settlers of Catan The games

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194 undergo group discussion and consensus. Incorporat ing non digital games could therefore offer yet another environment where learners would be encouraged to collaborate. Beginning the blended DGBL course with non digital games could go a long way in helping groups get comfortable with dealing with some of the intricacies of group collaboration (i.e. establishing communication frameworks, scheduling, developing workflow, choosing leadership, and delegating group roles). The third possible future avenue of research could be to include leadership skills to any DGBL course that focuses on or relies on teamwork and collaboration. Leadership is integral to effective group communication and function and focusing more effort on helping learners develop and practice these skills can go a long way in mitigating or eve n avoiding potential small group problems. This in turn would help keep groups running more smoothly, thereby maximizing collaborative and individual learning in the DGBL environment. Leadership skills, like collaboration skills are highly prized and sough t after in the all fields in the professional world. Future research aimed at helping learners perfect these skills could have wide ranging implications and applications for diverse fields. The fourth avenue of potential future research could be to invest the considerable time and resources to create a research instrument specifically designed to study groups, group dynamics, leadership, and collaboration in virtual and DGBL learning. The instrument could be informed by existing instruments on traditional face to face teamwork and collaboration. In conjunction with a well designed ongoing DGBL course, the instrument could then undergo a full validation study. As DGBL becomes more prevalent, such a validated instrument may prove to be extremely informative a nd helpful

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195 in guiding educators and researchers. Its creation could also help generate more robust DGBL research, something that the field needs. Overall, the online StarCraft 2 course has explored the feasibility of a completely online DGBL course revolvi ng around an extremely popular RTS game. After reflection on the design, implementation, and study of this course, using a solely online DGBL course may not be the best approach when it comes to teaching participants about collaboration and when it comes t o being as inclusive of potential learners as possible. This is not to say that the StarCraft 2 course has been a mistake. Rather, it has shown some preliminary indication DGBL courses have merit and potential and that further improvements and refinements in design and implementation can help increase their effectiveness. The documented design and approaches brought forth in this StarCraft 2 course research can help serve as a guide and springboard for future work in the DGBL field. Conclusions Throughout h istory, from the first cavemen glancing longing ly upward to wax feathers to fantastical flying machines, humans have always looked to the birds in the air and dreamed of what it was like to fly. The Wright brothers not only ha d this dream, but were also driven to actually achieve it. They embraced change and innovation. However, innovation rarely gets things right the first time and the brothers went through much trial and error, bumps and bruises, and wrecked flying contraptio ns before they finally achieved sustained human powered flight. However, once that innovation took hold, it continued to inspire and encourage human ingenuity. Even today their innovation is continuing to be built upon in the form of ever larger, faster, a nd powerful aircraft. T he Wright brothers themselves could never have foreseen

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196 that not only would countless millions routinely fly around the world, but that humans would also make their mark in space. Just as the Wright brothers explored the whole new fr ontier of flight, researchers and educators today are continuing to explore a brave new world where technological advances have made possible things that in the past were only pipe dreams. DGBL in particular represents an extremely promising area of inquiry because the experiential nature of games represents a convergence of many different concepts such as critical thinking, problem solving, competition, collaboration, motivation, leadership, and personality. Better understanding these concepts and others as well as the many different dynamics that occur in the virtual interconnected worlds of digital games can help researchers and educators improve education as well as positively contribute to the human experience. The StarCraft 2 course was like one of the powered human flight. It had its design flaws and its achievements we re rather limited. However, this innovative educational approach shows much promise. N ow it is up to future researchers and educators to continue to bui ld upon this research foundation and to help DGBL become more effective and widely accepted and implemented. While the scope of this preliminary research is limited, it can still offer a valuable perspective regarding the design, development, implementatio n, and study of a DGBL course. This research sought to contribute to and expand the field of DGBL in two ways. It discussed the design of a DGBL course and also documented the implementation of a mixed methods approach that examined the effect the DGBL cou rse had on collaboration. A mixed methods approach was used because collecting and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data had the greatest potential in facilitating a clearer and fuller

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197 understanding of the complex learning and interaction inhere nt within digital game environments. Both the quantitative and qualitative data analysis indicated there is potential for DGBL approaches in helping learners practice and enjoy collaboration. Although limited in scope, statistical significance, and genera lizability, this preliminary research found preliminary evidence that the StarCraft 2 attitudes towards working with others and how they felt about the collaboration process. This preliminary evidence provides some indication of the potential of the DGBL course approach in helping learners experience, practice, and master crucial real world skills such as collaboration in an enjoyable, innovative, and meaningful way. Future research needs to build on this docum ented implementation of a DGBL course approach using popular commercial off the shelf games. It also needs to further explore the complex social dynamics of leadership and more closely examine the application of both leadership and collaboration theory. Th e lessons learned from the design, development, implementation, and study of the StarCraft 2 course has resulted in the generation of valuable guidance and frameworks others may find helpful as they design and study their own DGBL courses and learning envi ronments. I n many ways educational researchers continually explore new frontiers much like great explorers or spacefaring crew who continue to (Duane, Reaves, & Bowman, 1987). Education is cen tered on developing and shaping the mind, which is powerful and capable of effecting great change both positive and negative (Churchill, 1993, p. 29). His words especially driven digital age where social and geographical boundaries have become increasingly irrelevant as

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198 the Internet and mobile communications technologies effortlessly transcend social groups, time, and space. R esearchers and educ ators must be willing to embrace innovative educational methods today in order citizens for an increasingly technological and interconnected future driven by information and knowledge. Education can help shape that future and innovation can help lead and provide the driving force forward. As they are the researchers and practitioners most in tune with technology and its use in education, e ducational technologists are at the forefront of helping chart and guide uture. I t falls on them to design, develop, implement and study innovative instructional approaches like DGBL and to ensure they are not only pedagogically effective, but also socially responsible and equitable. Technology has provided access to and the a bility to wield power when it comes to transforming and improving education. However, as Spider m Ziskin & Raimi 2002) and it would be wise for researchers and educators to follo w this advice. When carefully and responsibly designed, approaches such as DGBL have great potential in positively shaping and improving 21 st century education.

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199 APPENDIX A COURSE SYLLABUS EDG 4930: 21 st Century Skills in StarCraft Tentative Plan for the Course Fall 2012 Instructor: Nate Poling, M.Ed Office Location: Norman Hall, G518J Office Hours: Monday, 1 3 pm or by appointment, or always by email Email: npoling@coe.ufl.edu (Please include your full nam e and course title in all email messages.) Important Reminders: 1. Remember this course is not ABOUT StarCraft. Rather, it uses the game as a tool to help you practice and better understand crucial 21 century skills that can help you academically and prof essionally regardless of your major or interests. 2. The course is entirely online, so it is important that you stay current and pace yourself accordingly. 3. The course is highly academic so in addition to required game play, it also requires a substantial am ount of collaboration, communication, reading, writing, analysis, and synthesis. 4. Tasks, assignments and rubrics are all clearly organized and will be available to you within the online course management system (Moodle). http://online.education.ufl.edu 5. I have designed this course using StarCraft, a game that we all love. It is my goal to help you develop and practice important skills that you can use academically and professionally for your advantage. It is my job to facilitate development and application of these skills as well as help guide you in connecting StarCraft concepts to the real world. A lot of planning has gone into the course and many hurdles have been cleared. I certainly hope that you will fi nd the course to be enjoyable, useful, engaging, and worthwhile. A. Description of the Course: 21st Century Skills in StarCraft is an 8 week online course that uses the popular real time strategy (RTS) game StarCraft 2 to teach valuable 21st Century Skil ls through a hands on approach. 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, decision making, and co llaboration. These skills are fundamental in StarCraft 2 and therefore make the game a highly effective environment for students to analyze and take action in complex situations. Computer and video games of all types have become a major part of today's ent ertainment and technology worlds. Also, online education is an area of intense growth with many employers and professions using online courses and workshops for career development. This course synthesizes the three threads of 21st Century skill development gaming, and online education into an innovative and experiential approach that encourages students to identify, learn, and practice crucial skills and apply and relate them to real world situations. It does not teach about StarCraft 2, but rather aims to utilize the game and the complex situations that arise within it to present and develop the important skills professionals will undoubtedly need in the 21st century workplace. This course includes required weekly game play, viewing and analysis of recor ded matches, written assignments which emphasize analysis and synthesis of real/game world concepts, and collaboration with other students. Due to the unique and innovative nature of this course, there are several requirements that students must meet. Stud ents taking this course must have access to computer (PC or Mac) and Internet resources outside of UF labs since it requires the installation and playing of a computer game. Students must also have at least basic knowledge of and experience playing StarCra ft 2. There is no required textbook, but students are required to purchase a copy of StarCraft 2

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200 if they do not own one already. Students must also be independent, self motivated, and able and willing to learn in an entirely online environment. Enrollment is limited to 24. B. Goals of the Course: 1) Learners will connect in game and real world skills and knowledge. 2) Learners will realize and understand that 21 st century skills apply to both the academic/professional world and the game world. 3) Learners will be able to relate and apply innovative and creative approaches to their academic and professional endeavors. 4) Learners will develop a strong understanding of 21 st century skills through application and examination of theories and concepts. 4) Lear ners will develop and apply their collaborative skills as they interact in small groups to achieve common goals. C. Objectives of the Course: 1. Learners will practice, apply, and analyze 21 st century skills (problem solving, critical thinking, time/resou rce management, decision making and collaboration) and how they relate to StarCraft and the real world, and their chosen major/professional field. 2. Learners will understand the importance of creativity and innovation and apply that knowledge in different c ontexts. 3. Learners will be able to explain and evaluate the implications, benefits, and shortcomings of different strategies and approaches in both the StarCraft 2 environment and the real world academic environment. 4. Learners will develop their informatio n, media, and technology literacies by finding and evaluating different sources of information and organizing that information using different technology tools. 5. Learners will collaborate and work in groups to practice communication, leadership, and teamwo rk. 6. Learners will practice their reflection skills and understand how reflecting on past decisions can inform current and future practice. 7. Learners will be able to clearly identify and connect academic, professional, and game concepts in multiple context s (StarCraft 2, the real world, the professional world, the academic world). D. Tentative Course Topic Outline: Week 1: 21 st Century Skills Overview, Problem Solving, and Evaluating Resources Week 2: The Importance of Teaching, Training, and Instructi onal Skills Week 3: Micro and Macro management Levels of Decision Making and Group Collaboration Week 4: Creativity and Standardization Week 5: Flexibility and Adaptability Week 6: Risk Management and Learning from the Pros Week 7: Information Literac y and Research Skills Week 8: Connecting it All and Final Project E. Assignments: Assignments for the course are listed below. Rubrics on how you will be assessed, due dates, and more detailed assignment descriptions/rationale are located in the online course management system. Please note that that some assignments may change, be modified, or eliminated and that if this happens, you will have ample warning via the online course management system and via your UF Gatorlink email. Assignment Title Fo rmat Points Week 1 Introduction forum Post ForumPost 10 Gaming in Education Opinion Forum Post Forum Post 10 HUMINT ID Report 1 Table 10

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201 Week 2 Training and Development Forum Post Skills Training Presentation Assignment Game Play an d Reflection Paper 1 Assignment HUMINT ID Report 2 Week 3 Leadership and Personality Analysis Assignment GroupCraft 1 GroupCraft 1 Self Evaluation HUMINT ID Report 3 Week 4 GroupCraft 2 GroupCraft 2 Self Evaluation "What Do StarCraft Terms Real ly Mean?" Forum Post HUMINT ID Report 4 Week 5 Game Play and Reflection Paper 2 Assignment "ZOMG I H8 Playing as the" . Forum Post HUMINT ID Report 5 Week 6 Learning from the Pros Forum Post GroupCraft 3 GroupCraft 3 Self Evaluation HUMINT ID Report 6 Week 7 StarCraft Fan Fiction StarCraft Narrative Timeline Research HUMINT ID Report 7 Week 8 Final Project Paper Final Project Presentation Forum Post Presentation Creation Reflection Paper Table Paper Group Assignment Self Evaluation Table Group Assignment Self Evaluation Forum Post Table Reflection Paper Forum Post Table Forum Post Group Assignment Self Evaluation Table Paper Paper Table Paper Presentation TENTATIVE TOTAL 10 15 10 10 10 25 5 10 25 5 10 10 10 10 10 10 25 5 10 15 15 10 20 20 335 Late work will not be accepted. However, if you have extenuating circumstances (medical or otherwise), let me know and we can work to resolve those. Please also note that you are expected and required to play StarCraft for the minimum allotted time.

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202 F. Grading: This semester, student assessment will be guided by the following scale and rubric: A = 93 or above A = 90 92 B+ = 87 89 B = 83 86 G. Participation and Attendan ce B = 80 82 C+ = 77 79 C = 73 76 C = 70 72 D+ = 67 69 D = 63 66 D = 60 62 E = 59 or below As this is an entirely online course, your participation will be evaluated from your forum posts, timely submission of assignments, collaborative act ivities, and self evaluations. It is expected that you regularly log into the online course management system to complete assignments and course material and also that you regularly check your UF Gatorlink email. H. Code of Conduct This course uses a ga me we all love StarCraft 2 to teach about important real life skills that are necessary to survive and thrive in a fast paced 21 st century environment. There is a large collaborative emphasis in the course. Collaboration often can be difficult and frustrat ing. Many times it may be easier to "go it alone" instead of working together with others. However, this isn't how the real world works. You will be interacting and collaborating with other StarCraft learners of varying skill levels, background, and academ ic experience. Add to this the competitive aspect of game play and sometimes tensions can arise/boil over. Remember, this course is about learning important concepts that transcend StarCraft 2 gameplay. It aims to provide you with an opportunity to practic e the skills you'll need to be successful in the future including collaboration. Remember the old adage we all are taught "It's not if you win or lose, but rather how much you learn from your game play Ok, so I made that up, but you get what I mean. Basically, I know collaboration and competition can create tension. But for any group to successfully complete their task or mission, they must somehow find ways to work together towards that common goal. As such, each of you is expected to show patienc e and respect for your fellow learners, your clan mates, and your opponents (although I do realize that a little of the standard StarCraft friendly good natured trash talk is inevitable resource in the online course management system or email me ASAP. I. Required Items: 1. Personal computer capable of running StarCraft II 2. A personal reliable internet con nection capable of extended online play 3. Legitimate retail copy of StarCraft II J. University of Florida Policies: Academic Honesty : As a result of completing the registration form at the University of Florida, every student has signed the following statement: "I understand the University of Florida expects its students to be honest in all their academic work. I agree to adhere to this commitment to academic honesty, and understand that my failure to comply with this commitment may result in disciplin ary action, up to and including expulsion from the University." Acceptable Use Policy: Please read the University of Florida Acceptable Use Policy. It is expected that you abide by this policy.

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203 Software Use : All faculty, staff, and students of the Un iversity of Florida are required and expected to obey laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities : Students with disabilities, who need modifications to complete assignments successfully and otherwise satisfy course criteria, are encou raged to meet with the instructor as early in the course as possible to identify and plan specific accommodations. Students WILL be asked for documentation from the Office for Students with Disabilities to assist in planning accommodations. Please see me d uring office hours to discuss any accommodations you might need. University of Florida Counseling Services : Resources are available on campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career and academic goals which interfere with their acad emic performance. These resources include: 1. University Counseling Center, 301 Peabody Hall, 392 1575, personal and career counseling. 2. Student Mental Health, Student Health Care Center, 392 1171, for personal counseling. 3. Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS), Student Health Care Center, 392 1161, for sexual assault counseling. 4. Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392 1601, career development assistance and counseling. UF Computer Policy : In keeping with the University of Florida's student computer po licy all assignments completed for this class must be typed using a word processing program. Use of spell checking and grammar checking programs is strongly encouraged. Points will be deducted from assignment with excessive spelling/grammar errors. Use of desktop publishing software and computer generated graphics for course product that may eventually be included in student's portfolios is also strongly encouraged. Technology Assistance : The course instructor will hold weekly office hours in the technolo gy laboratory and will be available for assistance. In addition, students may use the services of other technology assistants during lab times. However, all students are encouraged to attempt to complete assignments early enough such that instructors and m entors can provide assistance during regular work days and during regularly scheduled hours. In extreme emergencies, students may attempt to make appointments with course instructors or mentors. However, late work will be penalized according to the late po licy. Response times : Allow 24 hours for replies to emails. This may be extended to 48 hours if the email is left over a weekend or holiday. Student Concerns : If you have any concerns or questions about any situation in the course please contact me ASA P.

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204 APPENDIX B COURSE DESCRIPTION EDG4930 HNR 21st Century Skills in StarCraft Credits: 2 Writing or Math Req: None Gen Ed: None Section Instructor Times Locations 07EH Nate Poling TBA WEB LECT 21st Century Skills in StarCraft is an 8 week online course that uses the popular real time strategy (RTS) game StarCraft 2 to teach valuable 21st Century Skills through an experiential learning approach. With society becoming increasingly technology based and fast paced, it is important for professionals to be highly proficient in skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, resource management, and adaptive decision making. These skills are fundamental in StarCraft 2 and therefore make the game a highly effective environment for student s to analyze and take action in complex situations. Computer and video games of all types have become a major part of today's entertainment and technology worlds. Also, online education is an area of intense growth with many employers and professions using online courses and workshops for career development. This course synthesizes the three threads of 21st Century skill development, gaming, and online education into an innovative and experiential academic course that encourages students to identify, learn, and practice crucial skills and apply and relate them to real world situations. It does not teach about StarCraft 2 or about how to become a better player, but rather aims to utilize the game and the complex situations that arise within it to present and develop some of the important skills professionals will undoubtedly need in the 21st Century workplace. This course includes required weekly game play, collaborative projects, use of Web 2.0 tools, viewing and analysis of recorded matches, written assignme nts which emphasize analysis and synthesis of real/game world concepts, and collaboration with other students. Due to the unique and innovative nature of this course, there are several requirements that students must meet. Students taking this course mus t have access to computer (PC or Mac) and Internet resources outside of UF labs since it requires the installation and playing of a computer game. Students must also have at least intermediate knowledge of and experience playing StarCraft 2 and own their o wn copy of the game. Students must also be independent, self motivated, and able and willing to learn in an entirely online environment. Since this course revolves so heavily on collaboration and teamwork, students must also be willing to work collaborativ ely with others in both the StarCraft 2

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205 environment and in a small group project environment. There will be 2 mandatory in person informational meetings prior to the beginning of the course. Enrollment is limited to 24. Nate Poling is an Educational Tech nology PhD student and course instructor at the University of Florida. His research interests revolve around video/computer games and the implications they have for teaching, learning, and training. He currently teaches EDG 4930 21st Century Skills in Star Craft, IDH 3931 (Un)common Reading: Undead which is a zombie literature course, and EME2040 Introduction to Educational Technology.

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206 APPENDIX C GROUP CRAFT ASSIGNMENT 1 GroupCraft Assignment 1: Small Group Strategies and Effectiveness (25 points) Imp ortant note: I am looking for just one submission per group. Please make sure each member's name is on the submission. 1.) Meet for a 3 v 3 strategy session with your clan. Discuss and plan out your approaches to the upcoming collaborative matches you wil l be playing. Keep in mind that 3 v 3 can be quite complex. 1 v 1 can be fast paced and complicated, but 3 v 3 can quickly become much more complex. The following are questions meant to help guide your meeting. Be sure to make record of your initial grou p responses. You don't have to explicitly answer each one, but be prepared to reflect and discuss your group performance in 2 3 well written paragraphs later: Consider the StarCraft 2 race composition of your own team and also the potential composition of your opponents. What strategies will you use? Are there general team strategies that will work versus anyone? Are there general team strategies that only work versus certain opponents? Realize that making an exhaustive matchup list with all possible combi nation least a few examples of what you would do if certain matchups/situations arise. Perhaps more general and adaptable strategies are appropriate? That being said, what value is there to specific strategies such as TvP or TvT or ZvP etc? What roles will each of you play? Will you focus on each opponent one by one or keep all 3 occupied? How will you communicate in game? What will your overall strategy be? 2.) Regardles s of whether the meeting is face to face or conducted from a distance, be sure to keep notes about what you talk about. Keeping records of meetings is crucial as they can be invaluable when your boss wants to know how the planning session went or if a futu re client wants them for their records. 3.) Play at least a couple of 3 v 3 matches. You may play more if you want to and have time. Decisions at all levels are rarely decided by the skills, information, and efforts of an individual. Usually they are the result of a collaborative effort by a group or organization. Groups often are the most effective way to think creatively, make important decisions, and analyze complex problems. The power of groups lies in utilizing the ideas and talents of many people as opposed to just one person. However, groups do not always

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207 produce innovative solutions. Frequently, collaborative effects are hampered by common group and decision making pitfalls. Even high level decision making organizations such as the White House make common and preventable decision making mistakes. Many political scientists believe that George W. Bush's administration suffered from "groupthink" which untimely led the US into a war based on false justifications. Organizations and governments all around the world are guilty of bad group practices. Yet, there is still hope for groups everywhere. Understanding the pitfalls and analyzing your own group's decision making dynamics will dramatically reduce the common mistakes that can plague collaborative effo rts. Reflection can also help improve your own collaborative skills, which that can enable you to more effectively contribute to and lead groups in the future. 4.) Your group will study 9 common group and decision making blunders and decision making obst acles listed below. Take a moment to review each of the concepts below. Each is linked to a Wikipedia article that goes in greater depth than the definition. (Although it is generally not accepted as an academic source, Wikipedia is a great resource to get a first look at a subject and can help guide your research endeavors.) 1. Affective conflict 2. Anchoring bias 3. Confirmation bias 4. Consensus 5. 6. Groupthink 7. Indecisive culture 8. Process losses 9. Sunk cost effect/dilemma 5.) Examine and analyze the notes from your strategy making session. You don't have to turn anything in here, but make sure you reflect on your meeting. 6.) Next, in another 2 3 paragraph rationale address the following question. Which of the three decision making pitfalls did your group feel they avoided successfully? Make sure to explain your answer and cite examples from your strategy sessions where appropriate. 7.) After you have done step 6, think about the next question. Which of the three decision making pitfalls did your group fe el they experienced/committed to some degree. Make sure to explain your answer and cite examples from your strategy sessions where appropriate. (2 3 paragraphs) 8.) Now that you have met with your group, played collaboratively with them, and analyzed your performance and dynamics, it is time to ensure that you do not replicate your mistakes in the future. For step 8, your group will come up with strategies to prevent such group dynamic and decision making errors from reoccurring. Be specific on what rules or systems your group will implement in the future. (2 3 paragraphs)

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208 9.) In 2 3 well written and well thought out paragraphs, reflect on the effectiveness of your collaboration. What does it say about your clan with regards to collaboration? What does it say about each individual member? What insight can you gather from what you have learned about the group and the individual members with regards to real world collaboration? 10.) Lastly, upload a Word document that includes all the elements that you have created. It should include the following you have created in steps 1 9: Your actual meeting notes and a 2 3 paragraph post game reflection on your meeting decisions. Consider giving examples of decisions you made during the meeting. Did you follow through ? What resulted? How close were your meeting decisions and what actually transpired during the matches? Basically, what did you initially plan and what happened in reality? 2 3 paragraph rationale detailing the 3 pitfalls you feel your group avoided 2 3 pa ragraph rationale detailing the 3 pitfalls you feel like your group suffered in any degree. 2 3 paragraph rationale where you come up with strategies to prevent group errors and to improve group efficiency/effectiveness 2 3 paragraph reflection on your gro up collaboration and what it means to real world applications. 11.) Under the separate individual contribution file upload section in Moodle, you will reflect upon your own efforts and contributions. For the self assessment, give yourself a score that you feel you deserve out of 5 and provide a brief rationale/justification (1 paragraph minimum, where you honestly reflect on your own efforts at meetings, game play, and whatever work you were assigned by your group). The entire project is worth 30 points, w ith 5 being based on your self assessment

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209 APPENDIX D GROUP CRAFT ASSIGNMENT 2 GroupCraft Assignment 2: Collaboration in Analyzing Build Orders and Creativity (25 points) For this collaborative activity you will work with your clan to explore the concepts of build orders, strategies, and innovation. The end product will be a visual organization web that will help you solidify some of your StarCraft knowledge using real world procedures such as collaborative brainstorming. You will now learn a couple of Int ernet tools to create concept webs. We'll be using the collaborative concept mapping tools bubbl.us or Gliffy Every group will be different as everyone has different ways of working together. Also, your process will differ depending on which communication method you choose (i.e. in person, over Skype, via a Google Doc, via IM etc.) With companies and organizations increasingly becoming more globalized, it is very possible in your future job that you will be asked to collaborate and brainstorm new innovativ e ideas with your counterpart who lives in another country and time zone. 1. Communicate with your group to set ground rules for your collaborative brainstorming session. What method will you use to meet? Why? What rules will govern your meeting so that it i s productive and effective? How will you organize your ideas? What will be your procedure in choosing and discarding ideas? 2. Brainstorm and make a list about build orders, strategies, and innovative approaches for each of the 3 races. You may want to refle ct on some of the lessons you learned or concepts you discussed for last week's collaborative activity. Some questions you may want to consider to help you get started include: What specific build orders are there for each? What makes them successful? How can you organize and group them into different categories? What common elements are there? What are the underlying real world concepts behind the builds or strategies? What situations do you use them? 3. Now look at your list and organize it. You may make hi erarchal connections or even discard some of your ideas. 4. Work together to create a visual concept web using your finalized list of ideas. This visual representation should be a useful tool for your own quick reference or to help guide more novice and inex image into a Word document. You'll have to export the image as a PNG or JPEG format image. 5. Finally, work together to come up with a project rationale. Your 2 page double spaced rationale should consist of the fol lowing elements:

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210 divided up the group tasks/responsibilities. Embedded bubbl.us or Gliffy image. Explanation of your visual organizational web. Finally, you will be uploading 2 files i nto Moodle. First, each clan should upload a single Word document with their image and rationale here into this Moodle activity. The document should include your names, your visual image, and your rationale section. Remember, I just need one image/image ra tionale file from each clan. Second, each clan member should upload a Word document in this week's module section labeled "Group Collaboration Self Evaluation" that includes a paragraph where they evaluate their own contribution to the group process, give themselves a score out of 5, and provide rationale for that score.

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211 APPENDIX E GROUP CRAFT ASSIGNMENT 3 Risk is a major factor in many professional fields. Of course, some fields revolve more around risk and risk management than others. Fields such as the sciences, medicine, and engineering must constantly consider risk in decisions and procedures (e.g. there are always certain elements of risk involved with experiment or prototype design). Even other fields such as political science, performing arts, and t heatre must take risk into account (e.g. there is always an element of risk and chance when it comes to organizing and performing a complicated play or musical or when making political decisions). A solid understanding of risk, its underlying causes, and s trategies of how to manage/address it is often the difference between success and failure (both in the real world and on the StarCraft 2 battlefield). Sometimes taking risks is a good thing, and in other situations it can be a bad thing. It is important to remember that risk is often context specific. However, useful tools such as risk/impact probability charts combined with knowledge of risk will undoubtedly provide you with ways to effectively manage it. For this GroupCraft exercise, you will be playing only 2 matches, one at the beginning of the exercise, and one towards the end. Please respond to each of the following prompts and make sure each section is clearly labeled and organized. 1. First off, play one 3v3 match with your group without any risk mana gement preparation at all. Briefly describe what happened and the results. Why did things happen and end up the way they did? (1 paragraph) 2. Now that you have finished your one match, do a little more research on risk tolerances. What are the risk tolerance s of each of your group's members? What is your risk tolerance as a group? How does this tolerance level translate to how you approach your StarCraft match preparation, execution, and reflection? (2 paragraphs) 3. Review this resource. Identify 5 sources of r isk (threats) within a typical StarCraft 2 match. For each of these discuss which risk management strategy you will use (avoid, transfer, mitigate) and provide details of those plans. Conduct additional research as necessary. (2 paragraphs) 4. Using the same resource as above, identify 5 sources of positive risk (opportunities) within a typical StarCraft 2 match. For each of these discuss which risk management strategy you will use (share, enhance, exploit) and provide details of those plans. Conduct additiona l research as necessary. 5. Now take the 5 risks (threats) you have already identified and place them on a risk impact/risk probability chart. For simplicity and ease of use, use the one that is available as an Excel template. Now think of 10 more risks (thre ats) and place them accordingly in the matrix. (2 paragraphs)

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212 6. Reflect on your completed risk impact/risk probability chart. Overall, how will your group use the information provided in the matrix? What specific steps will you be taking both in and out of g ame? (2 paragraphs) 7. Now that you all have a better understanding of risk and ways to manage it, play one 3v3 match. What were the results of the match? How did things play out? How did you apply what you learned about risk into your StarCraft match prepara tion and game play? Did it make a difference in your group/individual performances? How can you take what you learned in this game/academic exercise and apply it to the real world? (2 paragraphs) 8. Upload both your group document and Excel risk chart into M oodle. 9. Like the first GroupCraft, you will be evaluating yourself under a separate section in this week's Moodle module.

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213 APPENDIX F GAME PLAY AND REFLECTION PAPER Rationale: People often spend a lot of time and resources planning and implementing a proj ect, but neglect to reflect on or evaluate that implementation and planning. As you have already learned in your StarCraft matches and in this course, reflection on past and current decisions can be invaluable in informing future decisions and direction. T he most successful individuals and organizations always invest time and resources into looking back, evaluating, and reflecting so they can constantly improve. This iterative process can be helpful not only in the real world, but also in StarCraft. These a re skills that employers often highly value. Task: Often, the best and most effective decisions follow an ITERATIVE process. There is a constant cycle of brainstorming, analysis, implementation, and reflection. It's not uncommon for project leaders or org anization management teams to rinse,wash, and repeat several times. It is important to analyze and reflect at different points of a project or decision making process. This assignment tries to get you to model this by basically going through 5 iterations o f the analysis/implementation/reflection process and then having you learn from the overall decision making/reflection process. You will play 5 individual StarCraft 2 matches versus a human opponent. For EACH, follow the steps below and document your prog ress/information under the appropriate headings. (Note: Your completed assignment should have a total of 6 subheadings, one for each of the 5 matches, and 1 for overall analysis.) Important: Remember to complete each written analysis BEFORE each match. Th is will actually make your task easier because you won't have to recall details way after the matches are over since they may tend to blend together. Match Iteration 1: 1. Jot down a brief list of what discuss/strategies/build orders you plan on trying befo re you begin each match. 2. Play your match. Note whether it was a win or a loss. 3. Reflect on your match, paying special attention to decisions made and the outcome. How well did your plan work? How closely did you stick to it? What were the results of your de cision? Why did things unfold as they did and how do you ensure that you either replicate/avoid further occurrences? 4. Learn from your match. What are you going to do better next match? What things are you going to change and why? How will you make sure that you DO win again or DON'T lose again? Match Iteration 2: Rinse, wash, and repeat

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214 The Fold Cycle: The last stage of the rinse, wash, repeat cycle is what I like to think of as the fold cycle. This is where you analyze, organize, and make sense of what y ou've learned and experienced. After each of the 5 mini analyses, we'll look at the big picture. Look at each of your match mini analyses and note your decisions, outcomes, and what you learned from what you jotted down. Are there any patterns to what you experienced/learned? Compare the decisions/results from Match 1 with Match 5. What differences are there? Overall, how are the decisions and results the matches different/the same? What did you learn about your game play and mastery of 21st century skills? How do the decisions you made in each individual match iteration inform your understanding of your own overall decision making capabilities? Please submit your assignment in Word document format to me via Moodle upload. Make sure you include your name, date, and group/clan at the top of the page.

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215 APPENDIX G LEADERSHIP SURVEY AND MEYERS BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPE SURVEY ACTIVITY Note: You may want to complete this assignment before meeting for your GroupCraft Assignment 1. A good way to ensure successful collaboration is for each member to understand their leadership and personality profile. This information can go a long way in minimizing conflict and maximizing group effectiveness. This assignment is designed to help you identify important information th at will assist with both in game and real world collaboration. In the forum below post an entry that addresses the following: 1. Complete the leadership survey at http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/survstyl.html and record your results within your post. 2. Complete the Meyers Briggs Personality Type survey at http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi win/JTypes2.asp and record your results within your post. 3. According to your results, what is your leadership style and what is your personality type? How accurate are the se results? To what extent do they describe you? 4. How do you think your personality type and leadership style will influence how you interact and communicate with your clan both in game and in real world contexts. 5. What does what you have learned through you r reflection and your personality/leadership style mean for your clan and how it functions? What are some benefits and pitfalls that you will need to keep in mind? How can you improve your group performance and collaboration? Give some specific examples.

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216 APPENDIX H IRB FOR THE QUA NT ITATIVE PHASE OF THE STUDY

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220 APPENDIX I IRB FOR THE QUALITATIVE PHASE OF THE STUDY

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223 APPENDIX J THE MODIFIED GROUP ENVIRONMENT QUESTIONNAIRE 1. Overall, I do not enjoy engaging in the game related social interact ions (e.g. Skype/Facebook conversations, planning sessions, collaborative game play) of this group.* 2. Overall, I do not enjoy engaging in the academic social interactions (e.g. group projects, planning meetings, Skype/Facebook conversations) of this group.* 3. Overall, I do not do my best at being personally involved and committed during group game play.* 4. I am not open to continuing to play collaboratively with my group after the course ends.* 5. 6. I am personally i nvested in helping my group win games. 7. I have made some good friends in this group. 8. I am open to staying in contact with members of my group after the course ends. 9. This group does not give me enough opportunities to improve my personal game play skills.* 10. This group does not give me enough opportunities to improve my collaborative skills.* 11. I prefer to play collaboratively with my group members rather than collaboratively with people not in my group. 12. I enjoy working with my current group members in this cour se more than working with other groups. 13. Overall, I do not like the work style (e.g. communication, planning, time management) of this group.* 14. Overall, I do not like the play style (e.g. communication, competitiveness, strategies) of this group.* 15. During thi s semester, this group is a meaningful social group to me. 16. Our group is united in trying to achieve its goals for game play. 17. Our group is united in trying to reach its goals for academic performance. 18. Members of our group would rather play collaboratively w ith non group members than play together as a group.* 19. We all take responsibility for losing any game. 20. We all take responsibility for any performance that is below expectations on submitted group work. 21. Our group members rarely socialize together outside of the course.* 22. performance.*

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224 23. performance.* 24. Our group is open to spending time together inside or outside of the game after the course is over. 25. If members of our group have problems during game play, other members are willing and wanting to help. 26. If members of our group have problems during academic projects, other members are willing and wanting to help. 27. Members of responsibilities regarding game play.* 28. responsibilities regarding academic projects.* *Items must be reverse scored

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225 A PPENDIX K IND IVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Opening Question: Introductory Question: Take a fe In what ways if any do you think your definitions have changed or evolved over the course of the class and your StarCraft game play? Transition Question: How would you describe your attitudes and perspectives on collaboration and teamwork? o Follow up probe: To what extent if any did the StarCraft course influence or change those attitudes and perspectives? Tell me more about your history with digital gaming and your gaming preferences and experiences. What is your experience level with real time strategy games and StarCraft in particular? How did your StarCraft and digital gaming experience influence your experience in this cours e? What personal perspectives and details do you think have influenced your digital game play? What personal perspectives and details do you think have influenced your experiences in the course? Think back to when you were still taking the course. Tell me about some of your collaborative and teamwork oriented experiences during the course. How close did you feel to your group during the group projects and group game play? What kind of group dynamics did your group have? How did you communicate? What wa s the group climate like?

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226 What would you say most characterizes your collaborative experiences that What other factors if any do you think influenced your attitudes towards and experiences with collaboration and teamwork in this course? o Foll ow up probe: Factors could include year in school, major, experience with digital gaming in general, and familiarity with StarCraft. All Things Considered Question: If asked to provide a brief statement about how the StarCraft course influenced or did not influence your attitudes and perspectives on collaboration and teamwork, what would you say? Summary Question and experiences in the StarCraft course, I want to provide quick summar y of this summary sound complete to you? Final Question discuss? Demographic Information (1) How many years have you played digital video/computer games? (2) How many years have you played real time strategy games? (3) How many years have you played either StarCraft 1 or StarCraft 2? (4) What year in school are you? (5) What is your major? (6) What was your approximate high school GPA? (You may just give a ballpark estimate.) (7) What approximately is your current UF GPA? (You may give a ballpark estimate. If this is your first semester, guestimate based on your grades so far.)

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227 LIST OF REFERENCES Aha, D.W., Molineaux, M., & Ponsen, M. (2005). Learning to win: Case based plan selection in a real time strategy game. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Case Based Reasoning (pp. 5 20). Chicago, IL: Springer. Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2008). Staying the course Babson Survey Research Group: The Sloan Consortium Ananiadou, K., & Claro, M. (2009). 21st century skills and competences for new millennium learners in OECD countries (No. 41). OECD Publishing. Ancona, D. G., & Caldwell, D. (1992). Cross functional teams: Blessing or curse for new p roduct development. Transforming Organizations 154 166. Anderson, N. R., & West, M. A. (1998). Measuring climate for work group innovation: Development and validation of the team climate inventory. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19 (3), 235 258. Ar baugh, J. B. (2000). Virtual classroom versus physical classroom: An exploratory study of class discussion patterns and student learning in an asynchronous internet based MBA course. Journal of Management Education, 24 (2), 213. Audretsch, D. B., & Thurik, A. R. (2000). Capitalism and democracy in the 21st century: From the managed to the entrepreneurial economy. Journal of Evolutionary Economics 10 (1), 17 34. Bailey, C. J., & Card, K. A. (2009). Effective pedagogical practices for online teaching: Percep tion of experienced instructors. The Internet and Higher Education, 12 (3), 152 155. Baltes, B. B., Dickson, M. W., Sherman, M. P., Bauer, C. C., & LaGanke, J. S. (2002). Computer mediated communication and group decision making: A meta analysis. Organizat ional Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 87 (1), 156 179. Beal, D. J., Cohen, R. R., Burke, M. J., & McLendon, C. L. (2003). Cohesion and performance in groups: A meta analytic clarification of construct relations. Journal of Applied Psychology 88 (6), 989 1004. Beasley, B., & Standley, T. C. (2002). Shirts vs. skins: Clothing as an indicator of gender role stereotyping in video games. Mass Communication & Society 5 (3), 279 293. Becker, K. (2007). Pedagogy in Commercial Video Games. In D. Gibs on, C. Aldrich & M. Prensky (Eds.), Games and Simulations in Online Learning: Research and Development Frameworks, Hershey, PA: Information Science, 21 47.

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241 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH From the classic simplicity of Space Invaders to the latest immersive and visually stunning game title, as a gamer, Nathaniel D. Poling, PhD, has always been drawn to digital games. As an educator he has always known that well designed games can fully engage players and also have the potential to teach many important real life skills and concepts in an innovative way. Nathaniel was able to combine his interest in digital games with his training in education during his doctoral studies. He designed, developed, and got approval to teach an innovative online digital game based course based on the popular real time strategy game StarCraft 2, which gave students an opportunity to experientially learn about important real world skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. The course was offered for two years through the University's Honors Program. In addition to designing, teaching, and researching the StarCraft 2 course, Nathaniel also taught an undergraduate introduction to educational technology course and co taught another innovative Honors Program course that focused on Zombie culture. This zombie culture class took a multimedia and participatory culture based approach in having students read and analyze two of Max Brooks' works The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z Students used a variety of media in addition to the books to better understand the sociocultural implications often explored in zombie subculture. Nathaniel has also taught a graduate level project management course that taught students how to design, develop, and implement educational projects. In addition to hi s teaching, he has worked with others across the university including pediatrics department and the radiosurgery department as an instructional design consultant. His research interests include using digital games and virtual environments in teaching and

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2 42 t raining, instructional design, and curriculum development. Prior to embarking on his doctoral career, Nathaniel was an English and Communications double major who then taught English and Language Arts for two years at the middle and high school level.