Teaching journalism with Neverwinter Nights

Game-based learning is nothing new; after all, if my cousin in elementary school can name over a hundred different Pokemons he should surely be able to tell me what the capitals of all fifty states are if he’s given the right game to learn with. By using a modified version of Neverwinter Nights to teach proper interview etiquette and other journalistic skills, professor Kathleen Hansen aims to make learning more interactive. And they say video games can’t teach you anything. 老域名购买

To teach fact-finding skills, professors at the University of Minnesota have turned the fantasy computer game "Neverwinter Nights" into a tool for journalism students. Instead of slaying monsters and gathering gold, the players tackle sources and gather information.

"When we initially did the game, it still had lava pits, the editor looked like an ogre — stuff like that. The librarian had breastplates," said Nora Paul, director of the university’s Institute for New Media Studies.

With the help of designer Matt Taylor, the game environment was changed into the fictional town of Harperville. Students are then assigned to cover the story of a train derailment and toxic spill. By exploring their surroundings and starting conversations with the residents, students collect information with which to write their story with. But just like in real life, you can get a "No comment" from your interview subjects; if your in-game attitude is too rude, conversations will end with an abrupt "Excuse me, I don’t like your attitude."

But what’s a game without bugs? In this instance, the initial plan was to have a crowd of game characters milling about the scene of the accident, but any time a player approached a group of people, they would immediately be attacked and killed. Hopefully they’ll work out that one out next semester.

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