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GDC: Huge Potential For Industry/Academic Collaboration Says EA's Church

Electronic Arts' Doug Church, in his keynote for the GDC IGDA game education special interest group-led Curriculum Workshop, said that, despite differing agendas, there was huge potential for academic and industry collaboration, though students must alway
The International Game Developers Association Game Education Special Interest Group put together a two-day Curriculum Workshop for the Game Developers Conference 2007, taking place Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6. The event sold out before the Early Bird Registration deadline. Doug Church, a noted former Looking Glass and Ion Storm programmer, designer, and manager now at Electronic Arts Los Angeles, opened the IGDA Education Curriculum Workshop with a keynote about the relationship between industry and academia. While industry is large and inertial, Church points out, so is academia. When considering collaborations, there are numerous stakeholders to consider—deans, mobile developers, congress, console developers, faculty, and several others. Most importantly, students need to be the central consideration. “There are different agendas here on both sides,” said Church. Funding, validity, enrollment, new hires, artistic creation, and commercial success are a few examples. “The bad news is there isn’t really an answer because there isn’t really a question,” Church added. The good news, however, is that discussion and involvement between industry and academia has increased a great deal compared to five years ago. Although collaboration is still in its first phases, the potential to reach a point where efforts are repeatable and dynamic is likely. Church specifically outlined potential in the areas of research; engines, tools, code; as well as knowledge and formalization. Throughout the two days, the workshop emphasized collaboration and communication by holding numerous discussion sessions for generating material for the IGDA Education SIG’s initiatives, such as Curriculum and the Knowledge Base. Of particular interest to attendees was the session on International Case Blasts, which presented curriculum structures from several institutions. Material from the IGDA Education Curriculum Workshop is available at the IGDA Education SIG website.

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