All posts by Anastasia Salter

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Making Games for Web and iOS with Stencyl


In this series, I’ve looked at a lot of newcomer-friendly tools for making games in the classroom or as projects with and for students, including Twine, Scratch, Construct 2, inklewriter, Inform 7, and Adventure Game Studio. While some of these tools are successfully cross-platform, many of the best tools for making graphical games are PC-only. This year, I’m teaching an online course that includes game development as part of exploring digital narrative. As students aren’t meeting in a universi…

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5 Tips for Handling Grading in Large Online Classes

I’ve been chronicling my experiences this semester adapting my approach to teaching from my previous experience with small courses to a new challenge of large-scale classes, and particularly to the needs of a large online course. The most overwhelming aspect for me so far has been the challenge of grading and providing meaningful feedback. This is unsurprising, given grading has been one of our most debated subjects here at ProfHacker. Taking grading to new scales has definitely required me to …

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3 Tips for Handling Discussions in Online Courses

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I’ve been teaching a large online class for the first time this semester, and as the course involves looking at a number of challenge interactive works and games I put a lot of emphasis on discussion forums and critical debate. However, discussion forums of this kind present a lot of potential problems in an online class. We only have to read the comments anywhere on the web (pro tip: don’t actually read the comments) to see that the online medium offers huge potential for miscommunication, per…

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Preparing Lectures for Large Online Classes

This semester, I’m teaching a fairly large (130 at final count) online course in digital media. I wrote last month about some of the strategies I’ve used to prepare the course, including thinking about replacements for in-class activities and planning a highly structured series of content. However, one of my biggest challenges has been planning an alternative to lectures. I’m used to thinking of “lecture” as a dialogue, with opportunities for interaction, connection, and breaking up the class i…

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Preparing to Teach a Large Online Course

With increased pressure on classroom spaces, many departments are moving courses online. I’ve written here at ProfHacker about teaching online previously, but in that past experience I was teaching a very small synchronous online course. While late-night video chats have their own challenges, that course gave me plenty of opportunities to hear directly from each student and encourage collaboration and discussion. This fall, I’m embarking on an online course on a far different scale: I’m teachin…

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Teaching a Class Again


We never teach the same course twice. Some of the changes are out of our control: new students, new classroom, new time. A move from early morning to late at night can change the whole feel of a topic, while a group of students with strong camaraderie might take on collaborative assignments very differently from a group that includes many non-traditional students or a range of disciplines. And of course when technology is involved, the foundations are likely to shift every semester: even when I…

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Ends of Electronic? A Report from ELO2015

I spent last week at the Electronic Literature Organization Conference 2015, a gathering of scholars interested in work that plays with technology towards literary ends. The international festival is always a showcase of both scholarly and artistic work, and thus never fails to provide me with inspiration for next year’s projects. This year, as “electronic literature” in various forms has been going undeniably mainstream, some of the questions raised at the conference hold particular resonance …

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3 Tips for Taking Stock When Summer’s Vanishing

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The rhythms of academia depend on the summer lulls, even though plenty of us spend them working whether teaching, taking summer classes, or performing administrative roles. While there’s been plenty of discussion on the still-common misconception that academics have summers off, the fact remains that summers lure us in to a different pace. That pace often comes with mile-high expectations of summer productivity, as those of us lucky enough to have time “off” from teaching turn to other projects…

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Report on Games and Learning from GLS11

Last week, I was fortunate to attend the Games+Learning+Society conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The conference brings together interdisciplinary scholars, designers, and other practitioners working with games for learning, and thus is a great space to find new inspiration for experiments and games in the classroom.  Just a few highlights of the conference included:

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Making an Impact with Games?

I’ve written a lot about using and making games for the classroom here at ProfHacker, as while games and learning have been around for a long time our ability (and interest) in realizing their potential is on the rise. One of the continuing challenges for bringing games into education is assessing the impact of games on learning. Often, it’s hard even to agree on what we want games to accomplish: are we most interested in raising student engagement? Reaching learners who are alienated by tradit…