History of Videogames (Fall 2016: Kocurek)

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HUM 380-04
History of Video Games is an upper-level history course that examines the cultural, technical, and business history of computer games while engaging students in hands-on historical documentary work.
Fall 2016 3 Credit Hours Monday & Wednesday 10:00-11:15 a.m. Perlstein Hall 109
Dr. Carly A. Kocurek [email protected] Siegel Hall, 212 Office Hours: M&W 2-3:30 and by appointment
Students who succeed in this class will level up their abilities to: + Read and interpret texts in the humanities. + Produce written and oral discourse. + Participate effectively in critical discussions. + Make concise presentations of complex issues. + Analyze complex issues. + Conduct research. + Identify and evaluate sources. + Work cooperatively in groups. + Examine the effects of scientific and technological developments on individuals and social groups. Plus, they'll be able to wow their friends with their knowledge of obscure games history.
Replay: The History of Videogames, Tristan Donovan All other readings are available via Blackboard. Readings total approximately 100-150 pages per week.
UNDERGRADUATE + 3 exams (45%) + 1 group oral history (30%) + 1 comparative essay (15%) + 1 discussion leadership (10%) GRADUATE + 1 group oral history (30%) + 1 journal article (40%) + 1 scholarly book review (20%) + 1 discussion leadership (10%) Graduate students will also work with the instructor to identify appropriate additional readings to help with the completion of their research assignments.
Pong Breakout Donkey Kong Ms. Pac-Man Super Mario Bros.  [in class] Street Fighter Myst [available for PC and Mac from Good Old Games; available for iPad from iTunes] Tomb Raider [available from Good Old Games] Smarty [available for streaming on Rhizome; must use wired internet) Never Alone [available for PC & Mac from Steam] Gone Home  [available for PC & Mac from Steam] Pokemon Go [available from iTunes and from Google Play]
Should be completed by Monday of the indicated week (first week of classes being an obvious exception). For articles, you should read the items in the weekly folder available in the "Content" section on Blackboard. For games and book readings, follow this guide. Week 1 (Aug 22): Donovan start-Ch. 2, articles Week 2 (Aug 29): Donovan Ch. 3-6, articles, PONG, Breakout Week 3 (Sept 5): Donovan Ch. 7-8, articles, Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man Week 4 (Sept 12): Donovan Ch. 9-11, articles Week 5 (Sept 19): Donovan Ch. 12-13, articles, Super Mario Bros. Week 6 (Sept 26): Donovan Ch. 14-16, articles Week 7 (Oct 3): Donovan Ch. 17-19, articles, Myst Week 8 (Oct 10): Donovan Ch. 20-21, articles, Tomb Raider, Smarty Week 9 (Oct 17): Donovan Ch. 22-24, articles, Street Fighter Week 10 (Oct 24): Donovan Ch. 25-27, articles Week 11 (Oct 31):  Donovan Ch. 28, Gone Home, Never Alone Week 12 (Nov 7): articles Week 13 (Nov 14): articles, Pokemon Go Week 14 (Nov 21): none Week 15 (Nov 28): none
September 14: First exam distributed October 12: Second exam distributed September 21: Interview questions submitted for review October 24: All interviews must be completed November 16: Third exam distributed November 7: Peer review of comparative essays November 28 and 30: Final Presentations Exam Period: Final submission of oral history projects; Final comparative essays due
Show up to class prepared to discuss the readings and games, be respectful of each other, put phones away, submit assignments on time, show up to class consistently, don't plagiarize, let the instructor know if you need ADA adjustments or are a student athlete.
Submission of Assignments and Late Work
Assignments are due at the start of class on the indicated deadline and must be submitted in the specified format. Assignments that do not meet the minimum requirements will be given a grade of 0. Assignments received after the due date will receive a grade of 0. This penalty will only be waived in exceptional circumstances, such as those which would require a student to be absent for an extended period (such as hospitalization) or an unforeseen emergency such as a death in the family. You should contact me and the office of the Dean of Students as soon as such circumstances arise and recognize that you will be asked to verify your excuse with documentation provided to the Dean of Students. I will not consider common illness such as a headache, cold, or flu (even with a doctor's not) to be grounds for an extension to any assignment.
Course Participation
Participation and attendance are an integral part of this class. As such, students are expected to come to class prepared and participate actively in discussion where appropriate. Also, use common sense. Don't disrupt class. Don't engage in unprofessional behavior. Turn off your cell phone. Don't use your laptop for nonsense -- it distracts everyone else, and the instructor might make fun of you. Also, research shows students who take notes by hand far outperform those that type their notes, and that off-topic laptop use negatively effects surrounding students. Five quizzes will be given at random in class meetings to assess course preparation; quizzes will not necessarily be equally distributed through the semester. If a student misses the quiz as a result of tardiness, he or she will not receive credit for the quiz.
Course Acommodations
Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with verified disabilities. In order to access these resources or get special provisions in class you must register with Aggie Niemiec [email protected] in the Disability Service Office at the beginning of the semester and you must speak with me at the beginning of the semester as well so we can plan accommodations.
IIT Varsity athletes are responsible for notifying the instructor of any absences related to any formal sanctioned contest with another university or college. Absences related to these events are excused without penalty. If a student is missing a critical in-class exercise, such as peer review, as a result of participation in a formal sanctioned contest, alternative arrangements will be made for the student to complete this assignment. In all cases, the student is responsible for notifying the instructor of their athletic affiliation on the first day of class.
Course Resources
Research resources that you will be expected to use in this class include the databases linked from Galvin Library’s History Research Guide: Google is not an academic resource. Neither is Wikipedia or any other general encyclopedia. Students interested in improving their writing can get help at the Humanities Department Writing Center located in Siegel 232-233. The writing center staff can help with any writing issues and are specially trained to assist students who did not learn English as a first or primary language:
All forms of academic dishonesty are serious offenses and will not be tolerated. At minimum, academic dishonestly will result in a failing assignment grade as well as sanctions from the university. If you are in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism or academic dishonesty, re-read the code of student conduct and sections on academic dishonesty in the student handbook. If you are still unsure, make an appointment to speak with the instructor. It is never appropriate to use someone’s ideas or words without giving them credit, and that copying text from sources or peers — in addition to being plagiarism and cheating — short-circuits the learning process . If you are unfamiliar with the University Academic Integrity Policy, please visit and refer to the IIT code of conduct statement on academic honesty at, or ask me for clarification.
Academic Integrity
Changes to the syllabus are possible, but such changes will never move a deadline up or require students to purchase additional materials. Any changes made are at the discretion of the instructor and are intended to enhance course learning.