Make Cycle #4: All Systems Go! Reflections and Connections

As we moved from games and the systems inherent within them into a more general and deep dive into All Systems Go, we wondered how CLMOOCers would bridge the similarities.  Would you find the topics too much alike, would you elaborate on your games, would this topic take you in serious or playful directions (or both)?

Imagine our surprise (and delight) when we woke on Tuesday morning to find not one, but two posts pushing back on our example of a pile of tires (tyres) as “not a system” with explanations of why a pile of tires is, in fact, a system (or parts of many other systems that hadn’t previously been considered).  

Simon Ensor explained that piles of stuff are never just that in his aptly named Piles of Stuff blog post, and Sarah Honeychurch’s Piles of Tyres reflection reminded us that “some piles can tell a story or remind one of our shared history.”


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Make Cycle #3: Level Up your Game Design Reflections and Connections

Whether you’re currently losing the game, winning the game, or remixing and redesigning the game, now is an opportune time to reflect on Make Cycle #3.

Throughout the week we dug into some core questions relevant to game design. Many expressed difficulty starting with this make, and were rightfully looking for more clarity around the definition of a game. Extra Credits argues that the definition of a game itself limits our medium (Great share Susan Watson!). The most common questions were:

  • What makes a game fun?
  • Do there need to be rules?
  • Can the rules be changed?
  • How can we celebrate failure?

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Make Cycle #3: Level Up Your Game Design!

We’d love to give a roaring, standing ovation for the University of Illinois Writing Project for empowering us to consider the ways in which we identify and represent ourselves and the contexts in which we live, adapt and thrive. Even more, it’s been fascinating to see how remediation and experimentation on a single topic can generate new insights and meaning.

Let’s dive deeper into the ways in which we analyze, deconstruct and change complex systems. What are the variables in our every day and cosmic equation? How can we tackle complex local and global issues, which may be quick to identify but hard to solve? By using a different lens to analyze a situation, can we create discussion and empower action?

11220096_10152875450066994_334593595157978326_nGame design from C:\DAGS Game Jam image by Christina Cantrill, CC-BY

For this Make Cycle, we invite you to use game design to analyze, remediate, and reflect on complex systems. Last week, we noticed “the affordances and constraints that each medium offers (for and against) our purposes”. This week, let’s discuss what systems we see – and what happens when we change up the rules a bit.

You may ask – why game design?

The systems within which we operate can be difficult to understand – and even more so, difficult to discuss. Games – in all their forms – are engaging tools for experimentation. As dynamic and interactive works of art, games can inspire us to tackle and engage with complexity. Plus, games, and the ways in which they are designed, enable us to experiment and have fun with failure: the ability to try, fail, and try again is a powerful tool.

Games align with the spirit of the CLMOOC because they are active experiences. Like many things in civil society, every game has rules, players, and interesting choices you are “allowed” to take.

A game in which the player performs simple actions or activities simply to further a story is passive; however, if the player is presented with choices which meaningfully impact the future events in the game, these choices become “interesting” and active.

clmooc2via The Institute of Play. Read more of their deconstruction of Oregon Trail…

Make with Me

For this Make Cycle, we would love for you to start with thinking about your favorite game (in any shape or form!) and reconstructing it using one or more different media. A good way to start can be answering these questions:

  • What are the rules of the game?
  • What are the actions (or verbs) you are allowed to take in the game?
  • Is there a “win” state? If so, how do you achieve it?

Game design is a creative process – anything goes. Help us learn how to play your favorite game, or create a new game we can play together! You can start with a drawing, create a flip book, and move to video. You can also take household items and turn them into playing pieces, transforming your kitchen table (or house!) into a game board!

DarrowPage1Page one of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing by Charles Darrow for a patent on the board game Monopoly, filed and granted in 1935. Public Domain. 

Over the course of the Make Cycle, we’d love to see how you level up or progress through your game. What actions can you take to move forward?

Don’t forget: as the game designer, you have the power to change the system, and you don’t have to do it alone! If you were to change a rule, how would that impact the actions you could take in the game? What would happen if you played with multiple people? Perhaps your fellow CLMOOCers can play with you!

We also invite you to think about how you can also use your new game design skills to translate, analyze and change a complex issue. For instance, if you were to deconstruct the California Water Crisis

  • Who would be the key characters you could play?
  • What are 1-3 actions each character type could do in the game?
  • What are the potential outcomes?

You can start with a character, such as a farmer trying to conserve water but still grow crops. How many other participants play other characters, like policymakers or residents? If you were to change a rule, how would that change the game?

As with the previous make cycles, we hope that you will be inspired to explore a new medium, and create new understanding about what it means to analyze (and change!) a system.

DoubleDutchBAInside games and outside games count all the same. Children “skipping” double dutch in Buenos Aires, via Drdisque, CC BY 2.0

Check Out These Resources

There’s plenty of ways to start thinking about meaningful game design. Here are some ideas:

Glasslab Games:

Institute of Play:

Other how-to/guides:

A few digital tools to consider:

Remembering games:

Books you might want to check out:

Places to Share

Live Events

  • Join our Make With Me live broadcast with chat on Tuesday, July 7th at 7p EDT/4p PDT/11p UTC live streamed with a synchronous chat here at CLMOOC. This session will also be recorded so you can watch the archive later.
  • We will be hosting a Twitter Chat for Make Cycle #1 on Thursday, July 9th at 7p EDT/4p PDT/11p UTC with the #clmooc hashtag

Need More Information?

Finally …

As fellow game designers, we can’t wait to make with you!

Paula Escuadra, Evan Rushton, and Lori Stone
GlassLab, Inc.



Make Cycle #2: Re(MEDIA)te With Me

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If you’d rather experience this invitation through video, don’t worry.  Katrina remediated it for you!

Welcome to Make Cycle # 2!

Hats off to the Tar River and UNC-Charlotte Writing Projects for getting us all to think about how we represent ourselves in different contexts. We think it’s safe to say that we all benefitted from taking time to think about our personas and various ways that we can un-introduce ourselves.

For this Make Cycle, we invite you to consider how the media we compose within (like print, sound, still and moving image, or objects) influence how we communicate and interpret.  In this Make Cycle, we will mediate and re-mediate and reflect on how the affordances of different media impact our choices, processes, and meanings.

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Make Cycle #1: Unmake an Introduction!

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Make Cycle One!
Make Cycle One who?
Make Cycle One-who (want to) welcome you!

Image by Stephanie West-Puckett

Image by Stephanie West-Puckett

CLMOOC is this giant virtual makerspace where we can hang out, mess around and geek out, learning about Connected Learning by connecting together to learn. We want to start off with Make Cycle 1 by looking around at the walls, windows and doors of CLMOOC to figure out who gets to be here and who let us in!

So, what’s the first thing you usually do when you enter a room of folks with some familiar and unfamiliar faces—you introduce yourself, right? So let’s unravel “the introduction” to dive into the Connected Learning principle of equity. The theme this week is Unmaking Introductions. Let’s consider the ways we name, present, and represent ourselves and the boundaries or memberships those introductions create. How do we name ourselves in different contexts—personally? professionally? online? What happens when those contexts converge? How might we take apart our introductions to answer some of these questions? What will happen when we put them back together again to share them in CLMOOC?

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Welcome to CLMOOC 2015


Welcome to CLMOOC! We are very excited to be here with you and are looking forward to making, playing, connecting, and learning with you at different points throughout the next six weeks.

You are the heart of CLMOOC. To support you in tapping into your interests and passions, CLMOOC is organized into six open Make Cycles that we hope will inspire you to make, write, connect, and reflect. We take the “open” and “collaborative” parts of MOOCs seriously, and facilitators have designed CLMOOC in ways we hope will make you feel comfortable in customizing the experience to your own interests.

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