University Of Florida Adds Starcraft Studies

Starcraft is being used to teach resource management skills in a new course offering at the University of Florida - but it's only open to students in the honours college, and students have to have some familiarity with the game.

Nate Poling, a PhD candidate at UF, came up with the idea and sold his department on it, so IDS 2935 "21st Century Skills in Starcraft", will be offered as an online-only class this coming semester.

Starcraft as a college subject isn't new; California-Berkeley offered a course on competitive Starcraft through its renowned Haas School of Business. At Florida, it sounds like Poling's lesson plan will also align Starcraft to business management.

Those who run businesses, factories and hospitals must manage according to their knowledge of their personnel's strengths, weaknesses and different abilities, sort of the same calculus involved in StarCraft.

"A student who gets a normal education, gets an MBA, and is in the business world, he could realise that something he learned in his StarCraft course helps him think outside of the box," Poling told MIT's Technology Review. "You synthesise this with an MBA program and voila - you have an innovative business practice."

He's careful to stress this is a supplemental course, not a replacement for traditional teaching methods. Poling anticipates it'll be a popular offering, but the StarCraft skillz and honours-only requisites should keep him from getting swamped by students wanting to play games for a grade.

There is no final examination, but the course does count toward undergrads' GPA.

Honors Course Using StarCraft Is for Gamers Only [Technology Review, via GamePolitics]


    Because the real world only ever needs to manage big blue crystals, crazy green gas and our population limits...

    Jokes aside I'm genuinely intrigued as to where this will go.

    Resource management is probably the wrong term, considering he specifically notes knowledge of your personnel's strengths and weaknesses which would suggest it's more of a 'learning to counter' course...

    ...Wait I just realized that would be management of resources, looking at personnel as a resource themselves.

    Never mind, I'll just go over here...

    +2 to Blake for learning out loud.

    I'd be curious if the students have to buy a copy of the game themselves. We wanted to use SC2 for our course here, but the licencing situation is a nightmare.

      University controlled battle-net accounts would be a disaster to manage. Bar purchasing a new account for every student (or otherwise appealing to Blizzard), the only way I see the university maintaining control over x number of accounts would be to threaten to fail any student who's account was not fully under the universities control (incl. secret questions, associated email address, authenticators, etc) at the end of semester.

      That said, you could always up the cost of the course by 90 USD and then give each student a key purchased through Battle Net (Which they could then keep). MAS111 might pick up a few extra students with the addendum "COMES WITH A FREE COPY OF STARCRAFT II"

        The UC Berkeley thing required every student to have/obtain a Bnet and iccup account. The only thing was simply installing BW on every computer for the course. Which isn't really a biggie.

        These classes are less based on pure % wins and more on theory. I'd predict they'd follow Berkeley's lead and have a final project of producing and justifying a new build order or strategy.

      Adam, I as an individual did not have a problem with it, but I am seeing your point. It is almost impossible for a university to have shared accounts. You could get a copy stolen, an account banned (then what use would it be?) and several other problems. I would think the best answer for this is to have them as a prerequisite already own the game. It would be less of a hasstle and cheaper for everyone.

    Does Zerg rushing count as a pass?

    Spend my resources on 50 Zerglings and wipe out the competition. Sounds like a good business stratigy to me.

      How about protoss cannon rushes? The new fun way to beat the game. Only use of one resource so you save a ton of gas. Plus you can keep your opponents in check if done right. or corse it is followed by the ussual "lol u mad?" but I think its better than a ZURG RUSH!1!!ONE!!!1!!!

    Course Pre-req: 1v1 Diamond League

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