January 2020

The Pam Report part 4: Building interdisciplinary, boundary-breaking environments

Building interdisciplinary, boundary-breaking environments

Although interdisciplinarity is stressed in academia, there is an evident gap in facilitating this in the corporate and administrative worlds. Much like academia, working environments from multidisciplinary teams with people bringing in perspectives from numerous academic backgrounds and various positions on methodology and knowledge. The GI administrative team is in a unique position where they must work with the academic world along with the internal, University structure, and external industry partners.

Touchless Elevator Concept researchers take us behind the scenes of their process

The Touchless Elevator Concept was developed by GI member Tanay Singhal, Research Intern for the Haptic Computing Lab, and co-author Mahika Phutane, a PhD student at Cornell doing research in HCI and Accessibility.

The Pam Report part 3: Games facilitate interdisciplinary discourse

Wait… so you’re telling me playing games facilitates interdisciplinary discourse?

This preliminary exposure to games as icebreakers helped form lasting bonds with the other co-op students after only an hour of playing Werewolf. Throughout the term, I watched many other groups bond over play. However, what is “play” and how does it help to 1) sustain the environment; and 2) encourage discourse.

What is “critical play” and how does it invite interdisciplinary discourse?

Connecting Through Games: Recapping the first ever Virtual GI Jam

Read the original piece published on Waterloo Stories here.


For the students at the Games Institute (GI), cancelling Waterloo’s termly GI Game Jam was never an option.

“Games as learning sandbox” Approach: The story behind the Ideas Clinic and Games Institute crossover

Engineering IDEAs Clinic graphic

We asked Dr. John Harris, valued GI alum from Computer Science and founder of the Playful Pixel, to tell us the story of his collaboration with the Ideas Clinic, a Software Engineering initiative that offers creative crash-courses for first-year students. Dr. Harris stepped in to support the clinic in designing and delivering a game experience. Read on to discover the results of this unique interdisciplinary collaboration and find out what “Games as learning sandbox” means.

Resources assist healthcare and social service providers to help those who experience family violence

An online platform built with the assistance of the The Games Institute at the University of Waterloo has been launched to assist healthcare and social service providers to recognize and respond safely to family violence.

The Pam Report part 2: What do we mean when we say Interdisciplinary?

Interdisciplinary Chart

What do we mean when we say “Interdisciplinary”?

“Interdisciplinary” has recently become an ill-defined buzzword across academia and industry. At the Games Institute, we used to shuffle through multiple prefixes including multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary based on what felt right for the project. Throughout my co-op term, we often discussed which term best suited our ethos, mission, and debated how to define our boundary-crossing identity.

Spotlight on player perceptions of personal space on Large, Multi-touch Displays

Players playing touch screen game

New research by Rina R. Wehbe and collaborators from the Cheriton School of Computer Science and the Games Institute at University of Waterloo explores territoriality in playful applications. In the paper, Wehbe et al. investigates the relationship between digital and physical spaces as they apply players’ understanding of shared space, collaboration, and social behaviours.

The Pam Report part 1: Team Bonding through “One Night Ultimate Werewolf”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing excerpts from Pamela Maria Schmidt's award-winning Co-op Report. Currently Research Projects Facilitator at the Games Institute, Pam received the English Co-op Report Award in recognition of her significant contribution to our community during her co-op terms as Operations Assistant (S'19) and Assistant Project Manager (F'19). 

Stay tuned; Not only does the report showcase the brilliance of one of our researchers and staff members, it offers spectacular insight into the Games Institute culture. Pam discusses how and why we use games to facilitate interdisciplinary crossovers, and this springboards into a fantastic discussion on how we articulate interdisciplinarity in the fibres of what we do.

Toolkit for Publishing in the Humanities

Insights from Dr. Shana MacDonald's talk "Publishing in the Humanities" are now available as a handy toolkit, suitable for an interdisciplinary audience.

Research Spotlight: Defining Haptic User Experience by Erin Kim and Dr. Oliver Schneider

Haptics are becoming a staple for high-end technologies (ex. iPhones, the Google Pixel, and Nintendo Switch), as they enhance user experiences by incorporating multisensory feedback, like touch-tones, movements, or vibrations. Despite this, developers currently lack a framework for understanding how to best incorporate and improve them.

Dr. Shana MacDonald talks social media and our quarantine life

Dr. Shana MacDonald, Communication Arts professor and SSHRC-funded intersectional feminist media researcher, gave a talk as part of the “COVID-19: Ask our Experts” lecture series, hosted by the University of Waterloo. The focus of MacDonald’s talk revolved around social media during the pandemic: how are people using social media to combat loneliness? how is news traveling? and how can we make the internet a more positive place for people?

The GI Jam inspires new research directions for Prof Oliver Schneider

Block quote

“I wasn’t really planning any game in particular,” says Oliver Schneider, Assistant Professor in the Department of Management Sciences, “I just knew I wanted to check out the Game Jam since I’ve seen how important it is to the GI culture".

We teamed up with Concept by Velocity to deliver a Knowledge Translation Workshop

Games Institute banner at Concept by Velocity KT Workshop

Marisa Benjamin, the GI's Research Communications Officer, and Eric Blondeel, Co-Founder of ExVivo Labs, teamed up to design and deliver a Knowledge Translation Workshop for the Concept by Velocity Graduate Student S

Enriched narratives reduce cybersickness in virtual reality depending on video game experience

Enriched narratives can reduce cybersickness in virtual reality (VR) for people with little-to-no video game experience, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Waterloo’s Multisensory Brain and Cognition (MBC) Lab in the Department of Kinesiology and the Games Institute.

New findings show differences between rational vs. reasonable decision making in economic games

Wisdom science, an interdisciplinary field of studies that looks at sound judgment and decision making, suggests that people can be guided by rational or reasonable standards when making gaming decisions. How can we better understand the difference between rationality through studying behaviour in socially-oriented games?

Reflections from an interdisciplinary collision conversation

NB: This blog article was written by Grace VanDam who worked here as our wonderful Operations Assistant from September-December, 2019