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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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.