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Visiting Assistant Professor in Professional Writing

Visiting Assistant Professor in Professional Writing Position, U of Central Florida, Department of English, PO Box 161346 Orlando FL 32816

The Department of English at the University of Central Florida seeks a Visiting Assistant Professor specializing in Professional Writing to be employed at our Southern region campus. The non-tenure track position requires a PhD in English, Rhetoric/Composition, or a related field with specialization in technical and/or professional communication from an accredited institution and the ability to teach undergraduate and graduate courses. Position begins August 2008. Teaching load is 4/4. Possible assignments will include courses in our online Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing and our online M.A. in Technical Communication as well as our undergraduate professional writing and technical communication courses. Face-to-face courses and office hours will be primarily on UCF's Southern region campus in Cocoa. Must have expertise in developing and teaching web-based courses or be willing to teach online after receiving training on campus.

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Grand Thesis... ah I can't bring myself to finish this pun

Now I realise that videogame academia isn't about spruiking specific products - Anatomy of the FPS anyone? - but Grand Theft Auto IV has just come out! Just what grad students and academics need in addition to papers, teaching and unwritten theses.

Even for those of us who aren't playing/researching the GTA IV, it's fascinating how hard it is to avoid the game's cultural splash damage. Within hours of the release, I saw online videos of people doing stupid things in Liberty City or hunting out Easter Eggs. Apparently the in-game radio stations are pitch-perfect parodies of grating deejays and cretinous shock-jocks as well as the mellifluous , expansively liberal tones of NPR's All Things Considered (the latter interview also interesting for those who want to hear Lazlo Jones' take on Stravinsky).

GTA IV has prised open existing issues surrounding videogames, and thrown up new ones. Concerns about violence and sex, of course, are doing the rounds; but also their converse - Australia, which lacks a 18+ designation for games, has a censored version appearing in shops (apparently New Zealand also has to suffer the indignity). Does the increasing realism of games such as GTA IV affect the status of sexuality and violence within them? How do we read the portrayal of race and the function of stereotypes in such a text? Is there any political potential to the vicious satire, or is it simply symptomatic of consumer culture's morbid self-obsession? Does the success of this iteration highlight a growing preference for sandbox style game design over more tightly structured advancement through virtual space and time? What are some of the most interesting peripheral cultural forms arising from the game and how does the fan culture work? Is there more to this all than succès de scandale?

So are any Gameologists hanging out in Liberty City? What are your thoughts?

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Video Game Canon

A little over a year ago the NY Times and various other media outlets and blogs reported on Henry Lowood, Warren Spector, Steve Meretzky, Mario Bittanti, and Christopher Grant's list of the ten most important games of all time.

Many referred to it as the creation of the first video game canon.

Certainly we are all aware of the problems of creating any kind of canon yet I think we all recognize their usefulness as well---if only as the subject of critique.

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Gameology on Twitter

A few Gameology folks are on Twitter. Thus far, I've found Zach and Matt B., and I'm on it too, but I'll be looking to find others, and hopefully those not on will join. I'd previously abstained from microblogging/twittering because I thought it was too short and quick to be as useful as I wanted, but it's all I have time for lately and that makes it much more useful than the alternative. Plus, it's fun right now and anything fun is especially nice at the end of the semester and with the ever-rising heat of summer. It's more fun with more people so those with the time should join and follow their Gameology friends.

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Research Software and Tools

The time for Ph.D. exam preparation is fast approaching (I really should start this summer) and I have been trying to develop strategies for successful note taking, organization, research, and scheduling.

I was initially inspired by D. Travers Scott's blog courageously chronicling his exam reading. After some more searching I stumbled across David Parry's excellent blog discussing a variety of different tech tools for academics, Academhack.

So far I have gotten a hold of EndNote on the recommendation of a colleague, but have yet to really play around with it. I have been told it is incredibly helpful in terms of managing and implementing citations.

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Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds

Submission Deadline: 
04/30/2008

The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds is a peer-refereed, international journal which focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments such as Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games and Second Life.

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Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures on the Internet

Lisa Nakamura's Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures on the Internet focuses on race and the Internet within a contemporary frame where Internet usage has moved from niche interest to mainstream, everyday use. Digitizing Race uses visual culture studies as a method, explaining visual culture studies and then moving to focused critiques in each of the chapters. Using visual culture studies, Nakamura offers Digitizing Race as a book on "digital race formation, which would parse the ways that digital modes of cultural production and reception are complicit with this ongoing process" (14). As a whole, Digitizing Race is an excellent introduction to media and culture students and a needed work for its focus on race in relation to a post-Internet world. Not only does Nakamura examine the forms and their uses, but also the methods by which visual artifacts and cultures of the Internet are created, used, understood, and communicated across media and culture.

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CCCC Roundtable: Reading and Writing Virtual Realities: Computer Games and Writing Instruction

In the spirit of Laurie's post on the Serious Games SIG at the upcoming Cs, I thought I'd let you all know about another games-related event.

Reading and Writing Virtual Realities: Computer Games and Writing Instruction

Session: A.25 on Apr 3, 2008 from 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM

This roundtable brings together instructors who have used computer gaming as either texts that are engaged and read by student writers or as texts that are (at least in part) produced by student writers; the participants will present brief overviews of their experiences (both positive and negative) and offer suggestions for instructors interested in exploring the potential of computer gaming in writing instruction. The goal of this roundtable is to advance the argument that games are not only important cultural texts that should be available to rhetorical analysis in our writing classes--much as we currently use film and websites--but that games can provide opportunities for both critique and production that bridge the gap between students' self-motivated out-of-school literacy practices and the literate practices of writing that we hope to teach them in our composition courses. While much work has recently been done to connect computer games and learning in general and computer games and literacy (Gee, 2003; Selfe & Hawisher, 2007), the presenters in this roundtable are interested in using computers games specifically for writing instruction, thus moving theoretical perspectives on gaming and literacy into the composition classroom itself. The presenters will discuss pedagogical and curricular tasks that primarily require students to use games as objects of critique (writing about games) or that ask students to use games as locations of rhetorical production (writing in games). Each speaker will present a different facet of the argument, from theoretical approaches to gaming in composition to examples of specific applications of gaming in writing instruction; these scenarios and vignettes will be brief, thus allowing time for interaction with the audience. A brief description of the roundtable participants' statements follows.

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Games+Learning+Society 4.0 Conference

Submission Deadline: 
03/30/2008

The fourth annual Games, Learning & Society (GLS) Conference will be held July 10-11, 2008 in Madison, Wisconsin. Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education and the Academic ADL Co-Lab, the GLS Conference fosters substantive discussion and collaboration among academics, designers, and educators interested in how game technologies – commercial games and others – can enhance learning, culture, and education. Speakers, discussion groups, and interactive workshops will focus on game design, game culture, and games’ potential for learning.

For three years the GLS Conference has been the space for academics, industry leaders, educators, and policy makers to meet and to engage, not just in industry building, but in serious discussion about the current state of the field: where we ought to be headed, and what impact games can and ought to have on culture and society. We are planning the biggest and best year ever for this very important gathering, and we hope you will join us.

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The Critical GeoWiki Experiment (and maps and stuff)

For one of our seminars this quarter, Bola King and I are experimenting with the concept of a Critical GeoWiki. The idea behind it is to take a map, make it publicly editable, and try to put it in the hands of academics as a plaything/tool. I've created one of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and was hoping some people around here would like to play around with it.

An excerpt from my how-to page:

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