The University of Houston-Clear Lake is launching a new bachelor's degree program called Serious Games and Simulations, with courses integrating four disciplines and two tracks, beginning in fall 2021.
"Video games and simulations have become ubiquitous in world culture, and using a tool that has already pervaded world society to promote learning seems to be a self-evident goal that we need to explore," said Professor Rick Short of the Psychology Department, who chaired the committee that pioneered the development of the program.
"This is a developing area, and it's not just our realization," he added. "It's overtaking American education. The job demand is at the front end of the curve, and it's burgeoning. That's our prediction, and it's the Texas Workforce Commission's prediction as well."
The program is designed to help students become leaders with multiple specializations capable of leading game development, design, and testing.
Furthermore, students will be able to choose one of the two tracks available. They are art and design, which will concentrate on multimedia design; and programming, which will concentrate on game production. Both tracks will prepare students for careers in computer development as well as leadership roles in project management, marketing, or architecture.
Serious games and simulations can help people learn a skill or complete a task by simulating real-world scenarios. These games are becoming progressively relevant in healthcare, spaceflight, military operations, education, and other fields.
"This is the kind of environment in which SGS has become a really important training tool," he said. "We still need to be educating students in a meaningful way, with lab-based experiences. Now we're talking about simulations in virtual reality or augmented reality. The key is bringing experiences into the classroom and making them real."