Bringing esports to campus

Since the launch of the first esports scholarship at Robert Morris University in 2014, formal esports programs have rapidly emerged at colleges all over the country. Several players hope that the wave of esports that has hit other colleges will find its way to CSULB so that by 2030, the university is a leader in the rapidly growing world of esports. Players see this as not just an opportunity to expand recreational activities at the university, but as a new source of academics and revenue.

For instance, Jeff Bliss started this thread, which suggests that esports could improve computer science education:

Eventually, CSULB will join other universities in fielding esports teams. It will not only satisfy intercollegiate competition needs but it also will augment studies related to gaming, programming, computer science, etc.

Johnny Holman notes that in addition to the educational and professional development opportunities involved with esports, CSULB could also look at licensing and merchandising opportunities:

CSULB will create new licensed e-sports merchandise and obtain sponsorships.

In addition to these kinds of opportunities, participants noted that esports would also provide a great vehicle for enhancing campus life and creating new kinds of activities at the university. Several players, such as Edward Flores, have big ambitions for the university’s esports efforts, who suggest CSULB should invest in an arena for esports. Others, like Jeff, think that a more informal approach, like placing computers around for students to use informally for esports, could add to the vibrancy of campus life.

In light of the possibilities, what do you think the university’s first step should be to jump start an esports effort?

Balancing marketable skills with humanities

One of the themes emerging from the game is the need to balance teaching marketable skills while also providing more opportunities to teach the humanities and liberal arts to help students understand and imagine their impacts in the world. For instance, this thread  suggests that by expanding the role of liberal arts within the community, students can better prepare for an increasingly chaotic future. As Jeffery Blutinger argues that “without the humanities, the future is literally unimaginable. #strongerwithliberalarts”

Without the humanities, the future is literally unimaginable. #strongerwithliberalarts

Elsewhere, Tanya Kim worries that at times “intellectual flexibility for its own sake” is only accessible to students from more privileged backgrounds who can afford to study fields that don’t provide as many immediately marketable skills. While the gap between “marketable” and “intellectual” teaching may feel wide today, Dale Lendrum notes that in the future, this may no longer be true, as more employers are looking for entry level employees whose STEM education includes significant time studying the liberal arts.

More and more employers are seeking STEM majors with a liberal arts background. Particularly communication and people skills. I'm excited for the opportunity for greater interdisciplinary studies between STEM and liberal arts in 2030 at the beach! #CED #golead!

Dale points to a study from EdSurge that has found an increasing number of liberal arts majors being hired into tech companies–a signal that the perceived gap between technical skills and “softer skills” may be receding and that, in the coming decade, we may see the increasing integration of liberal arts and hard sciences.