Reflections on Play, Pedagogy, and World of Warcraft

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Key Takeaways

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  • The video game World of Warcraft was the text studied, the laboratory, and the classroom for the online course "Warcraft: Culture, Gender, and Identity" at Inver Hills Community College.
  • The overarching goals of the course involved using the game's immersive environment, learning strategies, and culture to encourage and support student learning.
  • In addition to achieving the intended course outcomes, students successfully transferred the concepts they learned between the real and the virtual worlds.

In an online class, it's not unusual never to see your teacher or classmates face-to-face. It's not unusual to interact with your instructor and classmates through discussion boards or e-mail and to get information through online documents and presentations rather than live lectures. In the spring of 2009 students in the online class "Warcraft: Culture, Gender, and Identity" at Inver Hills Community College did all of this. However, they also rode through forests on giant tigers, flew across deserts on griffins, and battled monsters of every stripe. They saw their instructor dressed in armor guiding groups of students through a dungeon as he cast spells to kill thieves and goblins. And they shared parts of their classroom with thousands of other people. These students and their spell-wielding instructor did all of this while playing the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft (WoW).

In various ways, WoW was the text of study, the laboratory, and the classroom for "Warcraft: Culture, Gender, and Identity." In the game environment (which might be variously compared to J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, C. S. Lewis's Narnia, or the world of Dungeons and Dragons, depending on one's point of reference), students studied aspects of the game as observers and players; they experimented with it through role-playing activities; and they met to complete class assignments cooperatively. At the same time, they played the game qua game by completing tasks (called quests) and working with others, whether fellow students, the instructor, or random WoW players. In all of these modes, the overarching goal of the course was to use the game's immersive environment, learning strategies, and culture to encourage and support student learning of the course content. Mostly it worked.

This is the story of that learning quest — warts and all — as told by two of the players, the instructor (Landon Pirius) and a student (Gill Creel), and through the voices of several other students.1 In the final reflections on our adventure, we also provide recommendations for continued use of online games for engaging students and helping them learn and retain course content.

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I (Landon) came to this course after a long history with gaming, from childhood Atari games to LAN (local area network) parties after college. In graduate school I took a course with University of Minnesota professor and futurist Arthur Harkins, who encouraged me to integrate my strong personal interest in video games with my studies in education. I quickly learned video games utilize principles of constructivist,2 experiential,3 and active learning,4 as well as communities of practice.5 As Marc Prensky noted, digital game-based learning is "precisely about fun and engagement and the coming together of serious learning and interactive entertainment into a newly emerging and highly exciting medium — [a] digital learning game."6 Moving forward, I focused my studies and my dissertation research on WoW, subjective culture, experiential training, communities of practice, and the potential use of video games in education.7

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Other than playing Donkey Kong as a child, I (Gill) had little experience with video games. Nonetheless, in instructional technology research related to my field of Composition, I had read James Paul Gee's What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy8 and found the ideas both intriguing and necessary. When I heard about Landon's class, it seemed like a logical next step in my developing interests around gaming and pedagogy.

Gaming the Game: Class Design

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The class was offered fully online, using both WoW and a learning management system called Desire2Learn (D2L). I (Landon) chose World of Warcraft as the platform for this class for a number of reasons. First, WoW is the most popular MMORPG on the market. Because I thought it important to hold the class in a familiar environment, I wanted an environment where students actually played. Second, WoW has numerous opportunities for social interaction and a vibrant guild structure, both critical for examining human behavior. Lastly, WoW has an extensive community outside the virtual environment. Thousands of blogs, wikis, personal web pages, guild sites, and YouTube videos are devoted to information sharing and knowledge generation. A simple search for "World of Warcraft" on YouTube results in thousands of entries showing the richness of the virtual environment.

Students were expected to purchase the original WoW software; expansions were optional. Because the college did not provide IT support for WoW, students relied on me as the instructor and on Blizzard Entertainment when technical issues arose. Very few students had technical issues because most of them already played WoW.

The 28 students in the class had a range of weekly assignments to complete in the game and in D2L. In-game activities included formation of a class guild, role-playing, observations, and simulations. In D2L, students accessed reading assignments, took part in weekly asynchronous discussions, and completed journal entries reflecting on their in-game experiences. Students also completed a final project that focused on one aspect of the game and made connections between game play and real-world events or applications.

As the syllabus explained, the course was "NOT designed to teach a student how to play World of Warcraft" (emphasis in original), and as a special topics course, the class did not focus on one specific discipline. The purpose of the course was "to critically investigate topics including subjective culture, personal and group identity, gender and stereotypes, language, citizenship, and technology." To this end, the assignments each week revolved around one of these six topics, which were divided into four major modules designed to build on one another as the semester progressed:

  1. Culture
  2. Gender
  3. Identity
  4. Citizenship, language, and culture

Each module had a set of outcomes. For culture, students would learn about subjective culture and how culture is defined or influenced in the virtual and real worlds. For gender, students would learn how it is sociologically determined and the role it plays in sexism, discrimination, and gender inequality. In addition, they would learn how gender is ignored, played out, or amplified in the virtual and real environments. In the identity module, students would learn how identity is constructed and how idealized, social, and multiple identities are developed and dealt with in the virtual and real worlds. For the last module, citizenship, language, and technology, students would learn the concept of citizenship and what it means to belong to a virtual or real cultural group. They also needed to understand the role language and technology play in influencing culture, gender, and identity.

In a given week students engaged in a range of activities based on these planned outcomes. They might be asked to observe the chat channels in WoW, for example, looking for a specific cultural marker such as specialized language or prevalent gender stereotypes. Informed by readings that ranged from online studies of gaming9 to academic texts such as Judith Lorber's "Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender,"10 students discussed their observations with classmates in D2L or wrote journal entries responding to specific class questions. In other weeks, with classmates in-game, students engaged in role-playing activities around identity and synchronous discussions about citizenship and current events. For some weekly activities, students grouped with players who were not in the class to complete objectives related to the class readings and discussions, such as reflecting on group dynamics or in-game language expectations. The activities and assignments were designed to determine students' understanding of the key learning outcomes at the same time they pushed students to engage the game as reflective practitioners rather than merely players.

Behind Door No. 1: Student Expectations

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Based on the syllabus, I (Gill) expected a general introduction to the topics outlined. However, I was more interested in my own meta-analysis of the design and outcomes of the class as it attempted to use a commercial MMORPG as teaching tool. I was also curious to see how Landon tackled what Gee called "the problem of content" in using video games for education. Gee noted that video games are discounted as teaching tools because they do not teach "information related to intellectual domains or academic disciplines like physics, history, art, or literature."11 This criticism raised concerns for me about the viability of video games in college courses, but my lack of knowledge about video games had kept me from informed engagement in this debate. I expected to get more information from the course that would help confirm or refute the problem of content, to get some teaching tips if the class worked, or to marvel at the train wreck if it did not work.

I was not alone in seeing the class through the frame of education. Two other students, also teachers, shared this interest. Fellow student and teacher Jackie commented in an early discussion, "I have some notions about gaming, immersive environments, and purpose-driven learning and would like to explore it further." In the same discussion, some non-teachers voiced similar thoughts because of the class's unique approach. Andrew wrote that he hoped to "explore some new ways of learning [with] WoW as a class environment."

The education contingent was the minority, however. The I-can't-believe-I-get-to-play-video-games-for-class contingent was more sizable. The expectations for the class ranged from the refreshingly honest — "The reason I signed up for this class was basically a real excuse for playing video games" — to the excited — "This will be fun!" and "I was instantly excited" — to the shocked — "i was shocked when i first found out about it. thought it too good to be true." These comments surely reveal an emotional energy not found in the majority of college classes.

Another large group of students actually took Landon at his word and expected to learn the material presented in the syllabus. This group focused on the sociological aspects of the course. One student wrote, "I hope to learn legitimate social patterns and behaviors that I've previously only acknowledged unconsciously." Noting the investigation of gender outlined in the syllabus, Jessica added, "I hope to see why everyone assumes I'm a guy when I play and more about the gender roles in the game :-)." Several students made connections between the course goals and conventional disciplines. Andrew was interested in how the study of sociology in the class would dovetail with his field of Marketing. Paul connected the class to a more conventional course he had already taken: "I'd love to get an in-depth look at sociology through the lens of online gaming. Last semester I took a general 'Intro to Sociology' so I think it will supplement the things I can learn while participating in this class." These expectations and connections students made at the beginning of the semester reveal that excitement about playing video games for college credit did not completely crowd out the academic content.

Playing with Learning, Learning Through Playing

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For me (Gill) as a student, the class was most satisfying and most successful at the levels of mechanics and content when the sociological models we studied were fully realized during game play or in game-related online content. Within the first few days of game play, clear connections emerged between the academic material and the game environment. For example, early in the course students were asked to read "Subjective Culture" by Harry Triandis, an overview of the concept of subjective culture that explains "the elements of subjective culture and [provides] an examination of the content of each element and the methodological problems in studying that element."12 Students then applied these concepts to WoW and quickly became aware of the complex culture supporting the storyline of the game and giving meaning to the surface-level violence.

Figure 1. Teldrassil
Figure 2. Darkshore

As a low-level night elf character early in the semester, I had spent much of my time in regions of the game world called Teldrassil (see Figure 1) and Darkshore (Figure 2). In these areas, the culture of the game created by the non-player characters (characters built into the game with whom players' characters must interact) shows a very clear value orientation toward harmony in nature. For night elf players, the underlying problem driving most decisions in early levels is that the natural balance is disturbed and must be restored. Thus, the job of the player is to cure sick animals, kill creatures beyond help, look for poison in the environment, and collect items for experiments to find solutions to the environmental devastation. As with the scaffolded discussion on subjective culture, discussions focusing on concepts like values, value orientations, beliefs, roles, and norms allowed students to see these concepts at work in a controlled environment, to experience them immediately as they were being studied, and to begin to understand the complexity of the game as art, media, and culture.

As a writing instructor, I was interested in the use of language in WoW. This began immediately upon entering the game and realizing I would need to learn a new dialect in order to communicate. When I first entered WoW at the beginning of the semester, I had no idea what was being said most of the time in the Trade channel (the most active text chat in the game). I did not even know what ROFLMAO meant (see also the YouTube video), though I did know ROFL. I learned many of the abbreviations by asking class members; others I guessed once I saw the pattern — such as using two letters to name places like IF (Ironforge) and SW (Stormwind). There is an entire vocabulary of terms one needs to learn (aggro, tank, dps, mob, npc) to function in the game. There is also common syntax for stringing terms together. For instance, if one needs some additional players to join a group for a particular task, the request might look like this: "LFM 1 tank, ranged dps for ZF then gtg, must b geared."13 (See also Figure 3.) As a novice, I had no idea how to interpret this language. However, as the course continued and Landon created a framework for studying WoW as a culture, I was becoming integrated into that culture and learning the language (and the culture) through a dance of immersion and analysis. The intellectual scaffolding created by the course made this immersion into the language of WoW a multifaceted learning experience, as well as an entertaining one.

Chat Channel

Figure 3. Chat Channel Request for Help Answered by Other WoW Players

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It became clear throughout the course that the students were not only learning the course content, they were able to apply what they had experienced to their real lives. During the week focusing on citizenship, I (Landon) asked the students to view guild websites and look for what it took to be a member of those guilds. Specifically, I asked them to look for the culture, norms, expectations, and values each guild placed on its membership. After completing the activity, James wrote in his reflection journal:

"I think that the requirements of being a citizen in a guild is the same as being a citizen in the WoW community as a whole. You have to take an active role in that community, help other players, participate in raids or quests with others, and try to make your community better. The requirements of being a citizen in WoW are also similar to those of being a citizen in real life, you have to actively take part in that community, just because you are there does not mean you are a citizen. Being an active participant in WoW culture means that you do activities in the game while conforming to the game norms such as using leetspeak when it is appropriate and helping out your fellow players. This is the same as being an active participant in your community in real life, you have to participate while conforming to cultural norms, sometimes testing those norms or changing them as well as helping out others in your community."

Not only was James able to connect citizenship requirements in WoW to the real world, he was able to connect citizenship to other course components such as language and culture.

One of the most evident examples of student learning came during the sixth week when students role-played inside WoW. During that week, students were to list both positive and negative stereotypes for female, male, and transgendered individuals. Students were then to group up, select a gender, and role-play stereotypes listed throughout the week. Sarah and Heather grouped up, and Sarah wrote of their experience:

"Heather and I did this discussion on Sunday in Stormwind. … Heather played the macho teenage boy and I played the dumb girl. We both decided to dress the part. I have made a twink [who] is blond haired and blue eyed…. She is dressed scantily and over all looks like a Barbie in chain mail. … Heather made a male toon who showed up in just the basic gear you start out with. We met on a bridge in Stormwind [see Figure 4]…. Heather's first comment in trade was "your hott" and we were off giggling and flirting. I was surprised that even in SW I got boys whispering to me before we even started. Some were lewd 'I'll show you how to hold a sword' and 'you wanna be my GF?' others were helpful 'What do you need help with' the real fun started when I told everyone my bf just broke up with me. There were more than a few people who started yelling 'its a trap!' while others asked in the open to date me and still more questioned why I would even play the game if that happened. Overall the conversation took about five to ten minutes. I got three whispers about my hotness and two date offers. Heather's side of the conversation caused no alarms. With people even warning her about what I was saying. They seemed more interested in protecting Heather than helping me. Both of us had allot of fun and were a little overwhelmed by the response we got from the guys."

Stormwind Bridge

Figure 4. Stormwind Bridge in WoW

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In further discussion about the experience, Sarah indicated that the responses she received were a result of how she played out the stereotypes and that the reactions she received in-game likely would not have occurred in real life. She reflected, "In real life I think it comes down to the situation. If I was being [really] annoying and fell off a dock, people might laugh. But If I was just fishing and slipped they would probably help me."(See Figure 4.) She also commented that after the role-play activity she felt dirty. In response, Cynthia wrote:

"One of the articles we read said that the brain reacts to situations in the game as if it were real. The role-play conversations from this activity show a powerful example of how ambiance can be created in an online and virtual environment. We begin to 'feel' the part (Sarah and Heather had to go change because they felt dirty… )!"

Sarah and Heather identified gender stereotypes, role-played those stereotypes, observed player reactions, and reflected on how this experience translated to the real world. This exercise also demonstrated how pervasive stereotypes were in WoW and their impact on how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with others.

Playing WoW and using games for teaching were new for Cynthia, a college dean of math, science, and technology. During the second week of the course Cynthia had a profound realization and wrote about it in her journal:

"The teaching role is an interesting one to observe in WoW. Traditionally, teachers are the leaders in a classroom, they perform the information dump and they assess student recall of that dump. … In WoW, the line is blurry — students teach students, nonstudents teach students, the teacher (group or guild leader) teaches students, and the environment and the limitations of [in-game] race and class teach students. In RL, some labs may take on these characteristics, with students, lab assistants, and other teachers helping students. It creates a robust and engaged learning environment. In most classrooms, however, this approach to teaching and learning would be considered too time-consuming."

During the second week, when class content dealt with culture, Cynthia was amazed at how deeply she and other students had become engaged in the course and how much they were learning. She was able to compare the experience of learning in a traditional classroom setting with how students learn in the virtual environment. This changed how she approaches teaching and learning with faculty.

Playing as Learning: Not Additive but Central

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At midterm and at the end of the course, students were asked to complete a short survey. In their responses, most students rated the course well organized, informative, and engaging. They also indicated that they enjoyed the class, learned a lot, opened their minds, and could connect the content to the real world. Students disliked the amount of reading, however, and trying to keep up with classmates who were moving more quickly through the levels in the game. Many students addressed the lack of student-to-student interaction in the game and in D2L. Given the social nature of many of the topics and of the game itself, these comments highlighted a significant challenge with the class.

Addressing the problem of content directly, one student said that the class was "a legitimate college course that had me considering different cultural, social, and gender topics." Another added, "The class almost has the same effect as Film Studies does on watching films, where before I didn't care much about the cultural or psychological underworkings of the games I play. Now it's a different story." Another student wrote, "I think it is a wonderful way to test different cultures and viewpoints and to observe in a safe way! Even the assignments that were difficult to do were safe in WoW." Other students also commented on how the activities would have been difficult to complete in the real world because of anxiety or fear. The WoW virtual environment provided a safe place, which students needed to experiment with difficult social phenomena.

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At the end of the class, I (Gill) found more in common with the I-can't-believe-I-get-to-play-video-games-for-class students than I had at first imagined. Playing the game was really fun. The immersive world engulfed me in its art, narrative, and strategies. The game itself became much more important to my learning than I had predicted; it was not additive, but central. I had not understood its complexity as a game or an online social network, both in-game and out.

From my perspective as an educator and writing instructor, I was particularly drawn to one aspect of WoW culture that Landon raised through course readings and assignments: the quantity and quality of the social construction of knowledge taking place in and around the game. A quick web search for any information related to WoW will reveal dozens of player-created websites providing information and debate. The amount of text surrounding the game is staggering, and the quality of the thinking and writing is equally remarkable. The players of WoW have taken Web 2.0 functionality to impressive heights. My anecdotal evidence is supported by Constance Steinkuehler and Sean Duncan's empirical study, which found "86% of the WoW discussion forums consisted of talk that could be considered 'social knowledge construction' — meaning, the collective development of understanding, often through joint problems solving and argumentation." Steinkuehler and Duncan enumerated multiple discursive practices present in these discussions (which I spend every semester teaching college writers). These include almost all of the rhetorical moves that will lead to success in academic writing, such as "build[ing] on others' ideas," "us[ing] counterarguments," "referenc[ing] outside sources," and "model based reasoning," among others.14 In this respect, the class and the game outstripped my initial expectations in terms of their relevance to my own theorizing about gaming and pedagogy. Far from a train wreck, the class put me on a fast track to further research about the possibilities of using games in my own practice.

Guilds, Guidance, and Engagement: Advice for Future Instructors

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The class met my (Landon's) expectation that course content would engage the students, supported by their feedback at midterm and at the end of the course. They had few suggestions for additional topics, but those who wanted to explore a topic not covered in class could choose that topic for their final project, taking charge of their own learning. In addition, students were actively involved in improving the class, suggesting improvements or additional topics in the evaluations and on the discussion boards throughout the semester. I purposely created this environment to empower the students in their own learning, and they took advantage of it.

In contrast to the level of engagement with the content, the class was not as interactive as I had expected. I had believed that using a game environment would make the course almost instantly interactive and that the game's guild environment would become a place where students socialized and built their own culture. While students did work together on some activities and responded to one another in discussion, interactivity diminished as the semester progressed. My error was not paying attention to my previous experience as a guild leader. If I had, I would have realized that a guild does not build itself. Only through scheduled events, requirements, and continual contribution from its members can a guild prosper and develop its own culture.

While the class guild was not as interactive as expected, the course did develop into a virtual community of practice where students came together to discuss common topics, share common experiences, construct knowledge, and innovate.15 Students led weekly activities and discussions based on their personal experiences and perspectives. This allowed me to simply provide the structure for the course, start and guide discussions when appropriate, and observe class interactions. Consequently, weekly discussion in D2L ranged from 96 individual posts to 167, or 4–7 postings per student per week.

Along with my work as facilitator, the game's immediate feedback helped students with writing and learning, as expected. When students completed their weekly activities, the game environment and other players provided feedback. This allowed them to observe and record reactions and then discuss those reactions in their weekly reflection journals. The journal entries and discussions improved each week as students incorporated concepts from previous weeks into their writings. This indicated to me that students were engaged and learning the content; they achieved the planned course outcomes. It also became clear through discussions and weekly writings that students could take what they had learned in a virtual environment and apply those concepts to the real world. Given that research shows transferability as one of the drawbacks of using games to teach, I was pleased that students could transfer concepts between the real and the virtual worlds.

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Our experiences with this class, both good and bad, suggest several elements needed to successfully use an MMORPG to teach and learn:

  • Intense instructor involvement. MMORPGs are social games, and thus a course using them must be very social. Not only will instructors spend time developing the course content, but they will also spend time playing the game, guiding discussion, building active learning experiences, and observing weekly activities. Instructors can expect to spend significantly more time each week teaching with an MMORPG than they would for most other courses.
  • Reflection. Reflection opportunities are incredibly important. In this course they were used as part of the weekly debriefing discussions in D2L and for the weekly reflection journal. One of the main criticisms of games for learning is that students cannot readily connect their game experience or knowledge to the real world. Therefore, it is critical to use reflection frequently throughout the course to force students to evaluate their experiences and build real-world connections.
  • Facilitator/guide. Instructors in this virtual environment should empower students to take charge of their own learning and run the course as a community of practice. MMORPGs provide so much information and such a rich experience that there is little need to lecture. Active instructor facilitation and guidance forces students to think critically, reflect on their experiences, master course content, and create knowledge.
  • Active guild environment. Extrinsic motivators, such as class participation points for leveling a class character, could encourage students to socialize with classmates, work on game content together, and construct a vibrant in-game or guild structure. Synchronous class sessions could further promote the guild environment. Having a strong, functioning guild in a game like WoW would promote social interaction and a robust learning environment.
  • Student feedback. Given the experimental nature of teaching using MMORPGs, it is important to know if students are learning and engaged in the course. Creating an opportunity for students to provide midterm feedback allows the instructor to make adjustments to the course as it progresses. Additionally, collecting student feedback at the end of the term provides valuable information for improving the course for subsequent offerings.
  • WoW as a text, laboratory, and classroom. Using an MMORPG as a classroom introduces more challenges than the text and laboratory models, but it also further leverages the learning opportunities built into most games and the user communities that form around them. In this model, students don't experience the text passively but actively engage in and even change it. The laboratory is multifaceted and feedback instantaneous. The challenge and the key to leveraging this medium is to integrate the text and laboratory with the classroom experience, not only as objects of study or experimentation but also as mechanisms of learning, reflection, and knowledge creation.

As we hope is apparent, the course was a largely successful attempt to put theory into practice. To return to Prensky, it provided "fun and engagement and the coming together of serious learning and interactive entertainment into a newly emerging and highly exciting medium."16 The mechanics of class management did create problems directly related to the interactivity and the medium. As Cynthia noted, there were multiple learning vectors in the course. The knowledge and the access to it was both "distributed" and "dispersed."17 The knowledge for the class existed in WoW, in the players of WoW, in the websites built by the players of WoW, in classmates, in the D2L discussions, in the online readings, in the course syllabus, and in the instructor. And it was not static knowledge; it was constantly expanded and revised. In this environment, it is unsurprising that class management would pose the greatest challenge. The larger challenge — this fluid, dynamic construction of knowledge and flow of information — can be met, at least in part, by learning how to teach and learn in this world of both the virtual and the real.

  1. Throughout this article, our WoW avatars will represent the primary speakers; both avatars will appear when we speak as a unit.
  2. Henny Leemkuil, Ton de Jong, Robert de Hoog, and Noor Christoph, "KM Quest: A Collaborative Internet-Based Simulation Game," Simulation & Gaming, vol. 34, no. 1 (March 2003), pp. 89–111; and Constance Steinkuehler, "Learning in Massively Multiplayer Online Games," in Embracing Diversity in the Learning Sciences: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Yasmin B. Kafai, William A. Sandoval, Noel Enyedy, Althea Scott Nixon, and Francisco Herrera, eds. (Manwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associaties, 2004), pp. 521–528.
  3. Chris Dede, "Planning for 'Neomillennial' Learning Styles: From Computers and Telecommunications to Distributed-Learning Communities," Harvard Institute for Higher Learning, Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 29, 2005.
  4. Chris Dede, "Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles: Implications for Investments in Technology and Faculty," in Educating the Net Generation, Diana G. Oblinger and James L. Oblinger, eds. (Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE, 2005), pp. 15.1–15.22.
  5. James Paul Gee, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (New York: Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2003).
  6. Marc Prensky, Digital Game-Based Learning (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001).
  7. Landon K. Pirius, "Massively Multiplayer Online Game Virtual Environments: A Potential Locale for Intercultural Training" (PhD dissertation, University of Minnesota, 2007).
  8. Gee, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.
  9. Nick Yee, The Daedalus Project: The Psychology of MMORPGs.
  10. Judith Lorber, "'Night to His Day': The Social Construction of Gender," in Paradoxes of Gender, Judith Lorber, ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994), pp. 13–36.
  11. Gee, What Video Games Have to Teach Us, p. 22.
  12. Harry Triandis, "Subjective Culture," in Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Walter J. Lonner, Dale L. Dinnel, Susanna A. Hayes, and David N. Sattler, eds. (Bellingham, WA: Center for Cross-Cultural Research, 2002–2006).
  13. In this case, someone has a group of players ready to go to an instance in WoW called Zul'Farrak, but needs two more players, one a tank and the other able to do damage from a distance. Both of these players are expected to be well-prepared with powerful weapons, spells, and armor.
  14. Constance Steinkuehler and Sean Duncan, "Scientific Habits of Mind in Virtual Worlds," Journal of Science Education and Technology, vol. 17, no. 6 (December 2008), pp. 530–543.
  15. Etienne Wenger, Communities of Practice (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998) and Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002).
  16. Prensky, Digital Game-Based Learning.
  17. James Paul Gee, Good Video Games + Good Learning: Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning, and Literacy (New York: Peter Lang, 2007).

Additional Readings

Jonathan Alexander, "Gaming, Student Literacies, and the Composition Classroom: Some Possibilities for Transformation," College Composition and Communication, vol. 61, no. 1 (September 2009), pp. 35–63.

William Sims Bainbridge, The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010).

Diane Carr, Martin Oliver, and Andrew Burn, "Learning, Teaching and Ambiguity in Virtual Worlds," in Researching Learning in Virtual Worlds, Anna Peachey, Julia Gillen, Daniel Livingstone, and Sarah Smith-Robbins, eds. (London: Springer, 2010), pp. 17–30.

Edmond Y. Chang, "Gaming as Writing, Or, World of Warcraft as World of Wordcraft," Computers and Composition Online, Special Issue (Fall 2008).

Hilde G. Corneliussen and Jill Walker Rettberg, eds., Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008).

Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger, eds., World of Warcraft and Philosophy: Wrath of the Philosopher King (Chicago: Open Court, 2009).

Nicolas Ducheneau, "Massively Multiplayer Online Games as Living Laboratories: Opportunities and Pitfalls," in Online Worlds: Convergence of the Real and the Virtual, William Sims Bainbridge, ed. (London: Springer, 2010), pp. 135–145.

Alex Golub, "Being in the World (of Warcraft): Raiding, Realism, and Knowledge Production in a Massively Multiplayer Online Game," Anthropological Quarterly, vol. 83, no. 1, (Winter 2010), pp. 17–45.

Hui-Yin Hsu and Shiang-Kwei Wang, "Using Gaming Literacies to Cultivate New Literacies," Simulation & Gaming, vol. 41, no. 3, (June 2010), pp. 400–417.

Jane McGonigal, "Gaming Can Make a Better World" (TED talks, March 2010).

Bonnie A. Nardi, My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2010).

Celia Pierce and Artemesia, Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009).

Mark Ward, "Avatars and Sojourners: Explaining the Acculturation of Newcomers to Multiplayer Online Games as Cross-Cultural Adaptations," Journal of Intercultural Communications, no. 23 (2010).