Category Archives: education

SOAP: An Alternate Reality Game Engine

I am pleased to announce the release of SOAP v1.0.

The [S]UNY [O]swego [A]RG [P]ackage is an alternate reality game (ARG) engine. Built on the open source platforms WordPress and BuddyPress, it is a bundle of pre-existing plugins and custom modifications that allow anyone who can install and host WordPress to run “what if” simulations and collaborative storytelling exercises.

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SOAP is free software, released under the GPL v.2.0 license.

SOAP was developed with support from a 2012 Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG)  from the State University of New York’s Office of the Provost, plus additional support from SUNY Oswego. The programming was done by Ithaca Content Architecture and Design. Special thanks to Gary Ritzenthaler, Randy Belcher, Lisa Dundon, and Tim Perry.

To learn more, visit the SOAP site: http://soap.ulisesmejias.com/

Brave New Learning

libraryHigher Education’s “Napster” moment is quickly approaching. Soon, saying that learning can only happen in accredited classrooms in exchange for a hefty sum of money will be like saying that music should only be listened to at expensive concerts, and telling those darn kids to stop downloading all those songs illegally. What follows is neither utopia nor dystopia, but simply a half-serious prediction of where things might be headed… quickly.

In the near future, college degrees will become unimportant. It won’t matter where you went to college, or even if you went to college. That the Internet will make this possible by making quality content available at a low cost hardly merits debating at this point.

These things have been said before, of course, but not much has been said about what will replace a college degree. It will be this: the job interview. We are no longer talking about your grandad’s job interview, however, or nothing we are familiar with today (i.e., filling out a form and meeting a couple of people). Instead, the job interview will become a week-long contest where applicants show what they know, what they are capable of doing, and are ranked accordingly. It will include lengthy exams, personality tests, group exercises, creative assignments, detailed simulations, and an army of tests intended to measure everything from know-how to moral character (I’m not saying those tests will be accurate; I’m just saying they will be treated as such).

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