Enrolling in the Game & App Development course puts you to work for Warren Tech Software Development Studios. Think of this as a job, not a high school class. While your performance reviews will be in the form of letter grades, all approaches to assessment will be through professional standards.
Your progress and skills acquisition will be tracked in the form of Certificates. These certificates will be earned as you can demonstrate the skill for each certificate (usually through self-defined projects). Please see a list of possible certificates attached to this document.
Earning a certificate is usually done through defining and executing a project. In some cases, the only way to earn a certificate is by completing a project (or more than one). Small, personal projects are acceptable for learning specific skills and earning familiarity in a skill, but in the end, all students will need to be a part of a larger, more ambitious team project in order to succeed.
A personal project is a short term, completable goal aimed at learning a specific skill. An example might be the determination to do an acceptable walk cycle animation, a realistic human character model, or even a simple tic tac toe game to learn a specific programming language. These can be in any skill area from the certification list, but should be of limited, achievable scope.
Long term, team projects can begin as a simple meeting of like minds and complimentary talents. However, in order to have all team members devote their full time to this project, it will eventually need to be organized, planned, pitched to management, and then approved. Once approved, a project can move forward and work from all team members can focus on this specific project. The goal of these larger projects is to publish a game or complete a project for clients. Without completing at least one team project it will be impossible to get a grade of ‘A’ in this course.
On a periodic basis (with at least two-weeks notice) a ‘Game Jam’ will be announced. This is a limited time in which to create a full, working game or interactive media. Mirroring industry pressures, this gives team members the experience of working within closed constraints to create a completed project with hard deadlines. Game Jams are an industry standard ([globalgamejam.org]) used for recruitment, honing skills, and networking. The game jams within this program attempt to prepare team members for this important professional experience. Once a year, a true, full-weekend Game Jam is held (usually in January) where the time limit is one weekend (48 hours) with facilities and equipment available at all hours.
This course relies heavily on learning skills organically, on a project by project basis, with each team member learning different things at different times. In educational jargon, this is ‘Differentiated Learning’. In my professional experience, it is known as ‘keeping your job’. This is the tech industry, if we don’t constantly learn new things, the industry (and our jobs) will pass us by.
We duplicate this professional environment way of learning in our studio and expect team members to be pro-active, and motivated to learn what they need to learn to do the job they want to do. While we expect there to be confusion and a strong need to be introduced to a subject area, we expect the team member to begin the process, and move as far down the path as is possible through self-learning.
Your Performance Evaluation grade is in three parts, Earned Certificates, Professional Skills, and Quality of Work. Please note, however, that a significant part of a team member's evaluation is subjective (as it is in a professional setting). Perceptions are important. If a team member is diligent, self-motivated, and makes steady progress, count on a reasonable evaluation. However, if professional skills and motivation are lacking and a team member shows no progress, expect the requisite evaluation result.
More and more often, both job opportunities and admissions offices are asking for work blogs. These are ongoing, informal records of progress on projects. Posted on-line, to general access, these work blogs offer an employer, or a college, insight into a person’s approach to learning, problem solving, and creative thinking. For this program, we require a publicly accessible work blog, updated weekly (at minimum). This is an absolute requirement; Without an updated work blog no grade above a ‘D’ can be given.
The Certificate grade stems directly from earned certificates. Each certificate (and it’s various levels) represent certification points. A minimum number of points is required for a particular Evaluation Level (grade) as follows:
|CertificateLevel/Type||Points allotted perearned Certificate|
|Single Level Certificate||1|
|ertificate for Familiarity||1|
|Certificate for Proficiency||4|
|Certificate for Expertise||24|
|A||12 (Plus one published/completedteam project)|
Professional Skills development is listed in the form of Certificates—and you will receive a certificate for each skill category if a category is completed satisfactorily—but all aspects of this part of your evaluation is subjective.Eval There is no way to formulate ‘points’ for this type of performance. Please read the certificate descriptions and requirements to understand what expectations will be.
A short summary would be simple, however, if you wouldn’t behave in a particular way in an important career position, don’t behave that way in this course.
Without earning all of the Professional Skills certificates, you can not pass this course. It is truly that simple.
This evaluation section can be the most painful, but is also the least likely to affect a recorded, transcripted grade. This is a subjective evaluation of the quality of work a student is completing. A grade of ‘A’ in this section means the student is completing professional quality work that could be used within a finished, commercial product; in other words very rare. Here are the evaluation levels and their meanings:
While this evaluation has the least bearing on final, recorded grades, this may be the most important evaluation for a team member when making decisions on going forward in this field.