The core intention of computational visualistics – a 5-year engineering diploma programme introduced at the university of Magdeburg, Germany in 1996 – is to integrate technical know-how of all kinds of generating and processing of digital images with the reflection on pictures and on the contexts of use of technical devices as performed in the humanities. Although these interdisciplinary intentions are widely agreed upon, students often feel less motivated to actually materialize this integration as they mostly find one set of lectures dealing more or less exclusively with technical aspects, and another set dealing predominantly with the perspectives from, e.g., psychology or educational science. While the advantage of learning “across the boundaries” of Snow's Two Cultures is quite accepted, the motivation for doing so often wanes in the face of the effort. In search of a theme for a lecture allowing us to deal with technical and reflective aspects of something relevant for visualistics that would simultaneously gain a high level of motivation from the students, ‘computer game design’ fell into our view, and proved, on careful examination, to be ideal for that purpose. This paper describes, as a case study, the background, structure, and effect of the resulting lecture.
“Computer game design”: How to motivate engineering students to integrate technology with reflection