Amanda Jo Linder


Amanda Jo Linder is a master's student and graduate teaching assistant at the University of Nebraska at Omaha , where she teaches Technical Writing Across Disciplines to undergraduates. Her use of games in the classroom has previously been featured on Terra Nova and Writing & the Digital Life . Amanda is the recent recipient of a Presidential Fellowship and continues to focus her graduate studies in Technical Communication on the issue of literacy in games. She is spending her summer in an internship with Time, Inc. and Business 2.0 magazine. Amanda's free-time is monopolized by MMO's like World of Warcraft and single-player RPGs like The Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion.



Writing on Rubi-Ka: Technical Writing, Anarchy Online, and the Case for Games in the Humanities Classroom

This presentation reports my experience designing and teaching a course that uses a massively multiplayer on-line game (MMOG), Anarchy Online, to teach Technical Writing to undergraduates. Using a pedagogy based on Communities of Practice by Etienne Wenger, students were required to play Anarchy Online throughout the semester, learn how to participate in its related communities, and create technical documents that are effective and acceptable to communities within the game’s world of Rubi-Ka. The use of this game to educate has proven successful in creating a shared practice that provides students with multiple levels of interaction with the material, relevant issues in technical communication, and their classmates.

The use of games in education has gained a foothold in the sciences and K-12, and the learning benefits of games have been well documented by James Paul Gee (2003) and others. However, the use of games to teach humanities disciplines such as writing & communication at the college-level has remained relatively unexplored. The humanities, as Carolyn R. Miller (1979) characterizes them, are distinguished by “the examination and understanding of one’s own activity and consciousness” as well as its relation to others. In this presentation, I use my observations, statistics, and examples of student work to demonstrate how games, specifically MMOGs like Anarchy Online, are excellently suited to this learning process. I conclude with an analysis of the effectiveness of games in the humanities and the effect of this integration to both industry and education.

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