2022 Conference

The conference is over. Please check below for links to materials. Thank you for participating!

The CUNY Games Network of the City University of New York is excited to announce The CUNY Games Conference 8.0, to be held fully online January 27 & 28th, 2022.

The conference will consist of idea exchange sessions held in breakout rooms and a handful of organizer-led workshops. The sessions will discuss interactive learning techniques, playful learning, design challenges, with a likely focus on how to adapt our best in-person activities for the online classroom. Therefore, no attendees will need to prepare a presentation—just be ready to listen and contribute your unique knowledge! On Day 2 we will likely reserve to play together online tabletop and digital games and debrief their learning potential.

The CUNY Games Network promotes game-based pedagogies in higher education, focusing particularly on non-digital learning activities faculty can use in the classroom every day. We aim to bring together all stakeholders: faculty, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and game designers. Both CUNY and non-CUNY participation is welcome—and completely free of charge.

Conference Logistics

Please read the following document in advance of the conference to avoid any technical hiccups: https://tinyurl.com/2p8vu9rr

Open Space

Throughout the conference, access this document and add resources, ideas, conference feedback, etc. You may type directly into the document or add comments on the side. We will refer to this document during the conference. You may want to bookmark it and/or keep it open in a separate tab on your device. https://tinyurl.com/34axa4jz



9:30 AM: Opening “icebreaker” game and conference introduction

Get to meet your colleagues and learn more about the conference! Even if you arrive late, you can play this asynchronous game throughout the conference.

10 – 11 AM: “What’s Your Game Plan?” (Hosted by the CUNY Games Network team)

What does the lesson “Finding Citations,” the game “Trivial Pursuit,” and the mechanic “Bluffing” all have in common? In this boot camp brainstorm, your team is given a mission: to enhance your exercise with the mechanics of popular board games in only 20 minutes. This workshop, designed by CUNY Games Network co-founder Joe Bisz, is regularly featured at the CUNY Games Conference and will show you how to integrate more play and games into your online or in-person classroom. As our kick-off event this year, it will also provide design techniques for the rest of today’s breakout sessions.

11:15 – 12 PM: Workshop 2:  Inspiration and Adaptation in Game Design with Jessica Creane

We frequently draw inspiration from the world around us when we make games. Sometimes we are inspired by game systems we know and love, sometimes we are inspired by concrete challenges in our lives, and sometimes we are inspired by the shape of a dandelion or an existential question that wakes us up at 3 am. In this interactive session, we’ll talk about what inspires us and how we go about adapting that inspiration into a game of our own.

Jessica is a game designer, immersive theater artist, and professor. She is currently the Game Design Artist-in-Residence at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park. She holds an MFA in Devised, Ensemble Performance from The Pig Iron School of Advanced Performance Training/UARTS and a BA in Political Communications from the George Washington University. Jessica has worked on Broadway, at sidewalk festivals, and in the digital abyss. Her work has been presented at The Franklin Institute, BostonFIG, HERE Arts Center, and FringeNYC. She is the founder of IKantKoan Games: https://ikantkoan.com/about/.

12:15 – 1 PM: Idea Exchange 1: Designing for multiple modalities, including hybrid and Hyflex (Hosted by Robert Duncan)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose serious challenges to students and instructors in higher education. Many traditional face-to-face course sections have migrated to fully online platforms for reasons of health and safety. There is also simultaneous pressure from many stakeholders to host face-to-face instruction when possible to improve learning outcomes. Consequently, instructors may find themselves preparing for multiple modalities at the same time, including face-to-face, fully online (synchronous or asynchronous), hybrid, or Hyflex. The relatively newer Hyflex platform allows students to choose and commit to attending a course in person, online, live streamed, or any combination of the above. While this flexibility may offer advantages for health and learning, the instructor is burdened with preparing for multiple teaching modalities at once. Nevertheless, every platform has its unique affordances, and Hyflex may provide unique opportunities for learning when approached with a playful attitude. This Idea Exchange is designed to discuss the affordances of each of these modalities, the unique affordances of their combination, how we might capitalize on these affordances for learning, and how we might infuse Hyflex courses with game-based learning to prevent a course from derailing while in transition.

1:00 – 1:30 PM: Lunch break

1:30 – 2:15 PM: Workshop 3: “Boosting with game mechanics: How to elevate any experience using rules for play” with Tam Myaing

Games (aka rules for play) are like prescriptions for the mind — a set of instructions that are designed to change the state of the brain. See examples of how game mechanics can be used to uplift any experience — from standing in line, to studying for the SAT. Learn how game design patterns can be used for both ‘good’, and ‘bad’. Play with game rules to try to influence the behaviors of the other attendees.

In the workshop you will experiment with game mechanics to change people’s behavior in hypothetical scenarios. For example, how would you persuade your co-workers to come to meetings on time? How would you motivate your students to read the reading assignments? How would you influence a persons decision making? You will take a handful of game mechanics and apply them to each of these scenarios, and try it out on your fellow attendees.

Tam is a prolific and an award winning game designer, artist, engineer, and founder of Neuronic; a company that combines technology and game mechanics in diverse real-world situations — children’s museums, businesses, universities, the US Congress — for engagement, learning, and productivity. A City College (CUNY) graduate in computer science, Tam started his technical career by helping develop technologies that laid the groundwork for Internet eCommerce. He went on to work as a software developer at several banks and hedge funds creating mission-critical financial tools. His passion in games also extends to creating tabletop games, an interest he had cultivated since the age of 10. In his spare time, he helps organize several industry groups for digital and tabletop game designers in New York City and online.


2:30 – 3:15 PM: Idea Exchange 2: Building community in and out of the classroom (Hosted by Carolyn Stallard and Christina Boyle)

With major changes in course modalities, both due to the pandemic and due to the shifts in higher education that call for increased remote learning, building community can prove to be challenging. How can students who have never set foot in the same room with their peers and professor feel a sense of community with each other, one which is conducive to fruitful collaboration and deep learning? Now that most of us have much more experience with fully or partially online classes, we can share our experiences and build on what techniques have worked, and maybe work through why the approaches that didn’t work were unsuccessful. This idea exchange will be a mostly informal series of conversations on fostering a sense of community among students who are both physically in the classroom and those who are learning synchronously and asynchronously online.

3:30 – 4:15 PM: Workshop 4: Universal Design in Game Design with Devorah Kletenik

No student left behind! Create digital games and course content that are inclusive to all students, especially those with disabilities. Experience some of the challenges and frustrations that students with disabilities may experience, and learn some best practices for increasing accessibility. No programming experience required!

4:30 – 5:15 PM: Wrap-Up and Idea Exchange

Day 2

10:00 – 10:45 AM: Escape room session (Hosted by Carolyn Stallard and Grace Axler-DiPerte)

  • Complete task-based activities and puzzles in this meta workshop experience.
  • Learn escape room best practices for use in asynchronous and synchronous online instruction.
  • Use what you learn to design activities for your own digital instructional spaces.
  • Escape the session through puzzle design.

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11:00 – 11:45 AM: Idea Exchange 3: Incorporating online mini-games into the classroom (Hosted by Grace Axler-DiPerte)

Online platforms and minigames offer new opportunities for just-in-time learning, or can add an engaging element to spice up a lesson plan. Games and tools like Kahoot!, Flippity, Up-goer 5, Jeopardy Labs, iNaturalist, and Twine can be leveraged and transformed into powerful teaching opportunities for any discipline. No matter what the classroom modality, bring your favorite minigame or platform to share.

12:00 – 3:00 PM and onward: Casual play and playtesting

Do you have a game that you’d like to test or have critiqued? Would you like to just join or host some good ol’ casual gaming for some fun with colleagues. We’ll have a signup board posted very soon for attendees to host sessions of their own or join sessions on platforms like Board Game Arena.

*All times listed in Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Educators coming together to explore how the principles of games promote learning