Contract Lecturer, RTA School of Media
Course: RTA 103 – Digital Media Production I | RTA 929 – Multi-platform Narrative
Strategy: Applying gaming culture conventions to virtual lectures
In 2020, Stefan Grambart was juggling two different roles. He was a graduate student in the Digital Media program at Ryerson while also teaching a course for RTA School of Media. His experience in these two roles allowed him to recognize that communication is vital in building friendships and creating a favourable learning environment.
As a student, his research focused on esports, Gaming Video Content (GVC) and co-operative story games. In his live lectures, he used his experience and research in online gaming to create a similar environment for the classroom. Similar to online gameplay practices, students were encouraged to leave comments and messages in the Zoom chat at any time. By sharing jokes and having casual conversation, Stefan found his students built camaraderie, something they were missing out on from not being in the physical classroom.
Stefan compared monitoring the Zoom chat when teaching to streaming a game on Twitch. Due to the high volume of messages he gets during lectures, he told his students to turn on their microphones when they had course-related questions so he wouldn’t miss them.
Moreover, the chat became another way to encourage and enhance discussions. Some students preferred participating in class through text and they appreciated having multiple modes of communication.
In addition to the chat in Zoom and regular emails, Stefan made the effort to be as reachable as possible by creating a Discord channel for his students. It also helped create a bond between Stefan and his students.