We’re currently living in an age where certain schools stay ahead of the cultural curve (by lagging behind it less than other schools) by offering school credit for courses that teach through playing popular video games. University of Florida offered a StarCraft management class, and Valve made a Portal lesson plan available for schools to pick up and use at will.
Video games are increasingly becoming relevant in an educational setting — even when they’re not strictly being used to teach – and maybe that is helping to shift education toward less traditional means of teaching. Case in point, MIT is now offering school credit for a class on Reddit.
The class, called “Credit for Reddit,” doesn’t specifically test you on image macros or give you extra credit for finding weird, unsettling subreddits, but instead focuses on studying what makes the site work compared to other social media outlets.
While doing a research project on the site, class co-instructor Chris Peterson realized that, for a site so popular, there hasn’t been much research about it. That’s a surprise, considering Reddit’s controversial history — being flooded with dummy accounts, rising in the ashes of Digg’s downfall, and its co-founder committing suicide.
The underlying theme of the class is not, say, how to properly use an up or down vote, but rather that everyday technology — social media, in this case — is rooted in important societal issues. Reddit, of course, is a perfect platform to discuss societal issues, such as groupthink (otherwise known on Reddit as the hivemind), and the psychology behind power dynamics and timing.
If you’re interested, the class will be offered this coming spring.
Image credit: The Daily Dot