The University of Florida is not the first college to offer a course in ‘StarCraft,’ but it is the first to offer one that at least pretends to have some intellectual value beyond boosting your APM (actions per minute) rate. EME2040, or 21st Century Skills in ‘StarCraft’ is being taught by Nate Poling, and uses the blockbuster real-time strategy game as a tool for teaching lessons about time and resource management, as well as “adaptive decision making.” Poling says that managing businesses and facilities like hospitals and factories require skills similar to those required by ‘StarCraft’ — namely tracking units that have distinct specialties.
21st Century Skills in ‘StarCraft’ is only available to students enrolled in the honors college and who have at least a “basic knowledge of and experience playing ‘StarCraft’.” Shockingly, this is also the first online-only course taught at the University of Florida. The goal for Poling is to help his students learn by doing, rather than reading an endless parade of books and articles on the finer points of resource management. Of course, hospitals aren’t about to hand the reigns over to a bunch of college kids (even if they are honors students), so Poling has turned to the next best thing: games. The obvious choices here would have been ‘Sim City,’ or perhaps ‘Lemonade Tycoon,’ but the split-second decision-making and reflexive recall of unit-specific information make ‘StarCraft’ a much better sim of real world management skills. [From: Technology Review]