The Arizona Desert Lamp

Majoring in Starcraft, Minoring in WoW

Posted in Campus, Technology by Evan Lisull on 30 January 2009

Computer Gamer (Starcraft)Over at Cal, the dreams of a technophile have finally come to fruition:

This course will go in-depth in the theory of how war is conducted within the confines of the game Starcraft. There will be lecture on various aspects of the game, from the viewpoint of pure theory to the more computational aspects of how exactly battles are conducted. Calculus and Differential Equations are highly recommended for full understanding of the course. Furthermore, the class will take the theoretical into the practical world by analyzing games and replays to reinforce decision-making skills and advanced Starcraft theory.

Naturally, this comes with a disclaimer — but it’s quite the disclaimer. The class is a “DeCal,” which means, according to the correcting commenter, that students teach the class. Huh?

DeCal is the Program for Democratic Education at Cal. It is a student-run organization on the UC Berkeley campus. It is a registered student group through OSL (Office of Student Life) and is sponsored in part by the ASUC (Associated Students of the University of California). DeCal’s mission is to provide support for student facilitators. Each semester we support over 150 courses facilitated by students, for students, on topics ranging from Taiwanese Language to Simpsons and Philosophy. These are accredited Pass/No Pass courses on our campus. In order to facilitate a course, a student must find a faculty sponsor in a specific department. For example, a student wishing to facilitate a course on a favorite book can find an English professor to sponsor the course, and the course number can then show up as English 98/198 on student transcripts. Between 3000 and 4000 UC Berkeley students take DeCals each semester.

Cal isn’t the only school with such a program — besides other California branches, U. Texas-Austin, Oberlin, Stanford, and Tufts.  Even with the pseudo-socialist overtones, this is a pretty cool idea — and, if applied correctly, would fit in quite nicely with a module-based form of General Education. I would far prefer to take this class as part of my GenEd requirement than, say,”The Social Construction of Race: Whiteness.” Furthermore, there’s no reason that grad students, over even high-achieving/Honors upperclassmen, can’t teach — excuse me, ‘facilitate’ —  a basic, one-unit class on something that they have pursued passionately. Such student-courses naturally must supplement, rather than fill, the core of any general education curriculum — but now, any sort of supplement looks good; a plan with such possibilities is definitely worth pursuing.

Image courtesy of Flickr user razorxripsaw


3 Responses

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  1. Laura Donovan said, on 30 January 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Interesting. It’s strange that a university as prestigious as Berkeley would have a StarCraft class. I wouldn’t take the course, but the DeCal program sounds great. I wish UA had something similar. And yes, this course would be much more valuable to some thanThe Social Construction of Race: Whiteness.

  2. Dave said, on 30 January 2009 at 3:57 pm

    zergling rush kekekekeke ^_^

  3. Starcraft Download said, on 1 February 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I think the course is a lot harder than it sounds.

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