During spring 2017, KAMK implemented an extensive online games sector training program in Tunisia, Africa in cooperation with the company Viope Solutions Oy. The program, which recently ended, strengthened KAMK as an international distance teaching expertise provider.
Kajaani University of Applied Sciences’ game teacher Janne Remes initiated 20 African university students into the secrets of game production using distance teaching via the Web. The Tunisian higher education counterpart that participated in the program, was the Higher Institute of Arts and Multimedia in Manouba, Tunis (http://www.isa2m.rnu.tn/).
The theoretical part of the distance course lasted seven days after which the students began to carry out their own game projects. As well as the supervision and start-up of the students’ own projects, the course also included teaching on the whole game development process including game programming, development, design, and prototyping. This also made it possible to test the games in Kajaani and Tunisia.
After the theoretical part of the course, the teacher and students kept in touch almost daily via email and weekly meetings in which the students’ progress, challenges and possible changes in the implementation of their game projects were reviewed. During the course, the students implemented a total of six different game projects: an augmented reality game, rhythm based car arena game, a 3D adventure game, a two-player game to avoid flying objects, a virtual reality game, where two players search for each other in a maze, and a two-player level to level game, where one player presses notes and the other jumps onto platforms created by the notes. Several of the game projects enabled several players to join the game online.
The training program received excellent feedback. The students considered the course very interesting and that they had continuously learned something new as the course progressed, e.g. game business operations and project management. Also, their team atmosphere was positive and promoted learning. The students especially praised the teacher’s pedagogical skills and fluent communication and instruction between Kajaani and Tunis, throughout the course.
The course teacher, Janne Remes commented on the opportunities of distance teaching in higher education as follows: “Traditional classroom teaching is not much different from distance teaching: you just need an internet connection and motivated students. Kajaani University of Applied sciences is also a pioneer in this field and will extend distance education to Singapore and Japan this summer by opening a fixed video connection between classroom facilities, so that students from different educational establishments can do projects together.”
KAMK and Manouba in Tunis want to take their cooperation further. In addition, the fixed video connections between Singapore and Japan will increase such distance education opportunities. Other international distance courses are also continually being planned at the present time.
Janne Remes, Teacher Kimmo Nikkanen, Head of School
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