January 3, 2007

Champlain College Launches Emergent Media Center Dedicated to Electronic Game Development

Burlington, Vt. - Champlain College is building upon the success of some of its most innovative academic programs with the unveiling of the Emergent Media Center. Directed by Ann DeMarle, who founded Champlain College’s Electronic Game & Interactive Development program in 2004, the Center will strengthen connections between the international game and interactive development industries, Champlain students and faculty, and businesses. The Center will advance the use of emergent media such as games, social networks, blogs, and wikis for broader purposes -- including collaborating with organizations to develop serious games that harness technology for non-entertainment purposes, such as to enhance learning and training or to create positive change.

“We’re building an environment that fosters creativity, entrepreneurship, and professional skills in our students in emergent media fields, particularly electronic game development,” DeMarle says. “We want to help define future uses of media technologies and content creation.”
Champlain’s Electronic Game & Interactive Development and Electronic Game Programming degrees were among the first bachelor’s degrees in the nation modeled after the team-based game-development industry. Now the Emergent Media Center will offer incubator support for student endeavors and faculty-led emergent media projects, and it will coordinate game industry partnerships and internships. The Center will also sponsor conferences and speakers and promote ties between Vermont-based and international companies.

Organizations are invited to apply to the Emergent Media Center to collaborate on future projects. Projects currently under consideration include games that focus on environmental management, health care, and economic development.

Champlain students have already worked on serious games; one teaches middle-school children about the dangers of mercury. The “Mission Mercury” animated video and accompanying game created for Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation are now found on the Center’s Web site at http://www.champlain.edu/centers/emc.

Champlain junior Renee Gillett is working on a Flash-based history game for young visitors to a traveling exhibit about founding father Alexander Hamilton. “Whether they play to have fun or play to learn, they will be exposed to information about Hamilton,” Gillett says.

“We are truly entering a Renaissance world -- one where cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary possibilities emerge via technology, art, and communications,” DeMarle notes. “Our center will help drive that cross-pollination of ideas.”
The Web site for Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center is found at http://www.champlain.edu/centers/emc/.