Game Education SIG/Internship
International Game Developers Association
Over the past couple of years, Academic interest in games has really been taking off and it's a perfect time to revisit the Education SIG and build it up to reflect all the ferment in the field. Being on the Exec board of the Writing SIG has been a fantastic experience and since I'm a professor, I really wanted to help out with the Educators SIG as well. Since RIT is a co-op school, it seemed natural for me to get involved in that specific task force.
While we all work to give our students an educational experience that has some resonance with real world practice, there's really only one way to get an industry experience and that's industry. RIT is a co-op school, so student must hold down paid, full-time jobs for academic credit toward graduation. We always see a significant change in the students after their co-op experiences that provide tangible benefits in the classroom. They have a greater understanding and appreciation for the non-technical aspects of the material we teach once they've been out on a job in their field. They're also able to bring those experiences back in the classroom offering educational experiences for their peers (and even their instructors.) So internships generally change a student's focus once they return to the classroom.
In addition, whether they return to the company they worked for or not, the experience buffs up their resumes and often results in an invitation to return full time when the student has graduated.
But for all the benefits to students, employers and professors, co-op and internships within the industry seems to be a mysterious topic. On the student end, which offers them, how they apply, what the differences are between the programs, etc is difficult to access.
For all the benefits to corporations, many of the mid-sized and smaller studios haven't set up programs yet, for any number of reasons. Uncertainty of how to start one, what kind of benefits they provide, and what the pros, cons and economics of starting an internship program aren't easily understood.
Plan of Action
Demystify the process for all players, help support and promote existing programs and provide information on how to initiate programs within a corporation.
- Committee Leader - Stephen Jacobs, RIT (sj at mail.rit.edu)
- Develop an on-line database of existing programs for the benefit of the students and the industry.
- Put together a white paper on co-ops and internships for the use of all IGDA members.