A professor at NYU Game Center tried to teach a class about streaming on Twitch due to the coronavirus outbreak. It didn’t go well.
Remember Robert Yang? The guy who made all those oddly sexualized video games like Succulent, Stick Shift, and The Tearoom? Well, he’s a university professor now. Guess all those funny/artistic/provocative games were good for something.
Not only that, but Yang is also a professor at New York University’s prestigious Game Center teaching young game students all about the industry. Specifically, Yang is teaching a class on streaming, and because the coronavirus is keeping students away from campuses, he decided to teach that class via Twitch.
Well, actually, it was his students’ idea. Yang thought that it was “going to be a disaster.” He was largely right.
The two-hour lecture got started Tuesday night, and the problems of Twitch as a lecture hall immediately became apparent. Not everyone can go to New York University campus, but anyone can go to a Twitch stream.
“If you are not a student here at Games Center, and you’re just some random person who is in the chat right now: welcome,” said Yang. “This stream is not for you, but I guess you can hang out and disrupt the process of education just like you normally would.”
This was quickly followed by “oh Jesus Christ. Oh no,” while the chat started posting comments such as “It’ weird! It’s all weird,” “The future is now,” and “୧༼ಠ益ಠ༽୨ NOW WE RIOT ୧༼ಠ益ಠ༽୨.”
After describing the class, Yang went on to start with discussing the assigned reading. This involved getting students to post their questions in the chat, but this presented another problem.
“In practicality. I have very little way of distinguishing between rando and student right now in the chat, so in practice, I guess anyone can participate.” And they did.
To be fair to the quality of Yang’s stream, the questions posed by the randos/students stayed mostly on task, although there was quite a bit of noise as well. In an interview with Kotaku, Yang said that the real problem with teaching a class on Twitch was just how one-sided the conversation is.
“It was kind of me just trying to engage them myself and deposit knowledge in their heads. Whereas ideally, there’s a free exchange of thought and ideas… So I think I predicted the weaknesses of Twitch, and those certainly happened.”
So far it sounds like Yang will be streaming again next week, so as bad as this idea is, it’s still better than getting coronavirus.
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