By: Manuel Rivera León
In August 2014, the Colombian Ministry of Technology, Information, and Communications (MinTIC) awarded the Universidad de Los Andes a virtual education project focused on the creation and development of video games, called Jump Camp, which was aimed at learners throughout Colombia with skills or interest in creating games.
To launch this project, the Universidad de Los Andes leveraged the Moodle platform to manage communication and distribute support material and content. During the initial recruitment 5,000 people applied, of which 1,800 were selected to present. At the end of the course, 542 completed the requirements for certification. The course lasted four months (August to December).
The project was divided into two phases:
All course interactions were held by teleconference from the Universidad de Los Andes. The course was divided into 3 levels (basic, intermediate, and advanced) and participants were enrolled according to their level of knowledge. The project was supported by ViveLabs, spaces created for the production of digital content by the Colombian Ministry and distributed throughout Colombia; in these labs people who attended the course had the tools to create their games.
To complete the course, participants were required to finish 80% of the classes and meet the requirements at each level. In the case of intermediate and advanced, each student was required to build 1 or 3 games, respectively, as well as additional assignments and readings.
Part of the program was to encourage students to complete the course, which is why they launched a contest where students had to describe a game that they would make. At the end of the contest there were 10 winners, who received additional training and were taken to the most important game development conference: the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The challenge now is to provide the course as a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), available and open to all who want to participate. The course will be hosted on the Moodle platform and the digital communication channels with the tutors will continue. The goal of this second phase is again to drive students to complete the course. Video game development is a fast growing segment in Colombia that will undoubtedly enrich the learning experiences of all those who are passionate about video games.
Finally, taking a leadership role in this initiative has given Universidad de Los Andes great exposure to the gaming industry and has energized this segment. These types of projects generate growth in nascent industries that are just beginning in Colombia. This initiative is driving more and more people to become interested in the creation and development of video games. Universidad de los Andes plans to tackle more ambitious projects like this in the near future.
Pictured from left to right:
*Pablo Figueroa, associate professor, Universidad de Los Andes / Oscar Ramirez, game developer
Photographer: Victoria Holguín