What’s the state of eSports in education? Take our survey!

“Academically speaking, the addition of eSports enriches the student experience,” said Douglas M. Scheidt, provost and vice president for academic affairs at SUNY Canton. “It also adds more opportunities for our online students, who account for more than 25 percent of our overall population.”

How involved is your school in eSports?
We are finding that many colleges, universities, and even K-12 schools are already heavily involved both with eSports competitions and in teaching the underlying gaming technology. This year alone, our customer SUNY Canton received 270 applications for its eSports-inspired major, Game Design & Development. Participants and spectators of eSports are expected to grow from 395 million this year to 580 million by 2021.

To understand what’s driving eSports in schools and help school leaders with their planning, eCampus News and Extreme Networks are conducting a short survey. The goal is to share insight into planning and implementing eSports programs, as well as understand the associated costs and benefits. Participants in the survey can elect to enter a drawing for two iPad Pros.…Read More

Shenandoah U debuts two one-of-a-kind majors

In a technology lab at Shenandoah University in Virginia, students battle monsters, partake in lunar landings, experience a Civil Rights-era sit-in, and play soccer in rocket-powered cars.

The Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCiL) lab is the university’s tech hub and the home of the school’s virtual reality and esports programs.

Preparing tomorrow’s leaders
Starting in 2019, Shenandoah will be one of the first schools in the country to offer degrees in both these programs: a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in virtual reality/augmented reality (AR/VR) design and a Bachelor of Science in esports.…Read More

The explosive growth of collegiate eSports, part 3

The eSports market is booming, and on its current trajectory, the number of people who watch and participate in eSports will grow from 395 million this year to 580 million by 2021 according to Newzoo. As the passion—and career opportunity—for eSports grows, colleges and universities are looking for ways to build gaming teams and gaming facilities into their athletic and academic programs.

In the case of SUNY Canton, the interest for an eSports program was already there. Upon program launch, tentative transfer students opted to stay, and the amount of interested new students grew. This year alone, SUNY Canton received 270 applications for its eSports-inspired major, Game Design & Development.

Putting the tools into place
However, before eSports became a reality at SUNY Canton, the school had to first evaluate its IT infrastructure to ensure it could support the new initiative. Strong wireless connections are critical to enable practice and play. The network infrastructure must support gaming devices and accessories, while also supporting associated academic work for gaming-related majors.…Read More

The explosive growth of collegiate eSports, part 2

Gaming, once thought of as only a recreational activity, is becoming one of the most influential and rapidly growing industries with the introduction of eSports, which is expected to grow to $1.4 billion by 2020.

As an early adopter, SUNY Canton was one of the first schools to embrace that growth by launching a competitive eSports athletic program and joining the National Association of Collegiate Esports. But SUNY Canton didn’t stop there. As we were developing the eSports program from an athletics perspective, we also explored how eSports could connect online students with campus life. With more than 25 percent of our students enrolled online, eSports offers opportunities for this population to become student athletes and deepen their connection to the college community.

Student interest is matched by industry predictions. Across the world, eSports is growing at a rate of 40 percent a year. It is expected to top $1.5 billion dollars (U.S.) in revenue by 2020 with a global audience of more than 580 million. Employment of gaming software developers, graphic designers, virtual reality engineers, multimedia artists, and animators is projected to grow six percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job opportunities include sport sales, marketing, public relations, facilities operations, event and tournament management, announcers, coaches, etc.…Read More

The explosive growth of collegiate eSports, part 1

Nearly a year ago, SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran was looking at ways to grow his athletic department. Statistics on student-athletes showed higher GPAs, higher retention rates, and higher graduation rates than the rest of the student body. Recruiting more of these academically successful students was a top priority, and President Szafran had come across an idea that was non-traditional but showed great promise.

Within a few short months, SUNY Canton added three eSports teams and was competing at the varsity level with a number of other forward-thinking colleges and universities around the country. eSports is growing exponentially (the numbers are staggering), and university athletic departments and administrators are taking notice.

In the first article of this three-part series about collegiate eSports, I’ll discuss how SUNY Canton built our eSports program. Stay tuned for parts two and three, which will show how teachers are developing curriculum to support the gaming workforce and what IT departments need to do to make eSports come to life.…Read More

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