I combine my PhD in Information Science from the University of North Texas (2000) with a Masters in Library and Information Science (1996) and a BS in Mathematics with Computer Science (1992) from the University of Oklahoma with my lifelong love of making and playing games.
From 2001-2015, I was on the faculty at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, where I ran the Because Play Matters game lab. I was also a visiting professor in 2011-2012 at the Comparative Media Studies department at MIT, where I worked with the GAMBIT game lab and the Education Arcade.
My main interest is in creating games and helping others create games and simulations that can change the world, otherwise known as transformative games, serious games, or applied games. Based upon the situation, these might be board and card games, digital games, or live-action games like Escape Rooms. I explore methods of participatory design, where I encourage the community to be a co-creator in the games through game jams and workshops. I also work on Meaningful Gamification, which is the use of elements from games other than rewards to motivate people.
My current research is focused on how we can use design concepts from Escape Rooms to make engaging activities for places of informal learning like museums and libraries.
The goal of the Brantford Games Network is to connect Laurier students interested in game design with places in the community where there is a need for a game. There will be ongoing projects with different community partners.
In addition, every few weeks, there will be a Playtest Night, where students in the Game Design program will have their games available for people to playtest. During these sessions, anyone can bring their own game designs for testing by other designers.
Full text of most of Dr. Nicholson’s publications can be found at scottnicholson.com/pubs.
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