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Live Online: Can Video Games Enhance Quality of Higher Ed in America?

Mike Lesczinski

Friday, May 11, 2012 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM (EDT)

Live Online: Can Video Games Enhance Quality of Higher...

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On May 11, academics, experts and corporate leaders from across the nation will convene at Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y. to discuss the use of educational-based video games – or “serious games” - in education programs. In particular, the summit will focus on the extent to which gaming – already a centerpiece in the United States military for combat operation instruction – can be used to enhance higher education and corporate training initiatives through digital immersion in real-world issues and situations.   

The event, "Meeting Students Where They Play: Exploring the Use of Video Games in Higher Education" will be live streamed across the web. Register above.

Representatives from Ohio State, SUNY Stony Brook, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rochester Institute of Technology are among those from academia who will participate in the panel. Dr. Jon Aleckson, CEO of Web Courseworks, will run the pre-panel morning workshop and Tobi Saulnier, founder of 1st Playable Productions in Schenectady New York will discuss development of games in an educational context, with an emphasis on student engagement and interactivity.  

Clark Aldrich, a global education thought leader, industry analyst, author and one of the top educational simulation and interface designers in the world will moderate the event.

When: May 11, 2012; 10:30 am – 12: 30 p.m.

Who: Writing and gaming experts from academia and industry

You must register to watch the event!

Continue the conversation online at #ECgaming.

To schedule a media interview with Clark Aldrich or any of our panelists please email Mike Lesczinski at or call (518) 608-8450. Excelsior College’s Dr. David Seelow, who is spearheading the summit, is also available for media interviews.




Clark Aldrich, Founder and Managing Partner, Clark Aldrich Designs

Clark Aldrich is a global educational thought leader, industry analyst, speaker and author as well as one of the top educational simulation and interface designers in the world.  Combining best practices from corporate, academic and military environments, Aldrich’s clients include Cisco, Microsoft, Motorola, Department of Defense, HP, Shell, GM, and parts of the intelligence community. He is also the author of five books on the intersection of learning, simulation and video games and his works has been featured by hundreds of media outlets, including The New York Times, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Business Week, CNN, ABC, CBS and others.


Dr. Jon Aleckson, PhD, CEO, Web Courseworks

Jon Aleckson, PhD, has managed eMedia development for 30 years as CEO of Web Courseworks, an educational technology company. Aleckson is also an educational product development consultant on people, processes and technology. He conducted his doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on increasing collaboration with experts to enhance online serious games and simulations. He writes “Managing eLearning,” a blog about effective leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities in eLearning. Aleckson has helped manage the development of online learning programs for adult learners and for the K-16 demographic, including the design and development of courses and serious games for corporations and associations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency, McDonald’s Corporation, Institute for Traffic Studies and numerous national associations’ professional development programs. Last May, Aleckson released his co-authored book entitled “MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration Between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts.” Aleckson’s team has been the recipient of numerous awards for their serious games. One game, Gridlock Buster, has had over three million plays on Internet Game sites and is the featured activity of a summer engineering camp. 

Dr. Pat Belanoff, PhD, Professor Emerita, SUNY Stony Brook

Pat Belanoff, professor emerita of English at Stony Brook University, served as the director of the writing program and taught Medieval Literature. She is a co-author, with Peter Elbow, of "A Community of Writers" and "Being A Writer" and, with Betsy Rorschach and Mia Oberlink, of "The Right Handbook” as well as authoring numerous articles on the teaching and assessing of writing. She has served on numerous national committees of both NCTE and MLA and was president of the SUNY Council on Writing, a statewide organization of writing directors and teachers at all SUNY units. Additionally, she chaired the SUNY committee that produced the rubric for assessing writing at all SUNY campuses. Now retired, she continues to act as a consultant in the field but has also been able to indulge in a lifelong desire to write fiction. Thus far, under the pen name Pat Daulton, she has authored one novel, A Thin Blue Line, published by Vintage Press.

Dr. Marc Destefano, Chair, Games and Simulation Arts & Science Program, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Marc Destefano has been teaching game design and game development for over ten years. He is one of the founding members of Rensselaer's GSAS program, which has been consistently rated as one of the highest-ranked gaming programs in the country. He holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from Rensselaer, and his research involves multitasking, decision making and knowledge transfer over several orders of temporal magnitude.

Dr. Andrew Phelps, Director of the School of Interactive Games & Media, Rochester Institution of Technology

Andrew Phelps is the primary author of the Masters of Science in Game Design & Development within the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as the bachelor’s degree program of the same name, both of which are nationally ranked in the top 10 by the Princeton Review. His work in games programming education has been featured in The New York Times,, USA Today, National Public Radio, IEEE Computer and several other articles and periodicals. He regularly publishes work exploring collaborative game engines and game engine technology and maintains a website featuring his work as an educator, artist, programmer and game addict. Primary research and teaching interests include online gaming, electronic entertainment, 3-dimensional graphics and real time rendering, virtual reality and interactive worlds.

Tobi Saulnier, Founder and CEO, 1st Playable Productions

Tobi Saulnier oversees company operations and all aspects of product development at 1st Playable Productions. A veteran of both handheld and console games, she sees handheld game development as offering a unique blend of challenging hardware and fast pace, that complements the creative culture of a small independent studio. Prior to founding 1st Playable, Saulnier spent five years overseeing product development at Vicarious Visions, a role in which she was responsible for delivering over 60 game titles ranging from Blues Clues GBC to Doom III Xbox, including launch titles for the GBA, DS and PSP. Before joining the game industry, she managed R&D in embedded and distributed systems at General Electric Research and Development, where she also led initiatives in new product development, software quality, business strategy and outsourcing.

Dr. Dickie Selfe, Director, Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, The Ohio State University

After 20 years of work in digital literacy and literacy acquisition, Dickie Selfe was hired as director of the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW) in the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University. The CSTW houses OSU’s Writing Center, the Writing Across the Curriculum program, a Professional Writing Minor, a series of K-12 and community Writing Outreach projects, a research initiative on Writing in 21st Century Contexts and the Communication Technology Consultant program. Selfe’s scholarly interests cluster around the intersection of communication pedagogies, programmatic curricula and the social/institutional influences of digital systems. His most recent book-length project is entitled Sustainable Communication Practices: Creating a Culture of Support for Technology-rich Education. He is a co-editor and author in an online collection called Technological Ecologies and Sustainability, published in Computers and Composition Digital Press. In production is collaboration with Aaron Knochel called “Digital Community Storytelling: A case study of community academic interaction,” part of a special issue on Spacial Praxis in Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.

Have questions about Live Online: Can Video Games Enhance Quality of Higher Ed in America?? Contact Mike Lesczinski



Mike Lesczinski


Excelsior College is a regionally accredited, nonprofit distance learning institution that focuses on removing obstacles to the educational goals of adult learners. Founded in 1971 and located in Albany, NY, Excelsior is a proven leader in the assessment and validation of student knowledge. It offers more efficient and affordable access to degree completion through multiple avenues: its own online courses and college-level proficiency examinations, and the acceptance in transfer of credit from other colleges and universities as well as recognized corporate and military training programs. Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


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