MSU Graduate Certificate in Serious Games: Now with BADGES!

The MSU Graduate Certificate Program in Serious Games now comes with badges. You earn one badge for each of the three courses, as soon as you successfully complete the course. And you earn a composite badge when you complete all three courses and earn the certificate.
Serious Game Certificate BadgesYou can post the badges you earn directly on your personal web site and your linked page, with a link to this web page describing the badges and criteria. We also award the badges through Mozilla’s Backpack badge system.

Instructions on how to obtain the digital badge will be provided upon successful completion of each course. If you already completed a course or the certificate but did not receive instructions on how to claim your badges, contact Carrie (

In fall 2012, MSU launched our fully online graduate certificate program in serious game design and research. We were experienced online teachers and we were clear about what courses to offer and key concepts, skills, and theories that would provide a great foundation for serious game design.

I didn’t realize how amazing it would be to get to teach passionate, diverse, incredibly expert “students” from across the US and around the world.

• Many are K-12 teachers or university professors.
• Some are doctoral students.
• They teach or study computer science or english or history or art or math or  education or HCI…
• Some work in the game industry.
• Some are corporate trainers.
• Some work in Fortune 500 companies.
• One designs exhibits for a science museum.
• Another creates visitors experiences for fisheries and wildlife centers.

As the program enters its third year, we’ve learned a lot.

• We’ve been fine tuning ways to encourage each learner to approach class assignments to optimize their personal learning goals.
• We’ve been refining ways to connect classmates with each other so they benefit from each other’s ideas and experience.
• We’ve refined assignments and approaches to ensure that our courses, along with being full of content and projects, are sensitive to busy professional’s lives.

Wizard CarrieSo, if you’re passionate and awesome and interested in learning more about designing and studying game to change the world, apply to our program. Find more information here. If you have questions, email me, Professor Carrie Heeter,

The deadline to apply for admission for Spring 2016 is November 15!

It’s Time to Apply!

The deadline for online, certificate-only applications for spring  2016 admission to the Michigan State University Graduate Certificate Program in Serious Games is November 15, 2015.  That means you need to get started now!

Here is a link to information about the program. And here is application information for online students.

Please contact me for more information.

Carrie Heeter, PhD, Professor of Media and Information

APPLY NOW: Online Graduate Certificate in Serious Games due Nov 15

November 15 is the deadline to apply for January admission to Michigan State University’s fully online Serious Game Graduate Certificate program for January admission.

The program consists of three graduate courses: Foundations of Serious Games (intro to the field, game design with a serious twist), Theories for Game and Interaction Design, and Understanding Users (approaches and methods for understanding players at all stages of the design process).  Together they provide you with a formal academic framework for thinking about and designing meaningful play.

Game Night at the Meaningful Play 2014 featured 33 digital games that offered diverse forms of meaningful play.

Game Night at the Meaningful Play 2014 featured 33 digital games and 9 non-digital games that offered diverse experiences of meaningful play.

Serious games are games with a purpose beyond entertainment.  They can be educational games, persuasive games, games for health, games to change the world, games for work, games as work, and more.  For example, MSU just hosted the Meaningful Play conference. Games exhibited included astronaut exergames, mental health games, games about mosquitoes, microbes, mathland, and surviving the zombie apocalypse, music games, calculus games, hero games, museum games, safe sex games, games to prevent violence against women, recycling games, Jewish culture games, saving money games, meditation games and making games. Continue reading

Meaningful Play 2014


Next year, October 16-18, 2014, the Meaningful Play Conference (MPC) returns to East Lansing, Michigan. MPC is an international game conference that Michigan State hosts biannually. This is the fourth one to grace the area, and offers a chance to bring in great researchers and designers from across the US and more. Interesting thinkers offer their time for other academics, game developers, and students.

MPC strives to bring in both, researchers and designers from academia and industry.  Our dual focus includes a deep emphasis on game design, with parallel game design and industry tracks alongside scholarly sessions. The result is an exciting and joyful celebration and coming together, with a flavor distinct from typical academic conferences. Bringing together these two groups, those who study meaningful play and those who make create it, nurtures engaging discussions and new collaborations.

Now, while serious games are part of the conference, meaningful play doesn’t necessarily equal serious games. The meaningfulness in meaningful play may stem from the experience of the player, the goals of the designers, or the heart of the creator, creative process and the critic. Continue reading

Games and Transmedia Innovator David Wheeler to Direct Media Sandbox


David Wheeler

The games and meaningful play group at Michigan State University is delighted to welcome our newest faculty member, David Wheeler, a game and film industry professional known for his innovative games and transmedia interactive experiences. Wheeler has worked as writer, director,  and content director for several game and interactive movie titles including Medal of Honor, Ghost Busters, World in Conflict, Tender Loving Care, Point of View, 50 Cents, The Bourne Conspiracy, Timeshift, F.E.A.R., and The 11th Hour.

The Media Sandbox welcomes Wheeler as its new director, responsible for leading what is both an integrated digital media arts curriculum and an ever-growing community of students and faculty. Now in its third year, Media Sandbox enrollment has grown from 750 in its first year to more than 3,500 this semester, with students participating from across the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Continue reading