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An academic home for play: games as unifying influences in higher education

Danielle Herro (Clemson University)
Rebecca Clark (Clemson University)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 8 February 2016




This paper aims to address opportunities and tensions when creating game-based learning practices in higher education. By detailing examples from a university in the Southeastern USA and the communities it serves, we suggest game-based research and learning be approached as a unifying influence adaptable across contexts.


We use a working example methodology where someone with expertise “works through” a well-known issue while making the thinking overt. In this manner, we reveal processes, successes and challenges infusing game-based learning in higher education to deepen understanding between fields and encourage research and practice with games across disciplines.


The working example demonstrates that games served as a unifying influence in three primary ways, which included redesigning courses and implementing programmatic changes; using existing programs to promote interdisciplinary teaching and research; and increasing outreach and partnerships. In each example, games served to strengthen or support the initiatives.


This paper extends literature on the value of games to promote research and learning. Significantly, it provides an example for others in game-based learning fields to consider when building similar programs in higher education.



Herro, D. and Clark, R. (2016), "An academic home for play: games as unifying influences in higher education", On the Horizon, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 17-28.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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