VANCOUVER – College students studying computer science may one day be able to bring their gaming hobbies and their studies together in the classroom.

The National Science Foundation has awarded nearly $150,000 to Scott Wallace, assistant professor of computer science at Washington State University Vancouver, and Andrew Nierman, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Puget Sound, to develop computer game-based curricula for undergraduate computer science courses.

“Evidence suggests that computer games are helpful in retention,” said Wallace. “In the last 15 years, games have received increased attention in academia.”

Wallace’s research aims to work with instructors’ learning objectives, but use games as vehicles to teach various software development courses.

“Computer science students today are pretty familiar with game technology,” Wallace said, “often to the extent that they know how to build their own games. We can apply this to game development courses, and also build curriculum models to apply to mainstream computer science courses from the college sophomore to graduate levels.”

The grant is for two years, and will also involve several undergraduate student assistants.