The 5th Annual Heartland Gaming Expo was hosted by The University of Tulsa Tandy School of Computer Science April 8-9 in TU’s Reynolds Center to support students interested in game development. Eight hundred TU students and members of the Tulsa community exhibited their games, attended tutorials, listened to a keynote speaker, participated in live action role playing, and enjoyed food trucks and game trucks.
“It’s meant to encourage students to pursue what they’re interested in,” said Associate Professor and Expo Chairman Roger Mailler. “For younger kids at the elementary school level, it’s about introducing them to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and STEAM careers.”
Video gaming represents a combination of these areas; and to increase community outreach, TU computer science students have established a Coding Club for local fifth and sixth graders. The Computer Gaming and Early Education course collaborates with six Tulsa elementary schools to teach students about gaming and career opportunities in the field.
Mailler said many universities offer a similar gaming degree concentrate on either the programming aspects of game development or the artistic elements of game design. TU’s computer simulation and gaming degree is unique because it includes a strong computer science core curriculum and is complemented with electives that explore artistic, musical or storytelling interests. TU’s computer simulation and gaming degree incorporates faculty and applications from the School of Art; the departments of English, music, film studies and media studies; the Collins College of Business and the TU College of Law.