It’s been over ten years since I partook in the post-secondary education systems ecosystem. I’ve got a checkered past when it comes to attendance, no sense avoiding that. Yet, I find myself looking to attempt some relationship counselling with the system I just don’t fit in with. That in itself is the problem, I am a square, trying to fit through a circular opening. Will teaching at Fleming College be good for me? I’m hoping it provides an interesting challenge. Having never played this teaching game before, Fleming definitely is going out on a limb here. High risk, high reward. My sort of play.
The Checkered Past
When I attended Trent University, I had already been part of a successful startup (I’m talking while we still controlled GameDaemons). It was already on its third evaluation/buyout (I think BestBuy’s Business Services at that point). This experience gave me a lot of perspective when it came to the computer science program at Trent, which, unfortunately, just didn’t (and still doesn’t) have the best reputation. I didn’t really go there for the program, I went to Trent because I liked the city and figured that I would be able to still continue working, and attend most classes. You can probably guess, one of those things had to give, and it wasn’t my career.
The best way to describe my participation in that education stream was that of a passive nature. I would do the work, so long as it didn’t involve actually having to go to class. I remember questioning why we were learning the underpinnings of linked lists and different types of collections. Why do I need to know how a library I’m working with on a daily basis implements its types? I was young and stupid. Nowadays, I’m a sponge for low-level information. The performance impact of using unsigned values vs their signed equivalents; I am all over that.
Eventually, I met a girl (isn’t that the start of every story), my life was forever changed for the better with the birth of my son. When you become a parent, hopefully, you snap out of that “everything is about me” phase. Realizing that everything is actually about your children. I chose to support my then finance (SPOILER! It didn’t work out!) through the process of her getting a diploma. I dropped out of university (with not many credits left either), to work full-time in my chosen profession.
I was very fortunate, worked my ass off, and most probably very lucky. I’ve done very well in my career, especially without the ‘fabled’ degree. A couple of years ago, as my son started to get older, I started wanting to enact change in my local community for his future. Creating a game development community is no easy task, especially in Peterborough, Ontario. The PTBO Game Jam, was my spearhead in this fight
The sword is the idea of a local game development diploma program. It is a dream and a goal, that I continue to take steps towards.
The stream is the perfect example of how I am working towards that goal. It is giving me endless amounts of practice talking to people while I code, learning how to engage with people more effectively. The knowledge base is my attempt to start writing instructional help type articles that people can use. All of this really has been for helping others learn the game development process.
A Force Of Change
The pitch is simple, create a program which has vetted instructors that can answer the question mentioned in my last post; most importantly “what games have you worked on that have been published?” So many schools, both public and private fail this test, horribly. So how does one start this process of creating a program like that with little experience in the educational space, or even the fabled degree? They don’t.
Just kidding. You do exactly what you tell every single person that asks you how to break into the video games industry over the years. You start somewhere and work your way up.
As of this fall (2017), I’ll be teaching part-time (Thursdays & Fridays) at Fleming College. This won’t change anything with dotBunny, it will continue to run and be awesome. We will continue to take on new clients, and continue to fulfil our existing contracts. Work on Dethol will continue with more resources. The stream is going to receive an influx of awesomeness from this venture. Improved hardware is going to be ordered, and it shall be awesome. This is just an experiment for me, having the knowledge is great, I mean really great, it is awesome. Being able to teach that awesomeness, well that is going to be the test.
The core streaming hours were going to have to change regardless of this opportunity. With my son going back to school, the afternoon times were going to be tricky already. I will be streaming Monday-Wednesday (9 AM – 2 PM), Thursday (9 AM – 1 PM) and hopefully finding periodic random times to get some bonus streams in at night. I would like to start looking at doing long spurts overnight, but those next mornings are tough when you have to walk a child to school. The PR Fridays segment is going to move to Mondays I think, I’m still toying with how to keep it on Friday. There’s still the possibility that it might happen Friday night, I need to talk that over Mandy a bit.
Teaching At Fleming
This is uncharted water for me, but I am gladly steering this ship with the hopes that it can lead to a better future for generations to come. At the very least, my students will be able to google me and find stuff that confirms that I am active and contributing in the development community. I won’t be one of the vessels that I often rant about. Teaching without the real world experience to back up the words coming out of their mouth.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some incredibly awesome people that work in and around the system. However, like most things, only the bad ones get air time. I’ll do my best to be one of the good teachers, and stay current, and actually, provide value to my students based on my real world experience and expertise on the subject matter.
Alright – Let’s do this!