Michigan State University recently recognized instructor Glenn Stutzky for his work in developing a brilliant and successful online zombie apocalypse survival course. The virtual class, titled “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Catastrophes and Human Behavior,” proved hugely popular with students and went on to receive this year’s “Best Fully Online Course Award Of Excellence.”
The awards program, funded by AT&T, was originally created in response to the growing use of online technology for college instruction. The course itself used social media accounts at YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google+ and PENZU to update students in real-time and advance the zombie apocalypse narrative.
This course gave students a “simulated game” like educational experience where having the students being able to make “choices” in their journey was the nucleus. In order to create this environment, the course had to be highly visual and allow the students to be immersed within the different elements of the course. Several forms of technology and methods to communicate activities and establish a sense of presence for the instructor but for the students were utilized. The goal was to create a simulated experience where the sense of urgency of zombies being present and students having to react to their experience was captured throughout their journey in the course.
As amazing as the description of this online course may seem, you really need to visit the official awards page to see just how immersive it truly was! Surprisingly, the public can still view the original application form in addition to the official YouTube and Facebook accounts for a brief glimpse of the full experience.
The course continues to improve for the 2013 semester with additional scenarios, an emphasis on crowd-sourcing/mapping and plans to expand enrollment to Graduate students… which sounds good to us. We can only hope that it eventually spreads to other universities in the future!