Matthew Barr

Matthew Barr
University of Glasgow | UofG · School of Computing Science

Doctor of Philosophy

About

45
Publications
16,314
Reads
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357
Citations
Introduction
Dr Matthew Barr is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of Glasgow. He is based in the Centre for Computing Science Education, where he leads the Graduate Apprenticeship in Software Engineering programme and is co-director of the University’s Games and Gaming Lab. Matt currently serves as Director of Education for SICSA, Vice Chair of British DiGRA, and BAFTA Scotland Games Jury Chair.

Publications

Publications (45)
Article
Full-text available
This study measured the effects of playing commercial video games on the development of the desirable skills and competences sometimes referred to as ‘graduate attributes’. Undergraduate students in the Arts and Humanities were randomly assigned to either an intervention or a control group. Previously validated, self-report instruments to measure a...
Article
Full-text available
Qualitative interview data is presented in support of previously-published quantitative evidence that suggests commercial video games may be used to develop useful skills and competencies in undergraduate students. The purpose of the work described here was to document the attitudes of those students involved in the quantitative study and to explor...
Book
This book explores the efficacy of game-based learning to develop university students’ skills and competencies. While writing on game-based learning has previously emphasised the use of games developed specifically for educational purposes, this book fills an important gap in the literature by focusing on commercial games such as World of Warcraft...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in many ways, including how we choose to spend our time and deal with unprecedented circumstances. Anecdotal reports suggest that many have turned to playing video games during the pandemic. To better understand how games are being used during the lockdown, we conducted an online survey (N = 781) that fo...
Article
Full-text available
This case study aims to highlight the ease of use and effectiveness of an escape room game by describing how it was implemented in an undergraduate business course. The case study demonstrates the simplicity of a straightforward text-based game and how this was used in a large course of online students. Our case study aims to present our experience...
Chapter
The University of Glasgow accommodates a large number of new students every year. Arriving at a new campus can seem daunting at first, as it is always a challenge to navigate a university’s many buildings and pathways. Although in-person and self-guided online campus tours are currently offered by the University, in-person tours require advance boo...
Article
Full-text available
This mixed-method study at six universities asked degree apprentices about their trajectories into the apprenticeship, to better understand the social mobility potential of apprenticeships. The degree apprenticeship offers a route to a degree for apprentices, who are employees studying for a degree. As a new model, little is known about the apprent...
Article
Full-text available
The current pandemic has led schools and universities to turn to online meeting software solutions such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The teaching experience can be enhanced via the use of breakout rooms for small group interaction. Over the course of a class (or over several classes), the class will be allocated to breakout groups multiple times ov...
Article
Full-text available
The Star Wars films have probably spawned more video game adaptations than any other franchise. From the 1982 release of The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600 to 2019's Jedi: Fallen Order, around one hundred officially licensed Star Wars games have been published to date. Inevitably, the quality of these adaptations has varied, ranging from tim...
Conference Paper
This paper explores the potential for new workbased apprenticeship degrees to encourage more women into computing degrees and the IT sector. In the UK, women are currently under-represented on computing courses. Meanwhile the IT industry requires more computing graduates, in general, and specifically more highly skilled women to create appropriate...
Article
Full-text available
Using a survey of higher education students (N = 2145), correlations between game play habits and the attainment of certain graduate skills or attributes (com-munication skill, adaptability and resourcefulness) are presented. Correlations between graduate attribute attainment and a range of demographic and educational factors, including age, gender...
Article
Full-text available
Goal-directed problem-solving labs can lead a student to believe that the most important achievement in a first programming course is to get programs working. This is counter to research indicating that code comprehension is an important developmental step for novice programmers. We observed this in our own CS-0 introductory programming course, and...
Article
In this special issue of Games and Culture, we present papers originally delivered at the “Literature and Video Games: Beyond Stereotypes” event co-organized by colleagues from the University of St Andrews, the University of Glasgow, and Abertay University. Instead of gesturing toward a summary and synthesis of the published articles, we invite rea...
Chapter
Full-text available
When considering the use of video games in education, it is common to focus on the students and educators involved. Less well documented is how those responsible for producing video games view the educational potential of the medium. Do game developers think their games have the capacity to develop useful skills in players? Do they believe games pr...
Chapter
Many commercial video games require players to collaborate and communicate with one another in order to progress. Players must also exercise a range of skills and competencies, including adaptability and resourcefulness, to overcome in-game challenges. As it happens, these are the very same abilities that employers seek when hiring graduates, the a...
Chapter
Full-text available
The previous chapter presented interviews with participants in a study designed to explore whether playing selected video games might help develop in students a range of useful skills and competencies, also known as graduate attributes. In this chapter, the implications of the interview data are considered. Each attribute is examined in turn and th...
Chapter
Graduate attributes are the skills and competencies that students are said to develop in higher education, over and above those related directly to their degree subject. They are typically aligned with the notion of life-long learning and, at university level, attributes such as critical thinking, communication skill, and adaptability are associate...
Chapter
This chapter explores the attitudes and experiences of students involved in a game-based learning intervention designed to measure the effects of playing selected video games on the attainment of certain skills, known as graduate attributes. Interviews with participants provide a deeper understanding of how the three attributes in question (communi...
Chapter
In this chapter, the key messages from the preceding chapters are summarised, the limitations of the work considered, and recommendations for future work made. The study presented here has shown that playing selected video games could develop certain graduate attributes: the skills and competencies that students are said to attain at university. In...
Chapter
This book has largely focused on a particular application of game-based learning in higher education, concerning the use of commercial video games to develop graduate skills or attributes. However, games are used in numerous ways across higher education. This chapter draws on interviews with educators to provide examples of the novel ways in which...
Chapter
It has been argued that video games might be used to develop in students the desirable skills and competencies sometimes referred to as graduate attributes. However, in order to assess this claim, empirical research that examines the relationship between playing video games at university and the attainment of such attributes is required. In this ch...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Work-based learning has been in practice in Software Engineering for some time, but only in recent years has it been introduced as a pathway to an honours-level undergraduate degree across the UK. Through the lens of one such scheme, the Graduate Apprenticeship programme in Scotland, we have investigated what challenges work-based learning degree p...
Chapter
Full-text available
Assumptions are made about the continued popularity of zombies as video game antagonists, many of which are framed in terms of design-driven or technological concerns. For example, zombies’ impaired mental and physical function means that they are readily re-created using even limited in-game artificial intelligence. It is also assumed that somethi...
Conference Paper
Goal-directed problem-solving labs can lead a student to believe that the most important achievement in a first programming course is to get programs working. This is counter to research indicating that code comprehension is an important developmental step for novice programmers. We observed this in our own CS-0 introductory programming course, and...
Conference Paper
Work-based learning (WBL) is a delivery model that attempts to address the isolation of theory and practice by integrating them into a single programme. The concern is that through lack of experience and understanding, both universities and industry may devise 'Frankenstein' curricula, harming individuals rather than helping them. This poster intro...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, an online student journal is described, and the ways in which student participants value the journal are discussed. Press Start is a peer-reviewed international journal of game studies, which aims to publish the best student work related to the academic study of video games. Content analysis of qualitative survey data (n = 29) prov...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
It may be argued that most higher education courses are not explicitly designed to teach or develop desirable soft skills such as critical thinking, communication, resourcefulness or adaptability. While such skills – often referred to as ‘graduate attributes’ – are assumed to be developed as a by-product of a university education, there is little e...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Employers are increasingly concerned that university graduates possess the transferable skills – sometimes termed ‘graduate attributes’ (Barrie, 2006) – necessary to succeed in the workplace. Prominent among these skills are those which relate to communication; however, not all higher education courses are designed explicitly to teach or develop su...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Much discussion has revolved around the interdisciplinary nature and institutional status of game scholarship, since the first international computer games conference in 2001, and indeed over the past 13 years of the Digital Games Research Association. As a field inhabited by scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds, it can be a challenge for ea...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One of the main challenges faced by providers of interactive information access systems is to engage users in the use of their systems. The library sector in particular can benefit significantly from increased user engagement. In this short paper, we present a preliminary analysis of a university library system that aims to trigger users' extrinsic...
Article
Full-text available
Video games are a cultural phenomenon; a medium like no other that has become one of the largest entertainment sectors in the world. While the UK boasts an enviable games development heritage, it risks losing a major part of its cultural output through an inability to preserve the games that are created by the country’s independent games developers...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this case study, the use of an authentic task for revision of a Masters-level Information Technology course, Multimedia Systems, is described and evaluated. Authentic tasks are designed to mirror problems as they are encountered in the real world, with often ill-defined or even conflicting requirements, and limited time and resources available t...
Article
Full-text available
The wiki, wherein community-spirited players meticulously document their gaming experiences for the benefit of others, from simple guides to complex theories and strategies, has become the de facto online reference medium for video game players. This study sought to examine how players learn from one another about the systems that underpin their fa...
Conference Paper
Social media plays an important part in gaming culture. In fact, one might argue that the networks that facilitate competition, cooperation and communication between players – such as the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live or Steam – are examples of particularly complex and immensely popular social networks. Outside of these relatively closed communiti...
Conference Paper
The relevance of games to the development of graduate attributes might, to the inexperienced, appear insubstantial. But given the pervasive nature of the medium – the vast majority of current undergraduates will come to university having had some sort of games machine at home – it would be useful to understand to what extent modern video games can...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
This paper explains, evaluates and reflects on the technical challenges and opportunities that underpin both the Mapping Sculpture project and its mobile interface. It provides insights into the development process as an integral component of the research methodology, and highlights the importance of meaningful collaboration between researchers and...
Article
Full-text available
The Planets Testbed, a key outcome of the EC co-funded Planets project, is a web based application that provides a controlled environment where users can perform experi-ments on a variety of preservation tools using sample data and a standardised yet configurable experiment method-ology. Development of the Testbed required the close participation o...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As part of its work to explore emerging issues associated with characterisation of digital materials, Planets has explored vocabularies and information structures for expressing the properties integral to the value of digital art. Value encompasses those qualities that must be understood and captured in order to ensure that art works’ sensory, emot...

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Project
This book explores the efficacy of game-based learning to develop university students’ skills and competencies. While writing on game-based learning has previously emphasised the use of games developed specifically for educational purposes, this book fills an important gap in the literature by focusing on commercial games including Portal 2, Borderlands 2, Lara Croft, Warcraft and Minecraft. Underpinned by robust empirical evidence, the author demonstrates that the current negative perception of video games is ill-informed, and in fact these games can be important tools to develop graduate skills related to employability. Speaking to very current concerns about the employability of higher education graduates and the skills that university is intended to develop, this book also explores the attitudes to game-based learning as expressed by instructors, students and game developers.