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Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is pleased to announce that Sociology of Emerging Technologies Assistant Professor John McKnight has been elected to a three-year term as a member of the Board of The Reacting Consortium, an honor that recognizes Harrisburg University’s growing stature in the educational gaming world.

The Reacting Consortium, based at Barnard College, is an alliance of colleges, universities, and faculty devoted to developing and publishing the “Reacting to the Past” series of role-playing games for higher education. The Consortium also delivers faculty development and curricular change programs, which includes a series of conferences and workshops, online instructor resources, and consulting services.

“The Reacting system of games-based learning is in use at hundreds of colleges and universities in the U.S. and globally. It’s backed with extensive published research on its effectiveness for student engagement and retention. These learning games empower students and teach critical skills, which include reasoning, argumentation, and negotiation, along with humanities, social science, and STEM content,” Professor McKnight said.

“The Consortium Board shapes the future of college and university pedagogy. It’s a great honor to be elected, and an acknowledgment of HU’s growing role in learning games development and research.”

The Consortium’s mission is to promote imagination, inquiry, and engagement as foundational features of teaching and student learning in higher education through the development and dissemination of Reacting to the Past role-playing games.

For students, Reacting to the Past games build critical thinking skills, historical and intercultural knowledge, empathy, leadership, integrative learning, communication skills and intellectual curiosity.

An emphatic supporter of role-playing games in education, Professor McKnight also has teamed with HU Librarian David Runyon to develop a role-playing course dubbed “SimGlobal” at the University.

The course is centered around an edu-gaming system that Professor McKnight and Runyon developed. Students learn to think on their feet, communicate, and develop leadership and civic engagement skills as they work in teams to confront a chosen simulated crisis throughout the semester.

McKnight has been awarded Presidential Research Grant funds from HU for two consecutive years to continue developing SimGlobal. And representatives from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle have sat in on the class, and Professor McKnight and Runyon have consulted with the college on an in-house simulation game developed for the final exam for Army officers enrolled in the college’s two-year distance program.

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