College student's perceptions of online learning during the pandemic, and Frostpunk, the apocalypse, and the “enduring temptation” of ecofascism

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2022-05

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Abstract

Student perception is a key element in analyzing the state of pedagogic methods. With the rise of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, a shift to online learning among educational bodies across the world was prompted. This chapter looked at college students’ perceptions of job belief, digital communicative competence, testing, and classroom anxieties to gauge the state of online learning. The results showed participants reporting moderate belief in the purpose of their work, competence in communicating online, moderate online classroom anxiety, and low online testing anxiety. The findings provide a snapshot of a body of student’s perceptions as well as a survey for future use by instructors hoping to gauge their instructive communicative methods through online learning in areas including communicative immediacy and self-efficacy.

Frostpunk is a 2018 steampunk city-building game created by 11 bit studios in which players take on the role of “the Captain,” the leader of a group of refugees looking to build and maintain a safe haven during a catastrophic climate event. Throughout the game, players are constantly tested with moral quandaries such as the arrival of large groups of refugees who threaten to overwhelm the city’s fragile infrastructure or violent riots over scarce resources. In response to these emergencies, the Captain is presented with the option to implement new draconian laws and to maintain the peace by fostering either Order (a surveillance state) or Faith (a rigid theocracy). In this chapter, I will explore how the game’s narrative and mechanics work together to explore what Michael E. Zimmerman calls the “enduring temptation” of ecofascism and how it might be interpreted as a commentary on our own fears around the threats posed by climate change.

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Keywords

Classroom Anxiety, Immediacy, Online Learning, Student Perceptions, Testing Anxiety, City-Building Game, Ecofascism, Procedural Rhetoric, Strategy Game, Gaming

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