Grant awarded to help create a computer game as a business education learning tool

August 01, 2011

Dr. Charles Stowe

Dr. Charles Stowe
Dr. Charles Stowe, Lander University’s director of Outreach Initiatives and members of the business faculty, has been awarded a grant to pursue creation of a computer game that would simulate real world situations to help college students understand the differences between job functions and industries.

Students would use the game to set career goals which, in turn, could boost higher education’s student retention rates. Corporations would also benefit by having access to new data related to consumer purchasing preferences and job recruitment.

The planning that led to the grant from the University Center in Greenville was the result of a team effort that included Stowe’s 12-year-old son, Charlie, a rising seventh grader at Brewer Middle School in Greenwood. His contribution, said Stowe, was providing a young person’s perspective on what makes computer games exciting. For example, the younger Stowe suggested including avatars, which are electronic images manipulated by a computer user.

Dr. Douglas Grider, interim dean of Lander’s College of Business and Public Affairs, and Dr. Robert Lahm, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Western Carolina University in North Carolina, also contributed.

Their computer game would not be an exercise in fantasy but one that allows players to spend time in actual business scenarios. Stowe foresees it as having immense potential as a learning tool and for creating jobs and generating revenue by leasing virtual space in the game to organizations that would provide virtual internships and collect data.

“The goal,” said Stowe, “is a relationship linking business, government and nonprofit organizations looking for potential customers or employees. It could also help students considering career choices to solve the riddle of ‘How do I know what I want to do if I haven’t done it before.’”

He added that the game is in the very early stages of development with no plans to introduce it by a certain date.