CMU Interview Partner Post

Meet the Designer Behind the New CMU Course

Meet Liz Davidson
Dr. Liz Davidson is host of the Beyond Solitaire podcast, where she and her guests explore challenging issues related to board gaming. Liz also creates reviews and tutorials for solitaire board games.

Gen Con has partnered with CMU for another exciting virtual class, “Using Games to Teach: What You Can Convey Through Play.” Meet Liz Davidson, the designer and instructor behind the class.

Teaching is my day job, but when I got a chance to teach a class as part of a collab between Gen Con and CMU’s Center for Learning Through Games and Simulations, I couldn’t say no! Throughout March and April, I’ll be teaching a course called “Using Games to Teach: What You Can Convey Through Play.” And the class is exactly that – a look at how board games communicate and educate, and how you can use this knowledge in your own game designs.

So, who am I, and why am I teaching this class? My name is Liz Davidson, and I host a channel called Beyond Solitaire. I cover solo board games, but my most satisfying projects are my podcast and my own work on historical board games. To me, the most enjoyable questions about board games are the tough ones. What is this game trying to say? What was left out? Is this game portraying it’s underlying theme accurately?

Family playing games

In our class, you’ll learn to ask these questions yourself – and to apply them to your own work, whether you want to use games to teach people about history, science, or proper procedures at your job. Your final project will be a game proposal that talks about the research you’re doing, the ideas you want to convey, and how you think your game will be able to do that. We’re going to have a great time, and you’re going to finish with a solid plan of action. 

I’m also going to make sure that you have a good time getting there. In my day job, I am a high school Latin teacher, and I spend my day (successfully) convincing teenagers that Latin is both doable and fun. I use a lot of games to teach in my own classroom, so we’ll be working together on a topic that I both know something about and actively study. We are also going to break things down into bite-sized pieces that will ultimately lead to something big. You will never have to stress about getting a sudden, humongous assignment. Instead, you’ll find that by the time we get to the “final project,” you’ll already have most of it drafted, and you’ll already have the feedback you need to fix it up. We’ve got this! 

Adults playing board games.

I very much hope you’ll sign up for “Using Games to Teach.” We’re going to have a great time talking about tough issues related to gaming, meeting some surprise guest speakers, and working on gaming projects together. 

The course launches on March 6 and ends on April 17, sign up through March 5. The course runs on Mondays and Thursdays from 6:00-8:00pm (ET).

For more information on CMU’s Center for Learning Through Games and Simulations please visit their website.