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IACSP University Spotlight
||IACSP University Spotlight: AMU News
Playing Games: How AMU Is Incorporating Gamification
Into Its Intelligence Studies
By Leischen Stelter
Who says school is all work and no play? In mid-June, Professor
Jason Anderson introduced a newly redesigned "game" into
American Military University's Open Source Collection course,
part of the bachelor's degree program in intelligence studies.
This "game" gives students experience collecting
and analyzing intelligence in real-time, using one of the fastest
growing sources of open-source information: social media.
During a recent panel discussion at the International Association
for Intelligence Education, Anderson spoke about the process
of incorporating gamification techniques into AMU's Intelligence
"I wasn't sure how I was going to fit gamification into
intelligence studies," Anderson said. "Then I decided
to use social media as an outlet and turn it into a game."
Gamification is not a new concept, it has been used in everything
from getting kids excited to exercise to feeding the world's
hungry. The basic objective of gamification is to engage users
by using game mechanics and game design in non-game contexts.
But, there were few specific examples about how to incorporate
gamification into intelligence education.
Anderson started by creating Twitter profiles and feeds.
While he curates the information on the Twitter accounts,
itself happens in real-time. The objective of the game is
for students to collect information and verify sources
information with other open-source and publicly available
channels. Generally, students need to combine a minimum
of 12 open-source
outlets to verify an account.
So what do students gain after they verify sources? Information,
of course. Students then incorporate this information into
their class projects.
In the educational setting, the reward we go after is information.
There's an information gap, there's something we're trying
to figure out and we need to bridge the gap to get to the objective
we need," said Anderson. "Gamification gives you
the ability to synthesize what's important for you," he
AMU is an ideal setting to incorporate this new application
of gamification into intelligence studies. As a 100% online
university, students are familiar with using technology as
part of their learning process.
This incorporation of social media into intelligence collection
has a real-world application for intelligence students. As
social media becomes a greater and more respected source of
information, the intelligence community will continue to refine
how it collects and analyzes the vast amount of information
on these platforms. Getting this kind of practice inside the
classroom gives AMU students a better understanding of what
it's like to collect, analyze and then apply the intelligence
About the Author
Leischen Stelter works with the public safety outreach team
at American Military University writing articles about issues
and trends relevant to professionals in emergency management,
law enforcement, fire services and national security. She
manages several of the University's blogs and social media
including @AMUDisasterEd, which focuses on news and events
relevant to emergency management professionals. She is currently
pursuing a Master's Degree in Emergency & Disaster Management
from American Military University.