Game On: Scott Mellor leverages a popular videogame to engage students in a first-year medieval studies course

It took awhile for Scott Mellor to realize he was teaching his class backwards.

For years, Mellor, a distinguished teaching faculty member with the Department of German, Nordic and Slavic+ Studies, would begin his popular World of the Sagas course, a First-Year Interest Group (FIG) based on the legends and lore of Iceland and the Vikings, by asking his students to read poems and prose from the early Middle Ages. He’d end the course by showing them modern movies and TV shows like the History Channel’s popular drama “Vikings,” to help spark connections to what they had learned.

And then it dawned on him.

“If I started the course by looking at the movies and TV shows instead, I would produce a certain amount of intellectual confidence in the students because they knew those movies,” explains Mellor. “It would allow us to make observations and assess what we know and what we don’t know…”

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