CCHU9060 Humanities
Gaming: Play, Learning and Society

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Course Description

Have you played games with friends and family? Do you have rewards points on your credit cards? Have you ever thought what it means to “game” the system or have you studied “game theory”? Playing games is, and always has been, a basic attribute of humans at all stages of life and across all cultures. Games and their applications – for example, My Starbucks Rewards, NikeiD and Facebook – have been used to enrich our lives in many different contexts, including business, education, and pleasure. However, games can also associate with negative consequences, such as addiction, which can greatly affect our health and social life.

This course will cover the theoretical and practical foundations of game application and its social consequences using design techniques that originate from the field of psychology and the study of motivation. You will (i) experience our gamified teaching style, (ii) explore various scenarios about playing/using games, (iii) recognize the psychological, social, economic, and educational benefits of game application, (iii) be alert to the potential harms and risks, (iv) understand how games are applied in different contexts, and (v) critically evaluate game and gamification projects.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

    1. Describe and explain the historical, societal and cultural significance of games in our society.
    2. Recognize the various ways in which games and their applications can be used to motivate others, foster interpersonal relationships, facilitate communications, as well as increase awareness of social and global issues and concerns.
    3. Analyze the impact of games within the individual and societal levels in modern society.
    4. Collaborate and coordinate with others, in tutorial meetings, and in a group project involving the use of design techniques and the consideration of moral and ethical issues.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 12
Seminars 4
Fieldwork / Visits 4
Reading / Self-study 41
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 25
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 35
Total: 145

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Individual assignments 50
Group project and presentation 35
Participation 15

Required Reading

  • Kapp, K. M. (2012). The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. SPfeiffer.

Recommended Reading

  • Adams, E. (2014). Fundamentals of game design (3rd ed.). New Riders.
  • Bishop, J. (2014). Gamification for human factors integration: Social, education, and psychological issues. IGI Global.
  • Bissell, T. (2011). Extra lives: Why video games matter. Vintage.
  • Bogost, I. (2011). How to do things with videogames (Electronic mediations). University of Minnesota Press.
  • Borowski, B. (2014). Gamification – engage customers in your business: The hottest marketing trend in 2014. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Burke, B. (2014). Gamify: How gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things. Routledge.
  • Chan, M. Y. H., Chu, S. K. W., Mok, S. W. S., & Tam, F. (2016). Fostering interest in reading and strengthening reading comprehension ability of primary school students using a children’s literature e-quiz bank on the cloud. Paper presented at Social Media 2016, the 25th International Education and Technology Conference, Hong Kong.
  • Chu, S. K. W., Kwan, A., Reynolds, R., Mellecker, R. R., Tam, F., Lee, G., Hong, A., & Leung, C. Y. (2015). Promoting sex education among teenagers through an interactive game: Reasons for success and implications. Games for Health Journal, 4(3), 168-174.
  • Denmeade, N. (2015). Gamification with Moodle: Use game elements in Moodle courses to build learner resilience and motivation. Packt Publishing.
  • Dymek, M., & Zackariasson, P. (2016). The business of gamification: A critical analysis. Routledge.
  • Edery, D. (2009). Changing the game: How video games are transforming the future of business. Upper Saddle River.
  • Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S. (2004). Playing with fire: How do computer games influence the player?. Goteborgs Universitet Ekonomisk.
  • Fencott, C., Lockyer, M., Clay, J., & Massey, P. (2012). Game invaders: The theory and understanding of computer games. Wiley-IEEE Computer Society.
  • Gee, J. (2007). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gee, J. (2013). Good video games and good learning: Collected essays on video games, learning and literacy (2nd ed.). Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers.
  • Gibson, D., Aldrich, C., & Prensky, M. (2007). Games and simulations in online learning: Research and development frameworks. Hershey, PA: Information Science Pub.
  • Goldberg, H. (2011). All your base are belong to us: How fifty years of videogames conquered pop culture. Three Rivers Press.
  • Hanse, E. (2016). Game on!: Video game history from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft, and more. Feiwel & Friends.
  • Harrison, J. (2015). Mastering the game: What video games can teach us about success in life. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Herger, M. (2014). Enterprise gamification: Engaging people by letting them have fun. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Holmes, D. (2012). A mind forever voyaging: A history of storytelling in video games. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Hugos, M. (2012). Enterprise games: Using game mechanics to build a better business. O’Reilly Media.
  • Kapp, K. (2012) The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. Pfeiffer.
  • Kapp, K. (2013). The gamification of learning and instruction fieldbook: Ideas into practice. Pfeiffer.
  • Kohler, C. (2004). Power-up: How Japanese video games gave the world an extra life. BradyGames.
  • Kowert, R., & Quandt, T. (Eds.). (2015). The video game debate: Unravelling the physical, social, and psychological effects of video games. Routledge.
  • Kumar, J., & Herger, M. (2013). Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software. The Interaction Design Foundation.
  • Kwan, A. C. M., Chu, S. K. W., Hong, A. W. L., Tam, F., Lee, G. M. Y., & Mellker, R. (2015). Making smart choices: A serious game for sex education for young adolescents. International Journal of Game Based Learning, 5(1), 18-30.
  • Madigan, J. (2015). Getting gamers: The psychology of video games and their impact on the people who play them. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • McGonigal, J. (2015). SuperBetter: a revolutionary approach to getting stronger, happier, braver, and more resilient. Penguin Press.
  • McGonigal, J. (2016). SuperBetter: The power of living gamefully. Penguin Books.
  • Melissinos, C. (2012). The art of video games: From Pac-Man to mass effect. Welcome Books.
  • Niman, N. (2014). The gamification of higher education: developing a game-based business strategy in a disrupted marketplace. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Novák, D. (2016). Handbook of research on holistic perspectives in gamification for clinical practice. IGI Global.
  • Paharia, R. (2013). Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Prensky, M. (2006). Don’t bother me, Mom– I’m learning!: How computer and video games are preparing your kids for twenty-first century success, and how you can help!. Paragon House.
  • Prensky, M. (2007). Digital game-based learning. St. Paul, Minn: Paragon House.
  • Radoff, J. (2011). Game on: Energize your business with social media games. Wiley.
  • Rogers, R. (2016). How video games impact players: The pitfalls and benefits of a gaming society. Lexington Books.
  • Routledge, H. (2016). Why games are good for business: How to leverage the power of serious games, gamification and simulations. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Ruggill, J., McAllister, K., Nichols, R., & Kaufman, R. (2016). Inside the video game industry: Game developers talk about the business of play. Routledge.
  • Rutter, J., & Bryce, J. (2006). Understanding digital games. SAGE Publications.
  • Shaffer, D. (2006). How computer games help children learn. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Thompson, K. (2015). A systematic guide to game-based learning (GBL) in organizational teams: Transform performance through experiential learning, social learning and team dynamics. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Tobias, S., & Fletcher, J. (Eds.) (2011). Computer games and instruction. Information Age Publisher.
  • Witt, C. (2016). Gaming to innovate: The innovation game: How to leverage gamification to unleash the breakthrough beast in your organization and create an unstoppable innovative culture. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Wu, W. W. Y., Chu, S. K. W., Chan, H., Wong, J., Tse, S. K., Tavares, N., & Mok, S. (2014). Strengthening students’ reading comprehension ability (both Chinese and English) through developing children’s literature e-quiz bank on the cloud. Paper presented at 19th International Education & Technology Conference, Hong Kong. From https://hub.hku.hk/handle/10722/204504
  • Zagal, J. (2010). Ludoliteracy: Defining, understanding, and supporting games education. ETC Press.
  • Zichermann, G. (2013). The gamification revolution: How leaders leverage game mechanics to crush the competition. McGraw-Hill Education.

Recommended Websites


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr S.K.W. Chu
Division of Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education
Tel: 2241 5894
Email: samchu@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr S.K.W. Chu
Division of Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education
Tel: 2241 5894
Email: samchu@hku.hk
Dr K.F. Chiu
Division of Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education
Tel: 2241 5455
Email: tchiu@hku.hk