Serious Games Development Program Launched at Birzeit University

Birzeit University’s Computer Science Department launched on October 13, 2016 a new project to build undergraduate capacities for developing serious games in collaboration with Al-Quds University.The project is an initiative project funded by the European Union TEMPUS program that supports the four consortium universities by enabling them to develop a sustainable curriculum in games used for learning or other serious pursuits.

The launch ceremony was attended by SAGE Project Coordinator Yousef Hasouneh and Computer Science professor at Birzeit University Ali Jaber, standing in for the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology. Also were in attendance were Frank van der Stappen from Utrecht University-Netherland, Henricus Verhagen from Stockholm University in Sweden, and Milos Kravcik from RWTH University in Germany.

Jaber said that Birzeit University will embrace the program on behalf of Palestinian universities. Seven more universities from Palestine, Tunis and the European Union will also be part of this project.

“The project is meant to benefit the staff and students enrolled in the undergraduate computer science and computer engineering programs,” Jaber said. “We believe that it will strengthen the cooperation with computer science professors at EU partners who have rich experience in computer gaming and serious games.”

Hasouneh said that Birzeit University and Al Quds University have added a Game Development program to the academic plan of the Computer Science major. “The course presents modern teaching and learning methodologies. Professors will be able to establish a state-of-the-art teaching environment with a sophisticated and reformulated teaching up-to-date pedagogy.”

Chairperson of the Computer Department Mamoun Nawahda expressed his eagerness to see the first class of this program graduate by the end of this academic year. He assured that the Game Development Program will add depth and breadth to the department’s mission that aims to offer educational and research opportunities, and encouraging strong connections between its students and the local and international community.

At the launch, it was agreed that five students who are enrolled in the Serious Game Development Program will participate in a summer training workshop in Holland.