Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Treasure Hunt

This just in from Paolo Ruffino, who also goes by the name Ester Dreier when creating installations like this one in Second Life, on a new university-based alternate reality game.

Something very strange is happening at University of Bologna...It seems that the University is organizing a "find the treasure" game of "Crediti Formativi Universitari" , "university credits". During the last two weeks Bolognese students have found, hidden in their departments, hundreds of cards worth one credit. The University call centers are getting crazy, the website crashed several times due to the huge amount of downloads. Every card has a link to the official website:

Notice anything funny about that URL? This video explains the full story of how one of the world's oldest universities ended up unintentionally hosting a treasure hunt. The footage also includes students who react with distaste or disgust to the whole proposition and the mockery that the credit system has become.

You can check out the work of Jane McGonigal if you don't know what an ARG is.

I guess it seemed probable, although I make students do a lot of work, even for one credit. For example, here's a one-credit freshman seminar I taught a few years ago.

(For more on my last visit to Bologna, where I strolled around the university, go here.)

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