During a recent episode of CheckpointXP On Campus, we discussed an esports minor degree at Northern Illinois University. Interest in gaming is growing with game streaming/esports growing and no sports for a couple major conferences in the fall. So NIU resolved to create a program that not only focused on coaching and strategy but also marketing and game design. This creates a more holistic view of the esports industry and what goes into it.
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Jacob Brothers got a chance to catch up with Dr. Steve Howell, the director of the sports program at Northern Illinois University. And We got a glimpse into what sort of education you could be looking at when declaring esports as your minor at NIU.
We noticed that this is a really big interdisciplinary kind of program because as you guys mentioned, we have those core kinds of esports management, esports business classes. But then we found that it may trickle into other areas, like computer programming, like art design, like business, like psychology. And so we said, all right, is there a way for us to develop only a few programs, but then sort of piecemeal other courses within other academic programs to kind of create a sort of choose your own adventure?
You know, you’ve got the two core classes, and then depending on what your interests are if you want to join up with Activision Blizzard after graduation or EA Sports or Riot Games or something like that, I want to do programming with them. I can take these courses if I wanted. You know, maybe go into coaching. It might be good for me to take these psych courses or I want to be on the business side. I could take a couple of marketing courses that are within the major. And so I think, piecemealing all those together and getting everyone to buy in was a real big component of us putting together that program.Dr. Howell on NIU’s esports curriculum