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E-Sports in higher education

By Asomi College of Sciences

ACS – ASOMI College of Sciences is engaged in technology and innovation-thriven initiatives such as AI or the implementation of study techniques through gaming and esports. This article is about the performance of esports in higher education. Instead, click here to know more about AI in higher education.

The growth of the gaming industry

The gaming industry has seen significant growth, and as higher education institutions put traditional sports aside during the Covid-19 pandemics, esports became extremely popular. Alongside the more traditional sports, esports in higher education institutions can be as helpful for the institutions and students as their counterparts. The latter can be deployed in gamers’ homes and higher education institutions.

There are different reasons why universities and colleges benefit from the deployment of esports in their programmes and institutional practices. Basically, from the students’ point of view, these reasons are related to the fact that esports are inclusive, and they give the students the possibility to engage with their peers. Besides, the esports give students a wide range of future career opportunities. The return on investment can be of several kinds from the institutional side. If good enough, any type of institution has the opportunity to succeed in the deployment of esports.

The benefits for the students

First of all, esports facilitate student success.  The students practising esports have as many possibilities as those who practice traditional sports. Let us take, for instance, one of the most challenging aspects for a full-time student: time management. The athletes at higher education institutions often face the problem of keeping their academic side in order while being performative in sports. Another thing to consider would be teamwork: the esports have to plan their games, which involves working in a team. The gamers have to collaborate with mentors and coaches, and they have to build a strategy. Indeed, that is exactly where the students apply their minds on the social side and where critical thinking is deployed. The latter include problem-solving skills and quick reaction. Besides, the gamers have to communicate among themselves, which means they usually are in touch with people from different nationalities and talk in other languages.

Moreover, the gamers’ organisations promote social growth, as different gamers interact with other gamers. And, as already mentioned, esports can include the involvement of faraway people following esports via gaming and streaming platforms. So, one of the undiscussable advantages is that, while traditional sports require the participation of an on-spot audience, esports does not do that. Teamwork also improves self-esteem in general and the attribution of roles. The attribution of roles often includes leadership which represent an essential milestone in students’ lives. Moreover, all the abovementioned benefits turn back as exciting attributes in the eyes of employers.

Therefore, esports prepare students for career paths in the related field. It has to be added that all the future career opportunities do not only include the options related to the gaming industry. The experience that students gain from esports is a valuable experience that gives them soft skills usable in any sector.

Esports also prepare students for jobs in the STEM field. For instance, if students build an esports programme, their engagement and interest in STEM will eventually grow. Institutions usually bring in students from the computing and IT departments. In addition, institutions could combine the production of tournaments with graphics, music, and videos, so students studying programming could be deployed.


The benefits for higher education institutions

Anyhow, institutions could grow engagement thanks to the esports in universities and colleges. For instance, online gaming platforms allow people worldwide to watch and follow esports in streaming. That allows higher education institutions to connect with other institutions or even corporations. Moreover, universities can install broadcasting services or even use social media platforms for implementing engagement.

Esports could help in increasing the inclusivity in higher education institutions. The student associations engaged in esports should be encouraged to be inclusive. They should address discrimination and promote inclusivity. By addressing discrimination, they should report whenever cyberbullying occurs.

As long as return on investment is regarded, institutions may benefit from it in different forms. For instance, students are highly interested in esports, and many of them may even start asking about it as early as during their application process. Higher education institutions should also introduce their esports programme to the last year of high school students. The latter could work as a beautiful recruitment tool. Even smaller and more exclusive universities and colleges may get good results in esports, and thus the students are motivated to enrol when they know that.

In other words

Of course, there may also be challenges such as scepticism, funding issues or the fact that institutions must manage new problems and therefore invent unique solutions. But anyway, if done well, this sector is worth it.

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