Graduation Date

Summer 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in English, Composition Studies & Pedagogy

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Lisa Tremain

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Nikola Hobbel

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



This thesis outlines and examines core concepts of game-based learning as identified by James Paul Gee, and Kurt Squire, among other scholars. These findings are then connected to the contemporary, transformative threshold concepts of composition—as explored in Naming What We Know. This connection seeks to argue game-based pedagogy may be an invaluable tool for introducing critical perspectives to composition students in order to better equip them with critical thinking strategies and cultural critiques, while improving their writing skills. A theoretical framework is presented in the form of four “Pillars” of a Critical Game-Based Pedagogy: Literacy, Identity, Social Learning, and Multimodality—all key components of critical game-based curricula, which centers expanded definitions of literacy, resists social constructions, encourages cooperation, and practices a wide variety of multimedia composition strategies. The concluding discussion attempts to illustrate these concepts through anecdotal reflections on teaching, particular games, and their relationship to digital humanities—including a supplementary digital platform hosting this research.

Citation Style