Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview

This unit builds on the practical and theoretical knowledge gained in the Level 2 core units COMM2001 Communication and Mass Media and COMM2002 Digital Media. It introduces students to key elements in the design, production, and consumption of interactive systems in the form of games, including digital games and environments of play in the form of massive multiple online (MMO) environments. It critically examines key considerations in the design and consumption of games, their intellectual history in other media forms, as well as actual social practices associated with environments of play, such as gamification and the use of games as procedural rhetoric. The unit requires students to consider how the design of communication and media technologies, in particular in the form of an interactive dynamic system, affects social practices, including work practices, in the widening digital landscape. While a critical consideration of key texts and theorists forms an important element of the unit, students also have to engage and learn to work in an applied game design context.
6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Non-standard teaching periodHong KongFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Communication and Media Studies major sequence
  • Level 3 elective
Students are able to (1) utilise and recognise the critical importance of play; (2) recognise, evaluate and utilise key elements of design in the production of games; (3) identify key approaches and historical influences in the design of games and computer games; (4) develop a critical awareness of how the design of media affects social, political and economic practices, and vice versa; (5) critically engage with concepts of interactivity and narrative; (6) develop professional writing skills of use in manual writing and other professional contexts; and (7) develop the ability to organise and work as part of a group.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) critical reflection; (2) research essay; and (3) game design project. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Katarina Damjanov
Unit rules
( COMM1001 Power, Participation and Meaning (ID 813) or COMM1002 Cultures, New Media and Communications (ID 814) ) and ( COMM2001 Media Influence or COMM2002 Digital Media )
COMM3304 Designing Virtual Play
Contact hours
3 hours per teaching week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.