Van Eck garners cover story and editors’ pick for EDUCAUSE Review

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


Richard Van Eck, PhD, the founding Dr. David and Lola Rognlie Monson Endowed Professor in Medical Education at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, is the author of both the cover story and the editors’ pick in the October 12 edition of EDUCAUSE Review. EDUCAUSE is a not-for-profit association and the foremost community of information technology leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education. EDUCAUSE Review is the association's open-access digital and bimonthly print flagship publication for the higher education IT community.

As the associate dean for Teaching and Learning at the UND SMHS, Van Eck provides leadership for the ongoing development, implementation, and evaluation of the educational programs at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He works with SMHS leaders, the director of Education Resources, and faculty, students, and staff to implement and improve curricula, engage faculty, provide faculty training and curriculum management, oversee student assessment and competency, accomplish course and program evaluation, and encourage the scholarship of teaching. He helps to ensure that the education that students receive in the eight disciplines in which the SMHS provides training continues to be on the cutting edge.

“Digital Game-Based Learning: Still Restless, After All These Years,” is actually Van Eck’s second cover story for this highly respected magazine read by more than 70,000 education leaders. In 2006, Van Eck’s “Digital Game-Based Learning: It’s Not Just the Natives Who Are Getting Restless,” was also selected for the cover. In his current article, he reviews the evidence for digital game-based learning (DGBL) in light of the challenges and goals he first identified in 2006. He argues that evidence shows that digital games are powerful learning tools that promote a wide range of important educational and social outcomes that are rarely addressed. Whether educators choose to take advantage of the opportunity DGBL offers is a completely different question, however, because DGBL adopts approaches that challenge assumptions at the core of current educational practice.

In addition to his cover story, Van Eck also has a companion piece in the online portion of the magazine called “What Can We Learn from Violent Videogames?,” which has been selected as the EDUCAUSE Review editors’ pick. Van Eck says the fears that violent videogames will cause people to be more violent are understandable, but unsupported by current research—social and developmental factors are better predictors of violent behavior. In fact, some violent videogames may actually lead to the development of empathy, understanding, and even moral behavior.

Van Eck was in the national spotlight on September 26 in Bismarck, N.Dak., as well. As an invited speaker at the 2015 GameChanger series “iHuman: How is technology changing humanity?” He spoke about the educational potential of games to reform public education. Van Eck is the editor of two books: Interdisciplinary Models and Tools for Serious Games: Emerging Concepts and Future Directions and Gaming and Cognition: Theories and Practice from the Learning Sciences. The event’s keynote speaker was internationally known technology expert Jaron Lanier, author of two best-selling books (You Are Not a Gadget and Who Owns the Future), who is widely known for coining the term virtual reality. Lanier is a coinventor of medical simulation technologies and an engineer who worked on the development of Internet2. Earlier in the day, Van Eck led a workshop for more than 100 teachers from across North Dakota and the region. Over 500 people attended the event in person and online, including North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott. To learn more about the speakers, please visit

The other GameChangers speakers were internationally known authors as well. Jon Ronson is the best-selling author of So You Were Publicly Shamed , about the sometimes-abused power of social media shaming. Lori Andrews is distinguished professor of law at Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent, director of IIT's Institute for Science, Law and Technology, and the author of I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy, as well as more than 150 articles on biotechnology, genetics, and social networks. Noreen Herzfeld is Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professor of Science and Religion at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict, and author ofIn Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Spirit, Technology and Religion, and The Limits of Perfection.