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If you want new ideas, you may need to come up with fresh ways of soliciting them. And that’s why the University of California at Davis is turning to a game.

Envision UC Davis is a massively multiplayer online game from Institute for the Future that launches at 11 a.m. Pacific time tomorrow. It runs for 36 hours, and during that time, it gives students and faculty the opportunity to float concepts and themes for the future of the university in a social, rapid-fire manner. As part of this game, people can meet in person, but most of the interactions will take place online. Students, employees, and anyone else affiliated with UC Davis can register now on the Envision UC Davis website, and then you can play on your phone, tablet, or browser. Gaming is an increasingly important discipline for universities as more students choose to pursue that path as part of their higher education. UC Davis is using that energy to more thoroughly connect its student body with its staff.

While this is a new way for educational institutions to use games, UC Davis also suggests that Envision could help amplify voices that may sometimes get ignored. Since the standard processes for asking for feedback may not always approach certain groups, the game may offer a more open forum.

Envision doesn’t have win conditions, but it will put the UC Davis community into a variety of conversational-style games where individuals can submit and build on the ideas from those around them. This means you can shoot off a Twitter-length 140-character thought as your sold contribution. But the more you engage, the more you move up the leaderboards.


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Correction: This story originally stated and implied that Envision UC Davis is a video game. Instead, it is more akin to an analog game without video. Additionally, the university did not create the game. That was the Institute for the Future. I apologize for the errors. 

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