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Pauline Belford is an experienced tertiary education lecturer and freelance education consultant who is an active researcher in the area of computer ethics and accessibility in games. Join us as we talk about morality in games, board game accessibility, and parkrun.

About Pauline Belford

Pauline Belford is an experienced educator who has spent nearly two decades teaching in post-16 education at both Further Education and Higher Education institutions. She was involved in the development of the first Scottish Higher National Diploma in Computer Games Development – a national qualification delivered across Scotland’s Further Education Colleges. She is also an active researcher in the fields of computer ethics and accessibility in games, and has co-authored several papers on topics such as game design, game ethics, and sexism in gaming. She is currently working part-time as a freelance educational consultant and accessibility researcher, whilst co-authoring a book on computer ethics, and learning Swedish.


Papers authored by or mentioned in our conversation.


Books authored by or mentioned in our conversation.

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  • [00:40] What drew Pauline to game design, computer ethics, and accessibility
  • [01:06] Pauline's background and exposure to computers
  • [01:42] From biology and sociology to computer science
  • [02:49] Developing the HNC and HND Computer Games Development qualification
  • [04:14] Where that qualification can lead
  • [04:40] Setting up teams and incubators during the program
  • [06:38] Pauline's interest in computer ethics
  • [07:21] Teaching ethics through the case study "Scandal in Academia"
  • [08:47] Student reception to learning ethics in computing
  • [09:35] The lessons behind the lesson
  • [10:38] Also, PhDs: Beware of what you're getting into
  • [11:18] The potential for exploitation in academia
  • [13:25] On independent research and publishing
  • [14:24] Teaching ethics to both computing students and police officers
  • [15:13] How to assess an ethics unit
  • [16:25] Morality in games
  • [17:40] Morality systems in the "Fallout" (VG) series
  • [19:14] The "Magic Circle" concept
  • [20:29] Empathy as a mechanic in "Life is Strange" (VG)
  • [22:02] The politics of story crafting in games
  • [22:24] The analogy to slavery in "Detroit: Become Human" (VG)
  • [22:56] Ethics and morality as a mechanic in games
  • [23:40] "Papers, Please" (VG)
  • [26:47] How they found a niche in board game accessibility
  • [27:35] Social benefits of board games
  • [29:01] Board game community feedback to their accessibility work
  • [30:50] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
  • [31:19] parkrun
  • [33:52] Starting her own local chapter
  • [36:22] The Swedish parkrun community
  • [38:07] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
  • [39:49] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
  • [39:56] On knowing your worth
  • [40:39] On applying for jobs
  • [41:19] On networking
  • [41:36] Mark Granovetter's "The Strength of Weak Ties"
  • [41:57] On maintaining connections
  • [43:49] On impostor syndrome
  • [44:52] On "fake it 'til you make it"
  • [45:28] On shaping your work
  • [47:56] Anders Ericsson's "Deliberate Practice"
  • [49:39] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's "Flow"

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