Scott Nicholson, associate professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool), received a best paper award for “Inviting the World into the Online Classroom: Teaching a Gaming in Libraries Course via YouTube” at the 2010 Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Conference.

Nicholson’s paper was selected as one of four Best Papers of the ALISE 2010 Conference. The ALISE Conference is an annual gathering of library and information science educators, which took place this year in Boston from January 12-15. Nicholson’s award-winning paper will be published in the conference issue of the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS) later this year.

Nicholson’s paper discusses the IST 600 Gaming in Libraries course that he taught in June 2009 via the the Syracuse University iSchool YouTube channel. Nicholson decided to offer the course through YouTube for several reasons, including the desire to reach public librarians who are interested in learning more about incorporating gaming into their libraries. “Many libraries are interested in gaming but don’t know where to start,” Nicholson said. “My hope is that the videos will help libraries be successful with their gaming programs from the beginning.”

The course covered the spectrum of types of games, how libraries typically use games, and how to select games for libraries based upon the goals of the program and the mission of the library. Students learned how to start a gaming program, how to facilitate the activity, how to assess the program, and how to tie the assessment back to the library’s mission.

The course was offered by the Syracuse iSchool to its students as well as students enrolled at partner schools through the Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) Consortium. The course was funded by the Kauffman Enitiative Project at Syracuse University. Nicholson uploaded a new lecture to YouTube each week during the summer. There are currently 24 lectures available for viewing on the course web site.

Nicholson’s main research interest is the intersection of gaming in libraries. He studies the ways in which libraries use recreational gaming activities and he explores what activities are most effective for different user groups and different goals. He is head of the Library Game Lab of Syracuse and he is also host of the popular Board Games with Scott video series that roughly 4,000 people follow on YouTube.

Nicholson is the recipient of the Syracuse iSchool’s Robert Benjamin Faculty Research Award (2005) and the Jeffrey Katzer Professor of the Year award (2003). He served as director of the Syracuse iSchool’s master’s in library and information science program from 2007 to 2009.