UT Tyler studies the correlation between competitive video games and student success
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) — Esports is the next big competition that many colleges are starting to study and support. As you walk through the halls of UT Tyler’s Soules College of Business, you’ll see a room filled with focus, lights, and hear lots of clicks. It’s the new Esports Lab, where students can play and teachers study their skills.
“Esports, like other sports and any other activity on campus, drives student engagement, and student engagement is very, very strongly correlated with GPAs, graduation rates, academic persistence, the quality of the educational experience they have,” said Paul Roberts. , professor at the Soules College of Business. He is one of the three co-principal investigators of this study.
Ashley Daniel is the Director of the Esports program on campus. She said she had a passion for the sport for some time. She is mainly in charge of the laboratory itself.
“We keep it open for general students to come in, check computers. Then for our teams they also use it for training and also if they have any tournaments they need to attend,” Daniel said. “It will always be open to them to make sure they have good Wi-Fi and a good setup to really let them play.”
An initial Presidential University Research Grant of $14,000 launched the initiative. Now they have ten computers and can track when students are playing, what games they are playing and for how long.
“Soft skills that you often don’t think about, but there’s a lot of teamwork, working together because a lot of these sports are team sports,” Roberts said. “We also have many organizational aspects of competitive Esport; how do you determine who will participate and who will compete and at what level?
Alex Lopez is a freshman in criminal justice. He is currently ranked ninth in the Super Smash Bros Collegiate League online.
“I usually see myself coming to campus more because of it. Because of events, practice and meeting other people. So it’s been a pretty nice experience so far,” Lopez said.
The next steps of the study will include comparing research from the UT Tyler campus and their Italian colleagues at the University of Salerno who are conducting a similar study with their students.
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