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PhD - Informatics

2024 (expected)

Game Studies - Play, Performance, Leisure, Positive Deviance, Karaoke

Advisors: Tess Tanenbaum, Aaron Trammell, & Bo Ruberg

Received Certificate in Inclusive Hybrid Teaching

Received Certificate in Preparing for Faculty Careers

Georgia Institute of Technology

MS - Digital Media


The Dynamics of the Player Narrative: How Choice Shapes Videogame Literature.

Advisors: Ian Bogost & Janet Murray

Southern Utah University

BA - English


Summa Cum Laude, History Minor

Northwest College

AA - English Writing


With Honors



Visiting Professor (Fall 2024 - Present) University of California, San Diego


Virtual Environments (Fall 2024)

3D Asset Design (Spring 2025)

Associate Instructor (Fall 2023 - Present) University of California, Irvine


Critical Writing on Information Technology (Fall 2023, Winter 2024)

Advanced Topics in Game Design: Animation for Games (Spring 2024)

Adjunct Professor (Spring 2023 - Present) Saddleback College


History of Animation (Spring 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2024, Summer 2024)

Motion Graphics (Spring 2023, Spring 2024)

Adjunct Professor (Spring 2018) Irvine Valley College


Introduction to Game Design 

Graduate Teaching Assistant (Fall 2017 - Spring 2023) University of California, Irvine


Game Development (Instructor: Maria Anderson-Coto); Spring 2023

Roleplaying and Improvisational Play (Instructor: Aaron Trammell); Winter 2023

  • Co-taught, providing regular mini-lectures

  • Sole grader for mid-term and final essays for 100+ students

Visual Design Fundamentals (Instructor: Constance Steinkuehler); Fall 2022

  • Participated in curriculum design and provided lectures

Game Design (Instructor: Craig Morrison); Spring 2020 & 2021

Capstone Game Project (A&B) (Instructor: Tess Tanenbaum); Fall 2019 & 2020, Winter 2020 & 2021

  • Co-taught, providing small group mentoring alongside industry experts

  • Co-graded students capstone game projects

Human Computer Interaction (Instructor: Matthew Bietz); Summer 2020

Multiplayer Games (Instructor: Kurt Squire); Spring 2018

Game Design (Instructor: Kurt Squire); Winter 2018

Global Disruption and Information Technology (Instructor: Juliet Norton); Fall 2017

Digital Arts Teacher (Fall 2018 - Spring 2023) College and Career Advantage

  • Each full year course was worth a semester of credit at Saddleback College

  • Served as the Esports mentor


     San Clemente High School (2019 - 2023)


2D Animation

3D Animation

Game Design

     Capistrano Valley High​ School (2018-2019)


Game Design

Digital Arts Instructor (Fall 2017 - Spring 2020) New Vista Tech Academy

  • Each semester course was worth equivalent college credit at Saddleback College and IVC

  • Taught college courses to recently graduated students with autism, helping them transition to college


Introduction to Graphic Communication (Fall)

Introduction to Game Design (Fall)

Digital Animation (Fall)

History of Animation (Spring)

Writing and Storyboarding for Games (Spring)

3D Modeling for Games (Spring)



Digital Arts Teacher (Fall 2014 – Spring 2017) Covington Middle School and Fine Arts Academy

  • Recipient of the “Teacher of Promise” new teacher of the year award

  • Campus Innovation Coach, helping modernize teaching practices on campus


Videogame Design I & II

Web Design

Multimedia Production I & II: Animation & Digital Video

Visual Media

Technology Assistant/Teacher (Fall 2013 – Spring 2014) Hill Country Middle School

  • Assisted teachers with technology needs at a one-to-one iPad school, and taught two technology courses


HCTV (Television Production and Digital Streaming)

Tech Club

Technology Teacher (Fall 2013) Akins High School



Advanced Programming

Web Technologies

Computer Maintenance and Repair


Curriculum Design

Secondary and Post-Secondary Course Design (2014 - Present)

Curriculum Philosophies

All courses were designed from the ground up according to the following philosophies:

  • Social Constructivism

  • Project-Based

  • Hybrid Classroom

  • Mastery Learning

  • Studio Habits of Mind

  • Media Literacies

  • Equitable & Sustainable Materials

& Design


All courses are designed to be platform agnostic, focusing on artistic skill development rather than tool expertise

As such, I have experience with a large variety of tools, software suites, and development engines including

  • Game Engines (Scratch, Twine, Unity, etc.)

  • Animation Software (Adobe Animate, ToonBoom, Blender, etc.)

  • 3D Modeling (Blender, Maya, Unity, etc.)

  • Digital Drawing (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, GIMP, Pixlr, etc.)

  • Video Editing (Adobe Premier, Adobe After Effects, iMovie, etc.)

I am not an expert in any of the listed tools, but neither am I afraid to incorporate unknown tools into my curriculum — the tools aren't the point or the focus

I also have extensive experience moving physical courses to online platforms, and moving online courses into physical classrooms

Division of Teaching Excellence & Innovation Summer Fellowship (2021) University of California, Irvine, Graduate Division

  • Assisted professors with translating their in-person courses to an online format

  • Assisted professors with re-evaluating course assignments and lessons to best suit an online format

  • Provided curriculum and pedagogical advice for online learning methods

Game Design


Game Design Teacher/Instructor/Professor (2013 - Present)

Covington Middle School, New Vista Career Academy, Irvine Valley College, College and Career Advantage, University of California - Irvine

  • Taught hundreds of students foundational and advanced game design concepts

  • Guided teams of adolescents, teenagers, and young adults toward the successful creation of working game prototypes and demos

  • Taught basics in physical and digital design, art asset production and pipeline, animating for games, narrative development, storyboarding for games, rudimentary programming, and 2D & 3D systems use

  • Worked in coordination with industry experts and highly regarded academics in the field of game design and game studies

Design Consultant (2021 -2022) KNMT Entertainment 

​I provided structural advice in the creation of a new karaoke show toward improving engagement, including software implementation for queue management, establishing clear explicit rules to set expectations, “fair” rotations that were inclusive to newcomers, and simple engagement reward systems for regulars. I also provided her with game-centric hosting strategies that considered the needs of both the players and the audience. These strategies helped her to build and maintain a consistent community, which in turn allowed her to expand to multiple venues.

Design Consultant (2019) Kevin Karaoke 

​​I assisted in designing a burlesque karaoke show. The design prioritized the safety needs of both performers, but the burlesque performer in particular, and I developed a format in which the burlesque and the karaoke would run parallel to each other, with occasional combined performances on songs pulled from research into the top 10 most frequent karaoke songs. However, he was unable to secure a venue.​




Associate Producer (2018 - 2020) Apples and Oranges Studios


"ShadowCast is a mixed reality musical theater karaoke spectacle. A performer in VR chooses from a selection of Broadway hits and show tunes, before being elevated onto a stage to perform in front of a VR audience. That audience is controlled by real-world spectators who watch the performer’s avatar on a public screen. ShadowCast allows players to live out their Broadway dreams in an immersive VR theater environment."

I served as a producer and a designer. I worked on the initial reference inventory research, provided significant design structures for the karaoke design features and the logistics for the karaoke-like components, including environment design and interaction design elements, and helped manage the team of 20+ artists and programmers. Its features were displayed at the Society of Language, Science, and the Arts conference and the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

User Experience Design Research  (2016-2017) for Gamilearning 

I designed a scope and sequence for monitoring and evaluating a suite of educational games developed and run through Scratch for middle school students. I similarly evaluated curriculum associated with the use of the games in the classroom, evaluated best practices for educational games outcomes, and using focus groups and surveys, evaluated users' perspectives of the experience. Using this information, I then advised on challenges and opportunities for gamification in the classroom.


Design Consultant (2016) for

I provided, along with a team of educators, pedagogy consultation for's hour of code initiative for middle and high school audiences, including reviewing student-led and teacher-led activities and lessons, and lesson plans, advising on improvements and redesigns to course materials, and evaluating the quality of dozens of educational games designed to teach rudimentary programming concepts using a variety of platforms.




Concept Designer/Creative Director/Writer (2013) Georgia Institute of Technology


"Quietus is an Art Game that tells a very simple and subtle story, and is a conceptual response to Dylan Thomas's villanelle 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night'. In Quietus, we focus on mimetic storytelling and aesthetic integrity; we held the aesthetic as the anchor for all design decisions, from visuals, to narrative, to gameplay elements. Our goal is to mirror the sentiment and emotion of Thomas's poem, while allowing our game to serve as a response of the consequences of raging against the inevitability of the dying of the light."

Made in Celia Pearce's Game Design as a Cultural Practice course at Georgia Tech. I was the lead concept designer, the narrative designer, and the playtest manager. The design went through multiple iterations following a design by subtraction approach. After the course, we continued shaping the game until it was displayed at the Different Games Conference in 2014.



"Virtual Harlem" 

Quest Writer (2012) Emergent Game Group, Georgia Institute of Technology


"The Virtual Harlem project is a virtual representation of Harlem, New York as it existed during the Harlem Renaissance/Jazz Age. The project is one of the earliest virtual reality environments created for use in the humanities and especially for the use in an African American literature course. It was originally conceived by Dr. Bryan Carter while he was completing his doctoral studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia (UCM). The Virtual Harlem digital environment contains iconic locations like the Cotton Club, the Apollo Theater, The Marshall Hotel, museums, art galleries and the Harlem Branch Library. In addition to these famous locations, there are also interactive elements, collaborative possibilities, music of the period and opportunities for students to create projects related to the period and to role play."

I developed several small story quests within the installation, with the idea of a "living museum" approach to the narrative design of the quests. I don’t know if what we built was kept or even whether his project still exists, but it was featured in an Atlantic write-up.     


ellis island.png

Ellis Island 

Quest Writer (2011) Emergent Game Group, Georgia Institute of Technology


"Ellis Island was created with the Emergent Game Group at Georgia Tech to explore the experience of becoming a newly arrived immigrant to the US. Players entered the game through Ellis Island to try and succeed in prohibition-era New York. The game employed role-playing and a special system that simulated learning a new language. Additionally a primary focus of the game was evaluating MMO design structures outside of a violence action paradigm."


I wrote side questlines for the game, mostly about smuggling and odd fetch quests for money. The quests were design to explore conflict resolution without violence. It was displayed at the Living Games World conference.

Academic Research


Karaoke Participant Observation (2018 - Present) research in preparation for my dissertation, UCI

  • Performed participant observation of karaoke play and the associated communities of play

  • Participated in over 1000 hours of karaoke play all over the world, though mostly in Orange County, CA 

  • Assessed the play characteristics and experiences of karaoke through a phenomenological evaluation of the activity and its associated performance paradigms, using a game studies lens

  • Compared against prior evaluations of karaoke in academic literature and contemporary culture


Game Development + Research (2024 - Present) UCI Graduate Student Affinity Group

  • Research group focused on incorporating our games research into game design

  • Host talks, jam sessions, mini-workshops
  • Investigate methods for practical application of theoretical work


Graduate Research Assistant (2017 - Present) for Dr. Tess Tanenbaum, UCI, Transformative Play Lab

  • Researched play cultures and play theories

  • Established play research methodologies and publication strategies
  • Assisted with the administration of the Global Game Jam hosted at UCI


Graduate Research Assistant (2011-2013) for Dr. Tris Utschig, CETL, Georgia Tech

  • Evaluated higher education research and performed data analyses

  • Wrote literature reviews and co-authored several papers

  • Prepared and managed the Course/Instructor Opinion Survey


Professor’s Assistant (2005-2006) for Dr. James Aton, Southern Utah University

  • Compiled notes and generated digital transcripts

  • Performed academic research for professor’s publications

& Presentations


Book Chapter

Bryan, J.S. (2013). “Ergodic Effort: Dynamism and Auto-Generated Path-Making.” Terms of Play: Essays on Words that Matter in Videogame Theory. Ed. Zach Waggoner

Peer-Reviewed Journals & Proceedings

Tanenbaum, T., N. Hartoonian, and J.S. Bryan (2020). "'How do I make this thing smile?': An Inventory of Expressive Nonverbal Communication in Social Virtual Reality.CHI 2020 Conference Proceedings.

Bryan, J.S., F. Bryan, and Q. Bryan (2019). "Play and Performance: Confronting Vulnerability through Performance.Well-Played Intergenerational Play Special Edition

Bryan, J.S., and T. Tanenbaum (2019). “Adapting the Empty Orchestra: Performance of Play in Karaoke." 2019 DiGRA Annual Conference Proceedings.

Norback, J.S., T.T. Utschig, and J.S. Bryan (2013). “Insights into the Process of Building a Presentation Scoring System for Engineers.” 2013 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.

Utschig, T.T., S.M. Newton, and J.S. Bryan (2012). “Measuring Skills across the Profile of a Quality Learner and of a Quality Engineer." International Journal of Process Education, 4(1), 3-12.

Norback, J.S., T.T. Utschig, and J.S. Bryan (2012). “Workforce Communication Instruction: Preliminary Inter-rater Reliability Data for an Executive-based Oral Communication Rubric.” 2012 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.

Conference Presentations

Bryan, Jeffrey, "Anime Characters Really Are Cats?!: The Convergence Culture of Playful Media Literacies and How the Kids Just Might Be Alright" (2024). The International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL.

Bryan, Jeffrey, “Karaoke Strangers: Tourists Singing in Kyoto” (2023).  Annual Meeting for the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, Tempe, AZ

Bryan, Jeffrey, "Kinky Karaoke: Karaoke and the Cultural Politics of Performing Identity" (2020). The International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL. (Canceled due to pandemic)

Bryan, Jeffrey, “No Fun Karaoke” (2019). Annual Meeting for the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, Irvine, CA.

Bryan, Jeffrey “Adapting the Empty Orchestra: Performance of Play in Karaoke" (2019). Digital Games Research Association, Kyoto, Japan.

Bryan, Jeffrey, “Videogame Discussion Panel: The State of the Medium” (2018). Panel Member. The International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL.

Bryan, Jeffrey, “The True Monster: A Frankensteinian Undertale” (2018). The International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL.

Bryan, Jeffrey, “Twisting Time: The Ludonarrative of Nonlinearity in Braid” (2017). Annual Meeting for the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, Tempe, AZ

Bryan, Jeffrey, “The Personal Player Epic: FFXI, MMOs, and the Boundaries of the Player Narrative” (2017). The International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL.  

Bryan, Jeffrey, “The Long Walk toward the Digital Path” (2016). The International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL.

Bryan, Jeffrey, “Minecraft in the Classroom: Machinima” (2016). AISD Innovation Summit, Austin, TX

Bryan, Jeffrey, “The Digital Arts and Interactive Storytelling in the Classroom” (2015). AISD Innovation Summit, Austin, TX

Bryan, Jeffrey, “Videogame Spacetime: Experiences in Dimensional Thought” (2015). International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL.

Bryan, Jeffrey, et al. Quietus (2014). Different Games Conference, New York, NY.

Guest Speaker

Bryan, Jeffrey. "Animation for Games" (2023) University of California, Irvine

Bryan, Jeffrey. "NPC: Othering and Poverty" (2023) University of California, Irvine

Bryan, Jeffrey. "Animation for Games" (2022) University of California, Irvine

Bryan, Jeffrey.  Interviewed by Chris DeLeon (2020) HomeTeam Game Dev

Bryan, Jeffrey. “What is Game Studies?” (2017) Palm Beach State College 

Bryan, Jeffrey. “Teaching Videogames in the Classroom” (2015) University of Texas: Austin 

Bryan, Jeffrey. “Classroom Management” (2009) Southwest Applied Technology Vocational College

& Volunteering


GDIM Program Curriculum Development (2023 - ) UCI, Department of Informatics

Career Education Committee (2023- ) Saddleback College

First Generation Mentor (2023- ) UCI Next Gen Navigators Program

Esports Program Mentor (2020-2023) College and Career Advantage, CapoUSD

Global Game Jam (2018-2020) University of California, Irvine

Campus Innovation Coach (2015-2017) Covington Middle School, AISD

Google CS Mentor (2015-2016) Covington Middle School, AISD

Minecraft Education Influencer (2014-2015) Microsoft Education

Vice President (2009-2010) Center for Inquiry, Southern Utah University

Non-traditional Student Senate Representative (2004-2005) Northwest College


Preparing for Faculty Careers (2023) Graduate Division, University of California, Irvine

Community College Faculty Preparation Certificate (2023) Rancho Santiago Community College District

Certificate in Inclusive Hybrid Teaching (2021) Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine

Arts, Media, and Entertainment (CTE) Clear Teaching Credential (2021 - 2026) California

Information and Communication Technologies (CTE) Clear Teaching Credential (2021 - 2026) California

8-12 Computer Science Teaching Credential (2016-2020) Texas

6-12 Technology Education Teaching Credential (2015-2020) Texas


Conference Fellowship Stipend (2024) University of California, Irvine, Department of Informatics

AGS Travel Grant (2023) University of California, Irvine

Native American Opportunity Plan Scholarship (2023-2024) University of California, Irvine

Summer Dissertation Fellowship (2023) Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine

DTEI Summer Fellowship (2021) University of California, Irvine, Graduate Division

COVID-19 Supply Grant (2021) University of California, Irvine, Graduate Division

Summer Grant (2020) University of California, Irvine, Department of Informatics

Graduate Student Travel Award (2019) University of California, Irvine, Department of Informatics

Department of Education Fellowship (GAANN)(2018 - 2019) University of California, Irvine

Diversity Recruitment Fellowship (2017-2018) University of California, Irvine

Chair’s Award (2017) University of California, Irvine

Dean’s Award (2017) University of California, Irvine

Teacher of Promise (2015) AISD New Teacher of the Year Award, Covington MS

Minecraft Education Influencer (2015) Microsoft Education

AISD CTE Scholarship (2014) Austin Independent School District

CETL Assistantship (2012-2013) Georgia Institute of Technology

ETS Recognition of Excellence Award (2011) Praxis II: English

Academic Scholarship (2008-2010) Southern Utah University

ACT Certificate of Achievement (2009) Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency

Western Undergraduate Exchange Grant (2005-2006) Southern Utah University

Academic Scholarship (2005-2006) Southern Utah University

Leadership Award (2005) Northwest College

Academic Scholarship (2004-2005) Northwest College

First Generation Student Scholarship (2004-2005) Northwest College

Most Outstanding Student Award (2004) Northwest College


The Association for the Study of Play

Nation Association for Media Literacy Education

International Game Developers Association

Higher Education Video Game Alliance

International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts

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