College professor becomes the coolest teacher ever by making Portal required learning

Think you’ve had class with the best teacher ever? You won’t after this: College professor Michael Abbott has successfully made Portal  part of the educational requirements at Indiana’s Wabash College. You may want to re-evaluate your own professor’s awesomeness.

The game is now approved for use in a seminar required by all freshmen students where they analyze “classic and contemporary works from all disciplines.” The course is “devoted to engaging students with fundamental questions of humanity from multiple perspectives and fostering a sense of community.”  It teaches students about poetry, the works of Aristotle and Shakespeare, all the regular boring goodness. But now PORTAL has been added to the mix! Woot college.


Abbot had to cross the hurdle of getting his non-gaming colleages to agree to using Portal as resource material for school. His tool of choice for this feat? A book called Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman. After ensuring Wabash’s faculty that Steam wasn’t going to install a virus, he proved Portal to be an example of the “backstage machination and onstage performance” aspect of humanity that Goffman presents.

After Abbot’s students read through the book, they must play through Portal. He calls Portal a “good first impression” and “lead-off hitter” for instructors not used to teaching with video games. He has plans of integrating more video games in his teachings.

And I thought my newest instructor was cool just for using the 360 as an example in a lecture…