Text Image University of Utah Twitch Streaming Professors

University of Utah’s Innovative Twitch Streaming Faculty

This is a list of Professors of Game Design at the University of Utah who are using video game live streaming on Twitch as an Innovative supplement to their teaching and lectures at the top ranked video games program: Entertainment Arts and Entertainment (EAE) located in Salt Lake City Utah.

Gabriel Olson | Check Point Professor

twitch streaming
Gabriel Olson in the Streaming Lab at the University of Utah Campus

Gabriel Olson | Check Point Professor

Gabriel Olson uses Twitch to live stream 2D/3D asset creation in Maya and Photoshop to open up a dialogue on design, game development pipeline and production. Twitch is also used as an extension to the classroom to review projects and provide additional feedback for students. But lately he has been obsessed with playing Super Mario Maker 2.

What is Your Favorite Thing About Streaming?

So much! Probably most of all is the live spontaneous discussions around art, gaming and life. Playing live with my community and talking directly to the games and levels people have created brings me a lot of joy. Last year I developed a course on Live Game Streaming at the University of Utah that was overwhelmingly positive. There is an excitement surrounding Game Streaming that goes way beyond just playing video games online. It is something I look forward to continuing to research.

When Did You Start Streaming?


I began streaming in 2017 after the University of Utah sent me to the 2017 Twitch Con. I was blown away by the passion of the creators there, and what really sealed the deal for me was visiting and talking with the creative streamers who introduced me to the world of live art streaming.

How Has Live Streaming Benefited You as a Professor?

I would like to think the biggest benefit has been for the students. It has provided me with an effective way to play their games live, as they are able to make comments and give feedback. I have personally benefited in further developing my ability to speak to my students as I play and create. Since picking up game streaming in the classroom I believe the quantity and quality of game feedback has grown exponentially. I am a believer that watching somebody play a game can have a bigger impact on game design and flow than only providing written feedback. Twitch facilitates a great platform for giving students both visual, verbal and emotional feedback on the games they are developing.

Dr Ashley Brown | Professor_Ashley

Professor Ashley riding a dolphin while holding a Goomba

Dr Ashley Brown | Professor_Ashley

Dr Ashley Brown is an innovative Twitch Streamer through applying “thinkaloud” methodology to analyze the on boarding techniques and user experience design of popular games.

When Did You Start Streaming?

On Virtual Boy way back in 1982. Kidding. November 2018

What is Your Favorite Thing About Streaming?

Interacting with my audience. They tend to be scientists for my hashtag science stream and so there are always facts flying around. For example, when I streamed Abzu, I had a marine biologist and chemist in chat and they talked about marine ecosystems and how it is impacted by water density. Or, more recently, we played Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and talked about the physics of rollercoasters. I think this is my favorite part of streaming because not only is it bringing a diverse group of thinkers together, but it also speaks to the power of games to generate meaningful discussion about topics completely unrelated to games. I should probably also mention that my stream, at least when I’m by myself, is an example of the Thinkaloud protocol used by games user researchers. I really like being able to show students how to practically implement a user research technique live and in real time. It has been really useful in de-mystifying what games user research is and what it does.

How Has Live Streaming Benefited You as a Professor?

I’ve heard some students say they’ve signed up to my classes because of watching my stream, which is pretty cool. But I think the main way streaming has benefited me is through forcing me to play more games and a wider variety of genres than I would on my own. By playing a new game every week- yeah, I’m a variety streamer which means I’m poor- I’ve expanded my library of game knowledge quite a bit. I have more examples and references to pull from in my User Interface and Game Design classes. In a way, it is professional development.

And it is fun. So fun. 

Ryan Bown | 3DMentor

Occasional Player with his wife and kids

Ryan Bown | 3DMentor

Ryan Bown uses Twitch as a platform to connect the Twitch community to the University by blending  traditional and alternative learning.  He does this by holding open showcases for students, hobbyist, and professionals to share their work.

When Did You Start Streaming?

Summer 2017 ( 3 years ago)

What is Your Favorite Thing About Streaming?

One of my favorite things about streaming is sharing with others how the creative process works and doesn’t work.  I think part of being artist, is approaching something with purpose, but leaving others things to chance.  Allowing others to see the mess unfold is ok, entertaining, and hopefully educational.

How Has Live Streaming Benefited You as a Professor?

It’s a frequent reminder that things take a lot longer to do well then I remember.  It also allows me to try another approach that I might not have time in the classroom. Also, I think its important that current, past, and potential students see me practice my craft as a professional.  That I still make bad art, often! When streaming, we are all artists… there are no titles (professor & students) or roles… we are on the same journey of improving together.  This approach has helped form a community that blends the lines between traditional classroom and digital space.

Brian Salisbury | BrianSalisburyArt

Professor Brian Salisbury

Brian Salisbury | BrianSalisburyArt

Brian Salisbury currently uses Twitch primarily as an extension for his classes that could be seen as an optional digital lab. Long term goals would be to build a Twitch community for digital character creation and animation enthusiasts in conjunction with his YouTube page and other online activity.

When Did You Start Streaming?

A year ago in 2019 for my Animation for Games class.

What is Your Favorite Thing About Streaming?

It is really a great venue for a chance to engage with your students in a more casual setting, where the conversation or activity can lead to areas beyond the scope of the class. There is the potential for entertainment and getting to know people better.

At this point I would have to say that the entertainment is watching me fumble around getting used to the technology and the very idea of streaming! I enjoy flight simulation and hope to provide some future entertainment value by attempting absurd landings and other precarious and ridiculous flight scenarios.

How Has Live Streaming Benefited You as a Professor?

I am accustomed to creating a large quantity of pre-recorded content for my classes. The video is then edited for mistakes and brevity. The editing process requires a lot of time, and I will often find myself caught up in details that may not be the most productive use of my time.

Streaming provides more of an interactive video experience, which the observer can participate in and help guide the discussion. Streaming has really taken me out of my comfort zone and provided me with another tool to enrich the class for students through online platforms that they are using increasingly.

José P. Zagal | ProfessorZagal

Professor José P. Zagal

José P. Zagal | ProfessorZagal

José is currently teaching all of his classes via Twitch (with the occasional use of other tech). He’ll occasionally stream himself playing whatever random game he’s curious about as well.

When Did You Start Streaming?

Some time in March of 2020. Or was it April? Coronavirus forced my hand on that.

What is Your Favorite Thing About Streaming?

Since I mostly stream as part of my teaching, I’ve really enjoyed being able to interact via the chat and not knowing who is on the other side. I often get people watching who aren’t in the class, which is really cool! Also, being able to just type in chat I think allows students to participate more freely and not have to, say, raise their hand and wait to be called on like they would in a regular classroom.

How Has Live Streaming Benefited You as a Professor?

Well, I mentioned a few things earlier, but I think it’s helped me push myself into trying new things. I thing going outside of your your regular area of practice and expertise is always an opportunity to learn and grow, and I like to think that has been the case. I’m still very self-conscious about streaming my regular playing (on the computer), so perhaps that’ll be something to try to dig into a bit more in the future.


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