Cole is a professor of Game Design and Interactive Media (GDIM) at West Virginia University and the founder and director of MonRiverGames, a non profit 501 (c) (3) community game studio. Her work is best seen through a producer's lens within both of these entities. Over a hundred projects she has led, managed, and facilitated can be viewed collectively on the GDIM at WVU itch page.
Cole often takes the role of the producer and director in the classroom as well as studio setting. In both settings, she manages the ideation, process, and completion of projects. She has led very small groups that start at 2 individuals to larger groups of up to 15. Using a Scrum-like process, cycles for classes are typically 4 weeks long while the cycle for the studio is approximately 15 weeks. If a member of the studio or classroom needs help in figuring out how to do their task she often meets with them one-on-one to assist. The projects she is most proud of her teams' accomplishment in the short duration they usually have with her are: Divine Wrath, Spy Cats, Lightkeeper, Purple House, Yokai-Kaiden, and Appalachian Aria. Most of these can be played on the on GDIM at WVU itch page which can be accessed also by clicking on this section's link.
This is Cole's 10th year instructing at the university level and 14th at the secondary/elementary levels. A few of the schools she has worked for include West Virginia University, Penn State Behrend (Erie, PA), Allegheny College, University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, Lincoln Park Arts, Erie School District, and the Crawford County School District. According to her standard course, workshop, camp, and panel audience size, she has instructed over 3,500 students so far. She actively maintains her K-12 Arts teaching certification and all related clearances. She continues to pursue additional knowledge and instructional methods in order to best assist her students. Cole not only instructs but also designs instruction for a variety of methods- remote synchronous, remote asynchronous, hybrid, and fully in person. This includes individual, small group, and large group instruction.Click on this section's link download her resume.
Cole was trained as an artist at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (now PennWest) as well as Goddard College in Vermont. Her undergraduate degree is in Applied Media Arts while her graduate degree is in Interdisciplinary Arts. These degrees encouraged digital, interdisciplinary, and community based arts exploration. In doing so, they set the perfect foundation to be able to instruct learners in game development. They also instilled a strong sense of service to the community and flexibility in the creation of art. This flexibility understands that media is merely a tool to communicate your message. The style of art will need to change based on what you are communicating. Included in this portfolio are projects in which Cole was the primary artist, as well as level designer. Occasionally, she programs her games as well. As an artist, it is often necessary to specify your exact style, but as a producer, director, and instructor it is more important to be able to communicate, manage, and inspire your team. This often necessitates an interdisciplinary and practical understanding of all roles. Click on this section's link to watch Cole's TedXErie talk about her artwork that provided their backdrop.
Heather Cole, Prof Cole, or Profesaurus Cole (Social Media handle) enjoys traveling, weird and unusual eclectic etcetera, and playing games with her family and friends. She's an avid mushroom forager and hiker. The games she enjoys range from the puzzle to rpg, but always have an interesting mechanic or play. She enjoys the making process- whether that sways towards the arts, games, or various other craft pursuits. She delights in sharing her knowledge with others and attaining more knowledge from those she meets. She believes time is our most important asset, and time spent well in the company of others is time well spent.