Abbott explained the course -- a required freshman seminar, mind you -- is titled "Enduring Questions," and sees students studying "classic and contemporary works from multiple disciplines" while discussing "fundamental questions of humanity." Abbott himself pitched the puzzle-platformer to his non-gaming colleagues after reading games writer Daniel Johnson's essay comparing Portal to sociologist Erving Goffman's Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. As both works focus on the conflict between "backstage machination and onstage performance," the college's board approved Portal for the course.
Of course, Abbott also decided on pitching Portal due to its accessibility, brevity and ... well, its general excellence. "In the end, I chose Portal because I thought it would make a good start," Abbott explained. "A good first impression. A lead-off hitter, if you will." We're inclined to agree.