Gamifying Course

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Gamification in Course Design:

Gamification in Course Design Kenneth Pierce, Vice Provost for Information Technology and CIO The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA)


Topics Terms Why Look at Gamification? Gamification Elements Comparison: Traditional Course versus Gamified Course The Grading and Feedback System Progress Monitoring Implementation Techniques in Blackboard Course Maintenance

A couple of terms..:

A couple of terms.. Gamification The use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts Serious Games A game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. Making Hard Things in Life Fun

Why Look at Gamification?:

Why Look at Gamification?

Your New Audience:

Your New Audience Millennials (born early ‘80’s to ~2000) Generation Z (born mid-90’s to present day) More electronically social Trophy Kids Multi-tasking Gamers

Really Popular Games:

Really Popular Games

Industry Gets it!:

Industry Gets it!

The key goals we are trying to achieve are …:

The key goals we are trying to achieve are … Motivation Engagement

Two Types of Motivation:

Two Types of Motivation Intrinsic Motivation When a person takes on an activity because of the nature of the activity Extrinsic Motivation Behavior undertaken in pursuit of some award, recognition, or to avoid a punishment

Gamification Elements:

Gamification Elements

Key Principles:

Key Principles Goals Rules Conflict, Competition, or Cooperation Time Reward Structures Feedback Levels Replay or Do Over

PBL’s: The Bread and Butter of Gamification:

PBL’s: The Bread and Butter of Gamification Points Badges Leaderboards

Course Comparisons:

Course Comparisons

The Traditional Course:

The Traditional Course Book Read, attend class, take tests Start with a 100 and take away points for imperfection Student has very little control over what they learn (No decision making capability) No competition or motivational factors designed in the course outside of the grading Very schedule driven – everyone does pretty much the same thing at the same pace No social aspects Grading is done in bursts (usually) Assess and move on design

The Gamified Course:

The Gamified Course Varied Learning Methods outside of tests and homework Uses gaming elements to deliver part of the experience Allows students to make more personal learning decisions (more self-directed) More student-paced than class-paced Increased use of social interaction and tools Grading scheme is based on points earned (cumulative) Grading is done continually Your goal is to provide a pathway to mastery for each student

The Reference Course:

The Reference Course For this presentation, I am referencing an existing course: IS5003 – Introduction to Information Systems It is 100% online I have been teaching variations of this course for 6 years.

Navigation Redux:

Navigation Redux





Student Decision-Making:

Student Decision-Making

Keeping Students on Track:

Keeping Students on Track

The Grading System:

The Grading System

Near Real-Time Grading:

Near Real-Time Grading Requires you to think about different grading options and strategies Grading must happen in a timely fashion (immediately if possible) Since Students are completing assignments at different times, you will be grading different assignments all the time. Gives the instructor some variability by not having to grade 30 of the same assignments at one time.

Sample Grading Rubric:

Sample Grading Rubric

The Grading Chart:

The Grading Chart

What students say…:

What students say…


Comments I liked that you had to "earn" points and I believe the method was fair. You definitely earn your grade by the effort that you put in. This was my first experience with an online course and it was much better than I expected. This course is very good. I was initially disappointed when I found out that it would be administered online, as I previously thought online courses were a bit watered down. I quickly learned that was not the case! I came to find this course quite rigorous and I will walk away from the class with an EXCELLENT knowledge of Information Systems. …the leaderboard was entertaining and helpful. It allowed me to anonymously compete with my classmates while, at the same time, provided me with the information to assure I was progressing at the required pace and not falling behind. This was a great assistance for my first online course. There were at least two uses (and probably more) that I had for the leaderboard. The first one was the obvious one, to keep up with my progress throughout the course. I utilized the leaderboard, roadmap and the grading explanation to make sure that I was least meeting the minimum every week. This was very helpful. The second use I had for the leaderboard was for motivation. I was a little worried at the beginning of the course as to whether or not I could keep up with the rest of the group. The leaderboard provided me with a goal each week and to try and stay towards the top. For myself, it was definitely a benefit to have. When I first saw the leaderboard on the webpage, I didn’t understand what it was. It was not until I took a couple of the quizzes and saw my bar move up that I understood. I found the tool extremely useful in gauging where I was at not only in my grade but also my progress in the course. I think this would be a really great tool for other courses to implement into their blackboard pages as well. The leaderboard is a great motivational tool. I feel that in this kind of setting where we are very much on our own and have to maintain our own motivation, the leaderboard helped to make the experience fun, competitive, and it also was helpful reminder of how far you have to go. I am very competitive, so seeing others’ progress kicked my own progress into gear, at least in the beginning. The competitive effect of the board seemed to wear off for me probably about halfway through, but I still found it very useful as a way to see how far I had come and how much I had left to accomplish.

And One of the most interesting ones…:

And One of the most interesting ones… Ahh , yes – the leaderboard. As a quota bearing sales rep on a monthly number, I am too familiar with the stack racking leaderboard. Every week my leadership drops an email with my month to date number along with every other reps number in descending order to the whole segment for all to view. In great months, this is great - In bad months, not so much. So, when I saw the leaderboard on the blackboard page in the IS class my competitive side said to myself, “well I definitely don’t want to be at the bottom of this!” while my veteran sales side said “ aaaaaawe man.” I was wondering what the purpose of the leaderboard happed to be. Was it there to show me how behind I was or there as a guide for me to set goals to reach the next level. I felt this display brought both sentiments out of me. While I hated being at the bottom for the majority of the semester, part of me knew that I would eventually rise through the ranks as I completed each assignment. That sense of accomplishment and advancement is awesome and I have never felt that in any class I have ever taken. The leaderboard played to my competitive side and I have to say I am now curious where I will land at the end of the semester. I have resided at the bottom and I am now making a late run to rise through the ranks and I have to say I like the feeling of opening blackboard and seeing that I have passed another classmate from completing an assignment. This leaderboard will get the best out of your students and I wholeheartedly agree with its implementation.

The Ongoing Gamified Course:

The Ongoing Gamified Course

Extending the Course over time:

Extending the Course over time Due to its design, gamified courses can usually be easily extended to expand student options, and / or to adjust for changes in the subject matter

Thinking about the experience:

Thinking about the experience Since the process of Gamification requires you to think about the experience of the student a bit differently, your thoughts on course changes will begin to focus more on the experience.

It is a lot of work!:

It is a lot of work! It will take some effort to convert a course from traditional structure to a game-base structure It will be very challenging for you to implement the “do over” aspects of a gamified experience Some of the necessary mechanics in Blackboard exist and we have experience with them. Not all courses will lend themselves to this methodology



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