‘Gamification’ - the use of game elements in non-game contexts - has rapidly become one of the current hottest trends. This presentation presents an overview of what gamification is and isn’t, and reports on the author’s experiences using this approach in a graduate level education class as well as the early results of a comparison between gamified and non-gamified sections of a freshman introduction to computers course. In the current course, the non-gamified sections employ a fairly standard structure that includes various assignments spread out throughout the term, various in-class activities, and both a midterm and final exam. The gamified section organizes all student work into various quests worth from 10 to 200 ‘experience points’ (XP), most of which have no set deadlines. While the quests are effectively equivalent in grade weight to the assignments of the more traditional sections, students in the gamified section start off with a score of zero (0) and every quest they submit contributes to their final grade cumulatively. A final score of 1000 is equivalent to 100%, but the total number of possible XP is 1435. All quests were made available to students at the beginning of term; some could be repeated for XP and included a variety of ‘guild’ (group) quests and ‘solo’ quests; and many quests could be repeated to earn additional XP. The presentation will provide some background on gamification, detail the course structure, highlight early successes and failures, and conclude with strategies for incorporating meaningful gamification in other courses.
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