Presented at the 15th Annual Conference on World Wide Web Applications, Cape Town, September 2013
The University of Cape Town offers a co-curricular Global Citizenship programme providing students with opportunities to engage critically with contemporary global debates and reflect on issues of citizenship and social justice. The required learning activities include writing blog posts on the course site, participating in voluntary community service and creating small campaigns on campus. While there is enthusiastic engagement with activities, it remains challenging to monitor and assess student participation. Additionally these learning experiences are sufficiently different to academic courses that students remark on the difficulties in knowing what is being required. Over the past four years we have developed a successful learning environment for the programme and now needed to consider a redesign. A widely discussed strategy to acknowledge skills and achievements developed through informal learning involves the use of badges and related gamification ideas. Badges can provide a focus and motivation, and provide a mechanism to help compile a portfolio of evidence. Gamification involves using game-thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context to engage people. These are typically employed to increase motivation and participations. We draw on experience redesigning a Global Citizenship short course to explore the emerging design process and the possible applications and limitations of gamification to recognise informal learning in a university context. The Appreciative Inquiry stages guided the engagement with tutors and lecturers to enhance what is already being done well in the Global Citizenship programme.