Gamification in higher ed



  • PirateQueenPirateQueen Registered User regular
    We've used clickers a few times in large lectures - would you recommend using them as part of gamification?

    (though it seems we won't get to have any face-to-face sessions in my class next semester sadly, so...)

    TY again for your advice!

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    A lot of gamification elements in the classroom rely on clicker apps. I've seen some projects that did an escape room as test review prep, which was also pretty cool and well received.

  • PirateQueenPirateQueen Registered User regular
    : 0

    An escape room?
    That is awesome!

    Do you maybe have a link about this?
    Would love to try it once we can teach in class again (fingers crossed for 2021)

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited June 2020
    Hey so I finally have some time! Lets post something substantial:

    Here is a superficial link about escape rooms that will get you started on the idea:

    You might want to pop into JSTOR for some studies as well. For the last two years I've been keeping up with a Psychology Classroom for GenPsych at one of our partner schools that uses it for test prep as they present on their findings at our annual conferences. Essentially you get a full escape room experience at your "table" (which can be an actual table, or a cluster of 4-6 student desks, depending on your room setup). Students are given a whole pile of materials in an envelope to serve as the "escape room" and then go through the puzzles which are all related to the upcoming exam. As they solve the puzzles, each group keeps a "journal log" of their experience which answers each puzzle and then turns that in to the professor at the end to validate that they did solve all the puzzles with the right psychology question answers.

    There are rewards, of course. The process is optional and students can choose to spend the session in free study instead and not come to class. Those that do come and participate get increasing rewards based on the order they turn in the final answer. Everyone who completes gets like 5 points of extra credit for the 50 point exam, the first student group gets an additional +1 percentage point on the class grade, and the top three groups (out of about 7 usually) also get some candy.

    The trick is creating a narrative that makes it fun. For example, one exam is focused on the history of the profession and the escape room is flavored as a mad scientist whose sinister plan depends on understanding his codes, all based on the upcoming test answers. That's the piece that changes it from a tedious set of chores to a competitive game to solve a crime and a great means to have active memory to recall what you did the previous week when completing the exam. Knowing that you needed to know the dates of some of the worst psychological ethical breaches in history to stop an upcoming crime makes it much more likely to recall those dates, etc. At least, that's what their feedback and testing has shown.

    On clickers, using them for check-in with an attendance start "quiz" is a great way to do a few things:
    • Register attendance
    • Get students engaged with some personal value questions "what did you think about X in the reading?" and such. These sorts of questions prime the pump for discussion later in the classroom.
    • Get some valuable survey data for assessment. Not human research, per se, but more of the administrative assessment things you might want to know about your students for preparing things like themes for your escape rooms, how the students are preparing their notes with "suggestion" questions that give three great study tips and one "whelp I didn't study question." These should all be anonymous with just total counts, you never want to call out an individual student in this way.

    On leaderboards, that's the main thing I would suggest against. While it sounds like a great idea, and while you are in the UK so FERPA doesn't apply, it is equivalent to showing students the grades of their peers which has been shown to motivate only the high-performing students and tends to create a negative reinforcement loop for the murky middle and below. Students who get behind once, due to the leaderboard, are much more likely to just giveup as a reminder that they failed and have no way of recovering to the extent of the students that came into the class a bit better prepared. It tends to be a bad idea, and there are a large number of studies about this you can find in a casual library articles search.

    My job is focused on integrative learning, specifically. And one of the things we stress is the interplay between intentional learning, high-impact practices (in this case, your gamified assignments), and meta-cognitive reflection as a three part loop that drives good student outcomes. If you don't already have it in your curriculum, I strongly suggest having an assignment at the beginning of the semester where students set personal goals for themselves in relation to both the class content AND their future careers, and then connect back to that promp regularly in your exams and gamified assignments with short reflection questions asking them how what they did connects to that goal, their career, and their professional and civic lives. It makes them regularly check back in with the "so what" of the content and keeping that part fresh in their mind can really lead to better performance, resilience, and motivation to move through the degree and persist to graduation.

    The last thing I would suggest is that you create a student advisory board to assist with your course. Get in contact with students each term and ask if they would be willing to meet virtually once a semester after they are done with your class to provide feedback and suggestions about what worked in a course and what didn't, suggestions about what things would have been helpful in a following semester (as they will now be further along in their studies), and what things would have been better to stress earlier in preparation for careers (once they graduate). Typically you'll only get 2-3 students a year to join and attrition rates are high, but a lot of folks are happy to be part of the improvement of education and it can be a great way to really get direct information on how to improve from your students themselves, and in a way that is much more substantial than just end-of-term qualtrics surveys. Typically, the students that end up on course advisory boards are very happy to continue as it serves as a great networking opportunity with their peers and folks farther along in their careers. Some of the course advisory boards we helped set up in Creative Writing and Forensic Science (Chemistry) have become those majors' primary recruitment tools for local jobs and are very sought after positions, though are exceptional cases.

    Enc on
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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited June 2020
    This is a rubric criterion we use to evaluate one of the high-impact designations I manage. Courses like the one you are setting up typically go for these for university recognition at my school, and this rubric is how we determine if they have the rigor to meet the criteria:
    1.1 Course objectives are well defined and meaningfully align with the chosen course designation. HIP assignments are clearly linked to course objectives.
    1.2 Syllabus offers meaningful HIP assignments that meet course designation criteria. HIP assignments constitute 30% or more of the graded coursework. (for you, @PirateQueen , this part is probably not-essential. We have some regulations we have to meet for some definitions in my state and accreditation region)
    1.3 HIP assignment(s) delineate easily comprehensible assessment criteria that connect to student learning outcomes.

    2.1 Structured assignments that allow students to articulate short- and long- term goals and to develop a personalized integrative-learning plan to meet those goals.
    2.2 Opportunities to adapt and apply discipline-specific and/or transferrable skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies to solve difficult problems or explore complex issues.
    2.3 Opportunities to connect core knowledge and skills of the course to real-world professional and civic contexts.
    2.4 Student collaborations and/or interactions that include diverse experiences and/or perspectives.
    2.5 Opportunities to communicate knowledge, skills, and qualifications to diverse audiences both within and beyond the university.
    2.6 Structured reflection assignments that connect past experiences to ongoing professional and civic goals.

    The 2.1-2.6 metrics are the real big, meaningful ones for courses with a HIP (high-impact practice) component that is focused on integrative-learning. 1.1-1.3 are just good, common sense ways to build your course so that it makes clear sense to an 18 year old student audience.

    Enc on
  • PirateQueenPirateQueen Registered User regular
    That is so helpful @Enc , thanks so much!

    Now I'm going to take some time to carefully read your posts and take notes ; )

  • PirateQueenPirateQueen Registered User regular
    Quick update:

    Meeting with colleagues from IT went well.
    Turns out they have already programmed virtual escape rooms (or breakout rooms) for several other people and can easily do it for my class. Yess!

    Mind if I steal your evil scientist plot @enc? : )

    Also, love your idea of forming a student advisory board. We have student representatives who give feedback on the program overall, but not for specific classes. Will have to try that next year!

    About demonstrating teaching effectiveness:

    I'm a bit worried about this because the intro psych class ran so well face-to-face the last 3 years (with over 90% student satisfaction, high attendance, high pass rates).
    So, showing a significant improvement as a result of gamification seems difficult/impossible

    Unless we can create an escape room so epic we end up with a 100% pass rate & 100% satisfaction
    : D

    Thanks again for all your help!

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Percentage increases don't have to be dramatic to show success. 2-3% can often be dramatic if the N is high enough.

    And of course, anything I share here is meant to be used. Go wild.

  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited June 2020
  • PirateQueenPirateQueen Registered User regular
    Have not seen that Reddit thread before - that is so helpful! Thanks @mts : )

  • PirateQueenPirateQueen Registered User regular
    edited December 2020
    Just wanted to follow up and let you know this semester went really well for me

    I had a safe, enjoyable semester filming lectures and holding seminars via Zoom

    In the end, I added gamification in my BSc an MSc psych classes as optional activities (and it seems around half my students completed and enjoyed it)

    For the first time ever, I got s perfect 100% student satisfaction score from my online MSc students (?! : D : )) and I'm sure the gamified activities made a big difference - so big thanks to @ceres, @bsjezz , @schuss , @Ringo , @Burnage, @mts and @Enc for all their valuable ideas and advice
    (I hope I haven't forgotten to list anyone everyone contributed - if so please let me know and will correct)

    The undergrads enjoyed it too, was so nice to see many of them opted for full-time online learning next semester and will be safe from COVID. So, you guys, you may have literally saved some lives by making online classes actually good : P

    Thanks so much**

    PirateQueen on
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  • RingoRingo He/Him Bury me at Lone Tree DenRegistered User regular
    Congrats on an excellent semester!

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