This is Part 6 in my continuing saga of my current iteration of a gamified course.
In a course where assessment is primarily attainment based rather than time-based, and that uses criterion-referenced rather than norm-referenced measures, getting the learning tasks (assignments, quests, etc.) right is key.
I give my students lots of choices when it comes to how they earn enough points to get the grade they want. For simplicity, I decided that 10 XP (experience points) would equal 1%. That means that a perfect 100% takes 1,000 XP. My school has an institutionally determined mapping of % to letter grades, so this allows me and my students to see where they stand easily. In most courses, anything below a certain % – like 50% – is a fail. Since everyone starts off with a score of 0, this would mean that they would appear to have an ‘F’ for a good portion of the term. That doesn’t seem reasonable to me, and it’s certainly not encouraging. To address that, I set up a variety of levels so that students could see themselves making progress. In the grade sheets (I call them Score Cards), the display of the letter grade is grayed out until they get past the ‘F’. I want them focusing on their score and their level – at least for the first part of the course.
Notice that there is a level ABOVE 1,000 XP. Given the wide variety of tasks they can do, it is possible for them to end up with more than 1,000 XP at the end of term.
This is a key aspect of this gamified design.
We’ll come back to this later and look at it again. For now, it’s enough to know that students start off with a score of 0, and everything they do adds to their score. There is nothing in my class that can result in their losing XP. If they do an inadequate job on a particular quest, they will get less than a perfect score – but they will still get some points. They almost always have the option of fixing their work and resubmitting it for reassessment (students rarely take me up on that offer), or they can do other things to make up for the points.
Next time, we’ll look at the quests themselves. Part of getting ready for the new edition of the course is to look over the quests and see what needs to be adjusted.
If you are interested in following my course journal, watch for the “Gamification 101” heading.
Also, for more information on gamification, check out my website here.