This is Part 12 in my continuing saga of my current iteration of a gamified course. Time to talk about the grading and submission system. I’ve already said that the existing course management systems aren’t up to the task of a truly gamified course. I’m not talking about adding badges or a website theme that looks like World of Warcraft. There are a few systems out there that support that sort of gamification, but I have yet to find something that is customizable in the way I want, has servers in my country, AND doesn’t cost me anything.
As a result, I have created two spreadsheets to handle quest submissions and keeping track of grades. It isn’t automated, but it does work pretty well.
This is the place where you can make your own workload manageable or impossible, and with a larger class (I’ve done this for a class up to 50) adding a few clicks here and there and having to wait for yet another page to load can add up to a substantial overhead in terms of my time. This is typical for Blackboard – and one of the reasons I hate it so.
The two spreadsheets are these:
- A Quest Log – each student gets one. It is editable by them (and me) and this is where they are to record every quest they want me to assess. The basic rule is that if they don’t log it, I don’t mark it. The quest log has a line for every possible item they can submit. In order to submit something, they need to enter the date of submission, what type of item it is (document, image, folder, etc.), and a link to the item. Since all the quest logs are in one folder, I can easily see which ones have been modified. A modified quest cards means they submitted something so I can open it up and see what’s changed. Then I mark it using the score card, and record that it’s been marked in the quest log.
- A Score Card – each student gets one of these too but they can only read it. I edit this one. It is where I record the details of their assessment. Each major quest has a sheet describing all the criteria used to assess that quest. The students can look at it any time they like, but they can’t edit it.
Currently, these take some time to set up at the start of term, but once set up, marking is quite easy. Given that everything (except presentations and such) is submitted using Google Drive & Docs, I can also mark from anywhere.
This year, I’m trying something new – one of the first quests they are given asks them to put links to their scorecards and item inventories in specified locations in their quest log. I’ve also asked them to tell me the name they prefer to go by. They’ll get 10XP for this if they do it by Friday. This serves several purposes:
- It prompts them to access their quest log, scorecard and item inventory.
- It will uncover any issues they may have with access.
- It’s an intro to using spreadsheets (as both the scorecard and quest log are spreadsheets).
- It lets me know how they prefer to be called (their names on the class list may not be what they want to called).
- Let’s them get some ‘points on the board’ so they can feel they are on their way. It’s rare in a class that a student gets marks for something this early in the term.
- It establishes my assessment relationship with them – more on that in the next post).
- It also alerts me to students who may need more support than others (i.e. those that don’t do this.)
Next time, we’ll find out how the assessments can be set up so that it is both efficient for me and still provides meaningful feedback for the students.
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.