Gearing Gamificiation (Part I)

A guest post by Theresa Kenney on gamification in #engl205. This post is one of three from Theresa’s mini-series about designing and delivering badges


To award 88 students approximately 5 Badges each takes a functioning system – with easily accessible online platforms to award and display participation and awards. In practice, there were four main gears that allowed for our award-system to work:

  1. The Course Outline and its Learning Outcomes
  2. The creation of the Badges
  3. Creating and maintaining nets for capturing activity
  4. Record keeping

These four gears (which had a few stalling moments) worked together to offer a system to gamify #engl205, while creating a community of scholars that produced lively criticism. This post will cover the first two gears and its follow up of the latter gears in Part II can be found here.

I: The Course Outline and its Learning Outcomes

The purpose of the Badge Requirement (15%) described to the students was to gain micro-credentials that would be displayed on the Course Blog (below) and show off particular skills. So, students were presented with ten possible Badges to earn as their participation grade. These online badges (below) related to the learning outcomes of the course and were made visible on the Course Blog. Michael has described more about this here. In the course outline, the student were given simple instructions:

Collect at least 15 points in five of the ten offered Badge category. Points could be collected through tweeting, blogging, vlogging, or other options suggested in our spreadsheet. The goal was to work up to 15 points to gain one Badge.

For some, this was a dream. For others, a nightmare.

To obtain 100% in the requirement, students just had to earn five badges, with the opportunity to gain a Bonus Badge (a bonus 3%) – if they had an additional 15 points in a single Badge category.

Simple right? I expected students to write or record a few pieces that would encompass many points for various categories. After all, engagement with the texts and literary criticism were the only apparent restraints in the requirement. Due to my experience with a flipped-classroom model, five badges seemed like a breeze.


II: Badges

The Badges had to be tangible awards for the students. But, we also wanted to interweave the various platforms with the Badges. Why?

  • It’s easier to manage numbers and letter-grades online, especially in the Desire2Learn Gradebook.
  • I assumed that students were more likely to participate in an online hub where everyone left their work and comments. This hub would potentially become an inclusive community of Shakespearean scholars.
  • Intertwining posting sites, grades, and award systems arguably is easier for the instructor and the student, in that there’s no confusion or interruptions with submitted activities and grading.

To do this, specifically with UCalgaryBlogs, we designed colourful Badges that would be issued, recorded, and displayed on the Course Blog through Credly.

Each Badge had a snazzy name, full description, and list of possible activities students could engage with. The Badges were stored on the Course Blog to help students see their progress, what I called their ‘badge status’, and to see what other students were up to. This was done through the plugin BadgeOS, that created achievement types, recorded points, stored nominations (for those who earned Badges), and issued Badges to students (through email).

Credly, BadgeOS, and UCalgaryBlogs integrated (with a little human-power) to work as the community hub and the place where students could find all course and Badge information (their Badge totals).


Please Continue reading about our main gears here.

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