I gave a presentation to the Temple U. Fox School of Business AIS student professional organization today called Gamification and Engagement. We had a great discussion focused on applying things they like and dislike about games to the design of effective gamification systems.
A huge thank you to Jessica Lawlor for her visit to my class last evening!
Heard about this via email today. Looks like a fabulous event.
Temple University is delighted to host the AT&T Temple Edutech Hackathon on April 5th and 6th at Alter Hall to anyone interested in creating mobile and web applications that can help impact Philadelphia’s education community. Anyone at Temple University can participate this first Hackathon at Temple University.
AT&T, Temple University’s Urban Apps & Maps, Jarvus Innovations, andTechnically Philly are keeping the momentum moving after TechCamp Education: Philadelphia, where nearly 20 projects were started that could impact students, educators and parents in Philadelphia. We want Temple Community to join the rest of Philadelphia civic hacking community to solve REAL education problems identified by the School District and Philadelphia Housing Authority.
The Hackathon is generously supported by AT&T’s Developer Program team, which organizes hackathons across the U.S. They offer prizes, experience, support and more to help you learn about new technologies and crank out innovative apps in just 24 hours. The event is also supported by the Institute of Business and Information Technology at Temple University who provides food and drink on Saturday.
This supercharged event begins Friday night with lightning talks where technology sponsors and educators introduce developers to exciting new platforms or tools to build smarter and faster. By asking the question “what if…” attendees are able to explore the fringes of technology and the physical world to depths that you and I have only dreamed about. Bring a friend as you travel down this path of app creation and work collectively to turn your concepts into reality.
Since your will working in a team, ANY Temple Students, developer or not, will be able to contribute to this exciting event. Furthermore, the event will provide an incredible opportunity to build network with leading app developers and designers in the region.
We Supply: Quick presentations and code samples that help to bootstrap your hacking, food to keep you going, and caffeine to keep you awake. Along with technical senseis to assist you in building faster, smarter, and with new tools.
You Bring: Your laptop, skills & ideas. Come with a collaborative, team focused mindset and/or team up in advance on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ via the #atthack hashtag. Whether you are a backend person and code in Ruby/PHP/.NET or are a designer and only work with Illustrator, you are invited to attend this event. Every group needs a good balance of talent and your development skills are needed!
Event Schedule. The following is a list of the weekends agenda:
- 06PM – Friday Evening - Kickoff event with drinks, networking and dinner!
- 07PM – Friday Evening - Lightning talks from the guest speakers listed below
- 08PM – Friday Evening - Idea pitches and team formation
- 10AM – Saturday Morning - The fun continues with an all day hackathon. Work with the teams that you formed on Friday night to produce the app spec’d out the night before. Senseis will be available throughout the entire event to help you code up your solution. App submissions will be accepted throughout the day with a deadline of 6PM.
- 06PM – Saturday Evening - Promptly at 6PM, teams will begin pitching their ventures with direct immediate feedback from a panel of judges. Finalists will be chosen who will compete for prizes later during the April 23rd Philly Tech Week Demo presentation event “Switch Philly.”
- April 8 – Wednesday - at Devnuts: Teams will continue to polish their projects for the Philly Tech Week demo presentation, where prizes will be awarded.
- April 15 – Wednesday - at Devnuts: Teams will continue to polish their projects for the Philly Tech Week demo presentation, where prizes will be awarded.
- April 22 – Monday - at Temple University: Urban Apps & Maps Studios Open House. All Temple Teams will present their work and Temple Award will be awarded to the best Temple Student projects.
- April 23 – Tuesday - Switch Philly Demo Presentation night: During Philly Tech Week 2013 presented by AT&T, the hard work spent during the months of March and April will be rewarded with a demo presentation event where prizes will be awarded to the best education projects.
Prizes. The following prizes are experiential and geared towards accelerating you towards a successful business as well as expanding your network and industry knowledge:
- Grand Prize – $5,000 startup grant, plus business services provided in-kind from local partners (TBD)
- Idea Prize – One free month of Azure (no CC required) and Azure Services
Together with the generous support from Temple University Computer Services, we are able to offer additional awards to all Temple students :
- 1st Place Temple Student Prize: $2,500
- 2nd Place Temple Student Prize: $1,500
- 3rd Place Temple Student Prize: $1,000Judging Criteria. Apps will be judged based on the criteria below and weighted accordingly.
- 33% Weight – Concept
- 33% Weight – Development progress
- 33% Weight – Implementation opportunity
Yes, it’s that time of year again, time to nominate a Fox IT Awards leadership award winner!
Is there an administrator, faculty member, or student who you feel made a significant contribution to the students and extended community of the MIS department during the calendar year 2011?Complete the nomination form for a deserving recipient TODAY!
Student Leadership - Awarded annually to a student who has made a significant contribution to the students and extended community of the MIS department.
Eligibility: All full time undergraduate MIS students, all full and part-time MIS graduate students.
Faculty Leadership - This award is given annually to a faculty member who has made a significant contribution to the students and extended community of the MIS department.
Eligibility: Full and part-time faculty who have been employed at Temple for at least two semesters including the current term.
Administrative Leadership - This award is given annually to an administrator who has made a significant contribution to the students and extended community of the MIS department.
Eligibility: Full time administrators of the Fox School of Business and Management (or other Temple U. administrators who have been employed at Temple for at least two semesters including the current term.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter!
Back in Spring, 2011 I decided to implement gamification for my Social Media Innovation course at Temple University Fox School of Business. Each semester I’ve add more components or tweaked the implementation of our Social Media Innovation Quest.
Students can instantly earn points and badges for creating a blog, creating blog posts, commenting, and a handful of surprise WordPress-related activities. There’s also several dozen more complex activities they can submit for review, with those achievements being granted every 24-48 hours.
The class website displays a leaderboard with the twelve highest scoring students. Finally, at the end of each weekly class meeting students an even larger list of students are recognized for “leveling-up.”
Here are three key lessons I have learned through student feedback.
1) Students report that the experience is fun and motivates them to do more work:
It adds an extra element of fun, which I think engages class more so than not. Definitely not time wasted.
I think this approach works well. I know for me personally it pushes me to do more activities and comment on posts more. I am not sure why that it but it does make things a little more competitive.
There is a lot of information and tasks to be done in this course. With that said I enjoy the gamification aspect of it because it gives these tasks we need to complete a sense of urgency and fun.
I loved this course and I enjoyed everything about it. … After learning how to get the information it was definitely motivational to see your name on the leader board even if it was for just a week or two.
I really enjoyed the gamifying of this course. It motivated me to be more up-to-date with the course materials. I just think it’s a nice little morale boost to have this kind of approach to a class. Although I’m not at the top of the leaderboard, it’s still fun to see how far I’ve come along. Gamifying also helped me become more proactive in my work.
The gamifying approach this course took made it so much more enjoyable for me to learn as a student. Not only was I learning, but I was earning points while learning the content.
Don’t change anything. This has been my favorite course at Temple. It was so enjoyable that the class came to be a hobby of mine.
2) The biggest boosts to motivation come from competing with other students, a sense of accomplishment, and recognition.
I wish more professors would gameify their courses. Gamification enables students to be academically competitive without accessing each other’s grades, and it’s my belief that it encourages students to participate more.
I think it adds a little more fun to the class. Although it isn’t something that I feel like I need to check every day it is a cool feeling to get points for assignments. I always get a little excited when I get an email that I unlocked an achievement.
I really like it. I like classes where I am able to turn things in on my own time. I am good at setting my own pace, so I was extremely successful at completing all of the projects in a timely manner without having to cram. I think gamifying the course is a great idea because it lets you know how you are doing compared to the rest of the class as well as who’s blog to check out as an example of an activity.
I personally like the gamifying approach because this particular course involves a great deal of outside the classroom work. Virtually all of our assignments are digital, so providing an interactive feedback system that keeps the students attention is helpful.
The badges helped me track what I had done and also provided reassurance that what I had submitted was received.
I very much enjoyed the freedom and flexibility that was offered with this class with the incentive that came from the Quest. It encouraged me to be a bit more aggressive, and who doesn’t like getting class recognition for your hard work??
3) There is a small percentage of students who do not find gamification motivational. (My best estimate is this is up to 5-10% of the students who have taken my course.) Even then, their view tends to be more neutral than negative.
I don’t like it because I am not into gaming but; I do appreciate your attempt to explore new options in order to keep up with technological trends. However, I don’t think you should do away with it in the future if it helps to engage students who otherwise wouldn’t be.
Honestly I didn’t pay much attention to it. I had so much else to worry about that being on a leader board didn’t seem to be the top priority for the class. My main goal was to complete the assignments I had to complete.
In summary, it has been a rewarding experience to gamify a college course. I think there is great potential for adding gamification to classes, particularly when coupled with self-directed learning.
- This post is an update to an earlier description of the Gamification of MIS3538.
- The quotes are from students who took the class in Fall, 2012 and represent a full cross-section of performance (e.g., low-, medium-, and high-achievers). Average class size has been roughly 50 students per semester
- Press coverage of the gamfication of this course is available here.
Gamification in Higher Education
Is it possible to use gamification to motivate students above and beyond grades?
These students in my class certainly think so:
“The Quest was an amazing experience. Being able to score myself really helped me stay competitive with my site and made me do things now as opposed to later because I feared losing my rank.”
“I thought this was a great idea on Professor Johnson’s end, mainly because it was a friendly competitive challenge, and really engaged everyone to take part in it. Personally, I struggled in the beginning to keep up with other students, but since I had quite a few posts I was able to get myself on the leaderboard most of the time. There was definitely a peak in the middle of the semester where I really focused on posts and activities. Even though I never made it to the top, I was happy I made it to the leaderboards. Overall I thought that it was a great idea, and I have also noted the experience with other teachers to maybe incorporate it with other classes.”
“The Quest helped to motivate projects outside of the classroom. Quest points absolutely made me do projects in a timely matter so that I did not look like a slacker in front of the class. I thought it was a great idea to announce winners this let students know if they were slacking. Originally when the Quest started I was not ranked my goal starting out in the class was to make the leader board. By the end I was ranked [in top third]. The Quest without a doubt motivated me more to do more projects.”
“Participating in the Quest, what I learned was that you have to be dedicated and be active for your blog to be successful. In order to be on the Quest leader board, you had to be active and keep up with the activities given. During the first couple weeks I was on the leader board. However, after slowing down my activity on my blog, I was no longer on the leader board and was not on it since. The professor said that although being on the leader board does not equal an A for the course, people who are on the leader board generally do better in the class. I can see how this would hold true because being constantly active is one part of what makes a good blog. I believe that not being on the leader board directly correlated with the amount of effort that I put into the activities at that time. If I had kept with the activities as they were given and stayed on the leader board, then I could have had a better blog overall. “
“The Quest” leaderboard is a great idea for operating a class. Even though there’s no grading benefit to participating, it served as a great checklist for logging which social media activities each user completed. … Additionally, human beings are born with a competitive nature, so even though there’s no tangible reward for participating in “The Quest”, students still have a desire to compete to be the best among their peers. … Going over the leaderboard at the end of class in front of everyone also helps motivate students to participate. People love attention so this is a great opportunity to get noticed in front of a large audience. “
(All quotes from end of semester reports by students in Spring, 2012 section of MIS3538: Social Media Innovation.)
Social Media Innovation Quest
I recently completed my third semester teaching Temple University’s Fox School of Business MIS3538: Social Media Innovation course with the Social Media Innovation Quest as a gamification element.
I developed The Quest in order to encourage self-paced learning through a series of required and self-selected activities that got progressively more difficult. Through a combination of the WordPress Achievements plug-in and Google Forms, students:
- Earn points and badges,
- View their standing on a leader board, and
- Receive weekly recognition for “leveling-up”.
As the student feedback attests, well designed gamification can work in a college class room. In the rest of this blog post I’ll lay out the major elements of The Quest along with why I think they work.
Introducing the Quest
The Quest starts at the beginning of the semester, with points accruing to students with activities beginning on the first day of class. In the course syllabus, it is introduced as follows:
To help motivate students to maximize learning opportunities in this course, we also run a Social Media Innovation Quest (hereafter, The Quest). This is a “scoring” system that awards Quest Points (QPs), badges, and levels for class-related achievements. Students who gain sufficient QPs will be promoted to higher Quest levels and will rise to the top of the leaderboard!
Quest points, badges, levels, and the leaderboard are for fun!
Lots of Quest Points, numerous badges, a high level, and the top spot on the leaderboard are no guarantee of a high course grade. Nonetheless, past experience shows that the number of QPs earned and strong course performance usually goes hand-in-hand. Therefore, during the semester your QPs do provide one assessment, albeit imperfect, of your course performance to date.
The class instructor solely determines your grade based on completed work, assignment requirements, and grading criteria. Pay attention to the formal assignment requirements as posted on the Course Instructor Blog and expectations stated on the blog and in the course.
The building block for the quest is Quest Points. There are primarily earned by completing activities that are also reflected in a student’s participation grade (20% of final grade) or the major individual assignment grade (40% of final grade).
The Achievements plug-in automatically keeps track of how many posts and comments students make on the Course Participation Hub blog (all 45 students had authoring privileges at the blog). I set it up so that students earn points (and badges) for their first three posts and for pre-set levels of comments (e.g., 1st, 5th, 10th, 20th, and on up to 100th). To keep things interesting, the comment levels are not entirely predictable and some of the achievements are even hidden until earned.
There are many ways that students can earn points (and badges). Every couple of weeks during the semester I release more activities. Once a student completed an activity, they enter it at the Activity Submission Form. I review submitted activities multiple times a week and either (a) grant the achievement or (b) provide feedback on what still needs to be done.
(If I had an unlimited budget for enhancing my “courseware,” I would create a system to release new activities individually based on which activities had already been completed. Also, I would have some way to have all achievements machine-graded in order to provide immediate feedback. If anyone wants to fund such an effort, please contact me!)
Leaderboards and Leveling-Up
On the course website there is a leaderboard showing the very top performing students (Top 10 out of 45). Compared to a typical course where the highest performing students have little motivation to achieve beyond an “A” level, the Top 10 leaderboard provides constant reinforcement to highly motivated students to go well beyond the course requirements.
The leaderboard promoted at the end of every (weekly) class meeting serves a different purpose. It does not show point totals, instead it shows a much larger number of students grouped by level. The cut-off for making this leaderboard tracked the pace for “meeting course expectations” (roughly a B grade).
Also, instead of implicitly rewarding only the top performers, everyone who made significant efforts that week is recognizing for “leveling-up” to a new performance band. This provides motivation not just for the very top performing students, but important feedback for everyone in the course.
Why does it work?
I find this system very useful because it served as a strong motivator for me to stay not only on top of the material, but also to be on the leader board. As a student who consistently appeared on the leader board through the whole semester, I must acknowledge that the level of satisfaction I gained each time I moved a level up, strongly influenced my course performance and the amount of effort I put into completion of all activities.
I would say that The Quest is important because of the way it ties everything together and incentivizes getting your work done. On top of that, it motivates some students to go above and beyond, which enriches the class experience for the rest of us. Over the course of the semester, the participation hub got better and better with comments and people replying to comments. Even though it was for a grade, you can’t just make up stuff in the comments – you have to put some thought into what you’re saying (I may have put too much thought into mine, but I felt good after I gave my opinions on things which I felt were well explained).
The Quest Leader board was the best aspect of the social media class. Having a friendly competitive atmosphere that motivated all of us to learn as much as we could about social media was awesome. There were some activities within the leadership board that I wish we received a tutorial on first but I guess the best way to learn something new is to actually try it out and fail a couple of times.
MIS3538: Social Media Innovation is an upper-level elective offered by the Management Information Systems Department in the Fox School of Business.
This week U.S.News & World Report announced its 2013 Best Graduate Schools rankings. There’s some great news here for our department:
In specialty rankings, Fox graduate programs offered by the Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) were ranked No. 22 in the country, based on a peer assessment of deans and directors of accredited master’s programs.
Our MBA programs are once again ranked well:
The Fox School of Business Full-time MBA climbed 11 spots in new U.S. News & World Report rankings that also place Fox’s Part-time Professional MBA as the highest-ranked in Greater Philadelphia and recognize the school’s graduate information systems programs among the nation’s best.
Among full-time MBA programs nationwide, the Fox School, at No. 52, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School are the only business schools in Greater Philadelphia ranked in the 2013 edition of Best Graduate Schools by U.S. News Media Group. U.S. News surveyed 441 graduate business programs overall.
Fox’s Part-time Professional MBA again ranked as the region’s top program, at No. 47 out of the 326 part-time programs nationwide.
The MIS department offers multiple programs for graduate study:
- For MBA students, there is a concentration in Information Technology Management.
- Our new Master of Science in Information Technology Auditing and Cyber-Security (ITACS) program culminates in a capstone that prepares students for the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam.
- The Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) program, jointly offered by the Fox School of Business and the College of Health Professions and Social Work, is an applied graduate degree that focuses on the design, development, and implementation of electronic health record (EHR) systems in health care.
Contact Joe Allegra for more information on these programs.
We will conclude the DESIGNWeek 2011 with incitexchange – an annual conference organized by the Center for Design+Innovation at the Fox School of Business, Temple University. Each year, a roster of international leaders in the fields of design, innovation, management and technology gather in Philadelphia to exchange ideas about their work, their thoughts and observations. A series of rapid-fire short individual presentations, coordinated dialogues and moderated panel discussions combine to encourage participants to talk, share and spontaneously collaborate. Hosted in the state-of-the-art facilities of the Fox School of Business’ Alter Hall, incitexchange builds upon the Fox School’s groundbreaking initiatives to integrate a design perspective into the culture of management education. As the first major business school to integrate design into its required all MBA programs, this conference reflects the goals to break down barriers and cross boundaries to generate innovative ideas.
The theme of incitexchange 2011 is “Boundaries: Re-imagined, Re-shaped, and Re-defined”. Our world is divided by boundaries between disciplines, entities and ideologies. Boundaries between Art and Science, Government and its Citizens, and Business and Consumers. Breaching these boundaries is where real change occurs. This year, we will explore a range of ideas from the emerging possibilities for technology to redefine urban experiences to the way a design perspective is reshaping management education. Join us to share ideas with industry leaders, web renegade activists, designer advocates, political leaders, foodies, and discipline-crossing academics and researchers.
Come and join us!
In today’s Philadelphia Daily News, columnist Elmer Smith describes what students at Temple University are like:
They are like so many of the 37,696 Temple students who benefit from the $172 million that taxpayers in this state invested in them last year. I call them SEPTA scholars. More than 76 percent of them are from Pennsylvania, almost 61 percent are from the Philadelphia suburbs, one out of four is from the city.
These aren’t drive-by scholars who take our tax money and run. Two-thirds of Temple students responding to the latest CampusPhilly survey say that they expect to remain in Philadelphia when they graduate. You can count on it. One out of every eight college graduates in the five-county Philadelphia area has earned at least one degree from Temple University.
I had a visitor in my classroom recently from another university who marveled at how engaged my undergraduate students were. At many schools undergraduate students are there to spend four to six years of young adulthood. I find the vast majority of TU students are here for an education.