Gamification in Computer Science

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Gamification in Computer Science

Gamification is the application of gaming elements applied to a non-gaming context. For educators, gamification is the application into a classroom setting and a given course. The gaming elements must be included in course design to fully immerse a student in the world of the course. Care must be taken to properly frame each course component in the proper context of the world. To provide a competitive nature and encourage exploration deeper into the world of the course, badges are awarded to students for completing known and hidden tasks. Students are then ranked on a leaderboard for their progress throughout the world. It is important to carefully balance the competitive nature of the gamification with the creativity and exploration that the world provides. The leaderboard and competition must not be a discouragement for students that are not at the top of the rankings and it is critical to build in mechanisms to allow for a student to catch up later in the semester.

Dr. Paone has successfully applied gamification to his Computer Graphics course at Colorado School of Mines for three years. Each year, the gamification framework has been tweaked slightly to provide improvements on the prior iteration. Additionally, a history has been established to expand the world and increase the ability for competition. He will discuss and present strategies to apply gamification to a course, lessons learned from gamification, and share student feedback provided after students had completed the course. These strategies can then be applied to additional courses and programs to enhance student learning.