CUNY Games Network

Public Group active 1 week, 2 days ago

Grading Through Games

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  • #13023
    davidstolarz
    Member

    I am interested in your group, but juggling a little too much to attend meetings. I found this today and thought you might be interested.

    http://videogames.yahoo.com/events/plugged-in/university-class-swaps-grades-for-experience-points/1394472

    While it is does not seem to be actually grading students based on games, but using the vernacular of gaming to do so, it is not a far cry that game results could equate to grades directly.

    Dave

    #19748
    davidstolarz
    Member

    And this story on using the Nintendo DS is interesting, as well:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100319/tc_pcworld/thegreatnintendodsschoolinvasion

    Dave

    #19749

    Dave, thanks for a great post. At the bottom of the article, I found a really interesting link to an op-ed piece on funding for games: http://kotaku.com/5496671/playing-political-games

    I’m interested because the author points out what I’ve noticed myself, that it’s hard to find really nuanced, interesting, rich educational games (because creating such a game takes a great deal of time). I’ve been looking in math particularly, and most of the games are rote repetition rather than teaching math concepts.

    #19750

    This is interesting. I’ve wanted to work with ranking systems in my classes where I use e-portfolio (through wordpress) that encourages students to improve the quality of comments they leave on one another’s work.

    There are a number of wordpress plugins for 1-5 star systems and thumbs up/down systems, but there presently are not any aggregators to buddy press groups to “rank” people.

    Though it’s not exactly game related, there is definitely some game theory involved. And social networks lean a lot on defining “leaders” and “models” for commenting. Though there is always the fear of the flame war and people start responding only to style and personal concerns over substance.

    This issue came up in a classroom using Twitter:

    http://chronicle.com/article/Teaching-With-Twitter-Not-for/49230/

    #19752
    Benjamin Miller
    Participant

    I’ve been trying to find an article reporting a similar approach to the ones Kelly and David have posted, but the link seems to be down, and I saw this before I got in the habit of Zotero-capturing everything. Matt, you first showed this back in Core 1 2008-9; any chance you still have a copy?

    Anyway, I remember being particularly excited by two features that haven’t yet come up here. One: students diversify into character classes, each of which has a different set of quests to choose from, and which diverge more and more as the semester goes on. Guilds form in order to balance the different skill-sets and knowledge-bases of these character classes. So, for example, in a course on video game design, a student might choose to specialize as a Coder, or as a Story-Writer, or as a Historian; they would have different subsets of reading assignments, and different mid-level projects to complete, but ultimately they’d be responsible for working together to produce a working game.

    Two: all students begin the class doing the same series of “0th-level” quests, which introduce the kinds of skills required by higher-level class-based assignments, and thereby aid in students’ selection of a character class.

    Thus, all students would leave the class with some shared knowledge base – at least enough to communicate with each other during the collaborative work later on – but also get enough depth in what interests them the most that they feel the course was useful.

    All this raises some exciting questions: what are the broad sub-divisions of skills in your field? How do/can they work together in separate but meshing ways? What are the 0th-level fundamentals that everyone must know to communicate?

    #19753
    Benjamin Miller
    Participant
    #19754

    Ben,

    That’s a great question about subdivisions and choosing “classes.” As someone interested in composition, I wonder how many students would truly be familiar with the terms of the MMO genre. And even though a glossary could be included, it’s totally different reading a definition of “farming” and having actually “farmed” a boss or rare “mob” for an extended period of time!

    For a composition class though, I could totally see different classes: Narrator, Persuasive Person, Arguer, Researcher, etc. And I can also see having to complete quests with multiple classes involved: Write a 10 page paper in which you persuade your reader into following a cause. Make sure you use a first person narrative and scholarly research to support your argument.

    Or something like that.

    This way, people become experts in something, but have to collaborate in order to progress and succeed in the class. Since English tends to have a lot of “individual work” (ie: writing a paper) as opposed to group work, this would be a great method to include group projects.

    Also, since there is such a huge buzz about Lee’s class, he made a blog with his syllabus and everything else: http://gamingtheclassroom.wordpress.com/

    There’s also a forum to participate in–but make sure you come back and participate with us! 😀

    #19755
    Joe Bisz
    Participant

    One of our Steering members of the CUNY Games Network, Francesco Crocco at BMCC, is researching this very area: using “party based” small groups in the classroom to use a “experience points system” (essentially a rubric) to grade students. He stressed having “party leaders” in small groups that could teach skills to other students. He has reported great success with it–especially in classes where there is no actual grade (remedials).

    Since there is such a big conversation happening here about this subject, but I don’t recall seeing most of you at the Games Network meetings, would there be interest in having a meeting devoted exclusively to the topic of a points-based classroom and “adventure party” group setups? If so, would over the summer work?

    –joe bisz

    #19756

    I’m one of the people you don’t know–Ben sent me an invite to the Commons after seeing me Twitter at CCCC last week. I never even knew about the group, but I’m definitely going to try to go to this Friday’s meeting.

    I’m really interested in this concept, especially in how it affects student performance and how students in non-gaming classes could relate to this classroom structure.

    #19758
    Francesco Crocco
    Participant

    Hi all,

    As Joe Bisz mentioned, I’ve been using an experience point system in my basic writing course since Fall 2008. I adapted it from traditional paper and dice RPGs like D&D (the original WoW). My students receive an experience point sheet with their syllabus that maps out all the point opportunities for the semester. They have to reach 100 points (Level 4) by the end of the semester in order to retake the ACT writing test.

    This semester, I added an avatar section, where students had to cut out and paste an avatar. They also had to write an essay about their avatar as their first assignment. I also added an ability section. This section uses the grading rubric from the ACT to break out four essential writing skills (Thesis, Organization, Support, Grammar). I give them points in these skills for each practice test they take. I use these points to determine team leaders for exercises.

    Overall, I love the experience point system. It is so much more flexible than traditional grading. If I want to incentivize the students, I just throw some points at them. The system also allows me to give incremental rewards (with each level) and instant feedback (they track their own progress). Finally, as I’ve explained, I use the system to create more balanced peer groups (“parties”) based on the spread of ability points for each student.

    I’d like to hear more about what’s happening in Indiana. In the meantime, I’m hoping to write about this experiment after the semester is over.

    Feel free to contact me with questions.

    Regards,
    Frank

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