This semester we had the opportunity to work with five new instructors at the University of Michigan to make their courses gameful. We asked each to share a bit about how they got started with gameful learning, and what they hope to see over the course of the semester. We’ll be featuring their responses here on our blog over the next several weeks.

Amy Pavlov, College of Engineering

TC 496: Advanced Technical Communication for Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering

What got you interested in gameful learning?

I first became interested in gameful learning when I was struggling to solve a problem with how my course was set up. My students needed more variety in their assignments because they had disparate needs as graduating seniors working on senior design projects from across many disciplines. I puzzled over how I could revise my assignments in order to meet everyone’s needs. A colleague of mine suggested an alternate approach; instead of trying to meet everyone’s needs with the same assignments, why not create many different assignments for students to select from? A great idea, but how do I manage that? Answer: GradeCraft.

Was there something about teaching that you were dissatisfied with that you thought gameful would address? What has implementing gameful learning caused you to do differently in your class?

This is my first semester using GradeCraft, and so far I find myself being very transparent with my students. That is to say, I am up front with them about the learning curve we all face as we get to know GradeCraft. It’s not a difficult system, but it is different from CTools, for instance. Those places where we encounter differences are good times to talk with students about how we interact with the system and how we grow from the interactions. All in all, adding GradeCraft has encouraged me to be open and transparent with my class, which they appreciate.

What are you excited to see this semester?

Looking forward, I’m very excited to see how my students will choose to complete the class. Which assignments will they complete? What areas speak to their interests and experience? How will students respond to having so much control and agency in their learning? It’s going to be a great adventure.

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