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Education Games Idle

Professor Ditches Grades For XP System 311

Posted by samzenpus
from the exam-quest dept.
schliz writes "Like in World of Warcraft, students of Indiana University's game design classes start as Level 1 avatars with 0 XP, and progress by completing quests solo, as guilds, or in 'pick up groups.' Course coordinator Lee Sheldon says students are responding with 'far greater enthusiasm,' and many specifics of game design could also be directly applied to the workforce. These included: clearly defining goals for workers; providing incremental rewards; and balancing effort and reward."

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Professor Ditches Grades For XP System

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  • by carlhaagen (1021273) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:08AM (#31521058)
    ...in people causing them to be positive about the build-up; the hoarding of score (read: resources). No, really, it is so.
  • by rhsanborn (773855) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:43AM (#31521372)
    On paper, what you just said is true. Unfortunately, that's, generally, not how it works. They may understand that replacing employees is expensive and reduces the overall quality of the product. But, generally, they don't actually follow through with steps to avoid burning people out or compensate them appropriately. They see all employees as little cost centers and look to whittle down expenses without considering the implications of lower staff morale. So yes, it is beneficial to businesses in the long term to keep employees happy. Unfortunately, long-term goals don't come over as well as saying you cut costs by X dollars on the next quarterly report or board meeting.
  • Only schools fucked that one up. Because as they are today, they were originally invented by Bismarck, because he wanted something like military drill, but for kids. (Yeah, how fucked up is that?)

    Could you please provide a citation? I would very much like to have one to use, and it will help me find more, too. I have a bunch of friends with kids of almost-school age, and I need ammunition. No, verbal ammunition, I'm not shooting them.

  • Business took a page from science and said, "If I can't measure it, it doesn't exist."

    I think of science saying something much closer to "If I can't measure it yet, I defer judgment until I can, and try to enable that. If it's inherently unmeasurable, I defer judgment forever."

    Business people tend to not measure, and also not try harder at measuring, because they don't know the payoff of measuring harder, because they never measured that either, because [...].

  • BRAVO! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:29AM (#31522594) Homepage Journal

    I knew for a long time that education and gaming were going to mesh to not only help people learn better quicker but also because the degree of intense amusement when you achieve something, such as rewards. I play WoW, and the reason is I enjoy the gratification you get from being able to turn in quests and see yourself advance in the game.

    You can link this type of mentality through any other field in life, such as business, marketing, even math and construction.
    I think making school a little more like real life not only helps push that mentality in our young ones, but also uses a medium they are quite familiar with to transfer the required knowledge. Go to youtube, and see the do it yourself videos on how to change an alternator on a car, or install some floor tiles for your bathroom.....it's all there, why not education as well.

    I guess the only thing would be to set up school centers made purely to challenge the tests and be able to say you passed x grade.
    When someone wants to pass the bar (lawyers), they do not need to prove all the courses they have taken, merely pass the exam based on knowledge. I think this is more of the model we should push, and so be it,add a reward schema in the middle to help during the learning process.

    I hope this guy pushes this very far, and hopefully gets a revolution going within the schooling system, we desperately need it!
    Enough with dropping the passing grade, for chr*sts sake, just make it so cool to do, that all students will WANT to learn that sh*t and then be able to pass with 90%, just like a raid in WoW!

  • Re:Is that so bad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:11AM (#31523148)

    I did this, kind of, as a TA for a remedial (er, the PC term was "developmental") math pre-college summer program. The kids were older (17-18) than elementary school but here's how it worked in a nutshell.

    Math is divided into topic categories or "units." There are about 20 of them from intermediate arithmetic (fractions, negative numbers, that sort of thing) through algebra up to integral calculus. Everyone takes a placement test right off the bat. Student's curriculum starts on the first unit he/she flunked on the placement test. You have to pass each unit with 90%.

    The term was six weeks. If you pass six units you get an A. Five units gets a B, four gets a C, and if I remember right a D only required two. The point is that students got graded on how far they came, not where they started. Oh, and if you managed to pass the calculus unit then we (the instructors) had to make up new units for you to try next.

    This worked great. The students who came in struggling with arithmetic and made it up to basic algebra walked out with A's and B's in math -- for the first time in their lives, in many cases. The students who came in knowing trigonometry walked out with a working knowledge of calculus. That was the goal: get everyone as far ahead as possible in six weeks.

    For the instructors, it was hard work. Every student needed lots of help to get through a unit every week. What I found in fact was that the best students started teaching their classmates just to help their friends get an A. Grading took forever because practically every student was working on something different. And, of course, the instructors had to be ready to teach anything from adding and subtracting negative integers, through multivariable calculus, off the top of their heads. But man, was it worth the effort. :)

  • by kalirion (728907) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:44AM (#31523542)

    So F=ma is only true if mass is constant with respect to time (So it doesn't work in cases of a rocket, airplane, top fuel dragster, etc)... That's easily seen from the derivation, but not trivial to see from dimensional analysis or the F=ma question itself.

    Dimensional analysis? Seems pretty obvious to me from just looking at the equation that if 'm' changes, either 'F' or 'a' have to change as well. What's so hard to understand?

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:49AM (#31523592)

    What a conincidence. I just heard a talk with him today. He's visiting our company to help with the development of a star trek game and he also introduced the very same concept. Neat idea and - as he says - it works with those who play games and then is a better alternative to grades. His explainations seemed plausible to me.

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