Month: March 2017

Gamifying Courses: Notes from Session 4 of #PaintCanvasOU

Today, we are kicking off a new mini-conference called Paint Canvas. Prepare All Instruction, Now Teach (PAINT) is a half-day Canvas training that showcases the best of Canvas in the classroom to inform and inspire educators. PAINT is organized into 45 minute rotating stations that focus on various Canvas features including pedagogical approaches and technical examples. In this series of blog posts, I’ll share my notes on the talks I attend in each session.

In the fourth session, we had five presenters:

1:00PM – 1:45PM – Purple Track: Gamification

Topic Presenter Room
Gamified Courses Heather Ketchum, Grant Loney LL 118
3D Game Lab John Stewart LL 118
Peer Review In Canvas Megan Elwood MaddenJennifer Shaiman LL 123
Canvas Badges Jennifer MayesJohn Boekenoogen LL 123
Collaborative Mind Maps Andy Vaughn LL 123

I was supposed to present on 3D Game Lab, but I subverted the plan by joining up with Dr. Heather Ketchum and Grant Loney into a mega-presentation. Immediately, I knew that I’d made the right decision in that I was being thanked on the opening slide of Dr. Ketchum’s deck.

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Dr. Ketchum started off by talking about the principles of gamification that we had discussed in GOBLIN. She then transitioned into how she applied these principles into her own course on parasitology.

One of the most exciting elements for me is that in gamifying her course, it encouraged her to move away from a lecture format and into an active learning class format. Noting the problems of the “Tyranny of Content,” Dr. Ketchum advocated for refocusing on the process of learning. There are still structured course objectives, but they include things like “Accept failure and learn from your failures” and conducting experiments to learn experientially. This has vaulted the course up Bloom’s taxonomy into more analysis and creative activity. The feedback has been so positive, that she’s moving from lecturing towards ALC in other courses as well.

To make this shift, gamification elements were introduced around the idea of team work. Students role play as parasitological researchers, starting off as low level grad students and moving up to the director of the CDC. Students level up by earning experience points through their course work. As the reach different levels in their career, they gain benefits. These benefits include expert help in explaining or simplifying difficult concepts and a budget to buy resources and diagnostic tests for their “lab.” Students then use this lab work as the basis for reflective and analytical writing.

This design is so brilliant in that it professionalizes the students into this field of study. It clarifies the grading system making it easier for students to understand and at the same time pulls that grading system out of the normal, painful school paradigm. It integrates the course content, assignments, growth model for learning, and assessment into a well thought out system that is both educational and fun. It makes the teamwork for the course an important, authentic part of the course and necessitates teamwork without the common extrinsic motivators imposed arbitrarily by an instructor frustrated that students are doing what they’re supposed to.

Ketchum and Grant’s presentation was so much fun for me in that it demonstrated how the concepts Keegan and I developed for GOBLIN were translated into a real course. Even better, the course looks so great that I wish I could take it. Building a course so good, that it makes a squeamish person like me want to study parasitic worms and epidemiology, is a huge testament to the power of fun and gamification.

I talked about 3D Game Lab and Canvas. While 3D Game Lab is great, and I’ll write more about it in the coming weeks, the LTI for Canvas integration is currently completely broken. I was very happy to not have to talk for more than 5 minutes.

Student Choice in Canvas Modules: Notes from #PaintCanvasOU

Today, we are kicking off a new mini-conference called Paint Canvas. Prepare All Instruction, Now Teach (PAINT) is a half-day Canvas training that showcases the best of Canvas in the classroom to inform and inspire educators. PAINT is organized into 45 minute rotating stations that focus on various Canvas features including pedagogical approaches and technical examples. In this series of blog posts, I’ll share my notes on the talks I attend in each session.

In the third session, we had six presenters:

Topic Presenter Room
Student Choice Modules Jennifer Shaiman LL 118
Hypothes.is Collaborative Web Annotation Nick LoLordo LL 118
Student Engagement Math Assignments Jonathan Epstein LL 123
Life Design Small Groups Clay Wesley LL 123
Collaborative Mind Maps Andy Vaughn LL 123
Piazza Amy McGovern LL 123

I attended Dr. Jennifer Shaiman‘s talk on Student Choice Modules. Dr. Shaiman teaches in Expository Writing and has integrated games and gamification into her courses. In this course, she used Canvas modules to create student choice in a course.

By creating a large number of modules presenting students with different types of content and assignments, Dr. Shaiman allowed student to choose those topic sets that most interested them.

This is a really similar approach to what I’ve tried before in my history of science courses. I think that many humanities courses are trying to get students to grapple with themes, but without needing to dictate specific content. For my history of science courses, I want students to think about the relationship of science and religion, but it doesn’t matter to me whether they want to use examples from the history of biology, physics, astronomy, or the social sciences. If I can allow students to pick the particular historical episode that most fits with their own majors or their own interests, hopefully they will engage more with that theme that I care about.

In Dr. Shaiman’s case with expository writing, she wants students to understand the structure and rhetoric behind various kinds of arguments. The particular subjects that they are arguing don’t matter, creating room for student choice of topics. Even the question of what medium the student is writing in (old fashioned paper, blogs, tweets, etc.) can be flexible when the medium is not part of the message.

Create + Canvas: Notes from Session 1 of #PaintCanvasOU

Today, we are kicking off a new mini-conference called Paint Canvas. Prepare All Instruction, Now Teach (PAINT) is a half-day Canvas training that showcases the best of Canvas in the classroom to inform and inspire educators. PAINT is organized into 45 minute rotating stations that focus on various Canvas features including pedagogical approaches and technical examples. In this series of blog posts, I’ll share my notes on the talks I attend in each session.

In the first session, we had five presenters:

Topic Presenter Room
Class Blog (Spanish) Julie Ward LL 118
Library Resources in Canvas Kristal Boulden LL 118
Leganto Reading Lists Carolyne Mead-Harvey LL 123
Video Feedback & Instruction Ben Lewis LL 123
Simulations, & Embedable Content Keegan Long-Wheeler LL 123

I attended Dr. Julie Ward‘s talk. She presented on how she integrated her Class Blog (Spanish) into Canvas using the Redirect Tool and some well thought out assignments. Dr. Ward is using OU Create, our Domains of One’s Own project, to build both her own course website and have her students build their individual websites. Using FeedWordPress, Dr. Ward aggregates all of the student’s blogs into the course site, so that students can see each other’s work and learn from one another.

The course site is then embedded directly into Canvas using the redirect tool. The great thing about this is that students can access and read the full site within the LMS. Students can still access the discussion boards or quizzes that are behind the login wall of the LMS. If the student wants, they can leave the LMS and access the site on the open web.

By joining an open web, course website with the Canvas LMS, Dr. Ward is building a bridge between the open and closed digital environments.

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