An experience report on using gamification in technical higher education

Alexandru Iosup, Dick H.J. Epema

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Technical universities, especially in Europe, are facing an important challenge in attracting more diverse groups of students, and in keeping the students they attract motivated and engaged in the curriculum. We describe our experience with gamification, which we loosely define as a teaching technique that uses social gaming elements to deliver higher education. Over the past three years, we have applied gamification to undergraduate and graduate courses in a leading technical university in the Netherlands and in Europe. Ours is one of the first long-running attempts to show that gamification can be used to teach technically challenging courses. The two gamification-based courses, the first-year B.Sc. course Computer Organization and an M.Sc.-level course on the emerging technology of Cloud Computing, have been cumulatively followed by over 450 students and passed by over 75% of them, at the first attempt. We find that gamification is correlated with an increase in the percentage of passing students, and in the participation in voluntary activities and challenging assignments. Gamification seems to also foster interaction in the classroom and trigger students to pay more attention to the design of the course. We also observe very positive student assessments and volunteered testimonials, and a Teacher of the Year award.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE '14, Atlanta, GA, USA - March 05 - 08, 2014
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages27-32
Number of pages6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2014 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 5 Mar 20148 Mar 2014

Other

Other45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2014
CountryUnited States
CityAtlanta
Period5/03/148/03/14

Keywords

  • CS Ed research
  • Experience report
  • Gamification

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