University of Malaga (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 3796-3802
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.0961
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
Traditional evaluation based on the score of the final exams is only useful to grade the students, but it becomes useless as a formative tool within the course duration. For this reason, it is generally accepted that a continuous evaluation favours the teaching-learning process and provides students with valuable information to improve their performance before it is too late. Unfortunately, this feedback is typically given to students in an individual manner, hence gamification does not come into play. Game-based learning and the use of gamification tools have become a popular manner to design dynamic lectures, enhance the interaction between students and promote entertainment. In many cases some simple actions in the form of competitive activities and rewards can significantly increase the interest of students.

Aiming to gamify the continuous evaluation of an undergraduate engineering subject, this work describes an experience where the information is weekly provided to students promoting a friendly competition in the so-called ‘The Hunger Games’. In such activity, the scores of the students become public under the nickname of a famous scientist/engineer (e.g., Nikola Tesla, Stephen Hawkings), so that they can compare their performance with the rest of classmates. Anonymity is preserved, but the spirit of competition is present because they can compare with such famous characters. This procedure is also useful for lecturers to send encouraging messages not only to outstanding students, but also to those who are improving their competences and approaching the necessary level to pass the subject (e.g., “Nikola Tesla is leading the competition closely followed by Isaac Newton and Emil Levi. We are approaching the middle of the course, so let’s make a final effort to cross the line!”).

The innovation is done in sustainable manner, making the action almost automatic and keeping the amount of time and efforts from the lecturers to a minimum. Although it may seem a secondary aspect, the burden associated with educational innovations is a key issue to maintain the innovative procedure along the time and to ease the extension to other subjects and colleagues. For this purpose, a code in Python has been created in combination with the results that can be obtained from the Virtual Campus (VC), a Moodle platform at the University of Málaga. Specifically, the scores from the VC are exported in an Excel file and processed by the customized Python script in order to link the results with the nicknames and to professionally plot the results in appealing graphs that can be shown to students. The final version of this paper will include details of the software structure and the final output plots.

The experience has been tested in a subject of Electrical Machines at the School of Engineering in the University of Malaga, and the qualitative and quantitative assessment confirms the satisfaction of students with the proposed methodology. It is worth noting in any case that there is no technical reason why the proposed methodology cannot be extended to any subject as long as the evaluation is truly continuous so that weekly data can be processed by the design algorithm.
Gamification, undergraduate students, engineering, active learning.