Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.


K. Jassem, B. Piskadło

Adam Mickiewicz University (POLAND)
Gamification, namely applying game-like thinking to non-game applications, has been becoming a common practice in business (e.g. in frequent flyers programs or loyalty programs). Although education seems to have a promising future for gamification, the attempts have been few so far and the idea is yet to gain ground. One of the underlying reasons for this is that preparing and running a gamified course is time-consuming.

Iosuo and Epema (2014) suggest using a toolbox, which consists of 7 core tools, for course gamification. The authors hold that the application of such toolbox has a strong, positive impact on students’ attendance. We follow their ideas. Our contribution is an open-source computer system, developed under a working name of CyberAcademy, which helps teachers gamify their courses at minimum time expense.

A prototype of the system was put to use during the fall semester (October 2013 – February 2014) at the Software Engineering course. Currently the system is used for a course on Natural Language Processing.

Our intention is to demonstrate CyberAcademy at EduLearn. We hope that the system will be further developed as an open-source project.
The main idea of the system is straight-forward. The course instructor systematically uploads short tasks to be completed by students. The instructor has to define how each task will be scored: automatically, by the instructor or through peer review. In the last case the solutions are being graded by a fixed number (10 by default) of randomly selected students (excluding the author). The scores for all task solutions are then generated automatically.

Solutions uploaded by students are given rewards (according to their ranking) by experience points and credits. Experience points reflect the student’s progress during a single course. Credits form virtual currency valid for all courses run within CyberAcademy. Credits serve as a means of trade within system users.

The following gamification techniques are implemented in CyberAcademy:
1) Competition: Students compete for the best score of each task and the best total score
2) Story-telling; Each course comes with a story told by the game master
3) Role-playing: Students and instructors choose their avatars in the story
4) Challenges: Tasks have the form of challenges; It is up to students, which challenges they will take
5) Immediate rewarding: Students are rewarded for their achievements either directly after uploading a solution (in the case of automatic ratings) or immediately after the deadline for rating has expired (in the case of manual rating)
6) Game Levels – students systematically reach new levels of initiation
7) Positive motivation – students are never punished for their solutions – each activity is rated with non-negative scores
8) Virtual goods – students’ avatars improve their skills and gain new gadgets during the course

We have evaluated our method in a simple way. In the winter semester of 2013 the students were offered a choice whether to participate in the gamification program or not. In order to participate in the program students were required to attend lectures systematically and take up new challenges almost every week. The alternative was a standard exam at the end of the semester with no mandatory attendance. Out of 63 students 51 gave preference to the gamification program.