A Year in Review

A lot has happened in the last year! In May the GradeCraft team was awarded a grant of $1.88 million from the University of Michigan’s Third Century Initiative. The Gameful Assessment in Michigan Education (GAME) project aims to enhance the engagement of Michigan learners through broadening and transforming U-M’s campus vision for how classroom learning and assessment are organized. Are those lofty goals? We think so, and we couldn’t be more excited to take them on! The 2014-15 academic year was a blur, as GradeCraft was used by approximately 2,000 students in 19 different courses from 6 different schools at U-M. This fall, we have added another 850+ students, raising our total to nearly 4,000 since we launched nearly four years ago. Our goal for the next three years is for gameful courses to reach 20,000 students. What are we doing to get there?

To begin, we continue to grow the conversation regarding best practices for gameful teaching and learning. This project has been a journey of discovery for us and the instructors we have partnered with so far. We have all learned a lot during this transformative period regarding the best practices of running a gameful course. We plan to keep this collaborative spirit alive by holding regular get-togethers for gameful instructors on the U-M campus to discuss teaching practices and learn from each other.

Next, since we are committed to developing knowledge about gameful learning through disciplined inquiry, we are continuing to conduct research on gameful course design and GradeCraft itself. Work investigating student motivation in several early courses using GradeCraft was recently published in Games & Culture, and we presented on student behavior when using the grade predictor at the Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference last year. We continue to work on designing new learning analytics elements to better understand how students interact with GradeCraft and how we may improve the design to increase motivation and engagement in the course material.

Finally, we continue to make improvements to GradeCraft. Our list of recently added features include: assignment and badge unlocks, improved assignment rubrics, maximum point caps per assignment categories, analytics around students’ reading of feedback, and improved grade import features. As interest from Michigan instructors and instructors from other institutions grows, we want to make sure that we can support a range of different gameful course designs.

We look forward to continued growth this year, and are gearing up for further expansion in the winter term. Stay tuned for more updates!

The GradeCraft Team

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