Video on game-inspired, engaged learning system wins competition

A video on GradeCraft, a project led by Barry Fishman, associate professor in the U-M School of Education and School of Information, and developed by a collaborative team representing both schools, was selected as a winner in the 2014 EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Horizon Report Video Competition.

Michigan’s winning video describes the game-inspired learning management system designed to increase student engagement and motivation. GradeCraft uses a combination of game design strategies and learning analytics data to guide and inform students and instructors.

“Our goal with GradeCraft,” says Fishman, “was to make it easier for instructors to accomplish ambitious and gameful instruction that supports learner autonomy, a sense of belonging, and developing competence.”

It includes functions such as a grade predictor, class achievement and activity analysis, and badges to recognize achievement in key learning goals and help students understand their progress in the context of their peers. These functions are designed to allow students to actively manage their courses, and allow instructors to identify those that need more support or greater challenge. GradeCraft  originally was developed to support Fishman’s Videogames & Learning undergraduate course. It also is used by Mika LaVaque-Manty, associate professor in LSA, to teach Introduction to Political Theory, and by Cliff Lampe, associate professor in the School of Information, to teach Introduction to Information Studies.

The development of GradeCraft is supported with funding from the U-M Learning Analytics Task Force.

The competition was sponsored by EDUCAUSE and the New Media Consortium. It attracted 21 video submissions from 19 different institutions across the globe. Each submission detailed a project that applied one of six technologies outlined in the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition to the fields of teaching, learning and creative inquiry. Winners were chosen through an online voting process and announced Feb. 5 at the ELI Annual Meeting.

The GradeCraft project also is highlighted in the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition as an example of learning analytics—the educational application of big data and statistical analysis—used in higher education.

Collaborators with Fishman on GradeCraft include Caitlin Holman, doctoral student in the School of Information, and Steven Aguilar, doctoral student in the School of Education. School of Information alum Scott Tsuchiyama also worked on the project, along with current School of Information master’s students Adam Levick and Michelle Fiesta, and School of Education master’s students Sara Molnar and Lauren Rocco.

The video was produced by Chellie Carr, Michigan ’12, who was a student in Fishman’s Videogames & Learning course.


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