Gamefying Learning :)
To start off, like many of my colleagues have already mentioned, the beginning stages were a bit confusing and I also needed a few weeks to dip my toes into the water and start swimming. I appreciate the time and energy that went into creating our own little corner of the Internet and relatively quickly found my way around the sections and the forum.
The forum was surprisingly interesting for the most part. At times, keeping up with the posts was a bit overwhelming, at least for me, myself and my team of one. Even though I knew I had a chance to work with others, I chose to do it by myself, so I’ll be analysing the course through this lense. Since writing something just for the sake of writing it and essentially repeating the same argument that someone else stated already obviously wouldn’t have contributed to the community, I needed quite a bit of time to go through both the posts, forum entries and reading materials (plus the additional ones which my colleagues shared with us). At the end of that long process, I would often need a day or two to go through the information and to let it sink in before actually sitting down to write something of my own, which resulted in burnout when combined with my other responsibilities. Of course, I could have split the work with others, but I didn’t want anyone’s grades suffering in case I misunderstood what I was supposed to do, and frankly to give myself the space to think critically and choose my own point of view on a particular matter. I feel like we’ve been given a great deal of freedom in pretty much every single way possible and I’m truly grateful for that. We’ve had a chance to make mistakes, contribute to the syllabus (which was unheard of) and actually feel like we’re actively engaging with the material. In the future, since we’re all going to go solo in the next round, I’d want to tone down the homework somewhat.
The assignments were for the most part interesting, engaging and lengthy. Had we not had more assignments in other classes, this would be great. However, I’d like to suggest adding some sort of visual representation of our progress sorted by members. For example, Jane Doe: 4/5 completed posts, 1 pending to redo etc. I believe that it would make things easier both on us and you as the teacher, since we’d all know where we stood and what needed working on. We could also add some sort of metric for getting an idea of what our final grade would be. For example, Jane Doe: 78 points (from all contributions)/100 points and that person would know to contact you as the teacher to check how she could improve to get more points (a higher grade). And the range of points for each grade would be put forth in an obvious way. I don’t know whether that’s something that could be configured so that only each user could see their results or not, but of so, that would be amazing. I suppose it would be a way to gamefy the course, and levelling up and getting more points is just fun, let’s be honest. :)
The topics were a breath of fresh air, since we’ve mostly been covering things that have already happened at some point in the past, so discussing real active events has been quite interesting and I like how meaningful it was for some students due to their opinions being changed after forum discussions and reading posts. The video lectures were helpful, but didn’t make a drastic difference to the end result. I don’t know how long it takes you to make those videos, but if it’s a hefty amount, we as students also understand that you have a ton of your own responsibilities and I personally wouldn’t push for the video lectures to continue in that case.
Overall, I have enjoyed this course so far and I presume I haven’t been doing too bad of a job, but I do feel bad about skipping a couple weeks’ worth of homework due to burnout. Also, completing the course in this way and being pushed a bit to be proactive is definitely liberating and helps a ton with managing our other subjects.
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