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Professor Ditches Grades For XP System

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the exam-quest dept.

Education 311

schliz writes "Like in World of Warcraft, students of Indiana University's game design classes start as Level 1 avatars with 0 XP, and progress by completing quests solo, as guilds, or in 'pick up groups.' Course coordinator Lee Sheldon says students are responding with 'far greater enthusiasm,' and many specifics of game design could also be directly applied to the workforce. These included: clearly defining goals for workers; providing incremental rewards; and balancing effort and reward."

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311 comments

Now I just need to create a bot (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31520982)

If only I could create some sort of bot to do the work for me so I could then sell those rewards for money...

College Character Classes (4, Funny)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521128)

Going through college, I was like a level 50 Suck-up. I was so good at it, that once I got partial credit on a True/False question... I wonder what other sorts of character classes one could obtain at a University Dungeon.

He should have stuck with the 2000 system (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31520992)

While there are definite benefits to the XP system, it's a very large departure from the stable and useful 2000 system.

I predict the next step will be a major overhaul of the evaluation system which will be widely hailed as a vast improvement on paper but turn out to be a huge mess and pleasing to no one.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521010)

And what is "2000 system"?

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521064)

If it looks like a Windows joke and sounds like a Windows joke...

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521200)

Damn, too much WoW for me :P

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521068)

While there are definite benefits to the XP system, it's a very large departure from the stable and useful 2000 system.

And what is "2000 system"?

Don't worry, you can just keep using Millenium edition.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (2, Informative)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521142)

if i had to guess, its the system a few of my professors used. How it worked was, at the start of the semester, you got 2000 points. for every class you missed, you lost like 10 points, every paper was worth 100 points, and if you scored a 98, you lost 2 points obviously. coursework had set points as well, and so on and so forth. At the end of the semester, you had to have like 1600 - 1700 points for a D, 1701 - 1800 for a C 1801-1900 for a B and 1901-2000 for an A or some similar scale. basically, its a normal score tally system, but it makes it a little more simple to determine if you can blow off a test or something. i know i have the scales at the end wrong, because if you did well enough, you could skip an entire test, and still get an A for the class.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (3, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521390)

I hate systems that count attendance against you... Why should I be forced to go to class if I otherwise know or can learn the material externally? Sure, some interactive courses where you need to prove a skill (such as labs) should count attendance, but why should a lecture hold that requirement? If I can ace all the tests, why should I deserve to not get an A in the course (And this has happened to me, because I got too bored in the lectures and stopped going, but I understood the material well enough to get a 98% average on the 3 exams)? I actually prefer counting attendance and homework as "extra credit" (I had a professor once who would count all homework and attendance, but applied it towards raising one test result by up to 15%. So if you got 98%, 95% and 80% on the 3 tests, but had perfect attendance and homework, the final test (since it was the lowest) would be raised to a 95%. But if you did no homework and never attended class and you got all 100%'s on the exams, you'd get a 100% for the course)... I typically find that professors whom count attendance for a non-interactive subject typically just like to hear themselves speak (and hence have to require attendance, because there's no other 'real' incentive to go to class). Sure, there are plenty that are good and require attendance, but I've never had one as a teacher...

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (3, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521572)

I agree that it shouldn't be mandatory - in classes I teach I make it clear that attendance is optional, but woe betide anyone asking for help/an extra point because they're on the cusp/s mske-up exam if they didn't have decent attendance (extremely special circumstances excluded, of course). The extra credit potential for my courses comes in the form of quizzes, given out randomly throughout the term, and also in the form of 2-3 questions per exam that are based on class discussions and not from the text or any outside resource. It seems to be working - compared to my peers, I tend to have significantly higher attendance numbers.

One thing I have noticed over the years is that the students who make a habit of attending class regularly are the ones who tend to actually learn the material as opposed to just being able to puke it back for a test and then promptly forget it. I'm sure much of this is due to those students applying themselves more to their studies, but also I am sure there is a component of the regularity of the experience of class attendance forming stronger memories and associations. I know in my case I can still remember, vividly, graphs, charts and maps for a course on Islamic culture I took nearly 15 years ago, despite having never since paying much attention to it; I also know that there are entire sections of basic chem and biology that have flown right out of my mind, even though I aced those courses without attending any lectures.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521662)

Perhaps if class wasn't so boring. I skipped a lot of classes, or if forced to attend, read the textbook during class because I can cover in 10-15 minutes what it takes a prof 50 minutes. - (Even today when I listen to lectures during my commute, I speed-up the playback to 2X speed. Otherwise it would be dull.)

And finally a lot of professors waste most of the class deriving equations. That's fine for someone who is a doctoral candidate, but I'm not. I'm an engineer. I don't care that Newton went through 20 pages of integrals to discover that KE == 1/2mv^2. Just give me the damn equation so I can get to work designing products or solving problems and/or writing that history paper that's due Friday.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (5, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521846)

I don't care that Newton went through 20 pages of integrals to discover that KE == 1/2mv^2.

Actually, I disagree with you there... I think it's VERY important to understand WHERE those equations come from and how to derive them (Especially for an engineer). If you don't know the roots of it, how can you ever know its limitations? I'll give you an example... You know that F=ma. But why should you need to know how it's derived? Well, it's derived from F= d(mv)/dt... So F=ma is only true if mass is constant with respect to time (So it doesn't work in cases of a rocket, airplane, top fuel dragster, etc)... That's easily seen from the derivation, but not trivial to see from dimensional analysis or the F=ma question itself. Without understanding the derivation, how can you ever hope to UNDERSTAND the equation? Sure, you can use it, but then how can you possibly KNOW if you pick the right one? And especially in the case of engineering, where people's lives can literally be at stake when choosing an equation, I sure as hell hope you understand the equation and not just know how to use it...

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521716)

One thing I have noticed over the years is that the students who make a habit of attending class regularly are the ones who tend to actually learn the material as opposed to just being able to puke it back for a test and then promptly forget it.

I think that depends on why you know the material without going to class. Is it because you're a good book learner (and are able to memorize the material for the test), or is it because you get a significant amount of practice outside that particular course. I switched into Engineering from Physics in my sophomore year. I took 2 freshman level courses, 1 sophomore level engineering course and a sophomore level math course that semester. 3 out of the 4 classes spent half the course going over vectors (To be fair, they weren't all in the same discipline, so the "average" student wouldn't take more than one course which worked heavily in vectors in their major pursuit). And that's not to mention that I had done vectors in both High School, and freshman level Physics... So by the time I started that sophomore year, I already had significant experience with vectors. So attending those 3 courses was nothing but shear boredom (So I looked at the syllabus and talked with others in the classes, and skipped all the lectures on vectors)... It's not because I could memorize it, but because how many times do you really need to "learn" a subject (especially considering I had mastered it two years earlier)? And that's the problem I see with a lot of the professors (at least the ones I've had, I know not all are like this), is that they think that they are gold, and everyone else (including any other professor/class that you are taking at the same time) do not matter. So they pour on work even if in the particular case it's not necessary (I really wish I could have gotten half my tuition back for that semester, since I didn't learn anything in the first half of the courses). I understand that professors need to work from a baseline and that not all students will be past that baseline, but why punish me for being above it (because I already know the material) by requiring homework and attendance?

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (1)

labeth (959822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521632)

Well, at at least some colleges (such as the one where I work), a mandatory attendance grade is required across the board for all classes. I'm not sure how much leeway the professors have within these parameters, but they are, at least, required to take attendance and enforce a maximum absence policy.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521412)

>>>While there are definite benefits to the XP system, it's a very large departure from the stable and useful 2000 system.

Time to upgrade. While the new "7" system will not run on 128K RAM like XP could, it should fit comfortably inside a 256K computer and still let you run Internet Explorer or Firefox or Opera. Even my ancient AMD Athlon (P3-equivalent) laptop can run it.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521544)

You're basically taking a stupid joke well beyond the scopes of a joke and flatly addressing it as an operating system rather than a grading system. Congrats at being bad at jokes.

But in all seriousness, good luck getting XP to run on 128K of RAM.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521598)

"You're basically taking a stupid joke well beyond the scopes of a joke and flatly addressing it as an operating system rather than a grading system"

Yes I believe that was theaveng's point.
Ever heard of dry humor or dry wit?
.

"good luck getting XP to run on 128K of RAM."

Well, not 128K, but my brother's laptop has just 128M of RAM. Of course that limits him to only single-tasking Firefox or single-tasking Word, but still XP works.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521672)

Ever heard of dry humor or dry wit?

Completely not buying that. There was nothing funny or witty there. This sort of reminds me of occasions where someone's spelling mistake is pointed out and they try to claim that it was on purpose as part of some nonexistant joke. "That's the point, duh! Get it?!"

Also, you use quote tags weirdly.

Re:He should have stuck with the 2000 system (0, Offtopic)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521546)

P.S.

Limbaugh's bad info: "Net neutrality means google will equally display Republican and Democrat pages. Like a Fairness Doctrine for the net."

This is why I stopped listening to Limbaugh. He spreads false information. Like when he said a hybrid can only go 80 miles/hour maximum. He's almost as bad as Rachel Maddow.

Net neutrality is NOT about creating a fairness doctrine for the net - it's about ensuring Comcast, Verizon, and other local monopolies don't block access to sites they don't like (such as limbaugh.com)

Quests (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521638)

I predict the next step will be a major overhaul of the evaluation system which will be widely hailed as a vast improvement on paper but turn out to be a huge mess and pleasing to no one.

Well that and plenty of people complaining it is the same old shit, due the lack of quests. Unless the dungeon masters, uh managers, recognise this will simply cause the people to move on to the next environment where quests are implemented.

This is still no remedy... (3, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521012)

...against boredom of grinding.

Re:This is still no remedy... (5, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521018)

Can I pay for a Chinese man to power-level me through school?

Re:This is still no remedy... (5, Funny)

asliarun (636603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521138)

Can I pay for a Chinese man to power-level me through school?

Dude, he's already doing it.

Re:This is still no remedy... (3, Insightful)

Zen-Mind (699854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521660)

From my school experience, something similar is already happening. Most of us, geeks of all kinds, have been forced to do team assignments with less than qualified people; we had the choice of either working twice as hard to get the grade WE deserve or do our fair part and end-up with the grade THEY deserve. In the end, most of us chose the first path and were not even paid for it :-/.

Re:This is still no remedy... (1)

wye43 (769759) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521678)

Can I pay for a Chinese man to power-level me through school?

Yes, its called outsourcing.

Re:This is still no remedy... (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521040)

XP grinding their degree will thoroughly prepare them for the tedium of working on software design, though.

Re:This is still no remedy... (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521292)

So will employing a foreigner to do it for them.

They'll learn just how expendable they are, and how easy it is to outsource their skills from a nation of cheaper labour.

Re:This is still no remedy... (1)

Leekle2ManE (1673760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521352)

How long until the first spoiler sites show up with all the quest info?

And while this sounds rather inventive, if WoW quests (and those doing them) have shown me anything, this will only help to dumb down

"Travel along the road to the north tower and deliver this package the dwarf at the tower."

"Newb tells general, 'Where can I find the dwarf for this quest?'"
"Newb tells LocalDefense, 'Where can I find the dwarf for this quest?'"
"Newb whispers you, 'Do you know where I can find the dwarf for this quest?'"
"You whisper Newb, 'It's in the quest info, plain as day.'"
"Newb whispers you, 'Can you take me?'"
(The above hypothetical conversation was cleaned up for legibility. Actual conversations would require heavy deciphering.)

Re:This is still no remedy... (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521738)

hey, lots of kids grind their way through college. It pays better than the tips they get from spinning around the pole.

Just make courses more fun. (3, Funny)

ipquickly (1562169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521014)

This approach would be great in other courses.

Anatomy class, for example.
Play doctor and get credit.

sheer leveling? (1)

olborro (1684086) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521022)

the question is do they get something like perks/skills/spells etc. for new levels? if not then you can count me out.

Re:sheer leveling? (4, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521048)

As they're getting near level 80 all the girls will get interested and want to have sex with the top-of-the-class guys, just like with World of Warcraft.

Re:sheer leveling? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521796)

You wouldn’t believe how many high-level girls I know who play as male characters so the other guys don’t constantly hit on them. If you ever played as a female character, you might know this.

Re:sheer leveling? (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521082)

I could see that working. You start by master basics such as simple programming from scratch, when you level you gain access to a new library or new hardware that gives you more advance tools for building an application. I think it'd be quite an incentive to work hard on mastering basics.

Balance? Yeah, right... (5, Informative)

danaris (525051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521054)

Balancing effort and reward doesn't interest most employers. They're interested in getting the most effort out of their employees for the least possible reward.

If they were to balance effort and reward, they might actually have to (for instance) pay overtime to the programmers who put in 80-hour weeks to meet the deadline...

(Score: -1, Overly Cynical) ;-)

Dan Aris

Re:Balance? Yeah, right... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521160)

When the reward is a piece of paper saying "lvl 4857 Comp. Wizard" I am not sure it costs much to the employer...

Re:Balance? Yeah, right... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521182)

Anyway, everybody knows that in the workforce, roleplaying is much more important than heavy stats.

Least possible *cost*, not *reward* (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521196)

They're interested in getting the most effort out of their employees for the least possible reward.

I would say they're interested in getting as much output as possible, for as little expenditure as possible.

They don't mind how rewarding you find whatever they give you---in fact, they want you to be happy (because hiring a replacement if you're unhappy enough to leave is expensive).

And they also don't mind how much effort it requires on your part to make the output, they just want the 500 new widgets every day.

Re:Least possible *cost*, not *reward* (4, Interesting)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521372)

On paper, what you just said is true. Unfortunately, that's, generally, not how it works. They may understand that replacing employees is expensive and reduces the overall quality of the product. But, generally, they don't actually follow through with steps to avoid burning people out or compensate them appropriately. They see all employees as little cost centers and look to whittle down expenses without considering the implications of lower staff morale. So yes, it is beneficial to businesses in the long term to keep employees happy. Unfortunately, long-term goals don't come over as well as saying you cut costs by X dollars on the next quarterly report or board meeting.

Blame yourself (and Wal-mart) (1)

OnTheEdge (136784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521296)

> "They're interested in getting the most effort out of their employees for the least possible reward."

That's because we all keep shopping at Wal-Mart. We all want the most we can for our money. Employer's are just meeting the demands of their customers. Since we, "the customer," want as much as possible for the least amount of money as possible, employers must cut costs to meet that demand . . . or die off and leave a more competitive company (one which likely pays it's employees less) to fill our need for cheap products/services.

Re:Balance? Yeah, right... (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521670)

It's hardly cynical - it's plain truth. Unless an organization is actively seeking exceptional candidates they need to min/max reward vs. productivity to ensure profitability.

A company with a mature, stable product that doesn't innovate much - say, manufacturing boxes - has absolutely no need to attract anyone exceptional in any way, and thus is pulling from the largest labor pool possible.

A company with new, innovative products that wants to completely redefine (or, even better, create) a market space - say something like a Google - absolutely wants to attract the best and brightest because hopefully those people will give them the key insights they need to really become huge/change the world/create an entirely new market.

I'd never want truly creative people working for me if what I needed were drones - they'd be incredibly unhappy, and while they might refine my processes somewhat, it very likely wouldn't be enough to compensate for the difficulties of managing unhappy people, or the turn-over rate, or any number of other factors. Likewise, if I needed novel ideas, hiring drones would be relatively pointless.

Throughout the world, most companies are closer to the mature/stable businesses operating with an established process that they don't want to change - therefore, most businesses want cogs they can slot into an open spot. Hardly cynical to state what's pretty manifestly the truth.

Re:Balance? Yeah, right... (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521762)

"If they were to balance effort and reward, they might actually have to (for instance) pay overtime to the programmers who put in 80-hour weeks to meet the deadline..."

supply and demand sucks, huh?

First job internew (5, Funny)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521056)

Kid: "Well, I'm a level 8 Human designer. I'm mostly int and charisma."

Interviewer: "Err, okay... here, roll this 20 sided die. 10 or higher gets you a second interview"

*rolls*

"Sorry, I hope you are able to find better opportunities elsewhere."

*long pause*

"Fireball! Fireball! Fireball! Fireball!"

"Please leave my office."

Obligatory bash.org reference (4, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521236)

As long as nobody puts on their robe and wizard hat during the interview, I'm happy :)

Re:Obligatory bash.org reference (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521334)

For the uninitiated... [ambrosiasw.com]

Yes, I do realise where I am. I also realise that some here may be mechanical engineers, physicists, or work in medicine etc. and may not be aware of Bash.

It's the hunter-gatherer syndrome... (2, Interesting)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521058)

...in people causing them to be positive about the build-up; the hoarding of score (read: resources). No, really, it is so.

Change is motivational (5, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521066)

Course coordinator Lee Sheldon says students are responding with 'far greater enthusiasm,'

It's a documented fact that any change brings about a temporary boost in motivation. One should be careful with making generic assumptions based on this change.

Let me make an analogy we all understand. When you meet a girl and she wears these big unsexy undies, you don't really care because she'll look great to you anyway. When she becomes your wife, you'll suggest sexy, minimalistic underwear. And sooner or later, even that won't help.

Re:Change is motivational (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521184)

When she becomes your wife, you'll suggest sexy, minimalistic underwear. And sooner or later, even that won't help.

Maybe you should be spending more time with your wife, and less time posting on Slashdot...

Re:Change is motivational (4, Funny)

Ozan (176854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521268)

I think the more important aspect of this is the quick gratification this system provides. With todays attention span you need to reward people quicker and more often, but smaller.

Anyway I can't wait for the first guy who goes "LEEROY JENKINS!" on his group assignment.

Re:Change is motivational (1)

pianosaurus (1347409) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521328)

Let me make an analogy we all understand. When you meet a girl [...]

What planet are you from? Could you try to phrase that as a car analogy instead?

Re:Change is motivational (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521330)

/agree ::sadface::

Re:Change is motivational (2, Insightful)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521406)

Let me make an analogy we all understand. When you meet a girl and she wears these big unsexy undies, you don't really care because she'll look great to you anyway. When she becomes your wife, you'll suggest sexy, minimalistic underwear. And sooner or later, even that won't help.

Most women wear the sexy panties when they are starting to date and switch to the "unsexy" panties after they've already bagged the person they were trying to win over. If you wait until you're already married to suggest the "sexy, minimalistic underwear" you're either making the wrong suggestions (no underwear is a much better suggestion in my opinion) or it's already too late. If "sooner or later, even that won't help" your relationship has much bigger issues.

Nice idea, but (1)

inigopete (780297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521076)

While I can see how this may make academic courses more appealing to students, I don't understand the extrapolation to "the workforce" - in a good workplace, there SHOULD BE clearly defined goals, incremental rewards and balanced effort and reward. Any decent manager could tell you that.

Re:Nice idea, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521108)

It's also not something you can just expect or force onto future potential employers. It's like saying this system could be applied to females if they'd just define what they want, incrementally reward you, and let you score. ..yeah, it could, but they wont.

Re:Nice idea, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521366)

Any decent manager could tell you that.

So could Santa Claus or a unicorn, but there's just one problem: none of them FUCKING EXIST!

Re:Nice idea, but (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521462)

Any decent manager could tell you that.

Tell me where you find these "decent managers". I'm a little intrigued, but mostly skeptical of this unfounded claim.[/sarcasm off]

I most of the cases I've seen, the managers are generally good at their non-managerial role (and therefore got promoted) and not very good at managing, or they are exclusively managers with no understanding of the work their group does. Neither of these lead to a good environment for workers. You can't set clearly defined goals and reward people according to their successes when you don't understand what it is they do. Nor can you properly allocate people and resources. Equally as bad is a person who knows what the team does but doesn't know how to properly manage. I think it's a casualty of MBAs running businesses and hiring others who are equally unqualified in the stated field to do middle management roles.

Finally, there are decent managers in many cases that understand that their employees need these kinds of rewards and treatment, but simply don't have the resources or power to make it happen. Think impossible deadlines and budget cuts.

So, yes, any decent manager can tell you that, but I think it is a rarity in practice.

Malware issue (2, Funny)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521078)

Sorry I didn't come to class today, I imbibed some sort of malware last night at the tavern searching for "quests" and it slowed down my body and took over root processes and I was unable to login.

if it works use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521086)

Ni hao! put something in trade so the teacher doesnt catch on.............

heh (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521098)

When my (then future) fiancee and I were about 6 months into our relationship, I would give or take away XP points to her based on things she said, and she did the same for me. XP could be awarded based on comedy (adding to CH), how thought provoking it was (adding to INT), or how much of a "OH DAMN" reaction you got (adding to ST). It was an arbitrary system not really based on anything, but XP could be turned in for "favors" of different varieties depending on the XP used, if you know what I mean.

Nothing like two nerds in love :-)

I prefer the old school method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521166)

which works great until the prof finds out you found out about the IDDQD / IDKFA cheat.

idiocracy (1)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521188)

Experience is not what you take college classes to obtain. Experience happens after graduation, or outside of the classroom. The intellectual frameworks of subjects and mechanisms for reasoning within those frameworks are what tertiary education provides.

In college, it does not matter so much that you have or have not done something, but how well you did that thing. Grades are a vital, and important part of that evaluation. Just saying that something was achieved or some act performed does not indicate how well it was done. Were the problem set answers copied from the answer key? Were they copied from another student? From sources on the Web? Was there original thought and effort put into it? How is not having an evaluation of the finesse and skill used on an assignment going to provide the necessary feedback to teach the students how to think? College, after all, is not so much learning specific subjects, although that is certainly an important part of it, but teaching the students how to use their brains. Without the assessments of grades, this becomes a far less efficient process. Frankly, Sheldon, the professor in charge of this class, is pandering, and is doing nothing to improve the already lightweight reputation of Indiana University. We are talking about a class in game design, after all, not embedded control design, or real time systems, or higher order languages, or advanced algorithms.

So you have to work to level up? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521192)

Better than the current system of pushing people up the ranks regardless of their ability and then being shocked when grade 9 students can't tell you what 4 * 9 is.

Work - force (1)

mix77 (1114879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521252)

"As the gamer generation moves into the mainstream workforce, they are willing and eager to apply the culture and learning-techniques they bring with them from games". This sounds like vocational training. I have always thought assignments were supposed to cover the practical side of education. Work could be a game, but how many games have stood the test of time. I work by force, I play by games by choice.

They'll love World of Workforce (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521282)

A 50 year grind to max out, random nerfs and level wipes, and the end game reward is a 2-person Winnebago instance in the Florida server.

He's going to be sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521288)

when they level up enough to do the boss raid.

We tried this at my company (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521326)

It worked great until they brought in the George Clooney avatar to fire us.

XP weeks? (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521336)

Wake me from my nap when the boss announces a 20% XP bonus week. I'll work harder that week. Also, do you have any XP bonus items a guy can wear? Girls and their short skirts always get more XP than me.

but nobody ever fails (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521344)

An RPG style game is typically designed so nobody ever dies, with the XP and challenges scaling more or less with ability. All this will produce is a bunch of kids who perform the same, and get A's (or Legend status).

Roleplaying (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521348)

Student: "Stand down black knight, for I am Monty, a paladin of great power, pure of spirit, righteous to my core and I will strike you from your stead this day. What say you?"

Teacher: For God's sake student, sit down, I told you there is no XP for roleplaying in this class.

MBO, by any other name... (2, Insightful)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521368)

This is almost identical to management by objective, where every quarter you're given some tasks to complete, and your quarterly bonus depends upon how many you get done. Where I work, the tasks include getting certified in something new, writing white papers, or performing "health checks" for our customers' data centers.

Achievements! (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521426)

many specifics of game design could also be directly applied to the workforce

Achievement unlocked! Slept with intern.

MetaGame ... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521434)

There is an excellent, IMO, book called MetaGame, by Sam Landstrom which (as part of its plot) deals with a future society where economic rewards in work and play are based on a system of points based on a sophisticated economic game design.

Its an interesting read, and very entertaining. There's a thesis presented in there that is very similar to this -- that a game-based reward system drives both workers and society to higher levels of productivity *and* happiness.

I have no idea if its available in print, but its a buck or two on Kindle.

Re:MetaGame ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521832)

Google ftw! Sam Landstrom is giving away his book MetaGame for free. He has it in .mobi, epub, pdf, and html formats for anyone who wants it. Enjoy.

Economist Article (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521524)

I remember reading an article in the Economist about how young people coming through the education system (in the UK) are becoming increasingly difficult to integrate into the workforce.

That article pointed out that the problems with such integration are precisely the "benefits" espoused by the summary above. Namely that new graduates expect ridiculously elaborate and well-defined goals, don't work very hard without specific incentives, have poor social skills and in general lack initiative.

The article (which as a former manager I agree with) made the point that that these individuals are increasingly difficult to manage and motivate. As a manager, I shouldn't have to define an intricate XP based points system to keep my staff interested. I think it is a consequence of TV-led, internet-supercharged instant gratification culture that the notion of short or medium term effort for long term gains is drifting into obscurity.

You don't work hard on assignment X because I'll give you some XP, or even a cash voucher or something. You work hard because you take some pride in both yourself and your work and at the prospect of getting promoted.

Don't want to get promoted, don't want to work hard, don't really want to be at work anyway? Then fuck off out of my team and let me employ someone who does!

Make sense, since Games ARE education. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521580)

Games are nature’s way of learning. Like dogs play, to train for the real world, so do we.
And their greatest aspect, is that they are fun. Because success and learning is supposed to be fun. After all it’s the basis of survival and winning the game of natural selection.

Only schools fucked that one up. Because as they are today, they were originally invented by Bismarck, because he wanted something like military drill, but for kids. (Yeah, how fucked up is that?)

So getting back to games, to a solid motivating balance between too hard and too easy, rewards, and all the stuff that makes you *want* to win the game, and makes you have *fun*, is the best one can do for human education.

So I applaud this idea, of using MMORPG concepts for school-like “education”. Which until now is more focused on training us to be good little mindlessly obeying automaton drones, like soldiers.
Maybe that will make kids think outside of the box and come up with their own smarter ways again.

Serious roleplaying- RTTP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521616)

This is actually amusing, since I'm going to be using a "serious roleplay" game in my seminar course this fall. The Reacting to the Past project [columbia.edu] has created a number of detailed scenarios where students take on a historical role and then try to achieve their victory conditions. The one I'll be using models the debate in the British Royal Society over awarding the Copley medal to Charles Darwin in 1864. Some students will be only interested in the award itself, others will be trying for separate objectives such as getting women elected to the society or endorsing scientific study of prayer. Most of the grade will come from how well they perform, but there are additional points for specific achievements.

There's a growing recognition at least in higher ed that games can be really quite useful for teaching and learning- I've also used simple simulation games to model things like the economics of the steel industry, and we have a couple of economists who built entire chunks of their curriculum around multi-player games in classrooms.

Just wait (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521652)

until the company merger nerfs your job class after 30 years of subscription and your retirement gets ganked.

Great Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521714)

Thats a fantastic idea - I would definitely trial something like that (bit different) at the workplace.

Preselection (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521732)

Wouldn't game design students be kind of self-selecting to be open to such an idea?

Not saying it's bad, but it's not exactly a surprise, either.

Is that so bad? (5, Insightful)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521782)

If I've got a fourth grader, I give him a math test on memorization of the multiplication tables. He turns it in with a quarter of the problems wrong, he gets a D. Then a month later, I give him a test on multiplying double-digit numbers. He gets a quarter of the problems wrong, he gets a D. Then I give him a test on division, three-digit numbers divided by one digit. He gets a D.

This kid leaves the fourth grade, and he pretty much forgets the little that he did learn in my class. He spends most of the next year playing catch-up.

Let me suggest the curriculum for a fourth grader's math assignments. I'm going to give this kid a test on the multiplication tables, but I'm going to give it a week earlier than the other teacher did. If this kid gets a quarter of the problems wrong, then he has to respawn and go fight the boss aga-- er, he has to take another multiplication tables test a week later. He keeps taking one of those tests once a week until he gets at least a 90% on it, even if the other kids have moved on to start taking other tests.

If this kid can't get ever get a 90% on these tables, he gets an F in math for the semester. If he passes the tables test, his grade levels up to a D.

Then I give this kid a test on double-digit multiplication. He has to take it again and again until he gets a 90% on the test. When he does, he levels up to a C in math for the semester. This might take him so long that he doesn't ever really get to the long division test, although I'll still give him some assignments to pick up on the basics of it.

The kid in the first example never really got a strong handle on any of the subjects I taught. The second kid knows his expletive'ing multiplication tables and has a good handle on multiplying numbers, even if he never got a good shot at the later stuff. The first kid got a D in math, the second kid got a C. Which kid do you think knows more about math?

Alternatively, I give one student that tables test, and he gets an A on the first try, a week earlier than the others. I tell this kid, okay, you can beta test the new dungeon that the devs are working on-- er, you can start looking ahead at some of the new material. Or maybe you can actually only get to a B in this class by doing the three main quests, so if you want to get to an A, you'll have to do at least a few side quests. Here, why don't you solve the puzzles in this beginner's programming book, since it's tangentially related to math? Or you could grind the goblins in this basic accounting sheet, teaching you to balance a checkbook?

I'm sure the actual logistics of this method would require a bit of work, but I'd like to see it tried out in practice once.
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