Gamify Canvas: How to Engage Gen Z with Gamification Strategies in Online Classroom Design

I’ll fully admit, because of a canceled session, I came into this session late. I’m interested in making Canvas more game-oriented to increase engagement in some professional development programs that we offer. But with that in mind, I’m having a hard time catching up to where this presentation is going. The first (and seemingly only) option for “gamifying” Canvas is storytelling. But I can’t tell how you would do this… Ok, so there is a landing page that outlines the story—the intro screen of a video game, for example. To create simple buttons, the presenter suggests going to thebuttonfactory.com to find and copy HTML for buttons that can be renamed and hyperlinked to a new page – like a game. Okay…The presenter also talked about the ability to take on a character within the class to respond to discussion forums and other tasks. This approach helps alleviate the social pressure of responding within the LMS. I’m not sure I agree with that, since the character is still tied back to a specific individual – unless the identity of the character is limited to just that student and the instructor. If it’s a private identity, then that might be a viable option.About 75% through the presentation, the presenter does finally start discussing badges and such. But I wish there was  a live example shown to see how that would be implemented. Everything in the presentation is hypothetical.This session was definitely not what I expected. The abstract does mention storytelling once, but I expected there to be other forms/types of games that could be used. I’m all for gamifying a course, assigning points and badges for various levels of completion, but I don’t think that storytelling/assuming a character persona is appropriate in many online courses. The instructor continuously talks about what “could” be done, but doesn’t provide any examples of this in practice. I would have loved to see some qualitative feedback on how this method of storytelling/gamification impacted student learning. Oh well, maybe next time…

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