I really enjoyed the entire presentation that Monica gave, first of all. I found that it really *answered* a lot of the questions I had about assessing with games. I found her approach to "asking the right question" in order to figure out how best to assess within games to be very forthright and logical.
Anyway, which do you (anyone!) think would be easier for a teacher just adopting these techniques: --> Teaching using a game, complete with briefing and debriefing, reflection screencasts and/or papers, etc.... --> Or, teaching using gamification techniques (levels, XP leading up to new levels, new capabilities within the course linked to leveling, maybe even the creation of "avatars" to represent the student's academic identity with the course?
Which would be easier to link learning objectives to assessment, as Monica was discussing?
During Monica's presentation, I started trying to match up concepts in gaming with concepts in education, with some limited success. For example, she started discussing formative assessments and summative assessments. Do you think formative assessments might be similar to a starting tutorial? Is there anything later in a game that might be considered as a formative assessment? Are summative assessments like boss fights? Or perhaps not, because you can always die and try that boss fight again later?
What do you think?
On a tangent...wouldn't it be awesome if each new unit in a course started with a cutscene, setting the stage? </tangent> :-)
How could be use the gaming convention of setting aside certain monsters/dungeons as being of higher complexity with the context of a course? I'm currently watching one of Harvard's Open Courses, CS 50. For each of their projects, they have something called the "Hacker Edition" that students can complete. What can we offer those students as an incentive (and should we?) that would not discourage those who are not as far along? Hmmmm....
Any game that tests the player's skills along the way and offers feedback is implementing FORMATIVE assessment. In a fighting sort of game, all the battles are formative assessment since the players gets to practice and get feedback on what tactics work in what situations. Good players use this formative (on the go) assessment of their tactics to make changes to their game-play and get better.
I think the boss at the end of a level (or such) is a great way to think about SUMMATIVE assessment in that it measures over-all competence and mastery of skills at the end of a unit (like a mid-term exam). But, since there are usually more levels to master after each Boss is killed, we might also consider these boss fights to be formative assessments as well.
I just think of FORMATIVE assessments as being intended to offer on-the-spot feedback that allows a player (or learner) make mid-course (or mid-game) changes. SUMMATIVE assessments are intended to measure mastery of competencies at the end of something (a level, a game, a course, a program of study).
In gaming, I think the two blur together just a tiny bit. When I'm fighting a boss (A Summative experience), in modern video games I know I'll have another chance if I die. Of course, it might be quite a bit of effort to get back to that point. If I flunk the course and have to retake it, it's kind of like having another chance at a boss...kind of. Obviously, outside of video games, retaking a course over and over will eventually result in financial aid telling me I can't do that any more. :-)
That on-the-spot feedback is so valuable, both in gaming and in the online classroom. I wish there was a way to make it work a little better both ways, where students could fill out an on-the-spot survey right after they turn in an assignment, about that assignment. I think some of the information gathered could be extremely valuable. Of course, the amount of time required to sift through all of the responses might be unwieldy, depending on how they were structured. Hmmm....
This whole discussion is really helping me evaluate how I teach my online courses, and how I design them. My online MGD 102 course might start looking different here pretty quick.... :D
UnderAcademy College delivers real course content, but also satirises the MOOC trend. The argument goes that MOOCs "dehumanise the humanities":
Unlike most MOOC’s, which seek to teach as large a group of students as possible, UnderAcademy caps enrollment in each course at 15, with the idea that students should shape the courses and have a more personal learning experience. ...
“It’s satirical education that takes itself very seriously and does want to provoke critical discussion and engender a creative learning environment,” said Mark C. Marino, an associate professor of writing at the University of Southern California who just finished teaching a course for UnderAcademy.
UnderAcademy College has a point. Some education works best in small groups -- but of course, the best learning anywhere (including MOOCs) happens when small groups -- with a common passion -- come together.
Ideally, there should be hundreds or thousands of such groups in each MOOC!