Grading K.O.

Last spring I taught a gamified Comp II course. It was something I had been thinking about for a while, but had planned on proposing and enacting the following year. I ended up rushing in to teaching it for various reasons, and the final result was unpleasant. There were many great things I learned from the experience and I definitely want to do it again, but I want to proceed with caution.

The area I really got myself into trouble with was with the way students could earn points. Students could max out at 1000 points for the semester and had max point values within each of the course’s four units (to ensure students were completing each unit). But, within each unit, there were more points available than the max. This meant that in each unit there were lots and lots of activities so that students could earn the max points and could chose which activities they wanted to do, allowing them to focus on specific skills or interests. This is a nice a beautiful idea, but logistically it was a nightmare. Each unit averaged around 30 activity options. Creating the activities alone was terribly time consuming, but the grading was what really bogged me down. There was just entirely too much of it. I found my feedback had to be subpar just to keep up. Teaching 5 classes with 3 different preps exacerbated the situation that semester; but, even if that wasn’t the case, it was just simply too much work.

So with that experience behind me (thank goodness), I spend much of my time in thinking about gamifying a future course contemplating the logistics of how to make it manageable for me. I teach a 4/4 load and grading in composition is already a lengthy process. I want to make sure that when I attempt this again in the future, my students don’t suffer because I have spread my grading too thin.

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