Can I require all students to do certain assignments?
Yes…many gameful courses have “core course engagement” experiences that all students are expected to complete. The big difference between a gameful course and a more traditional course is that students have many opportunities to earn points to “make up” for any core engagement experiences they don’t complete. As the instructor, need to think through some key questions (which are very similar to what you may have thought through for more traditional courses):
- What are the implications for the grades of students who do not complete a required assignment?
- Are there more advanced assignments they cannot do (unlocks)?
- Are they unable to participate in a course experience (unlocks)?
- Are they unable to earn a particular grade in the course overall?
- What about students who were legitimately unable to complete the work? Is there a make-up path?
Another aspect to consider is why students would not be motivated to complete that assignment independently – and what it means for motivation to require something. We generally find that students do better work when they choose to take part. Are there ways to alter the frame of the assignment to make it more engaging without making it explicitly required? Strategies to do this include:
- Explaining why this assignment is especially important. Research shows helping students understand why they’re doing the work, especially if it is repetitive or boring, helps them be more motivated to do it.
- Increasing the point value awarded for the work
- Setting completing the assignment, or completing it at a certain level of mastery, to unlock other assignments or opportunities, for instance taking part in a project with their fellow classmates.