Indiana University Prof. Changes Grades to Quests

19 Mar, 2010

Who knew a change in vernacular could be such a motivator? Indiana University course coordinator Lee Sheldon noticed a significant shift in student interest and performance after games like World of Warcraft inspired professors to change how the names of much of the college coursework. Instead of starting a class with an “F” grade, new students are working with zero “experience points.” Similarly, homework presentations are now “quests,” exam attendance is “fighting monsters,” homework completion is “crafting,” and projects requiring more than one person are now tackled in “guilds.”

These findings go along with larger industry observations that familiar vernacular (which usually is accompanied with clear goal outlining and room for feedback) improve worker performance overall.

“The elements of the class are couched in terms they understand, terms that are associated with fun rather than education,” Sheldon commented in an interview with iTnews. “We are teaching the gamer, social networking generation.”

What do you think, E-Gs? Would high school/college/work be any easier if it involved “quests”? Or is this just an out of touch generation “grinding”? Give us your feedback in the comments below!

About the author

Gavin Greene
Gavin Greene

Elder Geek installed GavinGreene.exe into its News editorial directory in May of 2009. The resulting mobile humanoid server has developed frighteningly realistic obsessions with RPGs, Adventure Games, and Industry Politics, and may be the harbinger of the inevitable singularity. Follow him on Twitter @ElderGeekGav

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7 Comments

  1. TenchuX
    March 19, 2010

    Hmmm… to be honest this wouldn’t really affect me. It’s just a different looking path to a different form of grading. I’m sure it might get some people more interested though, just not me.

    I think it’s a neat experiment.

  2. Korne
    Korne
    March 20, 2010

    It sounds pretty dumb. Less than 20% of students play MMOs…

    It might be better call a failing grade a Newb, and lectures would be called a Pro Tip.

  3. Mats Paasche
    March 20, 2010

    I think it’s just a better grading system all together, never mind the naming. Any system that allows students themselves to easily keep track of their grade and calculate how much needs to be done to make it go up is better than the vague (from the student’s point of view) system most school systems use today.

  4. Keck282
    March 20, 2010

    IS there a level up system, cause that would be cool.

    I have slain many of papers over that last two years, some more successfully than others. The whole guild thing, yeah, I go lone wolf most of the time, not the best idea in the world.

    It is interesting, but has some kinks that need to be worked out.

    • Mats Paasche
      March 20, 2010

      wouldn’t the level cap be A+?

      • Keck282
        March 21, 2010

        Yes, but how many EXP do you need to get there? That is the question.

  5. Seluhir
    March 22, 2010

    I think its a brilliant idea. It won’t work for everyone, but it certainly will help in two ways:
    1) It may help people stay interested and that may mean a better education for them.
    and
    2) It helps to pound home the concept of gaming being accepted. Yes, I know, it sounds silly to say, but with countries drafting more and more game-based laws and more people like good ol’ Jack out there on the opposite side… things like this really help to counter it without being in direct opposition.