Using the "Daily Missions" Gamification Strategy To Promote Incremental Progress on Programming Assignments

Edwards, Stephen
Goldman, Andrew
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Automatic assessment tools are increasingly utilized in undergraduate programming courses to evaluate software solutions, streamlining the grading process for both students and professors. In spite of their benefits of speed and convenience, such online systems for providing instant feedback have the tendency to draw attention to performance-based outcomes while failing to reliably recognize the effort and hard work a student puts into a solution. For the many struggling students who are new to programming, this type of objective feedback can be discouraging and may decrease their motivation to stay engaged towards success. To address this issue, this paper explores strategies for more effectively recognizing student progress on programming assignments and identifying small tasks for students to complete that will steer them in the right direction. Further, this paper presents the design of a "Daily Missions" gamification strategy that was added to an automated program grading system. A pilot study shows feasibility of the approach and suitability of the design, indicating a statistically significant increase in the rate of completing tasks assigned as daily missions, and that students believe daily missions reinforce good practices while giving them better ideas on how to improve their work. An evaluation of experiences from using the strategy in the classroom is presented, along with student perceptions from using the system.
Gamification, cs1, gamification, motivation, progress, self-monitoring
10 pages
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Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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