Gamifying the University Classroom

Gamification is one of the fastest growing consulting sectors in the world. Foreign Affairs projects that it will grow from a $242 million industry in 2012 to $2.8 billion in 2018. The most remarkable fact to me is not the 10-fold growth but the fact that Foreign Affairs magazine is writing about turning organizations into games. There have been attempts to gamify education at both the organizational and individual level as well, a natural progression from the many educational games and programs that have tried to tap into the power of computers in the classroom. Gamification, however, does not necessarily…

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Blackboard Ultra: A glance towards the horizon of online learning

One of the first orders of business which I had been assigned since starting at the University was attending the Blackboard World Conference in Washington DC in July of 2015. My department felt this conference would be a wonderful opportunity for me to get my feet wet learning more about Blackboard from an application and company standpoint, building a network of peers, and, most importantly, bringing back valuable information about what Blackboard had in store for the future of its LMS (Learning Management System). At first, most of the information sessions and workshops pertained to what changes had been made…

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Teaching Surveys – When to gather Student Feedback

The Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching is responsible for administering Teaching Surveys on behalf of instructors upon request. The process of gathering student opinions of teaching at The University of Pittsburgh began in the mid 1970’s. Since that time, the survey period has been scheduled to end before finals week begins for undergraduate classes. Teaching Surveys are scheduled to take place during the last three weeks of class meeting dates for regular term classes. Most colleges and universities adhere to a similar schedule. Recently we reviewed this policy and determined that it remained a valid time frame in…

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