Pwning Level Bosses in MATLAB: Student Reactions to a Game-Inspired Computational Physics Course

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ian D. Beatty, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: We investigated student reactions to two computational physics courses incorporating several videogame-like aspects. These included use of gaming terminology such as “levels,” “weapons,” and “bosses”; a game-style point system linked to course grades; a self-paced schedule with no deadlines; a mastery design in which only entirely correct attempts earn credit, but students can retry until they succeed; immediate feedback via self-test code; an assignment progression from “minions” (small, focused tasks) to “level bosses” (integrative tasks); and believable, authentic assignment scenarios. Through semi-structured interviews and course evaluations, we found that a majority of students considered the courses effective and the game-like aspects beneficial. In particular, many claimed that the point system increased their motivation; the self-paced nature caused them to reflect on their self-discipline; the possibility and necessity of repeating assignments until perfect aided learning; and the authentic tasks helped them envision using course skills in their professional futures.

Additional Information

Proceedings of the 2014 Physics Education Research Conference
Language: English
Date: 2014
Games, course design, mastery, motivation, engagement

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