GradeCraft garners Innovation Award for U-M Team

A tool designed to support the transformation of courses into motivating experiences using features from successful games has earned a 2016 Innovator Award from Campus Technology.

Barry Fishman

GradeCraft, developed by an interdisciplinary team co-led by UMSI professor Barry Fishman and UMSI PhD candidate Caitlin Holman, was among 11 projects honored as this year’s most innovative projects using technology to solve campus challenges.

GradeCraft is a web application that supports students’ intrinsic motivation by reimagining learning environments to incorporate elements that successful games use to get players to take on challenges and work hard to accomplish goals. The GradeCraft team calls this gameful instruction

Where students in traditional classrooms earn grades by completing a given set of assignments and participating in a set number of lectures and discussions, students whose teachers use GradeCraft can choose from various assignments in addition to core assignments. 

Caitlin Holman

Just as video game players earn points by completing challenges, in GradeCraft, students earn points by completing the assignments or activities of their choice. Each is worth a certain number of points, and a core feature of the system is a Grade Predictor tool that helps students know in advance how many points they need to earn a given grade in the course. 

GradeCraft has been used by over 5,100 students in 58 courses across the University of Michigan. The project is supported by a $1.88 million grant from the Transforming Learning for a Third Century program to increase GradeCraft’s availability across the U-M campus and beyond. GradeCraft is a joint effort of UMSI and the UM Office of Digital Education & Innovation. The GradeCraft team plans to make GradeCraft available for broader use in 2017.

Hear student and faculty perspectives on GradeCraft here.

Campus Technology delivers information on higher education to campus professionals via digital magazine, website, webcasts, newsletters and online tools. A top information source in the field, it helps administrators, educators and others to plan, develop and launch IT initiatives on campus.

Other universities with projects honored by Innovator Awards include Virginia Commonwealth University, London School of Economics, the University of South Florida, the University of San Diego, the University of Central Florida, the University of Maryland University College, State University of New York at Buffalo, Clemson University, Marshall University and the University of Oklahoma.

 Posted on June 6, 2016