GradeCraft video wins EDUCAUSE competition

The winning video

GradeCraft, a project led by Barry Fishman, professor in the U-M School of Information and School of Education and developed by a collaborative team representing both schools, was selected as a winner in the 2014 EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Horizon Report Video Competition.

Michigan’s winning video describes GradeCraft, a game-inspired learning management system designed to increase student engagement and motivation by using a combination of game design strategies and learning analytics data to guide and inform both students and instructors.

“Our goal with GradeCraft,” says Fishman, “was to make it easier for instructors to accomplish ambitious and gameful instruction that supports learner autonomy, a sense of belonging, and developing competence.”

It includes functions such as a grade predictor, class achievement and activity analysis, and badges to recognize achievement in key learning goals and help students understand their progress in the context of their peers. These functions are designed to allow students to actively manage their courses and allow instructors to identify those that need more support or greater challenge.

GradeCraft was originally developed to support Fishman’s Videogames & Learning undergraduate course, and is also used by Mika LaVaque-Manty, associate professor in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, to teach Introduction to Political Theory, and by Cliff Lampe, associate professor in the School of Information, to teach Introduction to Information Studies. The development of GradeCraft is supported with funding from the UM Learning Analytics Task Force.

The competition was sponsored by EDUCAUSE and the New Media Consortium and attracted 21 video submissions from 19 different institutions across the globe. Each submission detailed a project that applied one of six technologies outlined in the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition to the fields of teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. Winners were chosen through an online voting process and announced on February 5 at the ELI Annual Meeting.

The GradeCraft project is also highlighted in the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition as an example of learning analytics—the educational application of big data and statistical analysis—in use in higher education.

Collaborating with Fishman on GradeCraft are UMSI doctoral student Caitlin Holman, the co-creator and lead developer, and Steven Aguilar, a doctoral student in the School of Education. Other UMSI students working on GradeCraft are master’s students Adam Levick ,Michelle Fiesta, Stephanie Wooten; doctoral student Jeff Stern; and BSI student Elana Graf. Ben Plummer, from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology, also worked on the project.

The video was produced by Michelle Carr (BS ’12), who was a student in Fishman’s Videogames & Learning course.

See more stories on innovations in education at Michigan.

Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014