Professor Ping-Cheng (Benson) Yeh of National Taiwan University is the first professor to create a multiplayer social gaming platform for his course, Probability, which is now in session. It also happens to be our first course taught in Chinese!
As Benson (pictured right) explains in the video below, his game, PaGamO, is designed to engage students and incentivise them to complete homework problems. The game has been incredibly popular so far, drawing participation from a huge portion of the students in the course. A week after launching PaGamO, students in Benson’s course complained that the game didn’t offer enough problems for them to solve! According to Benson, “Students got so addicted to solving the problems, that they went right through them.”
PaGamO is simple enough to pick up quickly. It’s based on an interactive map of territories in the shape of hexagons - a setup used for many popular games, like Settlers of Catan. To score points (and complete assignments), students must occupy new territories by solving homework problems. The top ten performers get recognition in a prominently displayed leaderboard. “The fun comes from the competition among peers,” says Benson. “Showing students’ rankings on the site gives them strong motivation to engage.”
So what does Benson have planned for his next project once his current Coursera course comes to a close? Benson and his team of twelve students at National Taiwan University are developing a way for other professors to use PaGamO technology in their courses. Any subject that requires closed answer questions could use PaGamO to instantly gamify their course.
A word of advice for professors who may want to use PaGamO for their courses - make sure your game has as many homework problems archived as possible, or else you’ll have students clamoring for more!
* Thanks also to the following students and friends at National Taiwan University for their tireless work to help create PaGamO: Sheng-Wen Chiang, Ta-Chun Shen, Yan-Lin Chen, Yen-Chun Chen, Tzu-Han Hsu, Po-Cheng Chu, Yao-Jen Chang, Lang-Chi Yu, Paul Hsia, Wei-Hsuan Tang, Chia-Ling Lee, Pen-Lin Lin, Steve Tsai!