Organization of Materials

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A brief explanation of how this course is designed…


One of our goals was to experiment with the gamification, or application of game-like principles, to the classroom. So, we started by simply re-labeling many of the standard components of the classroom. Here’s a translation of terms used throughout the course:

Quest – an assignment, unit, section, week, or lesson depending on how you use it.

Challenge – a smaller component of a quest. There are a several types of challenges:

Tavern Talks – threaded discussions or live discussions. In fantasy lore, the local tavern is where tales are told and where adventures begin.

The Hero’s Journal – a place for personal reflection. Though readable by other Heroes, no discussion is permitted.

IRL – gamer lingo for “in real life.” These challenges take place primarily outside the game.

Adventures in Azeroth – These challenges take place primarily inside World of Warcraft.

Lore and Legend – These challenges relate specifically to our book study and literature circles for learners.

XP/Level – experience points. Really, this is how games like World of Warcraft indicate to the player their mastery of content. As learners complete challenges, they earn experience points, these accumulate as the player completes content, and subsequently they gain player levels. There are rubrics included to show what must be done to earn certain levels of experience points for certain challenges.

Lorekeepers – teachers. However, we felt this designation relayed our desire to work more as an experienced guide alongside our learners rather than a teacher in the traditional sense.

Heroes – students. The goal here was to inspire greatness and the sense of adventure in our learners. Incidentally, this also connotes a higher standard of behavior and performance than “student.”

Other Design Elements

Several game-related decisions were made to support our efforts. This included choosing to play on a Role Play (RP) -designated server. Though not strict in their policies regarding role play, this server format most closely aligned with many of our goals for the learners. We also decided to play as the Alliance faction, mostly because this fit best with our Hero’s Journey format and because we already had established characters.

To support reading outside the game, we chose to use Tolkien’s The Hobbit; however there are many books that would make excellent parallel readings.

How This Document Is Arranged

This document was created from our Moodle course. It’s arranged in a similar format. We’ve placed many of the documents needed to start the course up front, the learning quests are in the middle, and supporting resources can be found at the end. Some of the quests should be offered sequentially, as they build on previous quests, but others could be offered at any point. In fact, they could easily be modified to offer learners choice in quest selection.

For each quest, we’ve provided some basic Instructor’s Notes with our thoughts about implementing those activities. We’ve also included portions of the Common Core standards to which we feel that particular set of activities aligns.