GameMe Instructor Documentation
GameMe is used to add game elements to ATutor courses. When turned on in a course students can earn points, progress through levels, and earn badges for their accomplishments. Clues for earning bonus points and badges can accompany alerts sent to students when they earn a badge, or complete a particular task. Instructors, can enable points, badges, levels, and a leaders board to add a game feel to their courses. When enabled, students can review their GameMe Log to see where points are earned, point values for particular activities, where badges are issued, giving them ways to maximize their rewards. Instructors can encourage particular behaviour by assigning higher point values to more valued activities, or assigning higher values to activities that students might need "encouragement" to participate in. Messaging with game elements can be customized to guide students through your course, or to encourage particular behavoiurs.
Customizing Course Events, Badges, and Levels
The ATutor administrator needs to enable customizing to allow instructors to edit the default settings. When enabled instructors can customized the default events, badges, and levels ('game elements' collectively). Only administrators have the ability to create new game elements, if they are needed.
There may be no need to modify the default settings for game elements, but that will depend on the length of a course, the number of Course Tools enabled, and how those tools are used (e.g. optional, required, for exploration, or as part of a course activity). GameMe events are associated with various actions that occur in ATutor, like logging in, uploading a profile picture, making a blog entry, answering a forum post, and so on. If you choose not to modify the default settings for game elements, those setting will be used in the course.
When GameMe is enabled in a course, the instructor also collects points and badges, and progresses through levels. This can be helpful in judging the points to assign for events, judging how fast they accumulate to reach various levels (more on levels below), and to see what students might see when they are participating. You'll also receive email alerts when you earn badges, seeing what students might see when they receive alerts. With this knowledge in hand, you can adjust the GameMe settings to optimize game elements for a particular course. When adjusting game element settings, they should be set up so students can realistically reach the upper levels, and it is realistically possible to earn each of the badges by performing well in the course.
There are 38 default events with GameMe that can be edited using the Instructor GameMe Events Editor. The fields in the editor are described in this section:
- Alias - (string) A short identifier used as a reference to access an events properties. Alphabetic, underscores, no spaces. (only editable by admin user)
- Description - (string) A few words to describe the event to users
- Repetition - (integer) Set to 1 to disable repetitions, allowing an event to occur only once. Set to 0 to allow an event to reoccur
- Reach Reps - (integer) The number of times an event needs to repeat before triggering a reach event
- Max Points - (integer) The maximum number of points a repeatable event can accumulate
- Each Badge - (integer) The id number of the badge issued each time an event occurs, typically for single occurence events
- Reach Badge - (integer) The id of the badge issued when a reach event occurs
- Each Point - (integer) The number of points issued each time an event occurs
- Reach Points - (integer) The number of bonus points issued when a reach event occurs
- Reach Message - (string) The content of the message to send to a user when a reach event occurs
When opened for the first time, the GameMe Events Editor will show an empty list of Course Events above, and all the available Default Events below. You can leave the Default Events as they are, or you can copy them into your Course Events to customize them. At the far right of each Default Event is a copy link, that when clicked adds the event to the Course Events (you may need to scroll right to see it). Once copied the Course Events become editable by clicking, or tabbing, into a cell, and editing the contents. Click or Tab away from the cell to save the edited value. Clicking on the Remove link to the far right of a Course Event, deletes the customized Course Event and reverts back to the Default Event corresponding with the removed event.
Scan through the events to see how Each Events and Reach Events are used. Typically Each Events are used to issue points, and Reach Events are used to issue badges and bonus points. Reach Events occur when an event reaches a particular number of repetitions. Instructors can enable and disable Repetition by assigning a value of 1 (no repetition) or 0 (allow repetition), and adjust the number of repetitions to reach the Reach Event by modifying the Reach Reps value.
If necessary a Max Points value can be set to limit the number of points a student can earn for repeating a particular event, after which for example, there is no additional learning value. For instance, after uploading 20 photos to a Photo Gallery, stop giving points to encourage keeping albums small. If a photo upload Each Points is worth 25 points, limit the Max Points that can be scored to 500 in this case. Each Points are the number of points awarded each time an event occurs, and Reach Points are optional bonus points that can be granted when a Reach Event occurs.
Instructors may also alter the badges given for each and reach events. The Each Badge and Reach Badge values are the ID values of the associated badges. More about badges, and badge IDs in the Customizing Badges section below.
Typically when a badge is earned, an email is sent to the student containing the new badge, and a list of previously earned badges, along with a message often with congratulations, or perhaps clues for earning additional points or badges. Instructors can edit the Reach Message to customize the email, providing whatever added encouragement is needed, mentioning added rewards (i.e. points and badge) to elicit particular behaviours within the course, steering students to the next task, or perhaps provide clues or hints to help with a quiz that follows. Modify the Reach Message as needed to control where, and how students interact with elements of the course.
There are 26 default badges with GameMe, each associated with a particular each or reach event. Instructors can edit the default badges using the Badge Editor. The fields in the editor are described in this section:
- Badge - (string) The badge image preview and dropzone, stores the relative path to the badge image in the database
- Id - (integer) The id number assigned to the badge, referred to in the each badge and reach badge fields in the Events Editor
- Alias - (string) A short identifier used as a reference to access a badge's properties. Alphabetic, underscores, no spaces. (only editable by admin user)
- Title - (string) A short name for the badge (1-3 words typically)
- Description - (string) A sentence or two that describes to the recipient why they received the badge.
Much like customizing events described above, instructors can copy Default Badges and customize them as Course Badges using the GameMe Badge Editor. Like events, if a Course Badge is removed, the badge will revert to the corresponding default badge.
Once a Default Badge is copied the first cell of the now Course Badge displays a preview of the badge, and acts as a Badge Dropzone for modifying the badge image. You may replace the default badges with your own custom badges, by dragging a maximum 95px x 95px badge image, less than 15k in size into the dropzone. Or, you may click on a dropzone to open your local file manager and chose a badge image that way.
The Id field contains the reference number you will use when referring to a badge in the Each Badge and Reach Badge fields in the GameMe Event Editor. The ID field cannot be edited. The Alias is a short identifier for a badge, which can only be modified by the ATutor administrator.
Instructors may modify the Title and the Description of a badge as needed, to customize the wording associated with a badge to match the goals and needs of the course. The title is essentially the name of the badge. It provides a short description of the badge's purpose. The Description provides a longer explanation of the badge and why is was issued.
There are 11 default levels with GameMe, each associated with reaching a particular point value. Instructors can edit the default levels using the GameMe Level Editor. The fields in the editor are described in the section:
- Icon - (string) The badge image preview and dropzone, storing the path to the icon image in the database
- Level Name - (integer) A short name for the level (1-3 word, e.g. Level 1, Newbee, Novice Member, Superstar)
- Description - (string) A few words describing the level that was reached
- Points Threshold - (integer) The level Icon is issued to users when they reach this number of points
Much like customizing events and badges, instructors can copy the Default Levels and customize them as Course Levels using the GameMe Levels Editor. Of the three primary game elements (events, badges, levels), levels are the most likely to need adjusting, particularly the Points Threshold for each level. Students should be able to advance through most or all the levels in a course with good participation, given the duration of the course, and the number of Course Tools being used. If there are only a couple tools being used, you will likely need to adjust the point thresholds down so it is possible to earn enough point to advance through the levels in a course. While if there are many tools being used, you may need to adjust the points threshold up, so students don't advance through levels too quickly and reach the top levels well before the course is complete. If you prefer, you can edit the Each Point values in the Event Editor, higher so points accumulate faster, or lower so points accumulate more slowly.
Instructors may also choose to modify the icon that gets displayed when each level is reached, by dragging a new, maximum dimensions of 95px x 95px level image, less than 15k in size, into the Icon dropzone. Instructors may also modify the Title and the Description for a level as needed to match the goals or needs of the course.
Instructors can control which GameMe elements are enabled in a course using the GameMe Options Editor. When an option is checked, it is displayed to students either in a Side Menu Block, or in the GameMe Panel that gets added as a main navigation tab. Instructors can enable the sidemenu and main navigation Tab in the Course Tools Manager, much like adding any other course tool to an ATutor course. Each the available options are described in this section.
- - Allow student to accumulate points, and display them in the side menu and GameMe panel if they are enabled in a course
- - Allow students to view a log of the events they have triggered. This can allow students to strategize to earn more point and badges by seeing how they are being earned
- - When enabled, students see the levels they have progressed through, either in the side menu or GameMe panel
- Progress to next level - If Levels are enabled, you may choose to display to students the progress they have made to reaching the next level as a percentage value
- - If the leader board is enabled, you may choose to display to students their points position relative to others in the course.
- - When enable, students see a list of badges they have earned, either in the side menu or GameMe panel.
- - An instructor may choose to have his or her points listed in the leader board. You will generally want to disable this option so your points do not show up in the leader board
- - Attach a leader board to the side menu or GameMe panel so students can see the points the top students have earned.
- - Allow students to see a record of the reach events and levels earned
- - Choose how many students to display in the leader board
- - Choose from the default levels, how many levels to have in a course.
Note that when GameMe elements are disabled, they are still running in the background, though not visible to students.
Under the Progress tab in the instructor's GameMe editor, the points, badges, and levels for each student in the course can be viewed. Select a student from the drop down menu, and press the View button to see that person GameMe progress.