Gamification or Game-Based Learning: Designing an Online Writing Course


The teaching of academic writing in universities tends to converge towards conventional pedagogy while the use of game-based learning is a step towards a divergent method of teaching, customizing it to undergraduates who are digital natives (Prensky, 2001). Good Writing: What and How is an online writing project initiated by the Ministry of Education (MOE) Singapore - conceptualized, designed and launched at the Centre for English Communication (CEC), Singapore Management University (SMU). It is intended as an online course open to the public - a mini MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) in response to students' feedback on feeling unprepared on writing fundamentals when they enter university. In conceptualising the project, CEC converges towards established definitions of what makes good writing and the fundamentals of writing for academic purposes based on evidence from researchers and practitioners. The divergence is in the design of the project. This paper, therefore, asks the fundamental questions of designing a web-based writing course: _øΩ How do we get the depth of teaching and learning online as conventionally possible with face-to-face instruction? _øΩ How do you motivate and engage incoming university students in an online writing course? _øΩ Which is more appropriate - using gamification or game-based learning? _øΩ Do you have to be a Subject Matter Expert (SME) as well as an Instructional Designer (ID)? _øΩ Do you produce the course in-house or engage a vendor? In confronting these questions, CEC recognises opportunities, challenges and constraints in teaching cognitively challenging skills like writing.

Author Information
Norazida Johar, Singapore Management University, Singapore
Susheela Abraham Varghese, Singapore Management University, Singapore

Paper Information
Conference: ACTC2016
Stream: Web-based Writing Education

This paper is part of the ACTC2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon