Thank you Szymon Machajewski for providing us with answers to the two questions we couldn't get to at the end of last week's webinar!
Here they are...
How do you integrate or modify gaming when you have a student with a learning disability or IEP without sacrificing the experience for the other students?
Accommodations and compliance with accessibility requirements are an ongoing process for anyone who is teaching with technology. Anyone who claims they have it already figured out hasn't yet realized the breadth and the depth of human disabilities. Accessibility of web applications has a firm foundation in WECAG and such Blackboard products as Ally. So, any of the features I discussed in Blackboard Learn, such as adaptive release or badges, would be covered by the vendor's efforts toward WECAG. When instructors are engaged and facilitate immersive feedback, dealing with accommodations is easier, because the instructor is present and attentive.
What other non-grade rewards do you recommend?
Non-grade rewards support self-determination theory with autonomy, purpose, and mastery. This has a potential to tap into intrinsic motivation. Rewards can be divided into announced ahead of time, and announced after the action is completed. Rewards that students know about may change their behavior to optimize for the reward. For example, giving XP for completion of a mission/challenge motivates to finish the activity, perhaps at the expense of other activities. The example of Course Reports game would work best if after a week of an online course the instructor gives an award announcing the most active student according to the click report. A repeated reward of the same type would not be given. The "now that you did this, here is the reward, which you didn't know about" type is a great way to motivate the search for positive behaviors without specific rewards.
Some rewards can be social in nature and some can be more tangible. A Blackboard achievement (or badge) can be tangible and exported to Mozilla Open Backpack. Recognizing a student by name in front of the class during lecture may be a social reward. If active learning is used in the class, than calling out the winners of a question by name may be sufficient and not related to a grade.
Extra credit tends to be a "go-to" reward for many. However, it is linked to grades and may undermine intrinsic motivation. In my class I call extra credit "Peace of Mind Points". I evaluate PofM to a value of a single question on the exams. If you earn 1 PofM you can get a question on the exam wrong. This helps to mitigate anxiety. This way, the PofM are connected to student experience and not directly to a grade. It may seem like a small difference, but it tells a completely different story. Other rewards may be a pizza a student buys with XP for the class or LinkedIn recommendation by the instructor. You should come up with your own rewards, that's the fun part that engages the instructor. The engagement of the instructor is reciprocated by the students.