This post is written by guest blogger John Stewart. John is the Assistant Director of Digital Learning at the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Oklahoma and my collaborator on GOBLIN.
While the thought of gamifying an entire class or even elements of a class will be daunting for many, GOBLIN also includes more universal and applicable concepts. Well designed games introduce game mechanics and then increase the difficulty of tasks to encourage mastery of those mechanics. They encourage team work, challenging players to combine the strengths and overcome the weaknesses of team members. They allow you to lose and to learn from that failure to improve. By adapting these lessons for the classroom, we seek to improve student engagement and help students master the skills to succeed in college.
We hope that the design of GOBLIN will be more entertaining and provide better transference of skills than traditional lecture- or seminar-based workshops. The whole point of the project is to think about how we can create more active and engaging environments that motivate students to learn.
Open content was key in building this project. The most visible example of open content in GOBLIN is the integration of artwork from Glitch the Game. When the game was discontinued in 2012, the programming team at Tiny Speck (many of whom served as the developmental team for the giant communication app Slack) released both the game code and the creative assets as open content in the public domain. This meant that we could use any assets from Glitch to develop GOBLIN.
The ability to repurpose this artwork from the public domain inspired our storylines and allowed us to focus on developing game mechanics and instructional content. All of this would not have been possible without the availability of high quality open content. For this we are grateful to Glitch creators.
We also drew on other open content resources including pixabay.com, a repository for open source artwork was phenomenal for acquiring content. Unsplash is another fantastic source for high-resolution, breathtaking photographs that can be freely used.
All of these resources hold a special place in our hearts, because they are aligned with personal philosophies on educational materials: open access content is best. While, we intend to run this series as often as we can find interested folks to participate, we hope to reach a far larger audience outside the campus of OU by offering the website as an open educational resource.
We encourage anyone visiting the site to run their own versions of Goblin by using the site or by building and improving their own forked version. To that end, we have used the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license throughout the site to assure users that they are welcome to use and adapt any material presented as long as they attribute it and don’t charge money for it. Let us know if you want help in playing the game, using the resources, or adapting the workshops in whatever way suits you best.
We encourage you to consider sharing your next project as an open piece of content. Together, we can build even greater projects with the option to iterate and grow from other pieces of content.