Proposal Abstract

Courses are usually graded on percentages�a certain percentage is required for each letter grade. Students often see this as a negative, in which they can only lose points, not gain points, and put their average at risk with each new assignment. This contrasts with the world of online gaming, where they gain �experience points� from each new activity, and their score monotonically increases toward a desired goal. Courses, too, can be graded by experience points. Last fall, the author graded his Ethics in Computing class this way. Students earned points for a variety of activities, mainly performing ethical analyses related to computing, and participating in debates on ethics-related topics. The grading system served as an inducement to student involvement, with students eagerly signing up for analyses and investing considerable effort in debates. However, it seemed to motivate the students to focus more on quantity than quality of contributions.

Location

Concourse

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

 
Mar 28th, 4:00 PM Mar 28th, 5:30 PM

Grading by Experience Points: An Example from Computer Ethics

Concourse

Courses are usually graded on percentages�a certain percentage is required for each letter grade. Students often see this as a negative, in which they can only lose points, not gain points, and put their average at risk with each new assignment. This contrasts with the world of online gaming, where they gain �experience points� from each new activity, and their score monotonically increases toward a desired goal. Courses, too, can be graded by experience points. Last fall, the author graded his Ethics in Computing class this way. Students earned points for a variety of activities, mainly performing ethical analyses related to computing, and participating in debates on ethics-related topics. The grading system served as an inducement to student involvement, with students eagerly signing up for analyses and investing considerable effort in debates. However, it seemed to motivate the students to focus more on quantity than quality of contributions.