As an avid proponent of “gamification” I was blindsided by a suggested technique last week.

After posting about student rubric creation, our colleague, Lisa Flexner, told me of this technique she learned from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Choose Your Own Adventure

I liken this to a child psychology trick I learned years ago, where you offer two choices instead of open ended questions (“Do you want carrots or broccoli?” vs. “What do you want to eat?” [it’s always cookies]).

Thus, giving students a choice in how they learn material can still lead them to learning what you want them to, but also gives them the (illusion?) of choice.

For this, students need to reach a certain point value for their grade. They then decide which assignments/exams they want to use to get them there. While you may need to keep an eye out for point loopholes, students will gravitate to what mode they are most comfortable with. Lisa mentioned that this resulted in many students accumulating enough points early on so they didn’t need to take the final.

For students with test anxiety, this can be a course savior. It might also keep some students from being caught with fewer points than expected at the end of the term.


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