Friday, August 28, 2009

Down with Plagiarism!

There's a timely discussion going on the ILI listserv right now about entertaining ways to educate students about plagiarism. My plagiarism game is just about finished, unless I'm notified there are any other problems. I'm quite proud of my little earthquake and avalanche at the end.

I posted the link to my game on ILI and have gotten two requests for the Flash file of the plagiarism game, and another for the It's Alive! game, along with a friendly suggestion on one of the questions where my information isn't really correct.

Other interesting plagiarism materials posted in the discussion include:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just around the corner

Our freshman orientation game is just around the corner. The materials are printed out and packed up in envelopes. We had 30+ freshmen football players test it last week and things went very well. They didn't follow directions all that well, but that happens. There was also a lot of chaos, but that also happens when you do something on such a large scale. The football players came in with a good attitude and thought this activity was much better than what they had. Yeah!

I have to say I can only take credit for the ideas and creating the tracks. My colleague has a more organized brain and did most of the legwork. I threw in a little of my expertise with technology, though the printer got the best of me yesterday when I was trying to print off the iron-ons for our shirts (yes, some of us are wearing clues!).

I will be launching the plagiarism game next week. My testers have really enjoyed the game and it's only taking them 10-20 minutes. They have only had minor suggestions, but I'm still trying to add feedback for the questions and some more sound effects. It will be done by next week, even if it kills me! I will be sending out a survey to the freshman class on Tuesday, then asking professors to help me get students doing the game a week or two after that.

In addition, I'm contemplating a game for the modern language colloquium I teach once each semester. I want it to be based on Carmen Sandiego, but haven't gotten that far. I'm thinking of having the 12 stars on the EU flag stolen, and they can pick up the stars as they work through the activities. I haven't decided if I want to build something in Flash or do it completely analog. I would like to submit something for Computers in Libraries, which is due September 15th, and this is the only idea I have for the moment.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Orientation Testing

We had the library staff run through the freshman orientation exercise yesterday. We were hoping it would take them 15-20 minutes, it took them 25-45 minutes. I hope that when they're working in groups and have staff members all over the building to direct them that things will go better.

Here are some of the issues we ran into:

  1. Some had issues lining up the transparencies with places in the library. We're going to add some masking tape squares on the ground for optimal viewing areas.
  2. Terminology on the maps and instructions don't match. Unfortunately, it's too late to change the maps, so the instructions must change to some degree, even if some things aren't ideally labeled on the maps.
  3. Some places need a little more detail in the instructions.
  4. The fourth floor OPAC computer wasn't working.
  5. We tell them to find a book called Secret Empire and there are actually two different books with that title, but only one has the clue.
  6. They didn't realize that letters needed to be used more than once to complete the ransom note.
  7. Some were confused about our use of an equals sign when we say "Letter 3=Z" and just want us to change it to "is." BTW, there is no letter Z in our ransom note.
  8. The biggest suggestion, and one that should be easy to fix, is not making it clear what the point of this is. So we're adding a one or two-sentence statement in the introduction that this game will help them get to know where things are in the library, and when they get to the place that has the dog, there's a closure activity that reviews what is on what floor. The activity "unlocks" the dog, and while I'm not thrilled with it graphically, it works great and fits into the game well without adding much to what is required by time.

Overall, the idea was popular, but the mechanics need some work. They really like the "physical-ness" of the game. They kept using the word "physical." That's what Big Games are all about, so I like this description.

The head football coach is probably willing to lend us some of his non-freshmen football players to test it out during football camp. We're meeting to discuss that next week. We can hopefully get a few students in next week when we've done some polishing up with our feedback from yesterday.