Gamifi what? Gam·i·fi·ca·tion: the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. [1]

In education, your instructors may be doing this with point scoring, competition, online scavenger hunts, or group work including role play. Over on the faculty blog this week, we’ve been discussing gamification in education. Do your instructors use this technique in their lessons? If so, please comment below and let us know how and if you enjoy learning this way!

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pluckPS – We created a Pluck the Turkey game for faculty as a fun way of learning or reinforcing their learning about games and the gamification of education. Have a go at the game but you may need to read the faculty posts (Nov 10 and Nov 17) to answer the questions correctly!

Infographic: Myths About Online Learning

View the complete infographic by Digital Learning Now!

myths of online learning

“Digital Learning Now! is a national campaign to advance policies that will create a high quality digital learning environment to better prepare students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and careers. Digital Learning Now! is building support for the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning, which provides a roadmap for reform for lawmakers and policymakers to integrate digital learning into education.” About Digital Learning Now!

Whalefest 2014 is Here!

shobestudios_whaleThe 18th Annual Sitka Whalefest is November 6-9 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The 4-day Whalefest includes a science symposium, community and cultural activities, marine wildlife cruises, artisan market, music, food, art and a fun run/walk.

In addition to the many lectures offered November 7-9 at the science symposium, UAS Sitka is offering the following 4 classes for college credit:

Current Topics in Marine Research (ED593 or BIOL175) – Nov 7, 8 and 9
Discussion of a series of papers on the 2014 Sitka Whalefest theme. Attendance at the Sitka Whalefest science symposium is required.

Introduction to Alaska Aquaculture (FT193P) – Nov 4-6
This 1-credit workshop will teach students how salmon enhancement works in Alaska. Gain insights into the science and ecology of Alaska fisheries.

Introduction to Molecular Techniques for Management of Marine Mammals and Fisheries (BIOL193) – Nov 4-6
This class will focus on the principles and procedures of DNA extraction. gene amplification. and gel electrophoresis. Learn how these techniques can be used to answer ecological questions.

For more information and fees, view the course flyer.

Student Writers Wanted

woman at computerHackCollege is looking for student writers! HackCollege is dedicated to changing the way students and faculty view education and technology. They are currently seeking students “who are interested in discovering and reporting on things that can help themselves and other students succeed.”

Take your writing to the next level! For more information on how you can guest blog, contact HackCollege!

HackCollege is educating the students of the world about effective, open source software, putting techno-political arguments in everyday language, and creating a cult of “Students 2.0.”

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Our New Home on the Web!

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Our Tips for Student Success blog has a new address! Please update your bookmark with the new address: We have moved from to Read why we made the change on our learningspaces site!

Important! If you previously subscribed to the blog, your subscription should have transferred over in the move. If you do not receive updates you will need to resubscribe.


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Survey Results

The results of our student survey are in and we have two winners. Congratulations to Patricia Kohler and Carol Pate! They will each receive a gift certificate to the UAS online bookstore. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey and offered the following suggestions.

Students would like to see tutorials on:checkbox_marker

  • Learning styles
  • Studying and comprehension
  • Communications
  • How to find support services
  • Time management (we have this!)
  • APA format
  • Computer fixes
  • How to create citations
  • How to upload files to blackboard
  • Writing lab reports
  • Algebra refresher
  • How to be more engaged in the classroom
  • Writing (personal letters, resumes)
  • Library article searches
  • Navigating blackboard

The survey may be closed but we’d still love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment here, or email us your comments and suggestions anytime!

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Improving Completion Rates in Online Developmental Math Courses

mathPosterOn February 28, Patricia Brower, Math Technology Specialist, and Jeff Johnston, UAS Campus Director, presented at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Conference in Portland on their Title III funded case study. The focus of the presentation was on the analysis of the changes made to the online developmental math courses at the Sitka Campus. Patricia and Jeff spoke with several attendees about the success of the case study and the improvements made to the completion rates of UAS’ online developmental math courses; the courses have sustained a 30% increase in completion rates over five continuous semesters.

Under the UAS Sitka Campus Title III grant, research was conducted to discover how we could increase completion rates for our online developmental math courses. Using the well known emporium model (where math is taught within a physical lab) as a guide, we set out to improve our completion rates by improving sustained engagement. In looking at the research data, we found that throughout the US, developmental math courses were serving as a barrier to completion not only of the math courses themselves, but of degrees in general. Creating an “impassable gateway” for many, and serving as a graveyard for college students, developmental math courses have proven to be in need of redesign so that student can acquire their degrees and to go on to successful careers. To learn more about the purpose and approach of the research read the brief report.

The case study brought much interest from campuses across the United States interested in the possibility of creating successful online courses for developmental mathematics. Jeff and Patricia presented on how through the project, the Title III team was able to adapt the emporium model to a completely online environment. This new “Virtual Emporium Model” is one of the first models used for online developmental math education. Mcgraw Hill is featuring the results of this case study for other Universities, so that they can see how to successfully use adaptive math programs like ALEKS on their own campuses.