Leaderboard Thoughts for Gamification

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One of the more controversial elements of gaming is the leaderboard (listing high scorers in certain activities). Many students like knowing their scores and some even ask for leaderboards, despite instructor intuitions that students should not be ranked.

I am not always sure about leaderboards either, but I also have to say that even when we deliberately try to avoid declaring a winner, we always get comments that our game wasn't real because there was no winner. Students do like to keep score.

But what to do? How do we get the leaderboard, but not embarrass and de-motivate low performers. At the last Game Day, the instructors talked about this and some good ideas did emerge:

  1. Use Aliases - Sherry Robinson mentioned that she asks students to give a gamer handle and that's what she uses.
  2. Just the Userid - The Typo game only gives the PSU Access ID. Students know their rank and their friends'. A motivated student could look up other ID's but will they?
    The only caveat there was that students were upset that they couldn't beat test accounts from EGC staff (oh well....)
  3. Just the Top 10/20... - Another strategy is to just list those in the top tier. It's also useful for large classes when you might not want to manually list everyone.

These are great suggestions I will remember for the future.

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