skip to main content

Title: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Gamification on Students’ Performance in a Cybersecurity Course
The motivation of students to actively engage in course activities has significant impact on the outcome of academic courses. Prior studies have shown that innovative instructional interventions and course delivery methods have a vital role in boosting the motivation of students. Gamification tools aid course delivery by utilizing well established game design principles to enhance skill development, routine practice and self-testing. In this article, we present a study on how the use of a course gamification platform dubbed OneUp impacts the motivation of students in an online cyber security course. The study shows that more than 90% of the respondents agreed that OneUp has improved the effectiveness of the course delivery. In addition, 75% of the respondents want to use OneUp in their future courses. Furthermore, our analysis shows that OneUp has improved the median grade of students from B+ to A- compared to the same course delivered the previous year without using OneUp.
; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of the Colloquium for Information System Security Education
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Although many CS courses require extensive practice, a large number of students show low motivation for engaging in non-graded, self-directed learning activities. To address this problem, we developed OneUp – a highly configurable course gamification platform that enables instructors to tailor the gamification features to fit their preferences. This paper presents a case study of using OneUp to gamify a Data Structures course. The focus is on encouraging students’ self-study and better engagement with out-of-class online practicing. We describe the utilized game elements - badges, leaderboard, virtual currency, and learning dashboards, and provide a descriptive analysis of their use. The results of our evaluation show that this gamification intervention has been well received by the students, resulting in significantly increased student engagement and out-of-class practicing and in a reduced failing rate.
  2. Effective gamification can only be based on understanding the relationship between learner motivation and the game elements which are used to gamify learning activities. Although frequently mentioned, Virtual Currency (VC) remains underused and scarcely studied in educational gamification. As a motivational affordance, VC can be thought of as supporting different types of motivation, but currently, there is a lack of empirical studies which investigate this. Recognizing this gap, the purpose of our study was to empirically investigate whether and how gamifying learning activities with virtual currency can engender motivation for out-of-class practicing and what type of motivation. In the limited research others have conducted, VC has been studied largely in combination with other game elements, which does not allow reaching reliable conclusions about the impact of the individual elements. For this reason, we studied the effects of VC in a gamified Discrete Math course isolated from other game elements. The study showed that using VC to gamify practicing increased students’ practicing activity, which resulted in improved academic performance. The study also revealed that while gamified practicing did not increase students’ intrinsic motivation, it supported internalization of motivation towards this learning activity.
  3. Computers are used in almost all the fields in our daily life –they are used in various occupations and do the tasks with greater precision and as a result, made the life more comfortable. As such, more than 500,000 computing jobs remain unfulfilled in the US (Reported by app association), and many nations need more computer scientist. Therefore, this urge the need for engineering education community and researchers to focus more on underrepresentation of women in CS due to the fact that women currently comprise only 15.7% of computing degrees awarded ; Computer Science has one of the most considerable gender disparities in science, technology, and engineering and the number of female students choosing computer science as their major remains underrepresented regardless of recent improvements; and the reason behind this statistic is the challenges that lessen students’ motivation in CS majors; Programming courses have always had a negative image among students and usually need more practice. In order to increase the number of female students in CS and ensure the health of the community, there is a need to better understand and discover a mechanism that can improve women’s participation in computer science which leads to attracting more female studentsmore »in computer science. Researchers have explored various engagements strategies in the fields of computer science. One of the strategies that have seen an increase and garnered attention in the last two decades is the use of video game elements or gamification in different fields such as education. Gamification -which usually refers to using video game mechanics in activities not related to video games - aims to increase participants’ engagement and enjoyment. This notion has been increasing popularity over time especially among especially education researchers because game elements -which provide challenges to the players and motivate them to set goals- can be used in learning environments appropriately to enhance the motivation of learners. While there is a strong body of literature around the implications of gamification on student learning, there are inconsistent results in the literature with regards to the interests or attitudes of women. This review aims to provide a critical evaluation of the use of gamification in the application in the existing literature in 1) education 2) computer science and 3) women in computer science to provide a basis for more targeted learning engagement strategies to motivate and retain more women in computing fields and build on the literature on gamification and gender.« less
  4. The rise in CS enrollments in the past few years has also resulted in a more diverse population of learners that have different expectations, motivations and interests, making it important to provide relevant learning materials in early foundational courses. Grounding Computer Science concepts in reality by solving important real-world or fun problems are keys to increasing students’ motivation and engagement in computing, which may help improve student retention and success. This workshop provides instructors with a hands-on introduction to BRIDGES, a software infrastructure for programming assignments in early computer science courses, such as CS1, CS2, data structures, and algorithm analysis. BRIDGES provides the tools for creating engaging programming assignments, including: (1) a simplified API for accessing real-world data, such as those from social networks, entertainment (songs, movies), science, engineering (USGIS Earthquakes, elevation maps), geography (OpenStreet maps), and literature (Project Gutenberg), (2) creating visualizations of the data, (3) an easy to use API for game-based assignments, and, (4) algorithm benchmarking. Workshop attendees will engage in hands-on experience using BRIDGES with multiple datasets, have the opportunity to discuss the challenges they face in their own courses, and how BRIDGES can be used in their own courses. Using BRIDGES in data structures, algorithms,more »and other courses have shown improved retention of CS knowledge and better student performance in follow-on courses, when compared to students from other sections of the same course. BRIDGES has impacted nearly 2000 students across 20 institutions since its inception 5 years ago. A repository of BRIDGES assignments is now maintained for instructors using BRIDGES in their classes.« less
  5. The purpose of this study is to develop an instrument to measure student perceptions about the learning experiences in their online undergraduate engineering courses. Online education continues to grow broadly in higher education, but the movement toward acceptance and comprehensive utilization of online learning has generally been slower in engineering. Recently, however, there have been indicators that this could be changing. For example, ABET has accredited online undergraduate engineering degrees at Stony Brook University and Arizona State University (ASU), and an increasing number of other undergraduate engineering programs also offer online courses. During this period of transition in engineering education, further investigation about the online modality in the context of engineering education is needed, and survey instrumentation can support such investigations. The instrument presented in this paper is grounded in a Model for Online Course-level Persistence in Engineering (MOCPE), which was developed by our research team by combining two motivational frameworks used to study student persistence: the Expectancy x Value Theory of Achievement Motivation (EVT), and the ARCS model of motivational design. The initial MOCPE instrument contained 79 items related to students’ perceptions about the characteristics of their courses (i.e., the online learning management system, instructor practices, and peer support),more »expectancies of course success, course task values, perceived course difficulties, and intention to persist in the course. Evidence of validity and reliability was collected using a three-step process. First, we tested face and content validity of the instrument with experts in online engineering education and online undergraduate engineering students. Next, the survey was administered to the online undergraduate engineering student population at a large, Southwestern public university, and an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted on the responses. Lastly, evidence of reliability was obtained by computing the internal consistency of each resulting scale. The final instrument has seven scales with 67 items across 10 factors. The Cronbach alpha values for these scales range from 0.85 to 0.97. The full paper will provide complete details about the development and psychometric evaluation of the instrument, including evidence of and reliability. The instrument described in this paper will ultimately be used as part of a larger, National Science Foundation-funded project investigating the factors influencing online undergraduate engineering student persistence. It is currently being used in the context of this project to conduct a longitudinal study intended to understand the relationships between the experiences of online undergraduate engineering students in their courses and their intentions to persist in the course. We anticipate that the instrument will be of interest and use to other engineering education researchers who are also interested in studying the population of online students.« less