It’s a Good Time to Go Gameful

Rachel Niemer, DEI Director of Digital Pedagogy and Learning Communities

This week, Campus Technology announced the winners of this year’s Innovator Award, and the GradeCraft team is honored to be recognized in the Teaching & Learning category. The award is a wonderful recognition of the hard work we have put into growing the community of gameful learning instructors and building a tool that can support instructors’ creative implementations of gameful pedagogy.

Receiving the award has given our team an opportunity to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished this year and think about where we are headed as we continue growing gameful pedagogy at U-M with an assessment system design that supports student engagement. A year ago, we had just received funding from the Third Century Initiative and wrapped up our first term piloting GradeCraft more broadly across campus. Additionally, we joined the Digital Innovation Greenhouse in order to continue scale up our team to create more motivating courses for 20,000 students in the next three years.  Since then, we’ve doubled the number of courses that use GradeCraft and developed a Community of Practice (CoP) that meets monthly. As we continue growing gameful pedagogy at U-M with an assessment system design that supports student engagement, we look forward to collaborating with new partners and encourage anyone interested in learning more about GradeCraft to check out several ways to get involved:

Community of Practice

CoP participants range from those who have yet to go “gameful” and those who have integrated gameful principles into their teaching while managing courses with Canvas to established GradeCraft users.  This group is open to everyone at U-M who is interested in thinking about the interplay of gameful design principles and learning, and we’d love to see the community grow larger. To learn more about how Gameful Learning CoP is integrating gameful principles into teaching and to keep abreast of Gameful Learning CoP events, join the MCommunity Group.

Gameful Pedagogy Website

To help instructors understand the fundamentals of gameful learning and decide whether gameful learning is right for them, we recently launched a gameful pegagogy website. Through this portal, instructors interested in pursuing a gameful teaching pedagogy can find resources on getting started (re)designing a course using gameful principles, an extensive FAQs, and a repository of syllabi from other gameful courses. Check out the site and let us know what other resources would be helpful, and if it’s a good time for you to go gameful, let us know!

Gradecraft dashboard


In addition to expanding the reach of the Gameful Learning CoP and impact of gameful pedagogy,  we also aim to continue to increase the number of GradeCraft users on campus. We invite anyone who is interested in using GradeCraft and is an instructor-of-record at U-M to reach out to us. We’ll work with you to set up a GradeCraft site and consult with you on any course re(design) questions you may have.  


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