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002
Publications

2020

Authoring Game-Based Programming Challenges to Improve Students’ Motivation

Authors
Paiva, JC; Leal, JP; Queirós, R;

Publication
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing

Abstract
One of the great challenges in programming education is to keep students motivated while working on their programming assignments. Of the techniques proposed in the literature to engage students, gamification is arguably the most widely spread and effective method. Nevertheless, gamification is not a panacea and can be harmful to students. Challenges comprising intrinsic motivators of games, such as graphical feedback and game-thinking, are more prone to have longterm positive effects on students, but those are typically complex to create or adapt to slightly distinct contexts. This paper presents Asura, a game-based programming assessment environment providing means to minimize the hurdle of building game challenges. These challenges invite the student to code a Software Agent to solve a certain problem, in a way that can defeat every opponent. Moreover, the experiment conducted to assess the difficulty of authoring Asura challenges is described. © 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

2020

FGPE AuthorKit A Tool for Authoring Gamified Programming Educational Content

Authors
Paiva, JC; Queirós, R; Leal, JP; Swacha, J;

Publication
Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE

Abstract
We present FGPE AuthorKit, a tool to author programming exercises featuring gamification elements that provide additional motivation for the students to intensify their learning effort. The tool allows the (1) creation of exercises and their associated metadata, (2) selection and parameterization of adequate gamification techniques for a specific exercise or their collection, (3) design of the content structure and sequencing rules, and (4) importing and exporting the content in the formats of choice. © 2020 ACM.

2020

GEdIL—Gamified Education Interoperability Language

Authors
Swacha, J; Paiva, JC; Leal, JP; Queiros, R; Montella, R; Kosta, S;

Publication
Information

Abstract
The paper introduces Gamified Education Interoperability Language (GEdIL), designed as a means to represent the set of gamification concepts and rules applied to courses and exercises separately from their actual educational content. This way, GEdIL allows not only for an easy yet effective specification of gamification schemes for educational purposes, but also sharing them among instructors and reusing in various courses. GEdIL is published as an open format, independent from any commercial vendor, and supported with dedicated open-source software.

2020

Game-Based Coding Challenges to Foster Programming Practice

Authors
Paiva, JC; Leal, JP; Queirós, R;

Publication
OpenAccess Series in Informatics

Abstract
The practice is the crux of learning to program. Automated assessment plays a key role in enabling timely feedback without access to teachers but alone is insufficient to engage students and maximize the outcome of their practice. Graphical feedback and game-thinking promote positive effects on students' motivation as shown by some serious programming games, but those games are complex to create and adapt. This paper presents Asura, an environment for assessment of game-based coding challenges, built on a specialized framework, in which students are invited to develop a software agent (SA) to play it. During the coding phase, students can take advantage of the graphical feedback to complete the proposed task. Some challenges also encourage students to think of a SA that plays in a setting with interaction among SAs. In such a case, the environment supports the creation and visualization of tournaments among submitted agents. Furthermore, the validation of this environment from the learners' perspective is also described. 2012 ACM Subject Classification Applied computing ! Interactive learning environments; Applied computing ! E-learning.

2019

Towards a framework for gamified programming education

Authors
Swacha, J; Queiros, R; Paiva, JC;

Publication
Proceedings - 2019 International Symposium on Educational Technology, ISET 2019

Abstract
Computer programming is a difficult subject that can only be mastered with lots of practice. It is therefore of primary importance to rise and retain students' engagement during a programming course, a task in which gamification has been proven as a competent method. Even though there are numerous reports on applying gamification to programming courses, there are no available open resources or dedicated platforms that could be used by programming teachers to gamify their courses, meeting both the requirements of being easy to adopt and leaving the decisions on the scope of the course and the level of gamification to the teachers themselves. In order to fulfill this gap, a consortium of four European institutions initiated a common project to develop open gamified programming exercises and interactive course materials for popular programming languages. In this paper, we report the results of the first stage of this work, which defined the range of gamification concepts to be covered within the developed framework and its evaluation by students. © 2019 IEEE.