Gamifying an Introduction to Programming Course: A Case Study

Figure: A Social Network Graph of One Online Community Figure: A Social Network Graph of One Online Community

Through the magic of backdating I’m able to blog about our case study on gamification! A couple years back we did a case study on applying gamified online collaboration to an introduction to programming course with the help of the Q2A platform. The case study on increasing collaborative communications with gamification had positive outcomes in increasing the students’ mutual online support. The case study paper got a pretty good reception, too, and was the 6th most downloaded article in the conference’s digital library at the time. Now we are working on our gamified platform and I hope to blog about the new system soon.

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A pre-print version of the case study paper is freely available to view in ResearchGate and the full version in the ACM Digital Library.


We used social network analysis on the communication logs to examine the shape of the community in order to discover if true mutual support was established between the students. After analysing the case study results we were able to conclude that students formed the core of the community, with course staff facilitating, but not dominating the conversation. More details in the article!


In this case study we present an approach for using gamification elements to increase online student collaboration. In the study a gamified online discussion system was added to an introduction to programming course, with the aim of motivating the students to help each other. The actions in the discussion systems were analyzed and compared with user profiles and a student survey. The system had a positive impact on the course, increasing student collaboration, reduced response times and made course communications 88% more efficient by reducing email traffic.

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