Gamify Your Course Syllabus

Any course. Any content area. Any grade level. Far too often, those first days of class are invariably the same.

Awkward icebreakers. Forced introductions. A few personal anecdotes from the teacher and some vague language about “making it a great year!” And then it’s onto the syllabus where we proceed to detail all of the rules, procedures, and materials required for our classroom. While we’re at it, we rattle off a list of all the ways that students can (and presumably *will*) lose points and be punished for falling short of our expectations.

Excited yet?

This sort of soul-crushing compliance is one of the fastest ways to suck the air right out of any classroom. And yet it happens time and again in schools all around the globe. But that doesn’t mean we have to keep repeating the same mistakes!

What would it look like if your sleepy syllabus was turned into a year-long adventure?!

Take a look at this course trailer titled “Here’s Fantastic Places, Unhuman Humans” — Dr. Jim Egan’s gamified twist on an English class that was recently offered at Brown University.

Here at EMC² Learning, we’re serious about student engagement. And we have found that instructional gamification is a powerful way that educators can help set their students’ imaginations on fire. Far beyond paper thin gimmicks of rinky-dink points and badges — true gamification is all about diving deeper into the things that our students love to help them discover the deeper objectives of a curriculum that is equal parts timeless and ever-changing.

In short: it’s playing, with purpose.

This kind of first-day energy helps your students see breadth, relevance, and value in your course curriculum from the moment they set foot in your classroom. With a simple splash of storytelling, any ho-hum course really can start to feel larger than life. They say that even the greatest journey starts with a single step. And for teachers looking to harness the awesome potential of gamified instruction, these all-important first days of instruction are a great way to start your year off on the right foot.

It all starts with rethinking your syllabus.

This Google Slides presentation gives teachers an action-packed starting point to convert any traditional syllabus into a full color game manual. Each slide is fully editable, and can be modified to suit the unique needs of your instruction. That includes every picture. Every item. Every background image. And every text box. A sample narrative has been provided inside of this manual to help get you started on your gamification journey. Individual pages include boilerplate language for course scope and sequence, grading policies, assessments, and group activities. When you’re done, you can share the finished product with your classes as a full-color .PDF, or you might even consider printing your action-packed syllabus out to give each student their very own booklet. This one-of-a-kind guidebook offers larger-than-life excitement AND attends to all the practical matters they’ll need for the journey ahead.

Feel free to mix it up in any way that you’d like!

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