From stickers on homework that gets pinned to the fridge to digital badges in an app for meeting fitness goals, most of us are familiar with the feeling of satisfaction when we are awarded for a job well done. In academic settings, the reward for hard work is typically a good grade, but D2L offers a simple, reusable strategy for acknowledging the things students do along the way to a grade, even those who might not always be high achievers.
Grades are the most common form of assessment, but the D2L Awards tool allows instructors to create customized digital awards that can be manually or automatically issued to students for certain efforts. Including digital badges for students can be a great way to connect with them and offer positive reinforcement for the labor they put into the course, even when it doesn’t always result in stellar grades. Additionally, with the prevalence of basic gamification in so many areas of our digital lives, the desire to collect these achievements feels familiar and motivating.
While tools like Badgr are more official, Awards can be used just for fun. Originally created for the class I was teaching in Spring 2019 when we moved from in-person to emergency online, I chose colorful and cute monsters to award to students for everything from turning in an assignment on time to submitting the final assignment and completing a very difficult semester (monster images licensed through UArizona’s Adobe Stock credits).