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An 2.0 version of this tools is available in a newer post.


Gamification: “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals” (Burke, 2014).

Problem domain:

While STEM industry is growing as much as 28% since year 2000, compared to 6% in other industries, and 230,246 STEM jobs were created in 2014-2015, skilled workers are not available.  Universities produced only 30,835 graduates from 2014-2015.  The attrition rate in STEM education is significant.  48% of bachelor’s candidates and 69% of associate’s candidates left STEM majors.  There are many reasons, but some are associated with myths college faculty hold on to about teaching and learning.  Shedding light on those myths and disseminating the science behind Scholarship of Teaching and Learning may help address the problem.

Technical elements:

  1. Responsive design adopted to resize the graphs as the screen size changes
  2. Encryption provided by no cost Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate: https://letsencrypt.org/
  3. User data is never stored on the server side
  4. Privacy is ensured by generating random student names
  5. Accessibility ensured by text representation of graphical elements updated in real-time
  6. Game changer app: De-emphasize the meritocratic view of failure in education introduced by Napoleon (merit is rewarded; failure means your own doing; everyone can be successful; nobody else to blame for failure, but yourself).  Instead, the Greeks had a more balanced view of failure to stress that bad things happen to good people.  Life can be tragic and learning, catharsis, and empathy may be more important than success.  Schools are focused too much on meritocracy and Big Data is taking us into dark places for learning.


This LTI and REST application will allow instructors to create a web link to display their class in gamefully designed tools.  A progress graph, or leaderboard, will show all students and their current progress in course points.  This data is mined in real-time from the Blackboard Grade Center through REST API.  When students view the graph all names are randomized with the exception of their own.  The embedded tools allow for deeper analysis of the data and simulations.

The updated version of the software and instructions are available here:

ORIGINAL ARTICLE for the 2017 Hackathon:

Version 1 of the Blackboard software:

Installation instructions for Blackboard Administrators

  1. Ensure your Blackboard Learn system has REST API enabled.
  2. Navigate to SysAdmin -> REST API Integrations
  3. Create Integration with Application ID:
  4. Create or select an existing user with access to all course gradebooks.
  5. Navigate to SysAdmin -> Building Blocks -> LTI Tool Providers
  6. Select Register Provider Domain
  7. Provider Domain: apps.dataii.com
  8. Generate a Tool Provider Key and Secret: generate LTI information

Directions for Instructors

  1. Navigate to your course
  2. Select Build Content -> Web Link
  3. Name:
  4. URL: https://apps.dataii.com/bb/coursegames/?analysis=true
  5. Make sure to select “This link is to a Tool Provider.” This will only work after the above steps are completed by the Blackboard Administrator.

Instructors can display the current progress without the analysis buttons by removing “?analysis=true” from the URL in step 4: https://apps.dataii.com/bb/coursegames/

For The Nerds

Always read the footnotes and the research behind the solution.


An LTI Tool Provider is a 3rd party tool that implements the LTI protocol. LTI provides the seamless integration of externally hosted web-based Learning Tools. If the LTI Tool Provider is already configured, links can be created to the available Tool Providers. If you have been in contact with the Tool Provider directly, a key, secret, or a block of configuration XML may have been supplied which can now be entered.

REST API.  Representational state transfer (REST) or RESTful Web services are one way of providing interoperability between computer systems on the Internet. REST-compliant Web services allow requesting systems to access and manipulate textual representations of Web resources using a uniform and predefined set of stateless operations. Other forms of Web service exist, which expose their own arbitrary sets of operations such as WSDL and SOAP.





Burke, B. (2014, April 4). Gartner Redefines Gamification. Retrieved March 2, 2016, from http://blogs.gartner.com/brian_burke/2014/04/04/gartner-redefines-gamification/