There are multiple outlets for students’ creative and critical engagement in our introductory course on Shakespeare, each linked to an explicit learning outcome: annotating texts, live-tweeting classes, reviewing performances, blogging sonnets. Like others at our institution (Kim: 2014), we are implementing a micro-credentialling system of digital badges to reward this engagement.
Our goal is to gamify participation with a system of recognition that would be responsive to student initiative. We give students multiple options under each of our ten badges. For instance, the Genres and Modes Badge invites them to signify genres by designing movie posters; or to capture the arbitrariness of outcomes through a text-adventure video game. (“If Romeo commits suicide, click here; if he hesitates long enough for Juliet to wake up, click here.”)
Digital badges recognize students’ skills that extend beyond a particular course into new environments: analyzing texts is a skill for other courses, and for the workplace (Alliance: 2013). They also recognize peer achievement and build a class community (Ferdig and Pytash: 2014).