Mar 172011

As this develops, I continue to learn.

I had believed that to beat the game, one graduated from the college. It seemed the correct ending to our hero’s journey. And if that was the case, then putting in the time and credit hours allowed you to win thegame.

Total rethink.

Liz pointed out that in that scenario our students can beat the game without even playing it. (I love when we have discussion that make me change my view of the world). She articulated several points, that I am sure she may better explain in another post.

This is the picture in my head.

There is the real world (as real as one believes) and the game overlay with its attendant metaphor. It is the purpose of the game to highlight certain actions, events and behaviors.

Liz has pointed me to various publications, among them “Drive” by Daniel Pink. A key idea is that when one is motivated by reward/pay that is essentially work. Intrinsic motivation, that “drive” — because the action is fulfilling unto itself — is a different thing. Recognition for these behaviors are a perk, not the goal. It feeds play. It is not pay.

Students work toward graduation. It is, in a sense, their job…even though ostensibly they are paying for it. Graduation is the logical and correct reward for this work and should be celebrated. It is separate from the game.

A return to monsters…what is the developmental boss in thisĀ  student journey? Liz, my walking font of reference material has pointed me to “Leaving college: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition” by Vincent Tinto.

I know the first year monster, and I am well aware of senioritis. I spoke with Jennifer Hinton, who is our Assistant Director of Student Experience. This is a new position dedicated to not only academic advising, but looking at all aspects of student life to ensure their success. Jen said we throw a lot of resources at students when they begin, and have much for them as they transition out. As yet, the in-between portion is not as well supported.

Back in the sad 80′s, I dropped out of college and went to work full time. It was the right thing for me at the time. If the objective of the game-if it were a game- was to graduate from the program I began, I failed. If I look at the journey not as completion to graduation, but instead maturation and getting a sense of myself and where I belong in the world, gaining independence and confidence in my abilities – I was right on time.

So the answer to the title of this post, is that I have none as yet. We are still defining the scope of the game. Feel free to chime in.

 Posted by at 8:44 am

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