Instructor: Dr. Melanie Leussis, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Courses: PSYC 2801/2802 – Research Methods and Statistics I & II
About the Project: The American Psychological Association (APA) has outlined a very specific and extensive set of rules governing writing in psychology known as APA format. The guide for this set of rules is currently almost 300 pages! Students in psychology are expected to use this format for all writing assignments. Faculty members in psychology generally agree that teaching APA format to students, while important, is also time consuming and a poor use of classroom time as the material is so dull and dry. It is not a thought-provoking or discussion-worthy topic.
This project evolved from a desire to find an alternate way to teach this required material to students without sacrificing valuable classroom time. The use of badges offered a method for teaching the basics of APA format through an online medium embedded within ECLearn. At the end of the online mini course in APA format, students are automatically “rewarded” with an online badge that denotes their mastery of the rules for APA format.
Goals: The main goal of the current project was to develop a method that would allow APA format rules to be taught outside of regular classroom time. Badges provided one means to automatically reward students after they complete a set of requirements. In this case, students could earn the APA format badge after watching a series of videos about APA format and successfully completing an online quiz indicating they had learned the material in question. The APA format badge can now be used by all psychology faculty in their classes, although it is a requirement in the core research methods classes that all psychology majors must take.
Technology Requirements: The use of badges can be fully integrated into ECLearn. The badge itself was designed and set up through Canvas badges, and included the specifics of what students needed to accomplish to earn the APA format badge. New material the students were expected to learn was presented using readily available modules from Atomic Learning, with the link to these videos embedded in the assignment page on ECLearn. After viewing the videos, students completed an online quiz in ECLearn to test their knowledge (90% or higher required to pass). Upon completion of the specified requirements, the badge can be automatically awarded to students within ECLearn.
Outcome: The use of badges allowed Dr. Leussis to 1) automate the process of teaching dry background information that students are required to use in psychology – specifically the rules for writing in APA format, and 2) provide a template for teaching APA format that the entire psychology faculty can make use, the APA badge. In general, the use of badges to teach APA format complemented traditional classroom teaching methods, allowing more time in class to be devoted to less mundane tasks than learning a set of rules for writing format.
Interested in using Badges in your courses? Wanting to know more about Atomic Learning training videos? Contact ATIG with questions.