I've been trying to give gamification a go for a while, but I'm struggling on how exactly to implement it.
I teach an introduction to programming course, and as I'm part of a team including a couple other teachers and we have too many students, our course is usually divided in two parts: one teacher explains the concepts and then I help students solve problems and exercises. That is 2 classes a week. When the semester is about to end, we have an exam (actually, 3, as the students have 3 chances to pass the exam). No additional activities, no projects, etc., as we usually have about 50 students to grade each semester.
I'm already trying a flipped classroom approach by providing videos they can watch at home before they come and try to solve exercises during my class, but still would like to add some gamification. However, I'm struggling on how to propose this to the rest of the teaching staff.
I've read a couple of books on gamification, watched videos and read about other teacher's experiences online, and I pretty much have an idea of what I'd like to do, and one of those things is replace grades with "experience points" and levels. The more XP points you get, the more levels you gain. Students that reach a certain level will pass the course.
The problem is: how are XP points awarded? In most cases I've read about, every activity is awarded XP, be it exercises the students solve, youtube videos they have to watch, projects they make, quizzes, etc. The thing is: how do you grade (or award XP) all of that? If every activity has to be reviewed by the teacher it would add a huge burden on the staff. Also, when students do their regular exercises, as they are so many, it would be impossible to give them individual feedback on each exercise, so those would not earn them any XP.
Maybe some online quizzes could help, but with programming there's a limitation there, it's not as simple as throwing multiple choice questions (at some point they will need to be coding). I know there are a couple sites that offer programming challenges with automated tests, but then there's the thing of knowing which student actually attempted to solve them, and which ones succeeded (I should add that I really need to keep my gamification proposal at $0 budget, as I know there is no way the administration will pay for software licenses or any equipment other than what we already have).
I thought of a scenario where the teacher would be some kind of "game master" and the students are trying to level up their characters by defeating "monsters" (exercises) and maybe working in guilds (peer reviewing their work). I pretty much even have a story created and some other details I'd like to add. But I can't do any of that unless we increase a good deal our work time so we get to grade students on many more activities other than just the 3 exams we already have.
So how does everyone else deal with this amount of grading?