Resources are the May 2014 Game Based Learning Faculty Institute are under the ITS Office for Teaching, Learning, and Technology Resources For Design A Course.
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Game-Based Learning Faculty Institute

Enhancing Student Learning by Incorporating Game-Based Learning into Your Course

Definition: Game-based learning (GBL) is a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes. Generally, game-based learning is designed to balance subject matter with game play and to help the player retain and apply what they have learned to the real world.

Are you looking for innovative ways to engage your students as learners? There might be a game that could help.

Starting in May 2014, the Center for Teaching and ITS-Instructional Services will work with a group of UI faculty members who have identified a learning need in their students and would like to find or help devise a game to help students address that learning challenge.


This collaborative opportunity will enable faculty participants to:

  • work with ITS-Instructional Services and Center for Teaching staff to focus on at least one student learning challenge, research games that could be incorporated into the course, and consider content and designs for developing new games;
  • connect cognitive knowledge and intellectual skills to the purposes of specific games;
  • create a faculty learning community that continues to gain knowledge and skills, assess the impact of using games in their courses, and share information and encouragement.


The Game-Based Learning Faculty Community will kick off with a workshop on Monday May 12, 9:00-3:00 in University Capitol Centre 2390 Executive Boardroom (above Cookies and More).  Prior to that, faculty participants will read a few brief articles and submit a brief description of a learning challenge their students seem to experience, along with the syllabus for the course in which students struggle.

The workshop will help us gain shared understandings of definitions, functionality, and impact of games as well as ways that they can be used to target particular learning needs.

During the summer, faculty members will meet individually (or in small groups) with Center for Teaching and ITS-Instructional Services staff members to develop content for incorporating a game and discuss how best to fold game-based learning into course materials, including assignments, in-class use, and assessment.  We also will discuss how faculty members will assess the impact of student use of games.

At the end of the summer or early fall, we will gather as a group and share our ideas.  At the end of the fall semester, we will regroup again to discuss outcomes of using games in courses.


Faculty participants will

  • attend all workshops and follow-up meetings;
  • collaborate with ITS-IS and the CfT to find a game or develop a proposal for the Innovations in Teaching with Technology Awards to create, adapt, modify, or develop a game to address student learning needs;
  • participate in two follow-up meetings (late summer or early fall, and late fall);
  • develop course materials—particularly assignments, in-class exercises, and learning assessment—that incorporate the use of a game;
  • share and read a few current articles and web resources relevant to student learning and games as teaching tools;
  • respond to assessment inquires posed by ITS-Instructional Services and the Center for Teaching;
  • assess the impact of the game on their students’ learning outcomes. 

For background information on using games in teaching and learning, see “Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother?” Lee, J. J. & Hammer, J. (2011). Academic Exchange Quarterly, 15(2).


We welcome applications from University of Iowa tenured, tenure-track, and clinical faculty members.  We seek faculty participants from a range of disciplines and would like the teaching challenges represented by the entire Faculty Community to relate to all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:  fundamental knowledge, application, analysis, critique, and knowledge creation. Small grants will be available to purchase materials or equipment that further the development of game based content for your course.


For questions about the Game-Based Learning Faculty Institute, please contact Lisa Kelly at or (319) 384-4158.


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Last updated: 
February 23, 2017