Gamification in the RhetComp Curriculum

Chris McGunnigle (Ed.)

by Laurence Brenner (Bronx Community College), Alexandra Cata (North Carolina State University), Marian Dillahunt (Methodist University), Allison Douglass (Wofford College), Daniel Ernst (Texas Woman's University), Tiffany Griffith (University of Evansville), Emma Kostopolus (Valdosta State University), Mridula Sharma (University of Glasgow), Desiree Thorpe (Texas Woman’s University), Clair Willden (North Dakota State University), Lore Andreassen (North Dakota State University), Mark Noe (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), Jeffrey Doyle (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), Beth Greene (University of Nevada, Reno), Bonnie Garcia (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)

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As one expects of scholars working in the composition space, the level of writing is uniformly strong, often engaging, and not infrequently superb. The regular inclusion of autobiographical elements (especially in Chris McGunnigle's introduction) gives the book the kind of personal and collegial tone that its audience (composition pedagogues) appreciate.
The introduction does its job very well, motivating and describing gamified composition pedagogy, surveying the major themes in the relevant scholarship, and situating the contributions that follow.
It is a helpful contribution to an important area of composition pedagogy.

Dr. Randy Allen Harris
Rhetoric, Linguistics, Communication Design
English Language and Literature
University of Waterloo

Gamification is an up and coming popular trend in all levels and types of education, including public and private schools, higher education, the military, the private sector, and elsewhere. Gamification introduces aspects of game design like teamwork, competition, rewards and prizes, storytelling, and more into lesson plan units. In many cases, actual games, whether it be Scrabble, Hangman, Candy Crush, Dungeons & Dragons, and many others, are adapted into educational tools. This chapter collection will specifically look at the use of gamification techniques in Freshmen Writing courses and related Composition, Writing and Rhetoric classes. Each chapter will provide sample gamified lessons supported by relevant scholarship in both Gamification Theory and Writing Studies.

List of Figures and Tables

Foreword: Procedural Rhetoric in the Ludic Century
Matthew Farber, Ed.D.
University of Northern Colorado


Chapter 1 Games, Curriculum, and Career
Mridula Sharma
University of Glasgow

Chapter 2 Beware the Button Masher: Gamified Learning and the Need for Careful Assessment
Daniel Ernst
Texas Woman's University

Chapter 3 Adapting Dark Souls III’s Affinity Space to Support First-Year Writers
Desirée Thorpe
Texas Woman’s University

Chapter 4 Playful Pedagogies: An Examination of Collaboration and GBL in FYW and TPC Classrooms
Alexandra Catá
North Carolina State University
Beth Greene
University of Nevada, Reno

Chapter 5 Cartography for Composition: World Building as a Path to Discourse Communities
Clair Willden and Lore Andreassen
North Dakota State University

Chapter 6 Playing with Dragons: Using Role-Playing Games to Support Academic Objectives
Laurence Brenner
Bronx Community College

Chapter 7 Using Reacting to the Past in First-Year Seminar and First-Year Composition
Tiffany Griffith
University of Evansville

Chapter 8 The Key Choice in Game Design: Competition or Cooperation and Their Impact on Writing Instruction
Mark Noe, Bonnie Garcia, and Jeffrey Doyle
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Chapter 9 Making Play Personal: Actual Play Podcasts in the Student-Centered Classroom
Allison Douglass
Wofford College

Chapter 10 Transfer and Engagement through Zombified Pedagogy
Emma Kostopolus
Valdosta State University


Dr. Christopher McGunnigle received his PhD from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Rhetoric and Composition with a dissertation focusing on Hybrid Media. Having studied gaming rhetoric for his dissertation, he soon began incorporating game-based pedagogy into his lessons to create a more active and engaging classroom environment.

Assessment, collaboration, composition, digital literacies, engagement, first-year composition, game-based learning, gamification, multimodality, pedagogy, play, roleplay