Gaming in Education part three: Using Blackboard to setup Achievements

Earlier last week I posted a few articles about gaming in education, and using achievements in your classroom. I’m going to go one more step and walk you through how to set this up using Blackboard which is a pretty widely used Learning Management System. With a few tweaks to your course you can quickly and easily setup some auto achievements to entice your students to stay on your course site. Before we start there are a couple of points I should make:

1. This tutorial assumes you have a pretty decent working knowledge of Blackboard and how to create things in the system.

2. This tutorial also assumes you have read some information about achievements (like the ones in my previous blog post).   So when working with achievements in Blackboard you’re faced with two challenges. Setting some up so you don’t have ot manually do everything, and making sure students know where to go to see how they are doing.

3. Everyone’s Blackboard course site looks different. I’m starting with the default course page for our system which looks like this:

First we’re going to make a space for Achievements. This is where any achievements students trip will appear. This is also a good place to put a leaderboard.

Next I’m going to go into a content area and create a new Item ( I always prefer items over files). This is something you want the students to read or do.


I create my content item like any other. I add a name/file/description and any other restrictions I’d like. Then I hit submit, and my item is all setup.

Next I’m going to hop back over to the achievements content area and I’m going to build my achievement. Here you have a couple of choices You can make it an Assignment so the student has to submit something to complete the achievement, it can just be an item that shows an achievement, or something else. In this example I just created an achievement item.


The next step is to link the two items together so an action on my original item will cause the achievement to appear. This is going to be done using Adaptive Release. Adaptive Release has a simple but powerful function; it sets rules for seeing things. Rules can be user specific, grade specific, or you can make custom rules. To get to AR, just click on the option button next to the achievement.




To keep it simple, I’m going to just set up a “reviewed rule” this means when a student marks an item reviewed the achievement will appear. I’m going to browse my course and find my original item.


At this point I am all set. If you look at your original item you’ll see a new button that says Mark Reviewed. If a student reads the document they can click Mark Reviewed and they’ll be able to see and get their achievement but looking in the achievement content area.


Now you’re all set. Again, reviewing achievements to rely a bit on the honor of the student but you can always set up the achievement as a quiz. Have them answer one or two questions about the reading to insure they read the information. Some teachers also use a code or puzzle in a reading with the answer being the way to earn the achievement.


Here’s a quick walkthrough video I did showing achievements in action




Hopefully this will get you on your way to making achievements in your class! Feel free to leave comments or questions.

One comment on “Gaming in Education part three: Using Blackboard to setup Achievements

  1. Hi, in your explanation about using achievements in Blackboard coursesites, you mentioned that it would be a good place to put a leaderboard. How can I do that as I don’t see any leaderboard function in blackboard? Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s