This semester I started an unit called ‘Digital Media and the Surveillance Society’ as part of my media and communications degree at university. I must admit, this was a core unit and I really had no choice but to enrol- however I’m glad I did because I ended up gaining a few skills that will no doubt come in handy long after my graduation.
Having done an unit last semester with similar expectations, I was quietly confident that I would be able to make the most of the unit and continue to build by online presence. What I didn’t realise however, was that my productivity was really going to be put to the test.
The main theme surrounding the unit was obviously surveillance and the many ways that we come across it in today’s society, which when you think about it is endless- there are countless articles discussing surveillance and the negative and positive aspects of this in various areas from social media to home surveillance.
Finding topics to discuss and blog about wasn’t the hard part, the hard part was actually getting myself to blog every week and surpass the two blog requirement for assessment, especially when there were no weekly readings which meant that I had to find my own resources to support the arguments that I was making. It wasn’t an impossible task, but it was one that required a high level of motivation- at least for me.
When the unit chair suggested gamifying the unit for ourselves, I jumped at the chance. This meant that I would give myself a number of points every time I posted anything online that was relevant to the unit including blog posts, tweets, videos and podcasts. Starting from zero points my goal was to get to 500 points by the end of semester.
The task seemed daunting and I knew in order to be successful I had to make sure that my rewards were things I actually wanted. The tweet embedded below shows the rewards that I set for myself for every milestone (or level) that I reached.
As you can see, I have a bit of an online shopping problem, but lets ignore that for now. I set my rewards to be items that I knew I would be happy to get myself, and as a result found that I had that extra motivation I needed to get the most out of an unit like this. As for my last reward, the unicorn pool float- I had been wanting to buy one for a while now and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to finally purchase it!
Aside from retail therapy, I also ended up learning quite a bit about what works for me in terms of self motivation. In the real world, no one is going to stand over your shoulder and yell at you until you achieve something- It’s all up to you. As a result of this I think it is important to find a way to motivate yourself to make the most out of a situation, whether it be life, work or university.
The gamification strategy is obviously not going to work for everybody, but for me it worked like a charm. I also think it’s quite fitting that the moment this post is published I will reach the last level on my gamification score board- unicorn pool float, I’m coming for you!