Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration

Specialization

Operations and Supply Chain Management

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Koray Özpolat

Abstract

Achieving higher level of student engagement in learning is a popular topic among educators of various disciplines. Numerous methods have been explored to the end of making learning more engaging and students more motivated and yet, due to the ever-changing nature of the “new generation”, there always seems to be something new to try. In particular, college students that major in business strive for opportunities to engage in hands-on activities that are relevant in the real-world to be better prepared for their professional careers after graduation.

The advancements in computer technology and the rising popularity of videogames as entertainment media consumption gave rise to the study of how the design principles of games can be applied in other activities, such as learning, training, and management. Gamification is widely adopted in the industry for onboarding, training, performance management, and customer engagement. In the academia, gamification studies have grown in higher education in various disciplines such as business, medicine, and engineering. Recent gamification studies grounded in self-determination theory (SDT) call for proper gamified design to cast a deeper look into human behavior on what gives us a click in the mind to become engaged and motivated in activities typically viewed as distant from fun and exciting.

The first manuscript, a study in gamified Operations & Supply Chain Management course design, explores what gamification does to student engagement, satisfaction, and content knowledge when applied restrictively to assessment activities within the course. The negative findings suggest that a wider, more comprehensive application is needed for the gamified course to be engaging, as well as lead to improved academic performance.

While exploring what the new technique of gamification can offer to student engagement, it is worth exploring a legacy media with the same goal: newspapers. The popularity of television and internet forced the newspaper industry to adopt online publication as their business model due to diminished demand for print circulation. However, print and online local and regional newspapers still dominate the US market, making them a viable channel of engagement for students.

The second manuscript presents a team project designed to guide students in applying their learning in an opinionated writing and submitting their voice to local and regional newspapers. Designed according to principles of active learning theory and team-based learning theory, the op-ed writing project presents a unique learning opportunity to students by taking what they’ve learned in the classroom and scaling the abstract constructs and principles down to their own community contexts in the neighborhood, local, regional, or national level, while interacting with teammates for a consensus opinion of their own.

The op-ed writing project led to seven student op-eds published in local and regional newspapers. Survey results show positive student perceptions in realizing their opinion is worth sharing with the public, in learning a new style of writing, and in that the project helped them learn the course materials better, indicating a successful implementation.

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