Gamification Gives Course New Appeal

0 Commentsby   |  11.30.15  |  Uncategorized


DET professor Brian Burton has started developing an exciting new program that will infuse class with games.

Gamification is a concept that has gained significant interest in the past couple of years. It is a process where one takes game elements and puts them into a class allowing you to earn badges and achievements. Its purpose is to make courses more interesting, fun, and to encourage more participation by students.

Last spring, Dr. Burton and a group of students developed a gamification website. This website allowed you to log in, enter the project you had completed, and earn badges and achievements as well as a grade for the assignment. For example, you could unlock the “Photoshop” badge and were given a little badge that you could display on your website. This project went very well and is now functioning as an independent website that can be used in conjunction with any class.

Dr. Burton reflects, “We started thinking that it would be a lot better if this was integrated into Canvas or Blackboard or any other learning management systems that we typically use on campus”. This led to the acceptance of a grant from the Adams Center to further develop this program. Over the next year, Dr. Burton along with students Austin Graham and Katey Bluel will work to create a plugin that will allow the gamification of the Canvas website. Users will be able to take this plugin and add it to any class.

Gamification has already proven to be successful in raising student participation. Students will do more things to earn a badge than they would necessarily do just to earn points for a project. Another feature to better increase participation is gamification through peer reviews. Gamification samples were added so students could view other student’s works and comment on them. If you completed ten reviews, you could earn a badge. Before gamification, only one or two people would participate in responses. Afterwards, the majority of the class were reviewing and doing ten peer reviews and giving comments and feedback on other projects. They became much more invested in earning a badge or an achievement, even if there were no points involved.

At this point, Dr. Burton and his team have to figure out one thing: how to make the experience as easy as possible for the user. As for the future of gamification at ACU, Dr. Burton states, “There are a lot of places researching gamification or the implementation of gamification. None of them have been easy to use. Our intention is to create an open source plugin that anyone at any university can take and use for their classes.”

Not only will this new program benefit the school, it will benefit the students. “DET students are creating the next generation of inclusion of gamification and they are creating research that will, hopefully, have a broad impact,” states Burton. “It gives them practice in doing the gamification process. If they work for the corporate office at United or a major bank, many of them are looking into how to incorporate gamification. They will already have the experience doing the gamification and they will be able to apply it in an environment like that.”

Dr. Burton is very excited about this opportunity and looks to have this product fully ready to be used by students by next fall.

DET Club Creates Virtual Campus to Enhance Campus Experience

0 Commentsby   |  12.04.14  |  Uncategorized

Going for a campus visit is about to get much easier thanks to the upcoming Virtual Campus program. The DET Club is creating something new for the ACU campus.  Basically, people will be able to view and tour the buildings and grounds without having to be physically present at ACU. There will be interactive games which will use the campus as the map. Many people will be able to enjoy the campus whether they live here or not. This is important for prospective students because they will be able to see what campus life is like before being here. One of these tools will be a fun game that allows the user to create their own dorm room.

Only one or two other colleges have virtual campuses, but the plan is for this one to be completely different than all the others. The gaming aspect of it will make the program unique. Katey Bluel, DET Club PR Director said she is, “especially excited for mini games and the inside jokes that ACU people would understand.” She also noted their desire to make these games very user friendly.

A demo of the program is planned to be launched in two years. The officers noted that there is a lot of work to do yet, but the process is part of the fun. This is big project for the club and they are excited about it. DET Club President, Justin Foley, said “This is something to showcase our skills to future club employees.” Not only is this an exciting venture, but also something that will help students build an outstanding résumé.

Another great aspect about this project is that absolutely anyone can get involved. No matter what your major, you can help! The DET students are learning this new type of programing too. They would love to see more people get involved from the beginning and start learning more about this system. DET Club Vice President Austin Graham said, “This is the first time that we’ve done something this big. Anyone who wants to join – can.”

Join the DET Club social media pages to stay updated on the progress of the Virtual Campus!



Senior Chapel and Senior Awards

0 Commentsby   |  04.03.14  |  Chapel, SITC

As another academic year comes to a close, we took time today to celebrate and honor our graduating seniors. We selected some of our current seniors to be members of our student panel. This opportunity allowed them to share highlights of their time at ACU and offer advice to their fellow classmates.

Senior Panel edit


“Build upon what you learn in class. Take that information and push it to the next level,” Allen Taylor urged. Allen, IT major from Plugerville, Texas, was the recipient of this year’s Innovator Award for outstanding achievement and entrepreneurial spirit.

Justin Fleer, CS major from Centennial, Colorado added, “I learned more from my failures than my successes here. Allowing yourself to struggle along goes a long way in helping prepare you.”

The group had some wonderful advice to pass along and had glowing praise for the faculty’s involvement during their time at ACU. Immediately following the student panel, we awarded our outstanding senior awards.

Award Winners

Award recipients from left to right:  Patrick Luberus (IT), JuliAnn Dowdy (IT), Krista Cukrowski (DET), Allen Taylor (IT), Jonny Hill (DET), Austin Conner (IS), Travis Cramer (CS) and Justin Fleer (CS)

Congratulations Class of 2014! We are very proud of each of you.

DET Students Attend Captivate Conference


0 Commentsby   |  11.15.13  |  DET, Student Opportunities

 In October, DET students had the opportunity to attend the Captivate Conference in Austin, TX.  The conference was aimed at connecting local musicians, artists and programmers in order to harness the creative energy that exists in Austin.

Captivate Conference

Well-known game developer, Warren Spector was the conference keynote speaker.  Spector has been involved in the gaming industry since 1983 and is known for his work with first-person shooter and role-playing video games.

Captivate Conference

Students had the opportunity to meet with companies like Powerhouse Animation and Lights. Camera. Help. Employers were eager to collect resumes from students and conducted formal interviews for internships and full-time positions.


Looking for a job in the technology field?

0 Commentsby   |  12.13.12  |  Jobs & Careers

Did you know that 5 of the top 10 jobs on the 2012 U.S. News “Best Jobs” list are in computer and technology related fields?

Here at the SITC we prepare students to go into the work field or graduate school right after college.   We found this article on the 10 skills you need to get a job in 2013.  Whether you are a current student, recent graduate, or have been in the work field for a while this is a great article to see where you stand, check it out.

The 10 Skills That Will Get You Hired In 2013


First semester of Freshmen Core Class comes to an end

0 Commentsby   |  12.10.12  |  Courses

While many of our classes are geared towards individual development of a skills set, we are aware that most things in life require collaboration across different fields. This fall was our first semester to introduce the freshman level core class.  Combined with our university core class,  our new freshman level core class was designed to allow incoming freshman to get a glimpse of what each major at the School of IT & Computing (SITC) offers, enabling them to continue in their degree, if their skills align, or to change majors within the SITC to a major that is more adequate.  Taught by Dr. Brent Reeves and Dr. Rob Byrd, the SITC freshman have been exposed to the differences between each major.  Professionals in each field came to campus regularly to talk about their experiences in their line of work, hoping to inspire freshman to pursue an education in the technology area of their choice.

Student Spotlight: Amanda Greenlee

0 Commentsby   |  11.20.12  |  Spotlights


From the small town of Bowie, Texas, Amanda Greenlee never thought she would end up with a career in the technology world.  After graduation, Amanda will work for Rackspace, a San Antonio based cloud computing hosting company. She has already accepted an offer to work with them and she still has one semester of college left. Amanda, thankfully, is not worried about what her next big step after college is.


Did you always know you wanted to be a computer science major?

“Originally I planned on being pre-med, but I changed my mind and looked for something that was engineering related.  I had always been interested in writing software growing up, but I didn’t have Internet at home or anything that I could learn from when I was in school.  I really had no experience in programming prior to college. The closest I ever got to creating programs was making programs on a TI-83 calculator in my high school math class.  I bought a book and taught myself to make small programs on my calculator that could do my math homework for me. “

Today, Amanda is expecting to graduate in May 2013 with a degree in Computer Science and two minors, one in Information Technology and the other in Math.  She is also one of the student workers that help create new software programs for ACU.  Having a job that complemented her school work and definitely impacted her application process in getting an internship at Rackspace during the past 2 summers that eventually led to a job offer.

However, it was not always easy.

“Balancing my school and work many times seemed to be overwhelming, but the faculty that was willing to work with me through all the tough material.  It has been cool to have a bond with the professors outside the classroom.  For example, Dr. Towell, computer science professor, invites all the students over once or twice a semester to just play games and hang out.”

Amanda like many other SITC students was able to travel with SITC faculty and fellow students to annual programming competitions.  “Through participating in these competitions, I realized that web programming was what I wanted to have a career in,” Greenlee expressed.

What was your internship experience like at Rackspace?

“Rackspace has a very cool fun work environment. For the past two summers I worked as a software developer.  During my first internship I helped designed an application for Rackspace’s internal use that worked with Google maps, where the employees within Rackspace would be able to find the location of the new offices within their building, as many additions and remodeling were made.  This past summer I worked in developing a general application, where other applications can store data into a database, which enables easy query of the data.  ”

 Watch a video about Amanda’s internship experience here.

After finishing her 2012 internship, Amanda was offered the position of an Application Developer Level 1, where she will mostly be a java developer.  It is an exciting beginning in her career, as Amanda will get to work with one of the companies known for their fun company culture.

What would you say to an incoming freshman?

“It’s been a fun and cool experience, the professors are great.  Work hard and you can finish, motivation is necessary, but it is really rewarding. In the end you can end up with a really cool job.”

Thank you Amanda for being a part of the School of Information Technology and Computing.  We wish you the best in your endeavors.


Dual Credit Mobile App Development Course

0 Commentsby   |  11.02.12  |  Courses

Watch our new Mobile App Development Course Promo Video.

This spring we’ll be having an online Introduction to Mobile App Development Course.  The course is designed for current college students and advanced high school students  who wish to develop mobile applications.  Students will learn basic mobile development concepts that apply to multiple platforms and use the software Corona SDK.   The course includes a final project where the students are challenged to create a small application of their choice.  If you’re interested in a career in technology this is a great way to start earning college credit even before coming to college.

ACU students will be enrolling in the upcoming weeks, and applications for Dual-Credit students will be accepted on a space available basis until January 11th.  Fill out your application for Dual Credit classes here.

For more information, contact us at: