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Gamification Is the Secret Weapon of Remote Learning

Case Study with Carolyn Siccama, Ed.D.


The University of Vermont

Instructional Designer

UVM siccama.jpg

One piece of advice from Dr. Siccama to fellow Yellowdig instructors:


"Be willing to reconsider your notions of online interaction."


How Dr. Siccama Uses Yellowdig:


Between Summer 2018 and Summer 2019, Dr. Carolyn Siccama integrated Yellowdig into 7 online graduate courses, 5 online undergraduate courses, and 1 professional certificate course at the University of Vermont. Courses ranged in duration from 15 days to 15 weeks. She provided guidance on point settings and content strategy and collaborated with faculty as they reconceptualized their notions of online interaction and engagement.


Dr. Siccama implemented a wide variety of point settings. Out of 13 Communities, she enabled points for Reactions (formerly “Upvotes”) in 8 Communities; points for Accolades (formerly “Badges”) in 11 Communities; and points for receiving Comments on Posts (formerly “Pins”) in 12 Communities. The point value of Comments relative to Posts also varied from Community to Community. (See scatterplot.) Her average point settings are displayed below.

UVM siccama graph 1.png

Dr. Siccama’s Results:

On average, students in Communities designed and supported by Dr. Siccama

created 24 Posts and Comments and exceeded the 100% participation goal by

65%. The average Conversation Ratio was 2.75, though the Conversation Ratio

varied significantly across Dr. Siccama’s Communities. Some of this variation is

predicted by the relative point value of Comments versus Posts, or the



Pin Point Value =  (point value per Comment word /  point value per Post word).


While not statistically significant by conventional standards (p=0.17), there

was a moderate positive correlation between Comment:Pin Point Value and

Conversation Ratio (r=0.40). In other words, when Dr. Siccama increased the

point value of Comments relative to Posts, students tended to have more

sustained conversations.

uvm siccama grapg 2.png

About Dr. Siccama:


Dr. Siccama earned her B.S. in Dietetics at the University of Vermont, her M.Ed. in Nutrition Education at Framington State University, and her Ed.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She is currently an Instructional Designer for Continuing and Distance Education at the University of Vermont. She teaches Fundamentals of Nutrition online and collaborates with the Center for Teaching and Learning to facilitate the Teaching Effective Online faculty development program.

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