Student Achievement System

Join us for a session in which Elizabeth Lawley and Andrew Phelps from the RIT School of Interactive Games & Media discuss their plans for the design, implementation, deployment, and evaluation of a “student achievement system.” Achievement systems and their associated interconnections with social networks, games, and interaction design, have had broad adoption in commercial applications. In addition to in-game feedback structures, these mechanisms have also been tied to meta- or multi-game services such as XBOX-Live–and are increasingly being used in what Ian Bogost has called “deliberate worldly interventions.”

We believe that the growing availability and use of social and activity-aware systems provides an opportunity for us to better contextualize large-scale systems that surround the collegiate experience through the creation of smaller-scale ‘quests’–and that this offers an opportunity to significantly change our students educational experience outside the classroom.

Game design offers us lessons in the success of such systems in a certain context, but also comes replete with dramatic failures, relevant warnings, and a few emerging best practices. Can achievement systems be utilized in an educational setting? Could these tools be utilized towards goals of curricular customization and student engagement? This talk will focus on the preparations, planning, and thoughts of the IGM research as they prepare to undertake the design and development of such a system – what can we hope to learn?

Speaker Details

Elizabeth Lane Lawley is the director of the Lab for Social Computing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she is also an associate professor of Interactive Games & Media. Her current teaching and research interests focus on social computing technologies, including collaborative information creation and retrieval, and social aspects of game design and play.

Professor Lawley received her master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan in 1987. In the early 1990s she worked as a Government and Law Bibliographer at the Library of Congress and then as manager of customer support for Congressional Information Service. In 1992 she founded Internet Training & Consulting Services, which provided services to a number of clients in business, government, and education throughout the 1990s. She received her doctorate in Information Science from the University of Alabama in 1999. During the 2005-2006 academic year, and during the summers of 2007 and 2008, she served as a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington. She maintains a website at

Andrew Phelps is the Chair of the Department of Interactive Games & Media and the Director of Game Design & Development at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. He is the founding faculty member of the Masters of Science in Game Design & Development within the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, as well as the Bachelors of the same name, and his work in games programming education has been featured in The New York Times,, USA Today, National Public Radio, IEEE Computer, and several other articles and periodicals. He regularly publishes work exploring collaborative game engines and game engine technology. His primary research interests include online gaming, electronic entertainment, 3 dimensional graphics and real time rendering, virtual reality, and interactive worlds.

Elizabeth Lawley and Andrew Phelps
Rochester Institute of Technology