Today, at my morning Saturday session for my Ph.D. program, I got a bit of validation. It turns out, it wasn't just me, but in fact this idea of lagging behind deadlines even though having ownership of the learning and incentive to excel is not unique to teenagers, but is true of all students. To make a long story short, my Ph.D. program was recently changed in order to give students more time to work on the dissertation by eliminating some ancillary assignments. The hope was that by giving the students a wider schedule, they'd put more work into their projects and create better products and finish faster. While the jury is still out, and while the quality may be up, they're not getting done any faster. In fact, with only 7 months to go, many students have still not finished their Proposal defense (the "pre-research" element) which mean many have not collected data yet and likely won't for the next few months. While there's still a decent chance they'll finish by March 31 (the drop-dead deadline), they're not exceeding expectations.
Today we had a final deadline handed down to us. The Proposal must be done by December 15, and the final Dissertation must be done by March 31, otherwise we won't be able to graduate on time. While many of my classmates are currently behind the ball, I'm positive that they'll make these goals. It goes to show, though, how priorities work. Despite external motivation (get done early! do a better job!) it all comes down to internal motivation. That's why Gamification only works if the Badges are "rewarding" but not a Reward. Giving out candy for finishing a task on time won't have any effect. Recognizing student achievement for what it is, though, is something else entirely.
In unrelated news, below are some pictures from last night's football game (Baldwin v. Butler). If you missed the event, check them out! In fact, check them out anyway...you've already come this far.