Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Center for Science and Math Education


Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Sherry Herron

Committee Chair Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Sheila Brown

Committee Member 2 Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Committee Member 3

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Mac Alford

Committee Member 4 Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 5

Bandana Kar

Committee Member 5 Department

Geography and Geology


Community colleges have become increasingly more important in America’s higher education system. Part of this emphasis has been directly due to President Obama’s 2010 directive to produce a competitive workforce in the United States by increasing the community college graduation rate by five million over the next decade (Madhani, 2010). Community colleges allow open admission for students which permits marginally prepared students to enter. These students may lack motivation, which contributes to student attrition (Williams, 2010). The focus of this study is to examine methods that may improve student learning and motivation, which could ultimately lead to higher graduation rates.

This study investigates the relationship of gamification to motivation and achievement in a community college microbiology class. Gamification is defined as “the process of adding game mechanics to processes, programs, and platforms that would not traditionally use such concepts” (Swan, 2012). The goal of game-based learning is to increase student motivation and learning. The results of this investigation indicate that educational games increase motivation and achievement of students in a community college microbiology class.