Tuesday, 29 September 2015

TELFest 2015 Leaderboard

During September 2015's TELFest (a week long festival consisting of workshops, discussions and drop-in sessions related to Technology Enhanced Learning) we introduced a leaderboard to enhance participation throughout the event, and to encourage the use social media to share experiences amongst colleagues that were unable to attend. Having experienced the leaderboard at the UCISA Spotlight on Capabilities Conference in June, I was interested in using it to introduce ideas related to Gamification, and bring an extra element of fun, to TELFest. The leaderboard is generated by a website called rise.global, which automatically calculates the scores for tweets that contain a specific hashtag, and, following some pointers from Fiona MacNeil who had set it up for the UCISA event, I set up a leaderboard for TELFest. Given the aims behind using the leaderboard, I decided that points should be primarily awarded for tweeting with the #TELFest hashtag and there were additional points for attending drop in sessions and tweeting TELfie’s (TELfest selfies). Below is a breakdown of the points that could be earned:

Tweets with the #TELFest hashtag
1 point
Being Mentioned by someone else
2 points
Having your  #TELFest Posts Retweeted
3 points
Tweeting a TELFie with the hashtag  #TELFest (TELFest, Selfie)
3 points
Attending a drop in session
5 points

Each day we saw the top tweeters changing positions and there was healthy competition amongst TELFest participants.  

To keep tweeters motivated, automated tweets were sent out every evening, informing them of their position on the leaderboard.

Twitter activity increased significantly compared to September 2014, there was a tenfold increase in the overall number tweets, a tripling of the number of tweeters and, on the Friday, TELFest trended in the Sheffield area, meaning that it was promoted to local users on the main twitter interface.

An additional benefit of promoting the use of Twitter through the leaderboard was that it helped to capture the variety of views and opinions shared by participants during the event. We were then able to use the tweets to create daily blog posts summarising these discussions using Storify, allowing us to produce a record of the day’s events for participants to look back on and to give some insight into the discussions for those unable to attend.

While the leaderboard was highlighted during the Gamification session as an example of a method to encourage participation and motivate learners, it is hard to say whether, in this case, the leaderboard led to an objective increase in Twitter usage. Early feedback indicates that its’ introduction did motivate some people to tweet more than they might ordinarily, yet others stated that they were unaware of the board. Another reason why the increase in the use of Twitter at TELFest this year cannot be solely attributed to the leaderboard is that we integrated Twitter directly into some of the workshops. It is however clear that the leaderboard did not appear to influence the number of colleagues attending drop-in sessions.

We closed the board on Friday at 12pm and as a token gesture awarded chocolate medal to colleagues that were top of the board - congratulations to Gary, Nik and Maria.

Final Leaderboard


  1. Great post!

    We love Rise here at YSJ, and have used it at our annual Teaching & Learning Conference, as well as our Undergraduate Student Researcher Conference (http://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/moodle/?s=Gamification). It's so easy to use, cheap, and really adds an extra element of fun, engagement & interaction to an event.

    I'd love to get one of our academics to use it with their students throughout the duration of a module - create a module hashtag, encourage Tweets (sharing links/resources etc.), and then maybe offer a monthly reward/prize to the student who is top each month...I just need to find a willing participant...


    1. Thanks for the comment Phil and for sharing some of the ways that you have used RISE too.

      A number of our attendees said that they were interested in learning more about the leaderboard in teaching and there is also interest in it being used in other conferences that we run internally too. I agree, it would be good to see it used in teaching, we do have a number of academics that use Twitter, so it would be interesting to see if the leaderboard encourages the students to tweet more. Will let you know if we get any examples here at the University.

  2. Great blog Farzana. I would have tweeted anyway, but the leader board was fun!

    1. Thanks Maria. It was great to see the conversations that were developing amongst our colleagues, as well as the 'playful' competitive comments ;-)

  3. I got excited reading this post, and i now bookmarked




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