Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mathematics and Statistics

Committee Chair(s)

Kady Schneiter


Kady Schneiter


Jody Clarke-Midura


John Stevens


Rebecca Bayeck


Jürgen Symanzik


Two studies are outlined in this dissertation.

In the first study, elements of Super Mario Bros. videos games were used to change the way college students in a beginners’ statistics course were graded on their work. This was part of an effort to help students remain optimistic in the face of challenging coursework and even failure on assignments and tests. The study shows that the changes made to the grading structure did help students to keep trying and to use the materials given to them by their professor until they achieved their desired grade in the course, and suggests ways to make the gamified grading structure even more effective in future uses of the program.

In the second study, an online activity was created where players engage in a game of deception against each other, and the tools of the game encourage players to naturally perform steps of a hypothesis test as taught in beginners’ statistics courses in order to determine whether their opponent is lying to them. The study shows that players of the game naturally began to take actions and ask questions that foster an effective environment for learning about the more formal steps of performing a hypothesis test, and that this game may be a useful tool for educators to use to help their students learn about these complicated processes in a fun and natural way.