Publication Date

Spring 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Andrew Wood


Games, Gamification, Heterotopia, Heterotopic Rhetorical Criticism, Pedegogy, Rhetorical Criticism

Subject Areas



Instructors find a gap between what they experienced in school in the mid-to-late 20th century and the experiences of students entering college in 2012/13. In the United States, the influx of almost universal access to technology has marked this generation in a way the previous generations must work to understand, and gamification is a strategy used in areas like marketing to gain participation from this age group. Gamification is a strategy that employs game mechanics, techniques, and theory in areas that traditionally are not set up to function like a game. The purpose of this study was to define gamification in the context of a college classroom. Using Foucault's concept of heterotopia, this study employs the method of heterotopian rhetorical criticism and the methodology of autoethnography to analyze World of Warcraft and re-imagine experiences in the game through critical communication pedagogy to enact change in the traditional college classroom. Three fundamentals of gamification emerged from the findings and laid out a general definition of gamification. It must consist of high-choice, low-risk engagements in a clearly structured environment.