A Question for Gamers

Thinking about fall teaching, and I think I’m going to end up spending much of the first two weeks working on building community engagement in my classes. Which we always do some of anyway, with name games and such, but I’m planning to surface the issue of engagement in online courses with the students, being super-transparent about it, and asking them to help me help them to form a cohesive cohort and enhance the chances of their success.

To that end, we’ll primarily be using Blackboard at UIC, but as I said in my last teaching plans post, I’m thinking about how I can game-ify (gamify?) various aspects of the course to build engagement. And I have a question:

Is there a game platform like Warcraft or Second Life that is:

a) free to join

b) fun to hang out in, ideally giving them the option of creating an avatar, wandering a landscape, etc.

c) not TOO much of a data hog (am thinking of students who may have limited data)

??

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