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AbstractSituated, active, and student-centered learning is essential in modern higher education; as educators, we compete for our students' attention as we attempt to convey complex material to them in class, and this problem is exacerbated outside of the classroom where media, entertainment, and social opportunities often afford more interesting uses of our students' time. This paper discusses ideas and assignments that we have used in our courses in recent semesters to help motivate students; we utilize fun and engaging variations of traditional assignments that pique student interest while still maintaining the integrity of the course. Student reaction and our results to date are described, and our future work is discussed. We also present live examples of students' work during the conference presentation. While these assignments are utilized in Computer Science programming courses, the idea of "engaging assignments" and our examples applies to all courses.