This is an exploratory study that examines the influence of the gamification approach on student engagement in online discussions. A gamified online discussion tool, gEchoLu, was implemented in an undergraduate level online course, which held 22 online discussions. The data was collected through gEchoLu database, survey, and individual interviews with 12 students and the teaching assistant. The triangulated results revealed that the gamification approach positively affected student engagement. Factors such as technical issues, classmates' behaviors that either promoted or impeded students from engaging in the gamified online discussions were identified. The interview with the teaching assistant (TA) further revealed the influence of the gamification approach on student engagement from an educator's perspective, and the obstacles that the TA encountered in the gamified online discussions. Lessons learned are also shared in detail.