What is Crowd Sourcing?

Crowd sourcing refers to a set of methods that can be used to motivate a community to contribute ideas, information, or content that would otherwise remain undiscovered. Its rapidly growing appeal stems from its effectiveness in filling gaps that cannot be bridged by other means. One of the most well known examples of this is Wikipedia, where volunteers provide information and definitions for subject matter of their expertise. Crowdsourcing generates what is known as the explicit form of collective intelligence. Knowledge is constantly refined through the contributions of thousands of authors. Within the academy, crowd sourcing is often a way for researchers to draw on public knowledge to provide missing historical or other specific details related to communities or families, complete large-scale tasks, or solve inherently complex issues. For many tasks, institutions are finding that amateur scholars or even people whose lives simply were contemporary to the event, object, images, or other research focus being documented are remarkably effective in providing deep level detail around a topic or in documenting a large body of materials. Related to crowdsourcing in many ways is crowdfunding, an effort to raise money through a network of people -- usually through resources on the Internet. Many organizations, especially start-ups, turn to online tools such as Kick Starter to finance new projects and products. Crowd funding has been known to support many different activities, from helping communities recover from disasters to free software development.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Oct 30, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Crowd sourcing as a legitimate component of learning designs in the Arts/Social sciences is growing, however i do not see the impact in discipline areas (or involving subject experts) that are not truly committed to collaborative learning strategies. In addition, the use of externally hosted web platforms such as reddit to enable contributions from students in formal learning settings is also problematic in terms of validating the identify of the contributor, and university elearning platforms do not have such systems (that i am aware of) provided with the kind of authentication linked to university ID systems. Hence, crowd sourcing is likely to be only used for a small proportion of formal overall assessment. So i think these 2 matters limit the potential reach of crowd sourcing for formal education. However, i think as core to virtual conferences and shorter non-award courses such as moocs they are likely to have a much greater impact. - slambert slambert Feb 12, 2013
  • Crowd sourcing is a great example of a collective consciousness collaborating within a framework that has some overall structure (eg.Wikipedia) . It's a great way to brainstorm iedas and see how a single starting point can develop into any number or direction of responses. Where it falls down is in the verification and attribution of content. If you are fishing for ideas then nothing is "wrong" but if you are looking for information then some data checking may need to be involved.- wketchen wketchen Feb 16, 2013
  • The last 2 years have seen a significant rise in easily accessible curation tools such as Pinterest, Scoop.It and Pearltrees. In its short existence, Pinterest has nearly caught up with Twitter with "15 percent and 16 percent of adult U.S. Internet users on each network, respectively".
    (http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/17/social-media-statistics-2012/#prclt-auy2bvxA). Curation is a crowdsourcing act that allows information artefacts of interest to be found through human selection and sharing, rather than through a search engine.
    Curation allows a networked community of practice or a learning community to share and interact with each other around artefacts. In a traditional LMS this is quite a hard task to perform by a group of learners, as the technology is built towards one person (the course facilitator) being the provider of resources. I can see us moving to a model where there may be a course site with basic resources selected by the lecturer, but a more open environment around that, with crowd-curated resources. - j.seitzinger j.seitzinger Feb 21, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The role of 'Student Generated Content' where students represent the 'crowd' (ie there are a lot more students than paid educators in most classes / institutions) - fang fang Feb 18, 2013
  • From a research perspective, crowd sourcing and ethics approvals are a difficult mix. From a teaching perspective, managing intellectual property and reducing institutional liability is a concern, as is using students for knowledge building/curation tasks that may not have direct educational benefits for themselves. That said, if students see the benefit of their contribution and are not forced it can be very effective as many courses use digital curation tools such as Diigo to build dynamic reading lists, contributed by students and academics. It would be interesting to see if universities adopt a Kickstarter model to determine which courses run, students voting by 'prepaying' for courses of interest as some MOOCs such as DS106 have done. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 19, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Crowd sourcing is what many educators do but at a micro level every day in the classroom. An idea is put forward and responses are gathered, reviewed, modified, etc. As a a tool for creative enquiry it's the primary way design education is implemented.- wketchen wketchen Feb 16, 2013
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.

This project is more of a community-type project than an education based one, but it's an example of a resource being built up via crowd-sourcing: Quake Stories http://www.quakestories.govt.nz - Nicki.Page Nicki.Page Nov 13, 2011