Crowdsourcing & Community Forums

A few weeks ago, we had an interesting conversation about crowdsourcing with Bill Habicht, who argued that crowdsourcing is an excellent way to come up with creative solutions.


Instead of appointing a committee or a task force to make decisions, crowdsourcing solicits opinions from the public in an online forum. Using a Reddit-style voting system, the best ideas rise to the top; those ideas become plans through TEDx-style presentations and feasibility studies, and become realities when the powers-that-be facilitate implementation. As higher education institutions struggle to define their positions toward computer-assisted, hybrid, and online learning, this seems an appealing approach.

Such a forum could also function as a platform for sharing ideas, which seems useful considering how many individual instructors wind up “reinventing the wheel” when they incorporate technology into their classrooms. Why not post our trial-and-error experiences to a community forum? As a first-year composition instructor teaching in a computer lab, I know I would appreciate hearing what sorts of activities do and do not work for common topics (e.g., invention, revision, peer review).

And beyond discipline-specific forums, I can imagine wonderfully productive conversations between instructors teaching in hybrid or online environments. What tools do and do not work for assessment? How do you structure productive synchronous or asynchronous conversations between students?

We attempt to share these sorts of resources and strategies at our monthly DOLCE and Faculty Panel meetings, but not everyone can attend those events, and – perhaps it’s just me – but sometimes I’d like to just review a list of activities and tools rather than engage in full discussions.

Is this type of community forum something others at UC Davis would be interested in? Are these conversations happening already? If so, please post a comment or shoot us an email (!

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