To crowdsource or not to crowdsource

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

I think I might be being attacked by grading, but I am not sure. Not only am I wigged out about a rewrite of an essay (and I am majorly wigged out, but in classic jessica style so far playing it cool), but I am also wigged out by all this grading. Though the grading, admittedly, is the easy part.

Most of the projects I have been seeing are quite good. I have one student who wants to apply for a position at the Smithsonian. I have another student who is working on a technology grant for a local nonprofit. I had one group of students write an assessment on a local nonprofit to find out there is a strong opportunity for a future grant. The class has seen quite a few successes, but there are things I plan to change for the upcoming semester. I’m thinking of teaching crowdsourcing using indiegogo or similar sites. I’m also working on implementing other changes to the class, such as requiring a letter of intent for the crowdsourcing assignment. The only hang ups I have about the crowdsourcing assignment is the following:

  • Timing. Unit 1 is a long slog and is highly dependent upon the type of class you get. For example, i had one class this semester that wrapped things up about a week quicker than the other class just because they were a bit more of a high-functioning group. Would there be enough time to write that letter of intent AND finish the crowdsourcing site? I need to do further research into this and think about it more and yes, I might be overthinking this a bit. (No surprises with me and overthinking)
  • The crowdsourcing would require nothing but group projects the whole way through. In no way is this unrealistic for working in the nonprofit sector, or as a grant writer, but wow, I can see some students strongly retaliating and dropping the class because of that and, quite honestly, I would not blame them. I know how I was as a student myself and I would have dropped the class because of the group work like it was on fire.

Considering those questions, AKA hang-ups, above I am thinking I may have to hold off until a future semester unless, by some miracle, I am able to figure it out for next semester during the winter break. But I really don’t know. I think crowdsourcing is important, and I’d like to find a way to fit it in, but i don’t know how feasible it would be.

I know I could also overlap assignments, and I’ve done that before for my English 320 class and it went all right. But do I want to overlap assignments in a class like Researching and Writing Grants and Proposals? I am not sure. My gut actually says no and my gut is usually right.

Another big concern would be the overemphasis on group projects. As an alternative, I could simply offer up the opportunity for the crowdsourcing, and allow them to do other things too, but only if it all can fit in nicely.

So I guess even at the end of this post, I am still not sure. Perhaps this was just a good way for me to think aloud and voice my concerns and see what thoughts others had. So ok. Do tell.


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