Crowdsourcing initiatives have become increasing popular across a range of academic disciplines in recent years. Much has been made of the potential for such projects, in particular those classed as ‘citizen science’, to enable public participation in research (EOF 2012). Often this involves mobilizing large numbers of people to undertake tasks which computers cannot yet do effectively (such as pattern recognition or reading handwriting) on a scale which research institutions will not fund by employing professionals. However, it has also been noted that some crowdsourcing initiatives increase notions of agency and ownership, as well as facilitating new opportunities for knowledge exchange across communities (Terras, 2010; Wiggins and Crowston 2011; Dunn and Hedges 2012). These initiatives have a focus on peer-production or co-curation and makes research data openly available.
This session introduces the Oxford Community Collection Model (http://projects.oucs.ox.ac.uk/runcoco/), a method of crowdsourcing that blends online and offline activities that engages the public in building datasets of memories and objects (transformed into digital surrogates and made available online) relating to particular historical events or experiences (Lindsay and Lee, 2009). This method of co-production has implications for the nature of knowledge and, hence, for learning:
“When information – the basis of knowledge – changes, the knowledge of a field also changes”. (Siemens 2006:6).
In the sharing of memories and objects, the contributor and traditional subject expert have to work together to connect the established facts and personal accounts to form new knowledge, each learn from the other. The role of ‘expert’ is blurred and they are placed in a relationship of mutual dependency.
This session explores the transformational opportunities for learning that can arise around the building and use of crowdsourced community collections. Drawing on examples, it will look at informal learning in the transactions between contributor and expert in the development of the collections themselves, and how the digital collections have been reused in formal learning scenarios in the classroom, and informally in community-based projects. The session will include triggers for audience discussion and ask delegates to participate in activities to explore the types of learning that can be experienced by the contributor and collection user.
References (accessed 8th June 2015)
Dunn S. and Hedges M. (2012) Crowd-Sourcing Scoping Study: Engaging the Crowd with Humanities Research, AHRC Report. http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Research-funding/Connected-Communities/Scoping-studies-and-reviews/Documents/Crowd%20Sourcing%20in%20the%20Humanities.pdf
Lee, S. and Lindsay, K. (2009) If You Build It, They Will Scan: Oxford University’s Exploration of Community Collections. ‘Educause Quarterly’. Volume 32:2.
Siemens, G. (2006). Learning in Synch with Life: New Models, New Processes Google 2006 Training Summit http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/google_whitepaper.pdf
Stephenson, K. (1998) What Knowledge Tears Apart, Networks Make Whole. Internal Communication Focus, 36. http://www.drkaren.us/pdfs/icf.pdf
Terras, M. (2010) Digital Curiosities: Resource Creation Via Amateur Digitisation. Literary and Linguistic Computing 25 (4): 425-438
UK Environmental Observation Framework (2012)
Wiggins, A. and Crowston, K. 2011: From Conservation to Crowdsourcing: A Typology of Citizen Science. System Sciences (HICSS), 2011 44th Hawaii International Conference. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=5718708