Crowdteaching: Supporting Teaching as Designing in Crowdsourcing Communities

December 06, 2016 by Mimi Recker, Min Yuan Lei Ye

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The widespread availability of high-quality Web-based content offers new potential for supporting teachers as designers of curricula and classroom activities. When coupled with a participatory Web culture and infrastructure, teachers can share their creations as well as leverage from the best that their peers have to offer to support a collective intelligence or crowdsourcing community, which we dubcrowdteaching. We applied a collective intelligence framework to characterize crowdteaching in the context of a Web-based tool for teachers called the Instructional Architect (IA). The IA enables teachers to find, create, and share instructional activities (called IA projects) for their students using online learning resources. These IA projects can further be viewed, copied, or adapted by other IA users. This study examines the usage activities of two samples of teachers, and also analyzes the characteristics of a subset of their IA projects. Analyses of teacher activities suggest that they are engaging in crowdteaching processes. Teachers, on average, chose to share over half of their IA projects, and copied some directly from other IA projects. Thus, these teachers can be seen as both contributors to and consumers of crowdteaching processes. In addition, IA users preferred to view IA projects rather than to completely copy them. Finally, correlational results based on an analysis of the characteristics of IA projects suggest that several easily computed metrics (number of views, number of copies, and number of words in IA projects) can act as an indirect proxy of instructionally relevant indicators of the content of IA projects.