Crowdsourcing, Collaboration, Feedback, and Grading

January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

One of the challenges of crowdsourcing identified by the Transcribe Bentham project was a disconnect between a vision for crowdsourcing as driven by collaborative effort and community feeling and the reality that individual contributors seemed to be more driven by receiving feedback from editorial staff and not from fellow contributors.  In “Building A Volunteer Community: Results and Findings from Transcribe Bentham” after reporting the relatively low amount of collaborative work on manuscripts, Tim Causer and Valerie Wallace conclude,

This all suggests that volunteers appeared to prefer starting transcripts from scratch, and to work alone (Table 6), with communication and acknowledgement from staff being of much greater importance than collaboration with other users. (Digital Humanities Quarterly. 2012. 6.2, paragraph 72)

This situation reminds me of the challenge of promoting collaborative work in the classroom, a challenge I often experienced when managing peer review of student writing.  I found that I had to “sell” peer review to my students because they didn’t value the feedback of fellow students but rather wanted feedback from the instructor–essentially the authority figure in the classroom.  I think we see the same thing with the Transcribe Bentham project. Like students, contributors want validation from the experts, i.e., those running the project. « Read the rest of this entry »

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