“Crowdlearning” at Scale: Leveraging Collective Intelligence of Large Cohorts Through Networked Technology

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: “Crowdlearning” at Scale: Leveraging Collective Intelligence of Large Cohorts Through Networked Technology
Stream: Nurturing Creativity & Innovation: New, Innovative & Radical Education
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Jessica Tyrrell, University of Sydney, Australia


The rise of large cohort and class sizes in the tertiary sector has been identified as negatively impacting student experience. The emergency shift to online teaching due to Covid-19 lockdowns has presented new opportunities for innovative learning and teaching online, but has also exacerbated the challenge of providing meaningful educational experiences for large cohorts. This presentation discusses a research project that re-frames the problem of large cohorts to explore the potential of crowdsourcing for learning. While crowdsourcing is a popular approach to leverage the ideation and problem-solving capacity of large, networked groups in commercial settings, less is known about its application in education. This presentation shares a case study of a crowdsourcing initiative undertaken at a leading Australian Business School, where over 1,300 students participated in a dedicated online platform to ideate and debate the critical global, local and personal challenges of the future. In running this initiative with students, the research team investigated the nature of crowdsourcing as a pedagogy for large cohorts and the affordances of crowdsourcing platforms for learning, drawing on theoretical frames of “collective intelligence”, student voice, and socio-materiality. We present findings from the process, including a discussion of the underlying theoretical frames we have drawn on, a description of our crowdsourcing methodology, an analysis of the themes identified from student contributions and a reflection on the technical affordances of the platform. We conclude by raising some implications for practice and questions for further research, including a discussion of ethical considerations uncovered by these new approaches.

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