Monday, February 08, 2010

More on the 'Crowdsourcing Questions' Project

With regard to my West Civ class's 'crowdsourcing questions' project, Reader nkogan asks:
Shelly, this is a great idea and is one that I'll work to get my students to contribute to. Do you have any criteria for how the questions should be formulated (e.g. they must begin with "how" or "why"), the topics they should deal with, or the genre of historical question they should be (e.g. change over time or compare-contast)?

Also, is anyone with a Wikispaces account able to edit and contribute to your class wiki? My students all have Wikispaces accounts, so this shouldn't be too difficult (hopefully). Is there any particular way you'd like the students to contribute these questions (e.g. submitted to this blog? post directly to the wiki? signed with one's name?)
For those of you interested in taking part in the project, our wiki is now live.

The type/format/gist of the questions are completely up to the creator of the question. The only thing I ask is that you consider (and I use that verb for specific reasons) that your audience is a class of high school Freshmen.

Weekly topics are typed in bold on the wiki at the start of each week's unit. Under the topic of the week is an essential question that each student will respond to as a weekly article. Under the weekly question is a list of daily questions -- these are the crowdsourced questions. Individually, students choose four dailies each week and blog on them. Then, we'll go back discuss and post to our magazine (still under construction) the best of the responses to the dailies in an effort to start a broader discussion online and beyond the limits of our classroom walls.

I've set up the wiki so that anyone can post questions. While I monitor all incoming edits, I trust our community to engage in a meaningful way with the wiki and I encourage folks to change things up and use the wiki as a starting point for your own discussions as well; already we've had three or four classrooms from other schools get in touch about sharing ideas and collaborating.

Post your questions directly to the wiki (I may edit them lightly or shift them to different parts of the wiki depending on what we're focusing on in class, but your questions will stand). As always online, I encourage folks to leave their real names and links both to demonstrate who they are and to encourage students to understand that learning is not merely a 'classroom-based' activity, but rather questions and ideas and learning come from engaging with the questions and ideas and learning of 'real people'.

Thanks to everyone who has shown interest in this project. I look forward to seeing where it goes.


  1. I put some ideas on the wiki a few days ago concerning point of view and it was not there when I went today to see it. Did I do something wrong or did you nix me? Just wondering.

  2. I saw one question you posted and I moved it up to correspond with the week we are currently on. Didn't see anything else; will check the edit history.


  3. Just checked. Your questions are listed under Week #4.

    Didn't see anything else. Do let me know if you have any problems, because I don't want any questions to go missing.



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