StudioLab #3 Reflection

In Studiolab #3, students from their respective labs were asked to create a short essay on the topic of crowdsourcing.  The essay was to be created collaboratively by everyone enrolled in the same lab via the use of a wiki.  By the end of the activity, it is expected that we should have created one cohesive essay as a class.  The students divided themselves up into different groups, with each group taking responsibility for their assigned task.  This lab was designed so that students can experience the challenges and benefits of using a wiki.  During this lab I have learned that there were quite a few challenges of using a wiki, but also realized the benefits of this technology.

The biggest obstacle I experienced in this activity was the time constraint.  The end result could’ve been much more polished if it wasn’t so tightly bound by the deadline.  My group also had trouble putting our work together on the wiki itself.  All of us finished our tasks around the same time and when it came to publishing our work on the wiki, we started to edit the wiki around the same time.  This was a major issue, with members of the group unintentionally overwriting the other members’ work.  The wiki infrastructure provided was quite inefficient due to the fact that only one member can edit the wiki at a one given time without overwriting someone else’s work.  Our group ended up having to wait for each member to finish their write-up until the next member can start theirs.

This research is quite different in quite a few aspects than individual research per se.  The benefit of crowd power can clearly be seen because with more than one person working on the same topic, task can be split among the group members.  It follows the idea of crowdsourcing where ideas about the same topic can be combined together to build a dataset for the given topic or splitting a big amount of work to the crowd to accomplish a given task in a timely manner.  The same research experiment would have taken considerably more time if it were to be done by an individual.  Sourcing the work to the crowd also gives a more diverse point of view on the subject, although this point of view could often time be subjective.

I wouldn’t say that the experience would be significantly different if everyone were to be in the same room.  Everyone would still have to use the wiki system and that does not solve the time problem that we encountered during the experiment.

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~ by vincentteng on March 18, 2010.

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