6 Ways Crowdsourced Resources Have Helped Higher Education During COVID-19

During a time when learning has become completely remote, crowdsourced resources have proven extremely valuable for solving problems teachers and students face. 



During COVID, many colleges and universities found themselves scrambling to transition to remote learning, and most of them faced problems in the process. Crowdsourcing provides tried and proven resources to help teachers educate their students with a more personalized approach that fits their learning needs and style. It follows the old saying that two heads are better than one: Crowdsourcing is essentially a form of collaboration that uses collaborated resources from across the world and internet to find solutions to problems all schools are facing during the pandemic. 


Crowdsourcing has been used in various ways to gathered information from many people and centralizes it into one a shared space. Higher education institutions can, and should, leverage crowdsourced resources. Collaborating with other higher education institutions helps everyone find creative ways to teach in the new remote learning space, share curriculum resources with each other, and figure out what students need to have success in this new environment. 


Here are six ways crowdsourcing is helping higher ed get through the pandemic.



1. Universities compiling articles of online and remote learning tips


Purdue University published an article called “Practical Tips and Examples for Faculty by Faculty — Teaching Remotely Together” that shared a detailed list of tips for navigating the different components of remote learning.  In a sense, crowdsourcing pools many people’s ideas together and works as a giant survey that gathers insights from a wide span of people. 


2. Websites that share resources and help for students 


Using crowdsourced resources can teach students lessons in open-mindedness, real-world application, and problem-solving. An example of this in practice is the online college help website Chegg. Chegg offers homework help, textbook solutions, and tutoring services, along with a way to buy and sell college textbooks. This form of crowdsourcing compiles resources and makes them accessible to students anywhere who have a common need and goal. 


In college, students are so close to entering the working world where situations and work environments differ from the school environment. Not only do students benefit from the information crowdsourced materials provide, but they also gain life skills such as how to find and utilize resources to solve their problems. Crowdsourcing helps students engage in problem-solving because it involves researching data from other universities that do things differently from their school. It also offers insight into where their university can improve and try something different from how they’ve always done it. 


3. Instructional design services offering help for educators to transition to online teaching 


A group of e-learning professionals came together and created a service called ID-ER network, which stands for “Instructional Design Emergency Response Network.” It serves to provide help for educators who need guidance in using an online teaching system or content management system, but it also offers a way for experienced online educators to help others. It’s a simple website with an abundance of information that makes it accessible and easy for teachers to find the information they didn’t know they needed. 


Sharing educational resources gives teachers options to help improve student success. With the many teaching methods and learning styles out there, crowdsourced material pools them all together to help teachers find the way that works best for their students. Online learning poses challenges for students who may learn better in a classroom because of distractions at home or lack of engagement in a remote setting. Teachers need to find ways to engage them with teaching methods that complement their best learning style. Crowdsourcing can provide the outside perspective you need to find a solution.


4. Opening a discussion to the questions remote learning has introduced


S number of questions have been raised since COVID forced remote learning on schools across the world. Edsurge compiled a list of frequent questions that teachers, students, and faculty have been asking since the shift. Crowdsourced information keeps higher education institutions informed and updated about the latest solutions and ideas in higher education. Similar to how textbooks have several editions due to new discoveries, crowdsourcing takes in new information and updates constantly. 


5. A spreadsheet on how colleges are responding to the coronavirus 


Bryan Alexander created a public spreadsheet to track what colleges were doing to respond to the coronavirus, how it was affecting their schedules, and whether or not they would hold in-person or remote classes. One person’s idea spread across the nation and grew in size over the course of a few hours. This is a prime example of how crowdsourcing proves its usefulness to people and the impact it has to share and contextualize important information. Adapting to the coronavirus outbreak created a lot of confusion about the appropriate response institutions should take. Crowdsourced resources like this spreadsheet reduced that confusion and gave everyone perspective on the best practices other institutions were implementing. Organizing that information into a spreadsheet further helped people filter and sort the data into manageable insights.


6. Google document sharing 


Google Docs and Drive have taken crowdsourcing to a new level with the ability to share a lot of information in a single, shared document. Here’s one example: A document of “Higher Education Resources With Commentaries” that shows more ways teachers can use crowdsourced information to help each other by putting them in a central space that’s accessible to everyone. 


Crowdsourced information can easily become a pile of disorganized data but creating an online library resource helps keep useful information in circulation. People are more likely to use information they can quickly find than ones they need to sift through to find anything that’s helpful to them. Creating categories for information, such as remote learning resources, and then subcategorizing that into virtual classroom tips and best teaching method practices for online learning can help with organization.  


KWALL can help 


As a service that offers help around digital learning platforms, and specifically those for higher education institutions, KWALL is here to help your university make the most of its online learning experience. We can help you increase student engagement and implement tools like content management systems that allow you to create a unique web experience for your audience. They specialize in developing site maintenance plans to improve user experience and make your website stand out in its design and brand. Reach out to KWALL today to talk about how we can help you.