What Web 2.0 can teach Open Education

Web 2.0 is all about a move to user created, collaborative media. If you look at the top sites on the internet, 5 of the 10 are completely made of user generated content. What makes them work?

There have been some great research projects done on these sites. For example, accuracy criticisms were addressed in the Nature study on wikipedia.

Methods of this meta-study:

  • Empirical Articles only (Hard to find! Only 53 existed out of 200k on wikipedia for example)
  • GRounded theory approach (Thematic open coding)
  • 131 Themes were found

Top theme: Content Quality

Ideas for Web 2.0

  1. Individual production
  2. Power of the crowd
  3. Epic Scale
  4. Architecture of participation
Top reasons they work well: User Community and Tagging
So what can we learn about design:
  1. Build with users in mind
  2. Allow some user control
  3. Opportunity to have a voice
  4. Have user interactions
But sometimes, giving the users the control backfires. Sometimes a faculty member can create an online course and find that the users editing it take it in the wrong way, even posting the opposite meaning and interpretation.  One member of the audience even noted having an instructor ask to have their name removed from an article they originally developed!
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