Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 47–67 | Cite as

Crowdsourcing content creation in the classroom

  • Thomas T. HillsEmail author


The recent growth in crowdsourcing technologies offers a new way of envisioning student involvement in the classroom. This article describes a participatory action research approach to combining crowdsourced content creation with the student as producer model, whereby students’ interests are used to drive the identification and creation of educational content. This article first describes how this approach is grounded in cognitive psychology and aligned with contemporary learner-centered approaches to education. A case study is then provided detailing how this conceptual framework was implemented in an undergraduate psychology course on persuasion and influence. Two specific applications of this approach are described, one involving found content—with students identifying, explaining the research basis for, and archiving examples of persuasive content, they discover outside the classroom, in a public blog entitled Propaganda for Change—and a second involving content creation—with students producing their own persuasive messages that promote pro-social messages of their choosing. This framework offers a promising contemporary approach to learner-centered education and shifts the burden of education from figuring out how to expose what students know and are interested in into helping them construct relationships between content and their own prior understanding of the world.


Learned-centered education Student as producer Crowdsourcing Communities of practice Project-based learning 



Thanks to the students of PS359 for their feedback in course development and to Katherine Hall (Aladdin’s Cave) and Cathryn Rebak (Charity Muggers) for permission to use their content. The work was supported by a grant from the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning at the University of Warwick.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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