I’d like to see a Connect Wisconsin! MOOC that leverages the already-EI-funded mobile research tool with a campaign of quests led by UW-Madison student researchers (essentially undergraduate course leaders), where some quests are seeded, and some are solicited and chosen by popular vote (Reddit-style), and then citizens across the state use our new mobile research platform to collect data and document the issues (and potential solutions). Results are tagged, geo-coded, and given peer feedback.
Essentially, this would be an exercise in sharing with the general public some of the methods of research done at UW-Madison, using topics relevant to localities, where they will find that their own local concerns are local concerns across the state, and ideas and solutions might come from other Wisconsinites.
For example, one quest could be about litter (John Francis and I developed this idea when he was a visiting scholar in the Nelson Institute here, btw) — where people document the types of trash they find on the sides of roads.
- What types are predominant?
- Where do they come from?
- What are the similar factors of high-trash areas across the state?
- What are the similar factors of low-trash areas across the state?
I think a number of interesting topics could come out of this (litter laws? population density? cultures? amount of fast food joints? etc.) Potential Benefits:
- scale up UW-Madison MOOC experience in a cool way that
- engages Wisconsin citizens as “UW students” — giving them a sense of connection/ownership of the university, AND
- exposing them to UW-Madison research and research methods, while
- providing UW-Madison students with classroom leadership/teaching experience and
- uber-relevant (to families, hometowns, etc.) research experience
- with an awesome cutting-edge mobile collabor ties sweetly in with, and provides a nice platform for the Big Data/Learning Analytics folks to learn with, and
- lands UW-Madison on the cover of WIRED! magazine and NYTimes and Chronicle for Higher Education
- and Wisconsin Public Radio and Television, who I imagine would love to be partners in it.