A while back we completed another Hot Team white paper related to social rating sites -- think of digg.com as the big example. Essentially a space where content is either aggregated in or submitted by users and then voted on by the community to raise the opportunity for exposure to all readers. Lots of people find these types of spaces very important for helping them filter and discover the things that are interesting to them. We've talked about it on the ETS Talk podcast in the past and we are all agreeing there is something in this for education.
So, in a typically crazy move Scott McDonald and I made the decision to put a pligg (open source) site at the middle of our CI 597C course we are teaching this semester. At the start it confused students a bit, but I am starting to see content coming in from student blogs, with comments, and votes. It is really cool to see a community developing before my eyes. It fits the theme of the course -- Disruptive Technologies for Teaching and Learning -- so it is a natural fit.
This week we will see if our vision of this will work. What we hope to see are students responding to the course readings in their own blogs (so they "own" the content) and they are aggregated automatically into the Pligg site. They are then given three votes to give to the top posts (and they must comment on the post as to why they voted for it). The top vote getters rise to the top and these then form the basis for the face to face discussion for the week. It feels like it is a solid way to bring lots of pieces of content together and give students a real voice in the organization of emerging conversation. It is worth watching. Anyone else exploring social rating sites for teaching and learning?