As crowdsourcing becomes more acceptable and common, it is also becoming more prevalent on college campuses and among college students. Some students utilize crowdsourcing in order to find out how other students have felt about certain classes or professors. Others may use crowdsourcing in order to confirm an assignment or textbook. Recently, following almost two decades of construction and renovations, Washington State University used crowdsourcing to map the facilities and utilities on campus.
These are just small examples of ways in which crowdsourcing can be useful on college and university campuses. What it ultimately comes down to is that students, faculty and staff are part of the community, and are thus most familiar with the space and quirks of a university, and are best equipped to present common problems and provide possible solutions. Even beyond the institutional knowledge, crowdsourcing also helps students to feel invested and heard in the community.
One of the most significant ways in which crowdsourcing is being utilized on college campuses today is with university IT help desks. Such was the case for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), which recently completed its pledge to have 100 IT wins in a year. When incoming CIO Curtis Carver was getting ready to begin his position at UAB, he set a goal of delivering 100 IT wins in his first year. In order to accomplish that goal, he initiated the SPARK initiative—utilizing IdeaScale—in order for community members to engage. The program was especially effective because it gamified the system, providing badges as a motivator for participators. This gamification and badging of participation has been proven as a tried and true method for getting higher engagement.
In addition to exceeding their goals by over 200%, there were also a number of unintended benefits, including positive feedback about the method of communication and prioritizing solutions.
As CIO at UA Birmingham Curtis Carver said, “[Crowdsourcing] gets us out of the business of saying ‘no’ and into the business of facilitating solutions. Within IdeaScale, everybody can be an agent of innovation.”
To find out more about how the University of Alabama at Birmingham is using IdeaScale to crowdsource fixable problems, click here to download and read the recent white paper.