18b) Nearer to the Madding Crowd

Dr Gavin Boyce (Doctoral Development Team, Research and Innovation Services), Mark Sanderson (Innovation Centres Team, Research and Innovation Services) + external speaker from The Social Foundation.

Third Session (14:00 – 15:00) 
Discovery Room 3

What is this about?
The University of Sheffield was founded by penny donations from local citizens, a very early form of ‘crowd funding’. This session explores the possibilities afforded by digital technologies for new ways of engaging with ‘the crowd’, as defined by recently coined phrases such as: ‘crowd learning’, ‘crowd sourcing’ and ‘crowd funding’. Examples of these ‘web-crowd’ activities will be provided and how they can be used to benefit students, staff and HEIs. Possible effects of the ‘web-crowd’ phenomenon on the future of HEIs will be explored in a provocative, blue-sky thinking exercise.

How will colleagues benefit?
Colleagues will benefit from seeing the possibilities afforded by digitally enhanced ‘web-crowd’ engagement. They will develop a clearer understanding of the logical landscape of engaging ‘the crowd’ and how it might be used to develop their pedagogy, their research and to ensure the sustainability of the University’s activities. This session will not be a ‘how-to’ guide but rather will encourage the audience to consider the implications of digitally enhanced ‘web-crowd’ activities for their pedagogy, their research methodology and the future of HEIs in general. It is anticipated that they will also gain an insight into how the ‘web-crowd’ phenomenon may threaten our accepted understanding of HEI learning and research and guide the future development of HEIs with just as dramatic consequences as that original act of ‘off-line crowd funding’ had on the inception of The University of Sheffield.


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