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Image by SIMON LEE
  • Writer's pictureantoniodellomo


Today I would like to share an assignment from the Interaction Design course. Back in July 2020, I started participating in this online course on Coursera. The course is actually an online specialization consisting of 8 single courses. Each of them can be enrolled separately and takes about 4-5 weeks following a determined schedule with assignments and deadlines.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offer accessible and affordable remote learning opportunities to students all over the world. I found it pretty amazing!

As a global society, getting an education has become increasingly important, but increasingly difficult beyond the high school level. Institutions of higher education present the obstacles of entrance examinations, tuition, distance, living expenses, and so much more.

The course I attended counted more than 4000 classmates from all over the world and gave me the chance to listen to a professor from the University of California, San Diego, the creator and publisher of the course. I had access to knowledge, information, and inspiration, which I probably wouldn’t have had in a non-digital world.

The assignment is from the specialization’s third course “Social Computing”.

Project overview: Pick a crowdsourcing platform and spend at least half an hour doing crowd work on it. You’ll need to sign up for the platform of your choice and complete some tasks. Along the way, you could earn some extra money or advance human knowledge. This could be a citizen science platform or a paid crowdsourcing platform. Some examples you might consider include Foldit, MechanicalTurk, Upwork, Wikipedia, Duolingo, Lab-in-the-wild. Afterward, find a discussion forum for that platform. It could be a third-party site like Turkopticon, or a built-in forum like a Wikipedia Talk page. Get a sense of the discussion themes, as you’ll be reporting on them.

My submission: Your submission for this assignment consists of two parts. The first will be a text response to the questions below. Your answers should be numbered in correspondence with the question answered. The second will be a set of 3-5 screenshots in pdf form that capture your experience using the crowdsourcing platform.

1. List the URL of the crowdsourcing platform

2. Describe your experience in 3-4 sentences

  • Straightforward to use Motivating

  • Entertaining

3. In 2-3 sentences describe what was the hardest thing to figure out on the site.

  • No-Human Interaction

  • Not Enough Control Over Vocabulary Topics

  • Some Sentences are Unnatural

4. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being least, 10 being most), how much did you enjoy the experience?

  • 10

5. In 2-3 sentences answer the question: If you could change one aspect of the platform, what would it be?

  • In the long run, making and re-making the same exercises can become a bit boring. Therefore I would try to internalize sentences with context. I would also add the possibility to speak and/or read. I'd try to live the language as much as possible.

6. List the URL of a forum post that you thought was particularly interesting.

7. In 2-3 sentences describe why you thought this forum post was particularly interesting.

  • The forum gives new online visitors, clients, and potential customers a reason to return to Duolingo. In general, forums are ideal to provide your community with a way to connect to each other.

8. In five years, will crowdsourcing be more popular or less? Answer on a scale from 1-7: 1 significantly less popular, 4 no change, 7 significantly more popular.

  • 4-5

9. In 2-3 sentences describe your reasoning for your answer to question 8.

  • Crowdsourcing models are great in many aspects. But also brings many potential difficulties. One of the biggest is that it can be used to exploit desperate people by offering minimal or unfair rewards.

10. Please upload a pdf containing at least 3 screenshots of your experiences on a crowdsourcing platform.


Duolingo recognizes that language learners need to be motivated to make sure they come back to the app and engage in some more language fun. Duolingo uses several different methods to keep you hooked.

Visual Learning

A lot of the learning that goes on in Duolingo is visual. There are pictures for learning vocabulary, colors that indicate whether you’re right or wrong,

and highlighted tappable text for new words or grammar points. If you’re a visual learner like me, you’ll love it.

A Beautiful Interface

I just love everything about the sleek interface of Duolingo. One of my favorite things is the little turtle button that allows you to listen to ‘slow’ pronunciations of the word or phrase. This creepily slow voice is a very useful feature in the exercises

that ask you to type what you hear:

Weekly leaderboards

Here is when learning becomes fun and entertaining, Leaderboard is a new experience where you can compete with other Duos in a league. Each weekly league starts every Monday at 12 am UTC. You will be paired with 30 new Duos each week. You can earn XP and rise in the ranks of your leaderboard. Then the top ten XP performers of that league will be “promoted” to a higher tier for the next week. The bottom ten XP performers will be demoted to the previous tier.


Finally, regardless of the assignment, I would like to share few notes from the course.

Crowdsourcing vs. Crowdfunding

While crowdsourcing seeks information or work product, crowdfunding seeks money to support individuals, charities, or startup companies. People can contribute to crowdfunding requests with no expectation of repayment, or companies can offer shares of the business to contributors.

Benefits of Crowdsourcing

The advantages of crowdsourcing include cost savings, speed, and the ability to work with people who have skills that an in-house team may not have. If a task typically takes one employee a week to perform, a business can cut the turnaround time to a matter of hours by breaking the job up into many smaller parts and giving those segments to a crowd of workers. Companies that need some jobs done only on occasions, such as coding or graphic design, can crowdsource those tasks and avoid the expense of a full-time in-house employee.

Example of Crowdsourcing

Many types of jobs can be crowdsourced, including website creation and transcription. Companies that want to design new products often turn to the crowd for opinions. Rather than rely on small focus groups, companies can reach millions of consumers through social media, ensuring that the business obtains opinions from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Photo by Jonas Denil on Unsplash


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