Online Communities & Crowds
Comm Studies 378
Fall, 2014

Microtasks assignment

Due: November 10, 2014 (before class)


The objective of this assignment is to experience and briefly reflect on what it's like to perform microtasks in a crowdsourcing and citizen science project. You'll participate briefly in both the Duolingo project and one of the Zooniverse projects. After completing a few tasks in each, you'll briefly respond to the questions below and come to class prepared to discuss your experiences on Monday, November 10 and Wednesday, November 12.


  1. Visit both Duolingo and the Zooniverse.
  2. For each site, spend some time reading the ``About'' page other relevant documentation to figure out what's going on.
  3. For Duolingo, sign-up, pick a language or task to work on, and complete at least one lesson and/or task.
  4. For Zooniverse, create an account and visit either the PlanetHunters project or the Chicago Wildlife Watch project. Read the about page for the project you select and complete at least five classifications for that project.
  5. Respond, in writing, to the three questions below. Submit your written responses via the corresponding "Discussion" on Canvas.

(Note: items 3 & 4 above should take you no more than a few minutes each.)


  1. Describe the tasks you completed: In a few sentences, summarize the tasks you completed. What information was in the description? How much could you tell about the overall context/objectives of what you were doing? Who requested the task and what was it for?

  2. Describe your experience: What was your experience in Duolingo and Zooniverse like? Did you enjoy the tasks? Were they difficult? What seemed noteworthy?

  3. Reflection: What conclusions do you draw from your experiences? How does your experiences as a crowd volunteer and citizen scientist compare to each other? How do your experiences in these systems compare to your experiences editing wikiHow and Wikipedia? What conclusions do you draw from this comparison?


This assignment will be part of your experiential assignments portfolio and will be evaluated on a complete/incomplete scale by the teaching team.