Friday, September 19, 2008

Web 2.0--Getting Paid For Class Notes

This article describes a new start-up company designed to combine elements of social networking sites with note-taking services.  Knetwit is a site where users can upload notes, study guides, papers, tests, etc. and then generate "koins" each time their content is downloaded by another user.  These "koins" can then be redeemed at an online store or for straight cash through PayPal.  

The site creators hope that eventually Knetwit will become a respected source of academic information for both students and faculty; however, critics are questioning whether it is advisable to trust "average Joe's" to upload credible content that actually passes academic standards.  The example the author of the article uses is a student uploading an all-nighter C- paper and whether that is a good thing or not.  This raises interesting questions about the concept of the Wisdom of Crowds and whether giving everyone a voice and freedom to contribute their two-cents leads to increased "wisdom" in the long run.  For instance, can content on Wikipedia be trusted and what is the incentive for users to contribute accurate content?  The interesting thing about knetwit is that it capitalizes on users self-interest--they only get paid if their content is downloaded.  So, if a person wants to make money of this endeavor they need to post something that has value for other users.  I wonder if that will improve the quality of the content that is posted?  

What if we were paid for each time one of our peers visited this blog or viewed content that we have included on our PLE?  Would we take it more seriously or would it make what we do too artificial?  What role do incentives like this play in design?  Do they improve learning?