Crowdsourcing benefits in postgraduate project supervision: Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University statistics and computer science case study


The paper reports on the findings made on an experiential exercise of Bachelor of Science Honours in Statistics (BSc Hons Stat) in the Department of Statistics and Operations Research (SOR) of the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) in South Africa. SOR is a small, understaffed department, which offers courses for degrees from Bachelor to Doctoral levels in the subfields of Artificial Intelligence, Data Mining, Operations Research, Statistics and related ones. On SMU campus, expertize in some of these fields is also available in the Department of Computer Science (DCS). In the 2015 academic year SOR admitted 20 BSc Hons Stat students beyond its staffing capacity. Then, SOR invited DCS in a crowdsourcing initiative to jointly supervise student projects in the various subfields mentioned. The challenges include conflict and limited experience. These are managed satisfactorily though, but mainly because they occur at low levels. This crowdsourcing arrangement nevertheless results in timely submissions of final projects, improved quality projects worthy of being published, innovation, quality teamwork, and some synergistic outcomes. Coordinators also learn and/or improved some project management skills

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