Monday, March 8, 2010

What's the Academic Poll?

1. Have you seen the orange and blue question and answer gadget in the upper-right hand corner of the Rooms for Discussion 2010 Blog? It’s the Urtak technology, a digital tool that puts the ability to research public opinion in the hands of the people.

2. What does the academic community tied on some level with the 19th Columbia/NYU graduate conference think, in this case, about the pertinent problems to the profession, the institution or the conference itself? The gadget is there to find out, and in contrast to the traditional ways of polling, with Urtak the participation is shaped by the people’s own questions. In Urtak every participant is at the same time the pollster.

3. It’s a simple premise: a group of people, working together, will always be able to ask more insightful questions than one person alone. Under the answer rubric (ternary, not binary) Yes, No, Don’t Care, the Urtak algorithm identifies the questions that the participants care most about and, accordingly, asks these questions with greater frequency, always in a random fashion.

4. The participation in Urtak is strictly anonymous. Not even the editor can know who asks which questions.

5. Warning: Urtak can be addictive.

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