I was playing with the idea of integrating CV as part of an advanced statistics course/workshop; Say, the students are required to achieve a reputation of 100 by the end of the semester. The students would get experience in applied problems and a sense of community, and the community would benefit from some (hopefully) good answers. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this? Any pitfalls to be aware of?
I am sympathetic to the general idea of capitalizing on SE as a teaching tool but am concerned about the potential for abuse in this case. Two people acting in collusion can easily generate thousands of points of reputation for each other merely by writing a lot of repetitive junk and upvoting each other's posts. We can catch that behavior, but if the students are smart--and many are--they can mask this behavior through extensive voting for others as well, making automatic detection difficult.
This is not theoretical speculation. It has happened (and, in one notable case, is allowed to continue because it's benign and the perpetrators appear to have a net positive effect on the site, although as a result one of them has a noticeably inflated reputation).
Requiring participation also threatens to reduce the quality of posts, especially towards the end of the semester (when demand usually goes up anyway), as procrastinators ever more desperately throw stuff on our proverbial wall hoping to reach the required minimum. As a moderator I don't welcome the additional janitorial work that would entail and would look extremely unfavorably on anyone I suspected of instigating this. In the worst case, you could wind up having no access at all to CV within your institution.
I'm sure there are creative and constructive uses of this site for pedagogy, in addition to the obvious one of offering it as a resource for learners. If you want to go in this direction, consider making participation optional and offer extra credit for answers, comments, or questions that in your opinion are especially worthy. In short, please do not delegate to this community your duty to motivate and assess the performance of your students.
Aside from the (very valid) concerns from @whuber, it's still a great idea if one could this right. For example, an assignment could be to ask one good question and to give one good answer on CV. This would do away with the incentive to spam the site. The instructor / TAs would have to evaluate the questions and answers on their own to do away with the incentive for students to upvote each other.
John, you can additionally consider requiring your grad students to contribute to Wikipedia. If you see that their edits have withstood the criticism and additional edits of the community at large, that's a good sign that your students have mastered the material. (I do list the Wikipedia articles that I contributed to on my CV, although I don't know of anybody else who does that.)