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Latest comment: 17 years ago by JWSchmidt in topic But what is a faculty member?

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Original research
In the current version of the Wikiversity proposal, "conducting research and publishing results" remains as part of the stated mission of Wikiversity. I think the clear intention of the proposal is that Wikiversity support and fosters scholarly “secondary research” (literature reviews). However, the current proposal also says, "Whether or not Wikiversity will host original research or secondary research is still the subject of debate." If Wikiversity allows original research then special effort will have to be made to deal with crank theories and the problem of "original research spam". I think it is safe to say that original research will only exist within Wikiversity if a policy framework can be developed by the community to deal with the potential problems of original research. In Faculty club and Primary research I have tried to sketch a system by which Wikiversity might be able to adopt a "some original research" policy. In my view, the goal would not be to make original research a priority within Wikiversity, but it would be useful for the educational mission of Wikiversity if there were a system that allowed some original research, particularly in special subject areas such as the study of how wiki communities function. --JWSurf 03:46, 22 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

But what is a faculty member?[edit]

I don't see exactly what a faculty member should be at the Wikiversity. We have teachers, but they can just as well also be learners in different subjects.

I introduced the idea of a Teaching ring as a group of people who teach on a particular subject.

Faculty clubs in the Real World (tm) are exclusionary and make the members feel good because they are on the inside. What would the purpose really be in the Wikiversity? We can have Research rings and Teaching rings and Learning rings. The question of trust, as you have noted, must be addressed. But we are not granting professorships here, we are in the business of open education. --WiseWoman 11:56, 2 July 2006 (UTC)Reply

"exactly what a faculty member should be" within Wikipedia.
If Wikiversity does eventually allow some original research then Wikiversity will need to deal with the problem of sorting "crank" theories from valid research efforts. At Wikipedia, editors with expert knowledge in various subject areas are informally relied upon to spot bogus content and remove it (example of a bogus Wikipedia article that took 4 months to remove). Such an informal system is adequate for Wikipedia because all content at Wikipedia either cites verifiable sources or it can be deleted....even a non-expert can often look at cited sources and decide if Wikipedia content is verifiable.

The main function of a Wikiversity faculty member will be to provide the skills of an expert to the task of sorting "good" content from "bad" content. It would be possible for Wikiversity to rely on the same informal system that exists at Wikipedia and not create a special "functionary" to deal with "crank" content that could be confused with meaningful original research. However, I think having a formally selected group of functionaries to sort "good" content from "bad" content at Wikiversity is a reasonable approach to dealing with problems that will arise from allowing some original research content at Wikiversity.

As is mentioned above, the terms "faculty" and "faculty club" have established connotations. By using these terms at Wikiversity, there is a risk of people jumping to conclusions about what a Wikiversity faculty member is. However, groups of wiki "functionaries" do not "feel good because they are on the inside". They feel good because they apply their experience to the task of performing specific duties for the community, duties that the community has trusted them to perform.

"we are not granting professorships here" <-- Having a group of trusted functionaries called "faculty members" has nothing to do with professorships. I used the term "faculty member" because I was thinking of a formal system within Wikiversity that would include experts for various subject areas. Many universities find it useful to have divisions such as Social Sciences, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Fine Arts. Universities can have faculty members who are recognized as experts within a particular domain of study such as the "Faculty of Natural Sciences". I think it would make sense for the Wikiversity community to have "faculty members" for each subject area in which Wikiversity participants engage in original research. These Wikiversity functionaries would be expected to use their expert knowledge to help the Wikiversity community judge if Wikiversity content is useful research or some sort of "crank" theory or "spoof" of actual research. Wikiversity faculty members would be called upon to use their expert knowledge as a basis for explaining to the Wikiversity community how to distinguish actual research from bogus content that only has the superficial form of research. The term "faculty club" is just the name for a wiki page. I expect that the main Wikiversity page for faculty members would eventually look something like this, a page that explains what faculty members do and supports the tasks that they perform.

Beyond the fundamental function of Wikiversity "faculty members" (described above), I think there are additional functions that could be performed by these Wikiversity functionaries. If the Wikiversity community goes to the trouble of selecting trusted members of the community to serve as "faculty members", it will be natural for the community to try to make additional use of their expertise. In conventional universities, faculty members are often called upon to serve as advisors for students. I think it will be reasonable to expect Wikiversity faculty members to be aware of the resources that are available at Wikiversity and be able to advise other Wikiversity participants on how to find and make use of those resources. Another function that Wikiversity faculty members should be able to help with is facilitating interactions between Wikiversity and educators outside of Wikiversity. These were just possibilities that came to my mind when I tried to think of a coherent system that would make it possible to have some original research inside Wikiversity. The Wikiversity community will have to decide on the types of "functionaries" to have and what their duties will be. --JWSurf 16:56, 2 July 2006 (UTC)Reply