Talk:Moving Wikiversity forward

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Wikiversity as a common resource[edit]

I’ve been to a couple conferences that were attended by librarians and teachers. Each time I mentioned the possibility of Wikiversity being a school unto itself I got a lot of negative feedback. I mean, who is going to teach for free? Teaching is a multi-month effort that requires a lot of daily time. But I got *very* positive responses when I described it as a common resource for teachers and students at existing schools to develop and use class material. There is a HUGE amount of needless duplicated effort in creating things like lesson plans, quizzes, and other course material. Wikiversity could help reduce a lot of wasted effort.

So, pitching Wikiversity as a common resource is a non-threatening and neutral way to go about this. This is the type of approach that IBM took with its support of GNU/Linux; they could have put all their money and effort into creating their own distribution, but instead they supported GNU/Linux in general. Thus IBM was a largely neutral force and their effort was seen as a big success for deploying IBM products for Linux and as helping the GNU/Linux platform in general. Corel took the opposite route; they created their own distribution and launched Word Perfect for Linux. Well, it would be better to call it WordPerfect for Corel Linux since it was widely perceived as not working very well with other distributions (to a certain extent, this was true, but I think the perception was stronger than reality). The result: Corel Linux and WordPerfect for Linux lost a lot of money and didn’t create any long term benefits to GNU/Linux. If instead, they supported GNU/Linux in general, then I think that WP for Linux would have had a much better chance to succeed.

In short: We should launch Wikiversity as a neutral resource. The courses would be developed to the point where a self learner could use them to learn entire courses for free. That’s fine. Others will use the same courses while being guided by a teacher from a school that is not affiliated with Wikimedia. That student will get credit from that school – not from us. If and when there is ever a big push to start an actual school, then those people would be more than welcome to start their own school that uses Wikiversity as a resource. But the school should not be part of Wikimedia (we may decide to help set it up; but after that, they would be on their own). We should remain neutral.

-- Daniel Mayer 13:32, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Open Source Teaching is relevant to a discussion of a "learning and teaching community". Please have a look. • Quinobi 00:07, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

living books[edit]

Comments on the above. I think that it is reasonable to expect that the Wikiversity community will eventually be able to produce wiki-format "textbooks". My guess is that "wiki-format textbooks" will greatly differ from conventional printed textbooks; they will be "living books". I think that the Wikiversity textbooks will be modular collections of teaching aids that facilitate online learning. The "wikiversity textbooks" will evolve towards linked sets of interactive "lesson modules" that can be explored by self-motivated students. If so, then "Wikiversity as a common resource" will be a wiki where such learning modules can be developed and made available to the world.

Did you know that there is a Wikimedia sister project, Wikibooks, where users collaborate on instructional textbooks? --Kernigh 21:58, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
There is a distinction that can be made between producing a textbook and producing a wiki community that promotes learning. Textbooks are are one tool that students often use in universities. In my view, Wikiversity will not be a place where students go to find textbooks. That is what Wikibooks is for. Wikiversity will be a wiki where people go in order to be involved in projects/courses that will require the learner to edit wiki pages. Learning at Wikiversity might in some cases involve use of a textbook from Wikibooks and some Wikiversity participants will help to build Wikibooks. My expectation is that most of the "learning materials" used within Wikipedia will look nothing like a traditional textbook. "Linked sets of interactive lesson modules" means wiki pages that function to promote participation in a Wikiversity project. Learning will mainly be "by doing", by editing Wikiversity pages and articles at other wikis such as Wikipedia. I think the first Wikiversity "project" should be a "service project" for Wikipedia. Wikiversity should create an organized system for helping educate Wikipedia editors in how to find good sources, evaluate sources and references, and make sure that everything in Wikipedia is supported by verified references. Someone may decide to make a textbook at Wikibooks called "How to Edit Wikipedia", but Wikiversity would mainly be concerned with providing a wiki community that promotes good research and scholarship practices, skills that Wikipedia needs now in order solve its problems. At one time, Wikiversity could have been an integral part of Wikibooks, but the decision was made to throw Wikiversity out of Wikibooks. Wikiversity will go its own way. --JWSurf 18:02, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Wikiversity should create an organized system for helping educate Wikipedia editors in how to find good sources, evaluate sources and references, and make sure that everything in Wikipedia is supported by verified references. I do not edit Wikipedia much, but an index of sources would help me write verfiable Wikibooks. This idea might be worth starting a new wiki, which might be called "Wikiversity" or some other name.
...but the decision was made to throw Wikiversity out of Wikibooks. The current Wikiversity is not completely separate from Wikibooks, and includes a lot of content that should stay at Wikibooks. If you look at Wikibooks:Wikiversity:School of Computer Science/IntroProgramingC, it contains "lectures" and "quizzes". Both lectures and quizzes belong in a textbook at Wikibooks. --Kernigh 01:53, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Keep in mind that the reason why Wikiversity was even considered for removal out of Wikibooks was twofold:
  1. Wikiversity needed to go beyond the mission of Wikibooks. There are clearly tasks for Wikiversity that would not be appropriate within the structure of Wikibooks.
  2. There already was an existing Wikiversity for German that was started (perhaps against existing Foundation policy) on its own domain/server. (don't get technical here.) The request to start en.wikiversity.org was flatly turned down dispite there being a http://de.wikiversity.org/ that currently exists and is run by the Wikimedia Foundation. That this still has not been fully explained as to why the German version already exists.
There was never anything within Wikibooks that felt that Wikiversity should not happen, but that it was constrained if it stayed within Wikibooks. BTW, the VfD was never fully resolved, and as a Wikibooks admin I could not realistically support a deletion of Wikiversity with the discussion that took place at Wikibooks, and would immediately restore any attempt at deletion, with appropriate complaints in the usual forums. This discussion in many ways is simply an outgrowth of that initial VfD. --Roberth 18:33, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
There was never a consensus to delete, but it got a lot of votes for delete. A working wikiversity would require several things that are against wikibooks is/is not- namely forming communities and non-book pages. --Gabe Sechan 09:24, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Linking wikiversity to the existing Wikimedia community[edit]

How do we establish a Wikiversity community of wiki editors that will develop such learning modules? What has prevented the development of such "course material" so far?

One problem is, that there has never been a wiki devoted to the construction of interactive wiki-format learning modules. Most of the effort at wikibooks centers on making wiki-format copies of conventional textbooks. These efforts have not built upon the realities of the existing Wikimedia community and the reality of the type of intellectual activity that is involved in producing "course material". Creation of a Wikiversity namespace is the first step in liberating Wikiversity from the problems imposed on Wikiversity by the approach to textbook construction that dominates Wikibooks.

What needs to be done differently at Wikiversity? In my view, Wikiversity would be wise to start with the needs and strengths of the existing Wikimedia community. In particular, Wikiversity should start its growth by making use of Wikipedia editors as its first "students". What are the critical learning needs of Wikipedia editors? Wikipedia is in the process of trying to produce more authoritative articles. To do this, Wikipedia editors need to participate in community efforts to research topics and distill their research into well-referenced Wikipedia articles. Wikiversity's first priority should be to establish links between Wikipedia articles and Wikiversity pages that will be the sites of community-driven research projects. Every Wikipedia article can be supported by Wikiversity pages that list sources of information and critically evaluate that information. Wikiversity can produce interactive "learning modules" that teach Wikipedia editors how to find information sources for particular types of topics, critically evaluate sources, and produce Wikipedia articles that cite the sources of all information.

Specific examples.

Wikipedia has many medical/health-related articles where the contents of the articles need to be based on the best available information from the biomedical literature. Wikiversity should have a "core service course" where Wikipedia editors can learn how to access the biomedical literature, evaluate that literature and produce well-reference articles. Wikipedia medical/health-related articles should be linked to Wikiversity pages that are devoted to researching medical topics. When disputes exist (for example, how should Wikipedia best present claims that AIDS is not caused by HIV?) these disputes can be taken into the research space of Wikiversity for detailed analysis of the relevant biomedical literature.

Wikipedia has many articles related to current events and political disputes. Wikiversity should have a "core service course" where Wikipedia editors can compile lists of sources of information about current events and through community effort evaluate the relative merits of the sources. Wikipedia articles that involve politically-motivate disputes should be linked to pages within Wikiversity departments that specialize in political science and other relevant disciplines. These Wikiversity pages should stress the importance of constructing Wikipedia articles that cite all sources of information and present all sides of disputes.

Similarly, many Wikipedia articles are concerned with controversial historical events. Such Wikipedia articles should be linked to the Wikiversity history school which would provide research space for a community effort to evaluate relevant sources of information about the disputed historical events. The Wikiversity school of history could have a "core service course" that teaches Wikipedia editors how to find sources of historical information, how to critically evaluate that information and how to construct Wikipedia articles that cite all sources of information and present all sides of disputed historical events.

I think that such "core service course" should be the first priority of Wikiversity because they would provide a needed service for the Wikimedia flagship project (Wikipedia) and have the best chance of attracting "students". The Wikipedia editors with the most experience in researching history, politics, medical (and other major topic areas) would serve as Wikiversity "teachers", showing other editors how to produce good Wikipedia articles in various topic areas. Wikiversity would provide an organized way of dealing with the existing need of Wikipedia to produce better articles.

I think that the "core service course" phase of initial Wikiversity development will establish a key reality of Wikiversity: Wikiversity students must be wiki editors. Wikiversity MUST build upon the power of the wiki interface. Wikiversity learning communities should not adopt a sterile model in which "teachers" produce static course material that "students" passively consume. Wikiversity learners and teachers must interact with each other through the wiki interface. Students must edit Wikiversity pages in order to express their learning goals and provide feedback on the learning process. Also, the boundary between learners and teachers is fluid. As soon as someone learns something they can become a teacher. It is best if this happens immediately so that the people who have just used a learning module can act to improve that module, fixing problems and rough spots that give the learner difficulty.

Once Wikiversity learns how to build wiki-based communities that satisfy the kinds of Wikimedia project-oriented "service functions" described above, there will be a natural process of developing further Wikiversity "course materials" that go beyond the basic needs of existing Wikimedia projects. Some of the people who come into Wikiversity by way of Wikipedia and other existing Wikimedia projects will want to go more deeply into Wikiversity topics. Wikiversity should have a system by which potential Wikiversity students can announce to the community, "I wish I knew more about X." I would define Wikiversity students as members of the Wikiversity community who actively edit Wikiversity pages. Particularly during initial development of Wikiversity learning modules, there needs to be active cooperation and feedback between the members of the Wikiversity community who will function as learners and teachers. One way of starting this process will be for Wikiversity to include "ask a question" pages similar to those that exist at Wikipedia. One of the problems of Wikiversity while it has existed at Wikibooks is that it has been built upon instructors starting courses and hoping that students will materialize. What Wikiversity needs is a system for identifying the needs of potential Wikiversity students and creating new learning modules (Wikiversity pages) that will address those needs.

Eventually, and with time, Wikiversity can be expected to include a full range of learning modules and "wiki-format textbooks" that will fully cover traditional academic disciplines. Wikiversity will also be able to escape from tradition and provide learning opportunites that meet the current needs of learners and are not stuck in the past due to the institutional momentum that characterizes conventional universities. Wikiversity needs to take advantage of the power of the wiki user interface to create dynamic online learning communities. Making a wiki-based copy of conventional acredited universities is aiming too low as the ultimate goal of Wikiversity. --JWSurf 16:28, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

radical departure[edit]

This is a radical departure from the Wikiversity that we once knew, but it is a move in a good direction. I'd class our current mission statement as "laughable" rather than "threatening"; what we have set out will not happen for a long, long time. What you've outlined is definitely a more tangible goal than that of becoming an institution in our own right straight away.

I like the sound of the "better Wikipedia researching" guides. Once we've got our .org and have some proper breathing space I'll dig around for some handouts I have on the matter (which I hopefuly didn't just throw away). That will be one of the most immediately useful courses to have as there will already be a userbase aware of this resource's existence, rather than being left in our own little oblivious world until a teacher or two happens across some content.

I would suspect that Wikiversity may well absorb the Academic Publishing Wiki, although we would have to confront the dreaded No Original Research to do so. Regardless, I hope to see both a self-critique journal of our achievements and content/software shortcomings (aimed predominantly at editors and critics) as well as a periodical with a more light magazine-style format (aimed predominantly at visitors and educators). The magazine (Wikizine?) would allow people to casually find out what happened on any given month without needing to use the staid and unfriendly archives of Goings-on and wikiversity-l.

Regarding the wikiversity-l mailing list at the link provided above, it is currently reported as non-existent. This is possibly a typo in the link or possibly is anticipating a Wikimedia Foundation Board approved action. When the correct link is inserted above (for example someone resorts to managing to an external mailing list resource or the Wikimedia supported mailing server is setup ... then please delete this paragraph after correcting the link above. Thanks! Lazyquasar 01:42, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

As for writing books, I'm not sure that they should be developed anywhere other than on Wikibooks (which was originally created with that very purpose!), but there will no doubt be a blurring between what is a book and what is extraneous material. Either way, getting that blasted single login implemented will help greatly.

As for the Reference Desk, there has already been talk of how unmanageable it is becoming. Despite new categories being opened it just keeps on growing; if we were to move the Desk to Wikiversity that would not only lighten the load on WP but also attract an audience of casual visitors who would otherwise be oblivious to Wikiversity's existence. Also there is the possibility of archiving frequent questions via some easily-retrievable method and perhaps even integrating those questions and answers into new material in turn.

I suggest we keep the initial reference desks manageable for as long as possible (giving another solution time to evolve) by encouraging that each school set up its own reference desk as participation becomes available committed to supporting it. I will set up such a desk for the School of Engineering Wikiversity:School of Engineering:Help Desk as I am anticipating an influx over the next few months of candidate engineers studying for professional EIT (Engineer-in-training)[[1]] and PE (Professinal Engineer U.S. State issued licenses to be legally responsible for the quality of engineering services provided that impact public safety for fee) exams. Naturally an excellent review strategy is studying with others studying same material and tutoring or helping develop materials related to personal weaknesses. Obviously anyone with an engineering background can probably respond helpfully to engineering related requests for information while likely being much less helpful/useful/efficacious regarding how to find information on careers or issues related to chemicals in the brain or Mozart's, Michiavelli's or Plato's contributions to humanity; at least the first time hit with such a RFA (Request For Assistance). Lazyquasar 01:59, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

That would also help with one of my main concerns, that of attracting contributors from the Wikipedia userbase. A good number of Wikipedians seem nigh oblivious to Wikibooks' purpose and guidelines (as evidenced by votes to transwiki just about anything); since Wikiversity is in turn the bastard child of Wikibooks how well will it fare in their eyes? The more "legitimate" content we can put forward the better.

Anyway, things are certainly sounding promising, and far more realistic. This is essentially what I wanted from Wikiversity from the beginning, and this is what I knew it would inevitably become whether unknowingly or deliberately. Garrett 01:27, 9 November 2005 (UTC)


Research Reference Desk[edit]

Comments on Garrett's thoughts, above.

"the dreaded No Original Research"
Wikinews provides an example of a Wikimedia project that is open to original contributions (original reporting). There is no reason why Wikiversity should not adopt a policy that makes room for original research. Personally, I feel that research is central to any university.

"As for writing books, I'm not sure that they should be developed anywhere other than on Wikibooks"
I assume you mean textbooks. Textbooks are not the only books that university members produce. I think Wikiversity should facilitate all forms of scholarly activity, including the creation of books that are not wanted at Wikibooks. Also, most textbooks arise from processes of development that has not been supported by Wikibooks. In particular, many good textbooks arise from the experiences and activities of university members. Wikibooks has not been open to the processes by which textbooks are normally created by members of universities. The only model accepted by Wikibooks is the Wikipedia model of wiki webpage construction. I agree that books should be developed at Wikibooks, but narrow minded folks at Wikibooks have said, "do it the Wikipedia way or hit the highway". I think Wikiversity will discover how to create living textbooks that arise naturally from the activity of learning communities in a wiki environment.

Reference Desk
Wikiversity editors will be able to help with conventional Reference Desk activity, but Wikiversity needs to take it on another step. Maybe Wikiversity needs a link in the navigation box that is called "I want to know...". The "I want to know" pages of Wikiversity would encourage Wikiversity users to express their learning needs and goals. The Wikiversity community would then take that input and use it to help individuals towards their learning goals and in so doing, to build and shape Wikiversity.
--JWSurf 15:39, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Searching for the rules that govern wiki growth[edit]

I have been reading some of the history (by the way, I hope the Wikiversity School of History will organize an effort to better record the history of Wikimedia projects) of the origins of other Wikimedia projects and trying to formulate some "rules of thumb" for thinking about how to grow new Wikimedia projects. Two closely related rules have taken over my thinking, and a third keeps lurking nearby.

One rule is that "wikis have minds of their own." I have spent 20 years studying how minds are produced by distributed networks of neurons. Similarly, unexpected emergent behavior is seen in the swirling "group intelligence" of a wiki. I have suggest elsewhere that that humans are members of a kingdom, the Semantotes, creatures with the mental capacity to exist as producers and consumers of information that has rich semantic content. I previously suggested that it may be constructive to view wikis as "semantic prosthetics" that can function to aid human learning. If we accept the idea that "wikis have minds of their own" then we can look upon wikis as being members of a new genus of Semantotes, a new type of "beast" that exists symbiotically with humans. The "group mind" of a wiki can facilitate learning by humans and humans can facilitate the growth of wikis as they become increasingly useful learning aids.

Wikis can function as thought magnifiers. Wiki technology allows for a torrent of human thought from a distributed group of users to be directed at any topic. If we hope to predict wiki behavior we need to become naturalists and study wiki behavior in the wild, we need to study the social forces by which the wiki lens is focused and aimed on particular topics. It is a cliché, but when dealing with wikis we have to expect the unexpected and we might as well plan for it. In my view, that means having the courage to let wikis go wild and find their own destiny without trying to artificially impose conventional expectations. If our goal is to make wikis more useful as tools for facilitating human learning, we work towards that end by respecting the realities of the wiki "beast".

The second rule, closely related to the first, is that "you can't make a wiki jump through hoops". I naturally have habits of thought and expectations for how wikis will grow, but my expectations are largely built upon the non-wiki world I grew up in and the non-wiki systems I have grown to be familiar with. I have to force myself to stop trying to apply my non-wiki expectations to the behavior of wikis. It seems to me that the way to move past my old habits of thought is to look carefully at what wiki editors are doing today and think realistically about what they are likely to do tomorrow. The default path for wiki editors is to do "more of the same" but there are ways to push editors in certain directions and towards new patterns of editing. Wiki editors are technophages. Wiki editors prowl the wiki landscape looking for new tricks, tools and technology that will improve their online experience. One powerful way to deflect editors away from what they were doing yesterday is to give them a link to a new page that holds content that the editors easily understand as being about something that will improve their wiki experience. A wiki editor sees lots of wiki webpages and most of them offer nothing new and useful. If Wikiversity wants to attract editors, Wikiversity must constantly feed the wiki editor (technophage). Pie-in-the-sky dreams of "what Wikiversity might be someday" do not satisfy the hunger that drives the wiki-editing technophage. Setting forth a glorious goal such as "create a university" does not feed the needs of wiki editors and they just move right on past. It is useless to say to wiki editors, "Hey, build a university!" Even if they would like to do so, by simply holding up the hoop and saying "Jump!" you have not created the means for them to do so.

The third rule for how to build a wiki is "just say no". Conventional institutions prosper and persist by finding systems that function (they need not even function very well), harnessing those systems, and exploiting them until they die a whimpering death, usually decades after they have become a liability and hinder new progress. Everything in wiki space is accelerated. We cannot afford institutional ossification. When wiki editors find a wiki webpage that emits the stink of institutional ossification, liberation is just a click away. Of course, it is the easiest thing in the world for a wiki editor to add toxic content to a wiki. Above, I tried to describe the natural process by which we fall into the habit of applying conventional thinking to wikis. As soon as that process starts the wiki is infected and additional editors will join in, reflexively endorsing familiar non-wiki conventions. You can quickly end up with a wiki webpage that gives comfort to those who are happy with convention, but this is death for a wiki. Dwelling on conventional, non-wiki thought systems sucks the life out of wiki editors who might otherwise create a new path into the wiki future. In order to keep wiki users engaged in the process of growing a wiki, wiki users have to be empowered to just say no to "conventional wisdom". Wikiversity should institutionalize systems that allow wiki users to take control when they see something that is not helpful and not going to benefit the wiki: taking control starts with just saying no to conventional thought that is damaging to the growth of Wikiversity.

All wikis are relatively new. It is very hard for me to accept that anything connected to wikis has been optimized. Some people put a lot of work into a wiki and then start to defend that work against alterations. Some people just fall in love with an existing wiki idea or system and stop looking for a new and better idea and ways to make a better wiki. Many of us are just too lazy to do the work that must be done to tear down and rebuild a wiki or even a small part of it. Such natural human tendencies towards ossification of wikis must be resisted. Revolution and growth must be institutionalized, not entrenchment. As a good wiki motto, "just say no" is a way to escape from dead ends. When we see something that does not work we have to speak up and just say no, this is not working. We must do better. In the wiki economy of ideas, we must kill bad ideas quickly so that the good ideas can grow. I hope wikiversity can embody an ethic of being open to new ways of doing things because we have to believe that wonderful new things are going to come from Wikiversity and we have to find ways of allowing them to come, as User:Garrett said above, they will come either unknowingly or deliberately. I think we have to build a wikiversity community that will unleash the power of a collective wisdom that will grow Wikiversity regardless of our own individual limitations. In that spirit, I am going on record as just saying no to suggestions that Wikiversity cannot go forward without a master plan for how to create an accredited university. No. That is not the way to grow Wikiversity. Let's make Wikiversity in a new way, the wiki way, even if we do not entirely know what that means. All we need is an algorithm: look at where Wikimedia editors are today and figure out how to keep them clicking the hyperlinks towards Wikiversity webpages that support research, collaboration, and exploration of the ideas that are of interest to each individual Wikimedia editor. At the start of Wikiversity the way to do this is to feed the learning needs of existing Wikimedia editors. Once we figure out how to do that, we will have found the basic system for growing wiki learning communities and that meme will spread beyond the existing needs of Wikimedia projects.
--JWSurf 14:52, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Another way to say some of the above is to Just find a way to say yes together Perceptions vary but my observations and analysis at Wikipedia concluded that the entire Wikimedia project was slowed significantly by consistent demands that volunteers work on others crystallized definitions of Encylopedia articles. If they had said no but we shall find ways to allow you to work on x at .... other Wikimedia projects .... a little quicker; then they might have attracted the talent and funds to support a better quality growth rate. Currently the only effort I apply to maintenance or improvement of content at en.wikipedia.org results from studies here at Wikiversity leading to its use as a reference source. Should I (and/or others) move to a competing free university grid portal; it is likely that this effort will be diverted to the user local grid wiki learning environments; if the Wikimedia Foundation cannot get its act together and figure out how to keep reliable fast access available. It does not matter how good Wikipedia or Wikiversity is by traditional publishers content standards. If I cannot reliably access it when I have time to work or study it is fairly useless on an extremely personal in your face basis. Any U.S. Institution that can raise ten of millions of dollars for new tailored sports stadiums; specialized libraries; discipline buildings, labs, custom facilities; chair endowments; etc.; could certainly approach its alma mater association about establishing an endowment for the local wiki grid components. Open development via the FDL implies (by design) that they do not start years behind us, they start at par as soon as their students, faculty, or IT staff can figure out how to get the Mediawiki software running reliably and install a downloaded database. Lazyquasar 05:50, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

What Wikiversity should and should not be[edit]

Should[edit]

  • A group effort to learn. Which may or may not, be lead by an instructor (who, again, may or may not be an expert on the topic).
  • A collaboration to improve other wikis. When students finish a course, it should be used as motivation for them to improve Wikipedia articles and write Wikibooks on the topic (i intend to incorporate these activities as assignments). This way there is no rivalry between the wiki projects.
  • Using outside sources. One of the biggest challenges now facing Wikipedia is citations. With Wikiversity classes, outside sources will be a primary aspect of the learning process. These sources can then be used to make Wikipedia articles more credible.

Should Not[edit]

  • A resource for learning about a topic. That's what Wikibooks is for. The essential difference has to be that in Wikiversity classes you must participate as the class is ongoing. If you want to learn about a topic ex-post-facto you are better off visiting Wikibooks.
  • An alternative to real universities. The Wikiversity would essentially be a half-way point between self-teaching and learning at a university. There is discussion between students and professors, and students and students, but this does not mean that it carries the same weight as learning from instructors who have spent most of their lives researching a topic and have approval from heavily funded universities. Wikiversity is about learning for learning's sake, not for advancing your career. --68.210.146.54 21:16, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I copied a modified version of this into Wikiversity/Modified project proposal. --Kernigh 19:33, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
The two above should nots are pretty silly. In the terminology of U.S. government contracting how shall we go about converting these should nots into enforceable "shall not" requirements? user:lazyquasar


A Gaping Problem Remains[edit]

The section regarding what "Wikiversity is not" as currently written is a major obstacle to success of the Wikiversity. No sane instructor, mentor, project team, or learning community is going to rely indefinitely on external materials subject to revision or deletion without notice and with no effective appeal or recourse beyond "Eddie says Jimmy said...". The potential for frustration and rework is staggering. This paragraph reduces Wikiversity in one fell swoop from potentially a useful reliable training environment of improving resources to merely an open directory of web links. Notice that the various "open" directories projects around the web have mostly faltered and fallen into disuse as they become pages of inaccurate unmaintained lists of links to static or dead web pages. Further, this insistence on dependence on externally controlled material and communities violates the very principle of Wiki. Local rapid revision by interested participants at whim. No longer is it edit boldly and find out. Now it is go join an external clique and figure out how to influence them sufficiently to help keep improvements sticky within your learning community's materials.

Personally I am not going to learn the local rules, etiquette and undocumented influence networks of five, fifty or five hundred different projects/online communities (all subject to arbitrary Jimmy flash overrides or stacked Board inaction) to put a multimedia lesson plan reliably in place. If I am somewhat unique in this regard, then this is possibly not a problem for the proposal as it is currently written. If it turns out that many resourceful people like to have some local control/reliabe access of the initial/current version of their materials (while acknowledging freely that other projects may do as they please as long as they meet attribution requirements of copied and tailored material) then this section will need to be rewritten entirely. Of course once the stacked Board has approved the proposal such a rewrite could take thousands of committees and millions of wikimedians centuries to develop Board discernable consensus on what it is that Wikiversity participants really cannot do for the convenience of others projects and self interests.

Take for example a free engineering project attempting to use Wikiversity to convey basic engineering skills and practices to newcomers who wish to join various projects. If in order to know that reliable accurate checked materials are available for specific lesson plans the free engineering communities must host the materials themselves then why would they bother with Wikiversity? Some advocates for existing Wikimedia projects would like to force Wikiversity participants to come participate at their projects. This ignores that it is not feasible to force internet volunteers to do anything. If those projects cannot make their case to the public on their own and appear attractive to potential clients and volunteer work forces then they are doomed anyway. We should not be designing Wikiversity to be doomed along with them. Likewise we should not advocate that Wikipedia be forced to put all its newcomer training materials exclusively at Wikiversity. The alleged gains in efficiency from nonduplication of efforts is simply overwhelmed by the risks inherent in dominoe architecture. What point in placing Wikipedia and the potential long term return to the species on the time invested there at risk by mandating that it depend on a risky new venture like Wikiversity for its local success?

I wonder how many projects would currently reside at Sourceforge if every Nth project was constrained to original chunks of work (N - N - 1) with links or pointers to N-1 chunks of work to be handed over for critical review to preexisting marginal projects eager to force participation in their own little pond? I suspect many fewer.

How many brick and mortar learning institutions constrain their instructors and students to exclusively using other groups notes and resources rather than creating/publishing their own to augment their unique learning experience? Lazyquasar 22:15, 24 March 2006 (UTC)