Jump to content

Talk:Wikiversity/Modified project proposal/Archive 1

Add topic
From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

This page has been moved to Wikiversity
Please do not make any changes or additions to this page.
You can read, edit and discuss the most up-to-date version at v:Talk:Wikiversity/Modified project proposal/Archive 1.

Wikiversity logo

Gut reaction to the page[edit]

This is just a gut reaction to this page. What I think we need is not for another load of links and previous discussions in all their complexity, but a clear set of numbered things we propose to do now (with a set of options for the future), along with preferably a few examples of the kind of thing we would be doing, ie learning resources/courses, finding sources wikiproject for Wikipedia. In other words, what is realistic, what should the scope be at the beginning and what would be a natural progression of these endeavours. I think this last point is important because if we put a cap on courses altogether, it seems a lot of the motivation and potential would be wasted.

My suggested starter objects are:

  • To create and host a range of learning resources for educational courses, for all agegroups in all languages. (Maybe refine types of courses?)
  • To form projects to interface with, (ie develop) existing Wikimedia projects, eg. Sources project for Wikipedia
  • To host and foster research based on existing resources in Wikiversity and other Wikimedia projects (such as Wikibooks)

These will need a bit of work, but basically, we need to make this not just understandable, but really envisionable for Wikimedians right now. Cormaggio @ 23:26, 13 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Let me start with what I think should be in the Wikiversity and not at Wikibooks:
  • Reading Groups, especially for textbooks and/or wikibooks. Example: http://www.ibiblio.org/taocprg/
  • Forums and lessons on standard classes, especially AP classes or SAT prep classes.
  • Students should teach, even if they teach incorrectly. You learn more from what you teach others than what others teach you sorta principle.
  • Research Projects in general. Get a bunch of people trying to answer a single question.
Well, it is a start. --Dragontamer 23:31, 13 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

  • I think that we three (Cormaggio, Dragontamer, JWSchmidt) are basically in agreement. Cormaggio, I thought it would be polite to provide a foundation for constructing the required modifications to the Wikiversity proposal. What I put at the top of the article is meant to be such a foundation. A few folks may join us who will benefit from "another load of links to previous discussions". I agree that we now need to describe how Wikiversity will use the wiki user interface to facilitate learning.
  • We must perform a fundamental conceptual transformation by which we shift our thinking away from conventional university courses and towards collaborative wiki editing projects that facilitate learning. The fundamental component of a wiki is the electronic document that can be edited by a community of wiki users. At Wikipedia the fundamental document is an encyclopedia article. At Wikibooks the fundamental document is a textbook module. At Wikinews the fundamental document is a news article. In my view, for Wikiversity the fundamental document will be a research article. Wikiversity participants will identify shared interests and needs and form research collaborations that will address those needs. Those Wikiversity participants with more knowledge and experience that is relevant to a particular research project will act as facilitators and guide less experienced project members towards useful learning activities. Initially, Wikiversity projects and participant activities should be heavily oriented towards the learning needs of participants in existing WikiMedia projects. Existing Wikimedia projects are by far the major existing source of likely Wikiversity participants. In particular, Wikipedia needs help orienting its editors towards
  1. seeking to become better informed about the Wikipedia articles they edit,
  2. knowing how to find good sources and references
  3. being able to function within a wiki community so as to comparatively evaluate the quality of references and sources
  4. knowing how to write good encyclopedia articles that cite their sources
  • Wikiversity participants will learn by active participation in the editing of research project reports. Wikiversity, in performing its initial service role, can strive to make each Wikipedia article be linked to one or more Wikiversity research projects. Wikiversity project documents that are devolted to this service role will evolve towards descriptions of all sources and references that participants identify as relevant to Wikipedia articles. Wikiversity participants will interactively evaluate the relative merits of those sources and references and pass on to Wikipedia the best available sources to serve as references that support the content of Wikipedia articles.
  • If Wikiversity starts by providing services to Wikimedia projects it will quickly attract participants. All branches of human knowledge can be applied to improving existing WikiMedia projects such as Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Wikinews. From a foundation of initial service-oriented research projects, Wikiversity will naturally evolve many subcommunities devoted to the exploration of both conventional academic disciplines as well as exciting new unconventional learning endeavors.
  • If there are fundamentally important books or documents that a Wikipedia editor should know in order to edit certain Wikipedia articles, then there should certainly be Wikiversity reading groups that read and discuss and write about those books and documents. It will become possible to identify basic lessons and courses that editors need in order to fully participate in the editing of various WikiMedia project documents, so from its initial service role, Wikiversity will naturally evolve towards including coverage of topics found in conventional academic course work. Various learning resources will have to be developed and made available, including good textbooks. As for any university, some of the scholarly activity of Wikiversity will come to be focused on producing textbooks at Wikibooks. In turn, the Wikipedia articles and Wikibook textbooks will be resources available to be used as learning aids for Wikiversity participants. A positive feedback loop between WikiMedia projects will be established with Wikiversity providing a useful function to promote research projects that benefit various WikiMedia projects. --JWSurf 05:30, 14 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Confused about part of the request[edit]

I'm confused about part of the request by the board. Specificly "exclude online courses". To me, that pretty much *is* the wikiversity concept. I know several of the people here viewed the core concept as some sort of research club, but I think the vast majority saw it as classes and teaching, and a place to facillitate that and host resources for that goal. Do we know what the board actually meant by that? --Gabe Sechan 23:12, 14 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

exclude online courses[edit]

I think the Board is seeking a Wikiversity proposal that recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of wiki communities. Yes, it is possible to make conventional online courses using wiki software, but it is not clear that trying to do so is the best way to launch Wikiversity. Conventional course formats do not take advantage of the primary function of wiki software: collaborative authoring of webpages. Also, conventional universities have features such as accreditation, testing, grading and certification that instructors are qualified. These features are not available for Wikiversity.

"some sort of research club" Two different models of learning:

  1. The factory model. Students are containers moving along the conveyer belt. Instructors, using "teaching materials" like textbooks pour knowledge into the containers. At the end, test results show that learning took place.
  2. The collaborative learning model. Learners and facilitators work together on research projects. Learning is hands-on during the process of exploring a topic of interest. At the end, research project participants have constructed reports and other documents describing what they have discovered.

"host resources" Wikibooks is always going to be the main wiki host for textbook resources and I think Wikisource could hold any other "educational resources" collected/produced such as lesson plans. --JWSurf 02:41, 15 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Wikisource makes no sense for lesson plans or other resources- wikisource is for existing texts, to the best of my knowledge. As for your "research based learning"- lets say I think you have a very odd and skewed view of teaching and learning. I also think its very unsuitable for the vast majority of people and subjects. If I want to learn physics, I am not going to do a series of research projects on basic mechanics- why waste my time when they've already been discovered, and I just need to find sources? And the vast majority of people haven't the time or the access of resources to do research.
Are we sure that this is what the Board wants? If it is, I would like to know- because I have no plans to contribute under that kind of a setup. I think I'll be ceasing all contributions until its been made clear. I have other projects that need my time just as much, I'd rather spend it on them than this. I think this method of a wikiversity is doomed to failure at any rate.--Gabe Sechan 18:50, 15 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
"I am not going to do a series of research projects on basic mechanics" Nobody would expect you to. Wikiversity is always going to involve people exploring what they are personally most interested in. Initially, the research projects that are likely to attract significant numbers of participant would be literature review projects that would help in fact checking of existing Wikipedia articles and finding good sources that can be cited in those articles. If scholarly communities could become established at Wikiversity, they would naturally move in additional directions such as helping to develop textbooks at Wikibooks. I think if anyone was sure what the Board wants, they would write the required modifications to the Wikiversity proposal. As it stands now, discussion continues. --JWSurf 19:48, 15 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I think you misunderstand. I think WIkiversity should be a place where I can go and learn about mechanics (or other more advanced topic), or CS, or math. It seems like your wikiversity is just an organization spot for wikiprojects. WHy bother, just put them on wikiversity with the rest of the wikiprojects. I viewed wikiversity as a palce for non-textbook learning resources on various topics. A place where I could go and learn about physics, or mech engineering, or advanced calculus, etc. I don't see any real vision or goals in wikiversity with courses removed- what you explain is a bunch of guys trying to find sources for wikipedia articles. Somewhat useful to wikipedia editors, but of no use to the rest of the world and not needing a whole new site- wikiprojects already exist to improve classes of articles. What point is there in a new wiki then? I'm honestly trying to understand what you're suggesting here, but I just can't see anything in whats left. --Gabe Sechan 22:42, 15 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I will not try to argue that Wikiversity as it has existed for the past two years was really a "fair test" of the ability of the WikiMedia community to create a functional system for online learning. However, we cannot ignore what has happened during those two years. When Wikibooks started the process of ejecting Wikiversity from Wikibooks, the Wikiversity proposal was slapped together and basically it said, "Our plan is to do more of the same, just give us our own domain name." But is it reasonable to expect that the next two years of "more of the same" would look significantly different than the past two years?
I think the problem we are confronting here in trying to launch Wikiversity is centered on the need to understand and respect the realities of how online communities grow. We need to learn from the past, from evidence such as the difference between Nupedia and Wikipedia. Nupedia adopted a traditional approach to constructing high quality articles for an encyclopedia: an expert sits down and writes one, gets some feedback, makes the final draft. Wikipedia adopted a non-traditional approach that was oriented around developing high quality articles incrementally. The power of Wikipedia, and why it blew right past Nupedia, is that Wikipedia provided a system in which thousands of people could participating right away -it was an instant community where everyone could contribute in many different ways, each finding a niche. What most members of the community brought to the project was not the time and ability to produce a high quality encyclopedia article, but rather the ability to contribute to a process by which high quality encyclopedia articles would be developed by means of a broadly distributed community of collaborators.
What lesson should be learned from the past two years of Wikiversity? I think one lesson is that a university full of thriving conventional university courses does not magically appear in a wiki environment. I think we need to find a development model for Wikiversity that will support the incremental development of a place where eventually you will be able to "go and learn about physics, or mech engineering, or advanced calculus". When Wikiversity launches, what will Wikiversity participants be able to do? Read and edit webpages. That's it. Part of the problem confronting Wikiversity is competition with other wikis. During the past two years, WikiMedia community members have voted with their feet and they have not swarmed to Wikiversity. People have a choice of where to spend their time and most people go to Wikipedia, a few go to Wikibooks. In my view, Wikiversity needs to START (I'm not saying this is THE goal of Wikiversity, I'm looking for a starting place) by finding a way to shift the slant of the playing field so that members of WikiMedia community have a reason to spend time at Wikiversity. In my view, one way to do that is to provide services to existing WikiMedia projects such as Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is struggling with the problem of getting editors to provide good sources for everything that is in Wikipedia. Yes, there are existing efforts (w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Fact and Reference Check | w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikicite | Wikipedia:Forum for Encyclopedic Standards) within Wikipedia to facilitate this. I am suggesting that a starting place for Wikiversity could be to provide an organized system for showing Wikipedia editors how to find sources, archive them, evaluate and compare them and then send editors back to Wikipedia with the ability to add the best sources available to Wikipedia articles. Wikiversity would provide this service function by creating and being a wiki with a scholarly approach to editing. Wikipedia editors who do not know how to support their contributions to Wikipedia with verifiable sources and who do not know how to constructively participate in a community evaluation of the relative merits of sources could be sent to school at Wikiversity. Even editors who know how to cite sources could make use of an archive of sources that are relevant to a topic. Wikiversity could keep track of every source that has ever been suggested for use at Wikipedia. Someone who starts editing a Wikipedia article should not have to recreate all of the research that has previously been done on that topic by earlier editors. Wikiversity could provide the useful service of archiving sources, archiving discussions and analyses of the relative importance of sources. What would Wikiversity get from providing such services to other existing WikiMedia projects? Wikiversity would get a start, a ready source of participants who would help build Wikiversity as a scholarly wiki. As Wikiversity communities roughly corresponding to various traditional academic disciplines grew from that start, they would naturally develop the elements of Wikiversity away from this initial service function towards broader educational goals.
So I am not advocating that the mission of Wikiversity be an "organization spot for wikiprojects." I am suggesting that each Wikipedia article could be linked to a Wikiversity research project that is initially designed to improve the quality of Wikipedia articles. That initial orientation of Wikiversity towards "service courses" would provide a source of editors and a starting place for Wikiversity. From that starting place, Wikiversity could evolve towards a general purpose learning environment that we would all like to see. In my view, this is a viable way to grow Wikiversity within the existing realities of the WikiMedia community. If you have another vision for how to make Wikiversity a reality, I'd be happy to hear it.
"not needing a whole new site" This is a truism. Everything could we done in one massive wiki. However, I think there are advantages in making wiki communities with different flavors. Wikiversity could have the kind of scholarly standards that are found in universities. Wikiversity could provide the fruits of those standards to other wiki projects through the service function of Wikiversity. From that start (providing services) Wikiversity could grow in more traditional academic directions. --JWSurf 14:20, 16 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
This is not the reason the board rejected the proposal. If you want to start a program whereby wikiversity members help find sources for wikipedia articles or teach people how to find sources themselves, you should do that, when wikiversity is launched. That's you're prerogative. You can mention this as a possibility or an "idea" in the proposal but it is not an essential part of hte proposal. All you have to do is answer the questions that they posed. You've already done this by saying that online courses are really just group learning environments. Put that into a new proposal and we've solved one of the problems they had. --MateoP 01:24, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
    • The board had requested clarification the Wikiversity "concept of e-learning". The original proposal included in its vision statement the idea that Wikiversity participants would learn by "collaboratively writing and researching". Speaking for myself, when the original proposal said that Wikiversity would be a place for taking courses, I thought it was clear that this would not be an attempt to create traditional university courses. Some people still seem to be thinking that Wikiversity has to be about traditional courses, and I think the Board wants clarification on this point. The first priority is probably to make clear that the Wikiversity "model of e-learning" is not a proposal to do what some traditional universities are doing when they put traditional courses online. The functional unit of a Wikiversity is naturally a community of Wikiversity participants with a common learning goal. Groups with common learning goals will work collaboratively on projects that center on educational activities and the editing of Wikiversity pages devoted to the study of topics that are relevant to the group's goal. Having clarified this to the Board, I think Wikiversity will still be in a position that will not be much different from where it was in August. Groups of Wikiversity participants with common interests do not spontaneously materialize and accomplish great things. I think that "give Wikiversity a domain name and participants will come" is not a realistic expectation. I think the Board knows that and I think the Board would like to see a plan for how Wikiversity will attract participants and become a viable project. The idea of Wikiversity "service courses" oriented around existing Wikimedia projects is just "a possibility or an idea" of how to efficiently attract participants and launce Wikiversity as a useful Wikimedia project. It is the first idea that I came up with. There are others. For example, Wikiversity could partner with non-traditional schools that are abandoning textbooks and lectures and using internet resources as the learning environment for their students. I think the modified Wikiversity project proposal should include a plan for attracting participants. We need something beyond "build it and they will come". This may not be an essential part of a modified Wikiversity proposal but I think it is essential for a good proposal. --JWSurf 05:10, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
"Exclude online courses": Given the current confusion on this statement, I've written simultaneously to the foundation-l mailing list and the board itself [1] to clarify the issue. Cormaggio @ 19:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

If we call it "Wikiversity" instead of "Wikipedia:WikiProject", does it improve?[edit]

JWSurf wrote: Yes, there are existing efforts (w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Fact and Reference Check | w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikicite | Wikipedia:Forum for Encyclopedic Standards) within Wikipedia to facilitate this. I am suggesting that a starting place for Wikiversity could be to provide an organized system for showing Wikipedia editors how to find sources, archive them, evaluate and compare them and then send editors back to Wikipedia with the ability to add the best sources available to Wikipedia articles. What I understand not is, if these WikiProjects fail to "provide an organized system for" finding sources, et cetera, then why would a wiki called "Wikiversity" succeed?

Wikiversity would provide this service function by creating and being a wiki with a scholarly approach to editing. Does this mean that an encyclopedia (Wikipedia), dictionary (Wiktionary), textbooks (Wikibooks), and source texts (Wikisource) are not edited scholarly? Assuming that current Wikimedia participants cannot edit these projects scholarly, how would they edit Wikiversity scholarly? I understand not how Wikiversity can provide such a service.

However, I think there are advantages in making wiki communities with different flavors. Pages in the talk and project namespaces already have a separate flavor from the main Wikibooks modules and Wikipedia articles.

Even editors who know how to cite sources could make use of an archive of sources that are relevant to a topic. Try Wikisource for free sources. I acknowledge, though, that we might need some way to keep track of sources (free and non-free) used in Wikibooks and Wikipedia, such as a master list of all sources with comments on the usefulness of the source. Perhaps this could happen here at Meta, perhaps it could happen at the Wikiversity. --Kernigh 20:18, 16 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

"if [existing] WikiProjects fail .... why would a wiki called 'Wikiversity' succeed"
I would not say that existing attempts have failed. I would say that they are struggling towards success. What would be different about a Wikiversity project? In my view, Wikiversity should adopt and enforce stricter standards of scholarship than Wikipedia. The recent article about Wikipedia in the journal Nature has a link called "Challenges of being a Wikipedian" near the end that takes you to a nice little account of some of the challenges of Wikipedia scholarship. A major challenge facing Wikipedia is that anyone can add anything to articles and they do not have to provide verifiable sources or discuss the merits of their sources in a logical way. This often leads to tedious editing wars that some people seem to enjoy as a sport, distracting serious and scholarly contributors from working. This is all part of the open approach of Wikipedia that has allowed it to grow rapidly. I have faith that Wikipedia can continue to attract more great editors who know how to cite sources and people who will do the dirty work of confronting and cleaning up after people who would rather push one point of view rather than construct objective encyclopedia articles. However, I feel that the Wikipedia policy on verifiability needs all of the support it can get.
I think the WikiMedia community will eventually develop (from efforts such as Wikicite) an good system to facilitate and organize the collective intelligence of editors who are devoted to doing background research and citing good sources. My suggestion is that Wikiversity could contribute to this process through the efforts of a wiki community that is explicitly devoted to the standards of university scholarship. I take seriously the idea that Wikiversity could function as a school for teaching editing skills to Wikipedia editors who need that kind of help. Wikipedia currently tries to use an ad hoc system of "mentoring" for forcing disruptive editors to learn how to behave. Teaching is not part of the mission of Wikipedia. The first rule of Wikipedia is "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Its goals go no further." Such narrow focus comes to dominate each wiki. Even though most good textbooks are produced by university scholars, the decision was made that Wikibooks would not include Wikiversity. It seems to be a natural social phenomenon for wiki communities to fragment. There is nothing wrong with having a collection of WikiMedia projects that specialize for certain tasks, as long as they can cooperate.
Some people seem to have the idea that each wiki project is fighting for survival in a zero sum game where creating a new wiki will damage existing wikis. Some people have the idea that Wikiversity is a threat to Wikibooks. My view is that the scholarly community of Wikiversity will become an important source of people who can contribute to the production of good textbooks at Wikibooks. Similarly, Wikiversity could be a wiki community that is devoted to learning and specialized for teaching and scholarly research. Such a specialized wiki community would attract people who are comfortable with the standards of academic scholarship. At Wikiversity they could do scholarly work in an environment that insulates itself from the more free-style "we take everything" atmosphere of Wikipedia. They could pass along to others the cultural heritage of good scholarship. It is common practice for university members to perform services for the larger community that they exist in.
I do not suggest that Wikiversity get its start from such service activities because it is glamorous or particularly attractive to people who are devoted to learning. It is a matter of pragmatics. I think that efforts to promote better scholarship from within Wikipedia are swamped by all the other activity going on. People become dejected from fighting for higher standards and give up. By placing such efforts in an independent Wikiversity project it would be possible to nurture contributors who are devoted to scholarship while minimally disrupting the free-wheeling Wikipedia information input system. The Wikipedia community hates to hear the word "fork", and I am not proposing an encyclopedia content fork. I do think it makes sense to have a resource fork where efforts devoted to collecting, evaluating and cataloging sources would be concentrated. I've never suggested that this MUST happen. I only argue that it makes sense to have a place for teaching and such a specialized place could both provide benefit to other Wikimedia projects and in so doing get a start by attracting participants from Wikipedia. I have never suggested that other Wikimedia projects are devoid of scholarship or that they cannot function as learning tools, or that they will not naturally continue to develop scholarly approaches to their missions. I think it is the nature of each wiki to become dominated by a core of narrowly-focused fanatics who perceive anything beyond their narrow specialty as a distraction to be thwarted and ejected. It is natural for specialized functions to bud off from parent wikis and create their own daughter communities that specialize for their own goals. And I have never suggested that the goal of Wikiversity is JUST to provide services to other projects. I think that by providing services, Wikiversity could get a start and then go on to develop its own educational priorities that go beyond the needs of other wiki projects.
When I talk about collecting sources, I do not mean collecting texts. I mean the process of working with documents that make citations to sources. For example, the Wikipedia article on H5N1 does not cite every published article and book about H5N1 influenza. How can Wikipedia editors efficiently cooperate to decide which sources to cite? Wikiversity could provide a place where a much larger collection of sources are archived and discussed and those discussions are archived. Currently, inefficiencies exist such as editor A doing some research on H5N1 flu, adding a source to H5N1, then editor B removes the first source and adds a different source and then editor C comes along, does more research on H5N1 and finds the first source again and adds it again. The "talk page system" limps along trying to support the coordination of editors, but I think Wikiversity could provide a better system for supporting and coordinating groups of editors who are finding sources and deciding which ones to use in articles. By developing such a system, Wikiversity would provide a service while also getting a source of editors who would start the Wikiversity community. Once established, Wikiversity would naturally evolve towards its more general educational goals. --JWSurf 02:13, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

For example, the Wikipedia article on H5N1 does not cite every published article and book about H5N1 influenza. How can Wikipedia editors efficiently cooperate to decide which sources to cite? Wikiversity could provide a place where a much larger collection of sources are archived and discussed and those discussions are archived. Exactly. Also, other Wikipedia articles and Wikibooks might also mention H5N1, so just having a list of sources below a Wikipedia article is insufficient. As I work (currently slowly) at Wikibooks:Modern History, I might want to use Wikiversity to post my sources and search for other sources.

... Wikiversity would naturally evolve towards its more general educational goals. These might include "learning groups" that do reading or discussion. This should not include the lectures or quizzes hosted at Wikibooks:Wikiversity. --Kernigh 02:55, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

i suggest"Wikiknoledgebank" from which we can get and also can give knowledge to others. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:52, 25 May 2012‎

Another Direction: The Wikitest[edit]

I'd name this concept the "wiki group project" if i could, but that is too ambiguous. Wikiversity still would be the name of the project, but Wikitest is the easiest phrase I could think of for this concept.

The idea is simple: Put up tests that take between 3 hours and 1 week to answer. From there, wiki-participants who don't know how to answer the question can contribute and give ideas on how to answer it. A programming question would be along the lines of "Create an AI based off of the min-max tree concept for the game Tic-Tac-Toe". Discussions on specific problems should be encouraged in the talk page, and people submit their work.

Other "wikitests":

Basically, focus on the strength of the wiki for an e-learning environment. Anyone who can answer the question should grade work. --Dragontamer 00:44, 16 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Another spinoff of this idea is to give it in the form of a power question. Basically, one massive question that if you solve each of its parts, you get the final proof of the problem. Just a thought. --Dragontamer 00:51, 16 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I'm sorry, I don't want to sound rude, but this is exactly the reason the project is so slow to take off. You're getting WAY ahead. None of this has to do with the problems raised by the board. We need to stay focused so that we can get this thing launched and THEN worry about problems like this. Again I don't want to come across as condescending I just think it's important to focus on what the board is asking for. --MateoP 01:15, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I'm just brainstorming. We need to know what activities the Wikiversity will be focused on doing before we can write up what the Wikiversity will do. What is a "university" without classes? Well, I just added a little: Tests. Should the wikiversity focus around tests instead of classes? --Dragontamer 01:48, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I consider Wikiversity to be a wiki, not a university. (A university would hire profressors, grade students, and give degrees; Wikiversity does not do that.) As for the tests, it might be useful to put them at Wikibooks:Wikibooks:Study help desk, then write the answer into a Wikibook or Wikipedia article. --Kernigh 19:27, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
What of the cases where self-grading is impractical? You cannot grade your own project; or your own essay, or if you did the correct steps in a math problem (what if you discovered a new way to solve a math problem?). I agree that self-tests and self-grading *should* go on wikibooks. Where the "wikitest" comes in is where people can grade other people's work. --Dragontamer 19:37, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Wikibooks:Electricity multiple choice (GCSE science) is an example of a test at Wikibooks. However, I think that I will try to add "wikitest" to the proposal for situations in which a group evaluates its own work. --Kernigh 22:28, 29 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I tried to add "wikitest" to the proposal, to show how such tests are different from typical online-courses tests, but I could not think of good text. Also, I was worried that answering such tests might violate "neutral point of view", which Wikimedia requires for all new projects (New project policy). --Kernigh 22:45, 29 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

How to fix "no online courses"[edit]

I think where the board has a problem is that this creates an idea of a hierarchial structure. So if we just remove "professors" and make everyone a "learner" or "student" or just "participant" I think that's all they really want. Then the class a a group comes together and decides on reading material, the group comes together and creates the lecture. It's all done on equal grounds, like someone else said, a learning center. I propose that we change the proposal (whoever is in charge of writing a new proposal, i don't know how to do this) to reflect the fact that these are no online courses, they are learning centers where everyone has an equal relationship in the project. Any objections? --MateoP 01:13, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I agree with that. --Dragontamer 01:45, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
If I happen to have a bit of knowledge about a topic (say, for example, the repair and maintainence of a bicycle) and I would like to "teach" that subject, what is wrong about trying to organize a "lecture" about that using something like IRC channels or even audio media (MP3s) about the topic? Or even coming up with testing materials? Clearly I would have to be an "expert" in the area to do that subject, and there is no reason to grant me special privileges elsewhere on Wikiversity just because I happen to "teach" a particular course.
The heirarchial structure is already going to exist anyway with the whole user/admin/bureaucrat/steward system as well, so we are not going to get rid of some of the heirarchy just through that alone. Depending on how the on-line testing system is going to be implemented, you may want to give some special "privileges" to the teacher or teachers who are submitting testing materials, or to some sort of "testing center administrator" who can put the answer key into testing software.
Still, I like the idea that a "freshman" student can try to push for and perhaps even teach a course on some bit of knowledge they have obtained through their own life experience. It would make the Wikiversity experience much more informal and suit the learning needs of many people.
In terms of no on-line courses... I don't see how that can even be stopped, or what the consequences should be if a user decides to hold an IRC chat session about a topic with an announcement on a Wikiversity course discussion page as to the time the "lecture" will begin. Would that be considered a form of vandalism? I think not! I don't think all Wikiversity courses should necessarily follow that model, but why restrict the form or method for delivering the knowledge? --Roberth 16:59, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Well, I'm pretty sure the "problem" the board has is not at all based on hierarchy, but instead on a general lack of focus and immediate practicality. However, the idea of learning centres or, as I put it, learning communities is nice - I think we should be developing living resources that are developed between learners and teachers/facilitators (who are also learners). And finally, no single person is "in charge" of writing the proposal - this is a wiki - make changes and so will everyone else ;-) Cormaggio @ 17:05, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Timing and Leadership[edit]

A good way to make difference between Wikiversity and Wikibooks (or Wikipedia, Wikisource and other Wikimedia projects) is maybe to have some kind of timing. What I mean is that Wikiversity, just like all other schools, should work in a certain period, for example from September or October to June. So in July it would be closed for teaching, but it would be openned for joining of others as students or teachers, or opening the new schools. In that way, Wikiversity's schools would be better organized. That organization would ask for somebody to be the chief (director, head master...) of the Wikiversity and each school itself. Since all users of Wikiversity should be equal, no one of them could be a chief. That's why we should make a group of users (just like administrators in Wikipedia) who will be called somewhat like School Board, and they will protect pages from vandalism, but they will also work on Wikiversity's organization. --Ђорђе Д. Божовић 13:13, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Disagree. There is no point in this. There should be classes whenever the students (everyone is a student) feels like having the class. Also heads of the schools and such is unnecessary. What would they even do? People are making this project a lot more complicated than it needs to be. As of now, all we need to concentrate on is the essentials. Over time the project can be more complex, not from day 1. --MateoP 21:56, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I have to agree with MateoP here. There's no reason to make the school only go certain months. And any time period we chose would confuse southern hemisphere and all year students. --Gabe Sechan 09:31, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I disagree with the notion of classes entirely... It will not be efficient with a wiki structure. There should be no formal position of "master", experts in any given subject are too few and far between, so we just can't rely on experts to come.
In wikipedia, you can expect an Expert to come in, and review an article, and then spend 10 minutes correcting any mistakes. In wikibooks, you can expect an Expert to come in, and spend an hour correcting mistakes across the book (far fewer than wikipedia however). But to ask an Expert to come in and teach a class with weeks worth of dedication... yes, it will happen, but there aren't enough willing experts. Making set scheduals will just isolate those willing teachers because of their schedual.
The system has to be easy for an expert to review what has been learned without much dedication. Wikipedia and Wikibooks work because experts require no long term commitment. Anyone can walk in and give their 2 cents. This means, we must toss out the "class" and more importantly, toss out scheduals and everything that makes teaching a hard job.
Of course, if someone wants to start up a course with that kind of dedication to create lectures and so forth, they should go on ahead. But we cannot make that the primary focus of Wikiversity... again, too few people will be willing to make that kind of dedication. -- 16:41, 18 December 2005 (UTC) --Dragontamer 16:42, 18 December 2005 (UTC) (stupid me... gotta remember to log in to this site)Reply

Some kind of an organization must exist. Those people who lead courses (actually the professors, but I think we agreed not to call them so - someone must run the cours: one, two, or more persons if they agree between themselves) should make a deal with the students (users who do nothing but listening to the courses), they should ask all of them: What time for the next lesson would be fine for you? (of course, it should be known which users are students to which classes, others can just pass by). But it doesn't matter that timing isn't important, the Schools must be organized anyway. Some plans must exist about the lessons and what they should contain, but those plans and lessons can be edited by anyone. And anyone should become a course leader if he wants to, and if the community decides to trust him. It could be connected with the sysop rights. An organization must exist - we are not building a jungle, we're building an university! :) --Ђорђе Д. Божовић 19:21, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

We cannot create traditional courses on a wiki. Too much dedication on both the professor AND the student. The wiki works by everyone contributing their 2 cents; learning from your peers basically. Think; if you aren't going to lead a course, then who will? Even if you decide to lead a course, what will happen when you don't feel like wikiversity anymore? Does the course just die of lack of leadership?
Wikis work because there is no single point of failure; the only way wikis fail is from a malicious community. However; if we create the traditional "leader" and "follower" roles, then we play the wiki's weaknesses (online; lack of face-to-face contact) while ignoring the strengths (leader becomes a point of failure). We need a system that allows the wiki to be self healing, assuming any single person leaves the system, there is a chance that the role can be filled easily. Look at wikipedia; if the origonal author creates a page with one paragraph and then just leaves it blank, there is a good chance that some random person will come in and finish the article. But in the course leader/follower role, if the leader leaves... then the students have to elect a new leader, which could take days or weeks, which discourages the current students and future students. --Dragontamer 05:32, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Incremental Course Development Model[edit]

This is just an idea that needs considerably more development, but I think is applicable to the development of Wikiversity, particularly the development of on-line courses. One of the huge difficulties that has existed with Wikibooks (and unfortunately the current development of Wikiversity as well) is that both projects seem to try to do everything for everybody all at once. There are over 200 Wikibooks under some stages of development, but you really can't point to even one that is "finished" yet, as we have had several years to try to get at least one completed. That is a huge criticism for Wikibooks that I think is valid.

Here is my proposal:

Try to do the incremental development model that is now being done with Wikijunior right now, with regards to course development. Even in The Real World® major Universities don't try to establish a whole collection of courses at once. Usually they start with what the students (read Wikimedia users here) are interested in and gradually expand course offerings in a particular field as there is demand and financing (in the form of grants and directed donations).

Start with just a very small core group of courses, perhaps only two or three. As a community we can then try to get those courses developed to a very advanced state and then gradually start to expand the number of courses that are available through "popular demand" such as is happening right now with b:Wikijunior:New Book of the Quarter. Voting in this manner is a time-honored tradition on Wikimedia projects anyway, and can allow for gradual growth as well as gague demand for new content, as well as allow new users who want to go in different directions the opportunity to present useful new ideas for change in a controlled environment.

Mind you this proposal is agnostic toward the debate over on-line courses, but the same principle applies to either if Wikiversity is just an instructional materials center or a part of a formal instructional environment, and can benefit both concepts. Experience with Wikijunior has IMHO proven this concept, and there is some very real content for Wikijunior that can clearly demonstrate the validity of this model. Even more interesting will be demonstrated by mid January to see what kind of content is added to the new Wikijunior book, and how quickly it is created. --Roberth 16:29, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

This violates the point in contributing to a wiki: you contribute what you want. Limiting the amount of courses to 2 or 3 and saying "no, you can't make a course on that topic, instead help out on Astronomy 101" is not what wikis are about. People should make courses about topics that they are interested in learning about. Then users will decide to join existing courses if they want. The ones that get a lot of people on board will be started, the ones where fewer people are interested in will not. That's how all wiki projects work. Individuals choose what they want to participate in and/or create. Not the wikiversity as a whole. --MateoP 22:00, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I'm also uneasy about any move away from having participants do what they are personally most interested in, but it would be useful to have a kind of "demonstration project" or "proof of concept" for Wikiversity. Having such a "demonstration project" would not block others from doing other things at the same time.
In trying to decide on the first Wikiversity "learning center" (or perhaps two or three) one criterion for selecting such a "core" of Wikiversity should be that there is likely to be a reasonably large number of editors available to immediately start participating. Wikijunior might be unusual in that writing for a young audience does not require the kind of specialized knowledge that is needed, say, for writing a college neuroscience textbook. It is relatively easy to find a group of people who can contribute to book called "How Things Work" for 10 year olds. Where should Wikiversity turn for core topics that would have a "guaranteed" pool of editors?
In trying to identify a good topic for a "core learning center" a second criterion that could be used is that any such "demonstration project" should have a clear value for the WikiMedia Foundation. It is not unreasonable for the WikiMedia community to want to see a clear demonstration of the utility of a new WikiMedia project. One way to provide such a demonstration would be to try to develop a Wikiversity "learning center" that would specifically try to help solve an existing problem that is confronting an existing WikiMedia project.
Wikipedia. We could identify a Wikipedia article that has many editors, few verified sources, poor use of formal references (too many bare external links), and disputes between editors. Wikiversity could create a "learning center" corresponding to that Wikipedia article. Existing editors of the Wikipedia article could be invited to "go to school" at Wikiversity where there would be a coordinated effort to catalog good sources of information relevant to the Wikipedia article, sort through all of the sources that are identified and rank them according to suitability as references for the content of the Wikipedia article and finally return to the Wikipedia article and clean up all of the article's citations. When the first Wikipedia article has been improved, the resources developed at Wikiversity would remain as available tools for future improvement of the Wikipedia article. The Wikiversity learning center could move on to improve other related Wikipedia articles or develop in other more traditional academic directions.
Wikibooks. Some people do not accept the idea that Wikiversity will be able to help the Wikibooks project develop textbooks. Wikiversity could select an existing partially complete Wikibook that has stalled in its development and which lacks a good bibliography. Wikiversity could start a "learning center" where sources relevant to the Wikibook would be listed, outlined, and ranked according to utility for continuing the development of the Wikibook. After this initial Wikibook improvement drive is complete that learning center would continue to develop in new directions. For example, it could host a continuing discussion/reading group for the Wikibook that was the target of the improvement drive.
Wikinews. There are Wikinews articles that could benefit from something like a library or reading room that would support good background research. Like Wikipedia, some Wikinews topics are controversial and Wikinews articles about those topics tend to generate editing conflicts and disputes. Wikiversity could identify a controversial current events topic and establish a "learning center" where sources relevant to that news topic could be collected and evaluated. Most Wikinews articles are short repeats of what is reported by other news services. A Wikiversity learning center could tackle a longer news article, possibly including some original reporting.
As Wikiversity "demonstration projects", learning centers like those suggested above would benefit by being able to involve existing editors at other WikiMedia projects while also showing the WikiMedia community the sorts of benefits that could come from Wikiversity as a new WikiMedia project. It might even be possible to pick a single topic and develop a single Wikiversity "learning center" that would carry out in parallel related service projects for Wikipedia, Wikibooks and Wikinews by using a common catalog of identified sources that are relevant to that topic. In the end, we would have examples of how Wikiversity can establish collaborations where participants "learn by doing" and learn how to recognize a research topic (a real world problem where scholarly research can be applied), find source materials, collect them in a central location, discuss and evaluate the quality of the sources, and use what has been learned through background research to benefit the community. Such a community service-oriented "learning center" would be most likely to attract a stream of existing WikiMedia project editors and demonstrate to the WikiMedia community that Wikiversity can be a productive project. After such an initial demonstration phase, Wikiversity would be able to continue providing research-oriented services and also free to develop in non-service directions according to the interests of its participants. --JWSurf 22:43, 17 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
This is very related to learning group "courses". As I proposed in learning groups idea, an essential part of that will be using what is learned from external reading and then editing wikipedia articles and writing wikibooks to improve them. This isn't much different from what you are suggesting here. The only difference I see is that learning groups get together to learn and then edit wikiproject pages, your "learning center" get together with the objective of improving articles and then learn in the process. So it's really the same thing, but just going about it in the opposite way.
If that's what you want to do for a demonstration project, then create a page. I'm not the least bit interested in participating in a project where I'm just a slave to improving wikipedia articles, but if that's what you want to do, do it. I already created a learning project "online course" and edited it so that it's clear that there are no instructors. You can see it here. You can use that as demostration of the concept, as far as I'm concerned. --MateoP 03:06, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
The idea of a demo course is fine. I think the ideas you listed are poor. Personally, I couldn't give a shit less if wikipedia has no citations of if every other word has one. I think the citation projects are a waste of time and effort, working on a goal that is neither possible nor valuable. On top of that, its duplicated effort- there are already 5 billion wikiprojects for individual catagories and 3 or 4 for general citations that exist. There's no need for another on another site. Moreso I see it as a very poor idea in general- the point of wikiversity, in my mind, is learning and teaching. A group finding citations doesn't do either. A better idea would be to take some intro collegel level or high school level subject, and using that as a demo. A low level course because it should be easy to find learners and teachers. --Gabe Sechan 09:50, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I think we'd be better off pushing the "schools" of the wikiversity as an organizational unit. Then have the schools focus their effort on a small group of courses. This is a little less restrictive, and a little more reasonable than expecting people to donate time in a small set of subject. --Gabe Sechan 09:50, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
  • Gabe: How is what you are proposing different from what has taken place in Wikiversity during the past two years? How is "schools with courses" different from what the Board rejected? If I understand your position, you seem to have either rejected the Wikiversity vision statement that was crafted by Cormaggio or else you have a different interpretation of it than the one I have given on this page. If so, what is your "model" for how learning will take place within Wikiversity? --JWSurf 05:39, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
    • At the moment, I'm not sure what the board rejected or what they meant- I'm still waiting for clarification. So if you don't mind, I'll beg off that question for the moment. As for what is different from what has been going on in Wikiversity in the past- not a lot. The problem with wikiversity in the past is one of a lack of contributors, not of a flaw in the idea. How many people actually sat down and made a serious stab at a course, vs just setting up framework? Not many. Very few people even knew of its existence. With an official launch, hopefully that would change. (Although remember- I originally was against bringing the proposal to meta on the grounds that it was too soon and we needed more content first. But between being launched too soon and possible deletion from wikibooks, I prefered getting launched too soon).
    • As for the vision- I have no problem with collaborative working, its a good fit for some subjects and some students. It isn't a good fit for others. Some people don't like projects (or don't have the time) or learn better in a more static environment- there's no reason we should completely ignore those students. And a lot of math and science (which is what my interests are heavily biased for) falls into the "not" catagory, in my mind. For example, lets take calculus. Sitting a bunch of students down and telling them to figure out how to measure the slope of a function doesn't work. You need to show them why it would be useful, teach them the basic fomula of . But unless you have a mathematical genius in there, they aren't going to figure it out. I suppose they could research and find it in a book or on mathworld, but why bother? You may as well just tell them straight out, and save them all the time and effort. The same goes for a lot of the sciences. While experiments can be helpful to demonstrate a property, having them spend weeks or months trying to figure out basic scientific laws is impracticle and of very little real use. Collaborative learning isn't the best answer here, not as the primary learning mechanism.
Wikibooks is learning by reading. Wikiversity should be learning by doing, and then other people at your level evaluate what you have done (if at all possible)
  • Math: Just do a bunch of math problems.
    Science: Just do a bunch of science problems.
    Engineering: Create your design, post it up, recieve critisism
    Programming: Create your program, post it up, recieve critisism
    Translation: Create your translation, post it up, recieve critism
    Vocabulary: Define 30 words, post it up, recieve critisism.
again a branch of my "wikitest" idea --Dragontamer 03:13, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
    • How I envision wikiversity- collaborative learning definitely has a place in it, but its not the only method. Traditional style courses also have a place. I see it as a traditional university, broken into schools or departments. Each department would be a community, a mix of students and teachers (note that those aren't mutually exclusive). The community at the school level would drive development of new courses and material. Each course would be a subcommunity and learning materials, taught in a way appropriate for the the course material. For science and math, probably a lot more top down traditional learning. For engineering, probably more project based with top down interspersed. For things like Literature, probably reading groups where people can bs about inner meaning and waste each others time, like all English classes :) And hopefully enough experienced people in the school community would keep tabs on the lower level courses and keep students on track, answer questions, help them out, etc. Larger entry level courses may become communities unto themselves.
I say the wikiversity should condone the formality of "students" and "teachers". Of course, when someone has knowledge to spread, by all means, spread it and spread it fast. Think of a message board: no one has "authority", but it kinda evolves into place. If you hang out long enough, people will just say "go to that guy for help." But signing up for a "course" makes someone feel like dedication; we gotta cut out the feeling of "dedication" to make this (or any) wiki work IMO. --Dragontamer 03:13, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
    • Research really is not a part of the vision, in my mind. Oh, secondary research may come in tangentially- a course may suggest students look into such and such. Or a science course may exist on how to design an experiment (actually, that sounds like an interesting class). But unless you're on the cutting edge of a field, research has very little to do with learning. And we're not qualified to do or evaluate cutting edge research- I know I sure don't have a phd. Typically with science research, the number of people qualified to comment on an experiment/idea can be counted on your fingers and toes. But again, I come with a heavy math/science view of the world- research to us is an experiment which proves/disproves something that has never been tested before. Research to us isn't reading old documents and writing our opinions on the author's writing style, or making guesses about why people 100 years ago acted the way they did. Making a poster on pros/cons of GM food wouldn't be research, unless you conducted a double blind experiment and wrote the results on the poster. --Gabe Sechan 19:51, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

It would be cool if a mother ship full of Martian professors arrived next year, set up a full slate of online Wikiversity courses (in many languages) and stayed around to tutor a couple million students….all for free. If the Board creates Wikiversity, will they come?

The power of wiki comes from collaboration. Wikiversity can use that power on two different levels. The first level of wiki collaboration is the collaborative authoring of "learning materials". A second level of wiki-mediated collaboration can be at the time of learning if Wikiversity participants engage in collaborative learning projects. Using both of these opportunities for collaboration will unleash the full potential of Wikiversity.

It makes sense to emphasize a collaborative learning model at Wikiversity launch for several reasons. First, I think the strength of Wikiversity will never be in replicating the traditional passive learning model of education that dominates bricks-and-mortar universities. I am not ruling out this approach (although I think it is the intention of the Board to do so).

The second reason to emphasize collaborative learning is that in doing so I think Wikiversity will have a quicker and more efficient start in its development. The collaborative model puts learners in charge of the educational process and promotes an active "learn by doing" approach. The collaborative learning model does not make everyone equal, but it minimizes the idea that there is a small group of experts who make "learning materials" and a large group of "students" who have nothing to do until the experts create the learning materials. Of particular importance to launching Wikiversity is that the collaborative learning model allows and encourages all Wikiversity participants to start editing Wikiversity webpages and creating the content of Wikiversity. Eventually, even if the Board is not interested in conventional courses, conventional learning materials such as good textbooks will become available at Wikibooks and some Wikiversity participants will put together conventional courses covering traditional academic subjects. My prediction is that creating a replica of a traditional university in wiki format will take a long time and it will never be more than a tiny part of what Wikiversity becomes.

I think there is one more important reason for emphasis on collaborative learning. Right at launch it will be possible to establish active WikiMedia "service projects" within Wikiversity. This will make Wikiversity immediately relevant to many editors of existing WikiMedia projects and start the process of attracting a reasonable number of Wikiversity participants. These will be scholarly research projects, what used to be called "library research". Nobody is advocating that calculus students be told to re-invent calculus. That is not what collaborative learning is about. There is nothing to stop Wikiversity from eventually including research of all types, including secondary research, but I have not seen anyone in these discussions introduce secondary research as an important concern for getting Wikipedia launched.

It takes a certain amount of vision to be able to see that people coming together to carry out a scattering of collaborative learning projects will lead to the creation of a university, but I think this is the lesson to be learned from Wikipedia. The trick to growing a wiki community is to facilitate the kinds editing tasks that will incrementally lead to the final desired goal. When Wikipedia started, it would have been fruitless to identify the 100 most-read encyclopedia articles and demand that the community of editors write those articles, in final form, first. What was done was to let people create and edit articles as they saw fit. As chaotic as that is, eventually you get to where you want to get. Similarly, it is not constructive to expect the Wikiversity community to instantly assemble a traditional university curriculum in the form of online courses. What needs to be done is to open up Wikiversity to people who want to participate in scholarly activity, activity that is related to the personal interests of the editors. If we can make a place that facilitates scholarly activity centered around webpage editing, then Wikiversity participants will build Wikiversity as they work to explore their personal interests. --JWSurf 00:38, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Depth First vs. Bredth First Development[edit]

I think there is some lack of understanding of what I'm trying to propose here. What I'm trying to suggest is that when we do development of Wikiversity, that we should concentrate on getting a few thing done well rather than trying to please everybody and everything. In theory, we could have a course or a "learning community" for each and every Wikipedia article or Wikibook and Wikisource project. There is already some huge criticism regarding Wikibooks in many public forums over the fact that wne you go to Wikibooks that you simply can't find a well-written Wikibook dispite the fact that Wikibooks has been going on now for several years. I was challenged to even name just one, and luckily I was able to do that... sort of. There still isn't really even a single Wikibook that is what I would call at a publishable state, although a few are fairly close.

I know this sound anti-Wiki. Sure, it could be considered that from a certain point of view from the "traditional" Wiki culture that "if you build it... they will come". My experience on Wikibooks tells me otherwise, and that if we allow everybody to go in a half-cocked fashion to build course outlines and materials with thousands of stubs but nothing actually completed, there won't be anything that really gets accomplished for a very long period of time.

I also want to point out that you can't simply throw whatever you want onto Wikiversity anyway. If there is content that should go onto other Wikimedia sister projects, it should go there first, and the same could be said about the anti-soapbox policies and other similar restrictions that are also very common. There are already going to be a huge number of strong limitations to what you can or can't add, so this is merely one more. You can still use the Wiki software as an anonymous user to add and create content for existing courses through this policy, but it is to try and strengthen the current course offerings rather than try to have thousands of half-baked ideas.

Keep in mind that you can still voice your opinion for new directions you would like to see Wikiversity go, and this is entirely user-driven for expansion of new courses. It is just that you have to get several user/contributors to agree to develop a new course rather than going off and simply doing it yourself right away. Here are some specific points to note:

(Feel free to add to/discuss any of the bullet points I have listed below.)

--Roberth 03:06, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Depth First Development[edit]

  • Allows for viable courses to be developed rapidly by the community
  • More likely to produce results that non-Wikimedia users will appreciate
  • The quality of the content is going to be much higher
  • Likely to attract professional educators to flesh out and improve course materials that are already developed
  • Goes against the traditional method of Bredth first development found on most Wikis.
  • May discourage (potentially) some very active individual to develop some course material on an obscure topic.
  • The quantity of material is going to be much lower to start out with, and will remain slow to develop

Breadth First Development[edit]

  • Allows for unrestricted growth of Wikiversity. Write the stub, and eventually the whole course will be developed.
  • More "traditional" approach to the development of Wikis. Wikimedia users are familiar with and comfortable with this development model.
  • Traditional educators and professionals will not take Wikiversity seriously.
  • Ordinary internet users who come across Wikiversity will not be able to find any worth while content, with the majority of all content in the beginning being a bunch of stubs.
  • Writing a course for Wikiversity is going to be very hard compared to Wikipedia articles. It is not as likely that a stub on Wikiversity will ever be completely developed compared to a stub on Wikipedia.

Hybrid Development[edit]

With those fancy words, I assume you are some sort of Computer Scientist :) And you should know that there are also Hybrids of Depth First and Breadth Searching. --Dragontamer 03:24, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Delete Model[edit]

What I propose here is this: Basically, a Breadth First Development model, but if the class goes "dead", the page gets deleted asap. This allows unrestricted growth, but we need a lot of cutting for us to keep focus. "Dead" classes are of no use; if the person wants to learn a subject by reading the remains of a course, he can go to Wikibooks and read a more concise book on the subject (idealy).

What this requires is a strict sense of what a "dead" class is.

Now, there are probably other hybrids, so I'll just create my little pro-cons for what I call the "delete" model. Feel free to add pros and cons--Dragontamer 03:24, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I would have to agree that there is going to be a huge need to "cull" courses over time. The mechanism that is used is certainly going to be controvercial... at least in the beginning among "mainstream" Wikimedia users... particularly those from Wikipedia. Once this issue has been pounded out, however, I don't see too many problems from the main development group at Wikiversity, although some cries of foul from people not used to seeing their stuff disappearing. --Roberth 16:22, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
My main fear with this model is the there may be more transwikis or deletions than actual contributions :-/ Of course, there could be a new tag, like {{dead}} that will be along the lines of "This class is dead, if you wish to revive it, you can go ahead" or something like that. --Dragontamer 16:28, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
  • Removes stubs from view, and keeps a narrow set of courses popular.
  • Still allows someone (given enough work) to keep a class on any obscure subject going.
  • A "dead" course is difficult to define, and could cause controversy in the future.
  • The on going fear that your class will be deleted may discourage contributors.

Secret Model[edit]

This is another hybrid model I thought up. This time, it is based on the Depth-First model. The way it works is like this: Create your course in secret, all new courses are in secret, and when you feel like it is good enough, then ask the admins to approve the course. If the project meets a certain requirement, then the course is then linked into the main page or bookshelved, or put into the search engine, etc. etc. etc. A requirement may be as simple as 1 class avaliable, or may be strict as in "at least 50% done".

Anyone can still edit the course, just it isn't linked to the main page, or in the "recent changes", so the main-stream won't see it. Or maybe there is a tag that prevents main-stream users from seeing the course. -- 02:42, 22 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

BTW, i can't think up a pro/con list. So make one if you can think of any :-/

I need to remember to log in... --Dragontamer 03:08, 22 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I think both Dragontamer and Roberth are missing a key point regarding Wikiversity. The volunteers will show up, learn and contribute as they please, then depart for a while before returning. The idea of dictating to volunteer what paragraph, link, typo, outline, equation, concept, etc. that they will improve while addressing their own learning requirements is ludicrous. This instinctive resort to authority was a major problem at Wikipedia. Rather than developing some clean minimal policy guidelines and allowing the community to work there was a determined push by some that we must have detailed polished articles to entice the public. People insisted on deleting other people's contributions such as indexing lists, link mazes, stubs, etc. Deleting "dead" course materials rather than improving them incrementally and moving on will destroy entire sections of Wikiversity until someone pushy takes ownership and insists that capricious deletion will not take place. This "ownership" will cause its own problems if it is derived from pride of individual authorship. ... and so it goes. The Board would like to limit us prematurely by having us acknowledge that we are not a brick and mortar university, we will never issue credentials or acknowledgements of student participation or achievement, etc. Wikipedia still suffers from the "Wikipeida is NOT anything but Wikipedia although we do not know what Wikipedia is except that it is not a paper encyclopedia." syndrome instituted early and often by the founders and the associated "cabal" "regulars" or "old hands". So much so that JW has identified a major opportunity for Wikiversity to be of service in helping with basic training in fundamental editing and research skills that "Wikipedians" should be accomplished in acquiring and delivering to each other if they intend for Wikipedia to survive as a long term project. I think we should include in the proposal that Wikiversity is not a doormat with policies dictated by the Board. We should establish up front a procedure to have our participants elect our own key officials at regular periods in accordance with published procedures. If this is unacceptable to the Board and they cannot specify how they shall meet their fiduciary responsibilities while guaranteeing us enough freedom to prosper then we should establish a mailing list, write a charter, file for nonprofit status, elect officals, and establish our own internet infrastructure. Notice we still have access to all FDL'ed materials available from Wikimedia and wikicities in accordance with their published charters and business operations plans. There is no need for such a fork to be unfriendly or detrimental to existing projects but if the existing power structures, companies and projects refuse to allow us sufficient initiative and freedoms to succeed as a fun useful learning environment then there is plenty of reason for Wikiversity participants to organize and move on. Notice we will need to use this autonomy to provide wikiversity participants sufficient initiative and freedom to prosper or they are likely to moveon and leave our neophyte organization insufficient skills, participation, and motivation to succeed, thus helping waste everyone's time and other resources. user:lazyquasar
I'm not missing so much of what you are talking about here with Wikiversity. I am talking from the experience of being an administrator on Wikibooks. There are many Wikibooks that simply don't go anywhere at all and sit stagnet. When to cull those books becomes a problem and becomes a major discussion on the VfD pages. The result is that if the author is still active, there may be some resistance to killing the book, otherwise it quitely goes away. It is apparent that the issue of dealing with Wikibooks stubs is going to be a much larger issue in the future.

I also want to point out that setting up a Wikiversity course IMHO is going to be much harder than even writing a Wikibook. There is quite a bit of planning that will have to go on to get the course organized properly, and it will take some skills that not all random volunteers coming into Wikiversity will be prepared to offer. Because of the difficulties in trying to get a Wikiversity course properly up and running with active participation, I am trying to advocate getting a few courses done very well. If not done through the Wikijunior model of content development, I would instead try to at least encourage something like a collaboration of the month system to try and pull people together to get some areas of Wikiversity going. My experience, unfortunately, is that collaborations of the month (or fortnight, etc.) doesn't seem to work out very well although it does bring in a small core of dedicated people interested in doing collaborative cleanup. A small project like Wikiversity at the moment is going to be even harder to get something like this going. An alternative here is that each "college" or sphere of knowledge (i.e. school of science vs. school of humanities) could establish their own independent policies for curriculum development to better suit the needs of that sort of knowledge.

I will grant you that Wikiversity can be independent. BTW, if you havn't seen the discussions on Wikibooks that took place when Jimbo came in and deleted a few Wikibooks he felt didn't belong, you would realize that each sister project does have its own power structure and culture. I am disturbed at the current direction that seems to be happening with things like the CheckUser Policy, that openly dismiss even fairly productive projects like English Wikibooks as an insignificant and unimportant project not worthy of their time. Also, a tendancy to concentrate and limit powers rather than trusting the community to make proper decisions. --Roberth 21:30, 24 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

Objections to lectures[edit]

I wrote this on the Wikiversity/Modified project proposal, but MateoP deleted it, claiming "objections belong on the talk page".

      • Objection: Wikiversity should not contain collectively-written lectures, because these act as collectively-written textbook modules, remain on the wiki for ex-post-facto reading, and compete with the textbooks at Wikibooks. In fact, any such lectures should be transwikied and merge into Wikibooks (or Wikipedia, if appropriate).
Perhaps no wikibook should be allowed before it has on ongoing Wikiversity course participation to keep an eye on it and make sure it has sufficient validity for presentation to an unsuspecting internet public. Also that vandalism has not rendered it inappropriate and detrimental to the community's reputation for accuracy and usefulness. I hope that sounds silly to most readers. Are you planning on armies of reviewers or grumpy students informing on instructors who dare to publish detailed lecutures, notes, exercises ... call it a book for the benefit of current and future class participants? There are plenty of professors around who teach professional courses off of their own materials but never formally publish the book. If you keep your personal course materials they form a pretty good reference source for the subject if the instructor has any talent. Personally I intend to zealously object to any and all overly restrictive rules aimed at telling someone else what they cannot do. If you wish to run a secret police force join Homeland Security or the KGB. If you find yourself subject to a textbook you do not like in a specific wikiversity course ... move on, establish your own competing course, or go whine to the Board there is a project on the internet competing with wikibooks.org. I have bad news for you. Many wikibooks have stalled because someone found a link to an online text that already looks comprehensive and posted it on the bottom of the book's front page. Would you advocate eliminating these links? Pretty silly if you did. Nothing to stop future wikibooks participants from reading the previously published material and other sources and then paraphrasing the selected material into an FDL'ed tome at wikibooks.org. It is merely a lower development priority for most existing wikibooks participants and thus has slowed, not stopped, the development of the local book. The world and the internet is a big place. It has room for multiple books and multiple projects. People are diverse and need the opportunity to seek materials and courses applicable to their unique requirements. Just because material does not suit you, does not mean it is useless and should be deleted before future participants who might find it useful or worth expanding or improving find it. user:lazyquasar

I do not understand why disagreements with parts of the Wikiversity/Modified project proposal need to be on the talk page. Unless there is consensus by most users on what the modified project proposal should contain, there is no reason for the proposal not to contain multiple alternatives. Further, objections placed on the talk page must be signed, and can not be edited by other users. --Kernigh 02:32, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I deleted it because the content page is supposed to contain the proposal that will be sent to the board. Would you put "i disagree" in a wikipedia article? If you think that particular point is incorrect, edit it. The content page is not a discussion page here. I know other wikiversity discussions have used both, but this one is intended to be the second proposal sent. Like I said, if you think that particular point is incorrect because it makes lectures too much like wikibooks, then you should either edit it and make lectures different or place your objections on the talk page, which ever you prefer.
Let me clarify what I mean, because I do not think we should be writing articles that make sense ex post facto in wikiversity (which i've expressed repeatedly). "lectures" as I see them, are just methods for the users to flesh out what they have learned, giving it some organization so that this information is easier so that the users can then use the information to write wikipedia articles or wikibooks. To give you an example: if you have taken a college course think about what your lecture notes look like. Probably you jot down a sentence or two about something important you hear and arrange them with numbers or bullet points. That's all I'm talking about here. It wouldn't compete with wikibooks or wikipedia because it wouldn't make any sense to outside viewers and wouldn't be within style standards of either of those sister projects. If you have different ideas, please bring them up or edit the proposal. I'm going to clarify what i meant in the proposal myself.--MateoP 02:44, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Thanks, the clarified text explains the concept of "lecture" in a better fashion.

I had assumed before that "lecture" would mean something like [[2]]. It has an abstract narrator "I", but otherwise resembles a textbook-in-progress. --Kernigh 03:10, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

No, I would object to lectures that have a textbook approach. --MateoP 03:17, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

One of the best "on-line" educational resources I have ever found was the Ziff-Davis TechnetCast that has a series of lectures and confrence proceedings that is IMHO second to none. Unfortunately, Ziff-Davis has not added any more lectures to this collection, although there are some very interesting items there. They are also unfortunately propritary in most circumstances, but I'm using this as an example. One of my absolute favorite is the lecutre by Gordon Moore where he talks about his famous law and how he got involved with the development of the Integrated Circuit industry. I also love Peter Salus with his discussion of the history of Linux. There are many more, and some lectures here that you would normally have to pay thousands of dollars just to be able to hear. We can and should have content like this on Wikiversity by the best and the brightest. One discussion on here by a pioneer in Quantum Computing introduced the concepts of that field putting me ahead of most traditional university programs on the subject alone. I also believe that many individuals like those listed on this resource page would be willing to grant a GFDL'd version of their speeches, or through some other copyleft type of arrangement.

So why not have lectures, and they don't have to be just a textbook approach. We can and should be creative on how we deliver the message. --Roberth 03:26, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

What is preventing such lectures from being on wikibooks or wikisource? 2. Lets stop the thinking that someone will magically just upload thier video lectures :) Yes, it is a good idea and I'd like to hope that someone will, but the Wiki-system just doesn't fit with it. There is no easy way to modify a video lecture.
My reason that I don't want lectures is that they can easily fall already in the scope of some other wiki. Its not that I don't want lectures; i don't want Wikiversity to focus on lectures. If you wanna upload video lectures, release them on Wikisource and create a book on wikibooks that goes with them. --Dragontamer 03:33, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Just like in any college there are multiple professors that teach the same course, the same could be said for uploaded video or MP3 archives that are "taught" by multiple professors. As long as you have the same general goals and have things like syllibi and lecture notes with the Wiki that can be edited, why not? Lousy teachers would be ignored, but good ones will be sought out and encouraged. What is wrong with that? And I suppose that you could add this to Wikisource right now, but depending on the people watching the content on Wikisource it would be lost. There will be multiple methods for delivering knowledge, and the formal 50-minute lecture will be but one of those methods. That is all I'm trying to suggest here, and suggest that it should be a part of Wikiversity. You can also have self-guided textbooks and step-by-step how-to manuals (Wikibooks does poorly on both types right now). Wikiversity simply is going to be an organizational space for all of these forms of information delivery about a particular subject, in a way that neither Wikibooks nor Wikipedia would be able to function because of their project missions.

I'm also not saying that these lectures are going to be "magically uploaded" and will require work on the part of the instructor. Still, this is no different than the PDF files that are already starting to appear on Wikibooks. --Roberth 03:49, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

If Wikiversity will only be a form of organization, then why not just organize wikibooks/wikipedia better? As far as loosing stuff in wikisource... have you ever tried? All you do is create a link to the wikisource page, like this Wikisource:The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Actually, videos and stuff like that probably belong in the commons: but you get my drift. I can still link to a book i uploaded a while ago just by doing commons:Image:Thinkapjava.pdf
Again, this is not an issue of "I don't want it", it is "I want this on Wikibooks, not wikiversity". It would be great to have video lectures, but it isn't worth a new server just to host video lectures (especially with servers already hosting that stuff).--Dragontamer 07:04, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

No to online courses, so what are we left with?[edit]

The board disagress with online courses, and I see their point. Too much dedication for a wiki to start up on. By dedication, i mean the amount of time you spend before you can contribute to a project. (Wikipedia requires 20 minutes, Wikibooks requires an hour, Wikiversity requires days or weeks) Of course, online courses should take place on Wikiversity, but I don't think it should be a primary focus.

Going back on my "wikitest" idea, if we focus wikiversity on creating "learning problems" and solutions to those problems, I think it could work. Anyone who read 'The Art of Computer Programming' by Knuth should know what i mean; you don't learn from the book, you learn from spending those 5 hours trying to do that level 30 problem Knuth created. You don't learn from "This is how you do Mathematical induction", you learn from Knuth saying "Prove this statement by Induction" (with a little indicator saying he estimates you spend 1 hour on this problem).

Now why doesn't this fit into wikibooks? Anyone can create these kinds of questions and slam them into wikibooks. What wikiversity should focus on however, is "students" answering these questions, through forums or debate or whatnot.

Bottom line? Wikiversity should include many example questions, in which the student learns by doing instead of reading.

How does this differ from wikibooks? I dunno, but it is a start in a direction that requires little dedication from experts, and can be collaborated on easily (students should do this problem before attempting problem xxx... change order of the "course"). --Dragontamer 16:57, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

We've asked for clarification on what it is about online courses that the board objects to. Until we know that, it's difficult to send a proposal. Some of us are guessing that possibly they object to the idea where someone runs a wiki and "owns" it, so to say. We've instead come up with the idea where it is actually a "group learning project" where everyone is a student and instructor.
As for the wikitests, that can be part of the project too. The only problem I can see with this is: who wants to participate? Who wants to sit around and write tests? I definitely wouldn't participate in this project, but if you're interested in it then perhaps you should create a demonstration page.
There's also the problem that some subjects don't test so straight forward. If you're talking about logic or math, fine. How do you know the "correct" answer to questions of social sciences? Usually in real universities those are graded by how well an argument is made, there isn't always necessarily a correct answer. And of course we can't have "experts" because that goes against the wikimedia idea of democracy. --MateoP 19:31, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Well, of course, the wikitest wouldn't apply to stuff it couldn't apply to. As for a demo page... Wikitest --Dragontamer 19:56, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
While you may not be willing to write a test, I would. Yes, writing a test can be tricky, but you also need to remember exactly what testing is all about. The purpose is to provide a metric to distinguish who has mastered the content of the course or curriculum and who has not, with the goal to reward those who have been diligant in trying to learn the material. If done properly, testing can also be used to help you out in trying to identify weak areas in the subject matter that you should work on in your attempt to master a subject. In effect, a learning tool in its own right that can help you become a better student and a tool for encouragement. I also fail to see how being and "expert" is against a Wikimedia idea of democracy, which Wikimedia isn't anyway. I won't repeat what I said on Wikibooks, but Wikimedia is far from a democracy anyway. An expert is simply somebody who knows something about some subject better than you do. Nothing more. And I guarentee there are things I know better than you, MateoP, as there are also things that I'm sure that you know better than I do. We should try to help each other out and improve both of us at the same time, which is the whole point of this exercise anyway. --Roberth 03:35, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Also, you can probably view it as an activity, not only as a "test". Of course, this would restrict wikitest activities to a few subjects... but I think there should be something in the proposal about it.

Technical Issues for the Proposal[edit]

On a technical side, I think it would be nice to add Wikitex support for online quizzes to the proposal. There are many xml formats for quizzes already out there, which could be rendered as javascript interactive quizzes so the server isn't hit.

Another technical thing that would help is adding explicit support for linking wiki pages to irc or jabber discussion/meetup channels.

Also in a "wikiversity", the talk page becomes much more important. unsigned comment by unknown user

I have imagined potential Wikiversity talk pages becoming so large that there is a separate subpage for each thread.
I suppose that the Wikimedia projects could use irc and jabber more. I have almost no experience with online chat, but other users might have experience. --Kernigh 19:06, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

The only "technical" issue appropriate for the proposal is whether we intend to setup our own team of developers to handle technical issues specific to Wikiversity. Turning in a wishlist of technical nice to haves to a Board (which has no control over volunteer programmers beyond saying no you cannot install that) which has already dictated that we rewrite the proposal to get started without courses (the traditional recognized unit of learning activity in most existing schools and universities) is simply asking for another lengthy revision process. The proposal should address how we get started with what we have and how we intend to proceed at this time in establishing a community to accomplish the stated goals of the Wikiversity. By all means start a technical wishlist somewhere or submit ideas to the developers. I am trying to say let us not confuse the issue of whether we are actually going to start the Wikiversity or simply screw around for a few more years. user:lazyquasar

Differences from Wikibooks and Wikipedia[edit]

I think we need to clarify the differences between WV and these two existing wikiprojects.


The people at wikibooks should really be the ones doing this, but here's my attempt! A textbook is not necessarily a course: it may aim to be comprehensive or it may stick to a syllabus, whereas a course can only be successful if it corresponds to predefined learning objectives. A textbook will be primarily based around text, whereas a course could take different forms. Physchim62 16:35, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I think I understand your basic point. However, I would like to point out that the strength of a wiki based course in my view is its participation. Knowledgeable volunteers exchanging information with each other in the present and the future asychronously. A wiki course may be successful even if its predefined learning objectives tend to drift, fork, get reconsolidated, etc. as volunteers attempt to understand and improve it. If it becomes rather static in well established fields such as classical optics then this may be a danger signal that participants are getting lazy and drifting into absorb mode. In my view this would indicate something has gone wrong with the material ... the students are getting to it too soon and thus are intimidated or they find it boring or incomprehensible and choose not to add to it or modify it in pursuit of greater understanding or utility. If insufficient Wikiversity participants remain participants then I guess the project would be dead and might as well be absorbed back into wikibooks. Let me try to state this in a different way. My view of Wikiversity is of knowledgeable participants exchanging information useful to each other and others in the future. An entrepreneur, an engineer, a bricklayer, and a high school student studying fractal geometry together to see if they can make some money, simulate nature on a computer screen in realtime, use recurring patterns to fool the eye, or turn in a unique science project while simultaneously leaving useful material behind themselves for someone else. When this diverse group hits fractal geometry at close to the same time it is likely some of the "predefined course objectives" will change or be added to as they modify the material, fork some, include some, etc. Certainly I would expect any specific list of team project goals or "learning objectives" they come up with to be illustrative of usefully superimposing appropriate portions Venn Diagrams. user:lazyquasar


Knoweldge in Wikipedia is organized in a pyramidal fashion. There is no simple way for me to learn about, say, architechture: I have to read w:architechture, then the pages which link form there, then the next layer of pages and so on. Knowledge in Wikiversity should be arranged in a more linear fashion, even if this means some loss of depth and coverage. Wikipedia itself would benefit from a new look at these disciplines, which would not fail to uncover some of its current weak points in terms of coverage. Physchim62 16:35, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I disagree with this proposal. Trying to put knowledge in a linear fashion is something that I am attempting in Wikibooks:Modern History. I would not want "Modern History" to be transwikied from Wikibooks to Wikiversity.
Wikiversity/Modified project proposal#What Wikiversity is not: Wikiversity is not "a resource for reading about a topic". Did you want to disagree with this text? --Kernigh 19:03, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Not at all, Wikibooks is there for "reading" about a topic; wikiversity should be there for "learning" about it. Physchim62 12:44, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Wikiversity is a far more general project than anything undertaken to date by the wikimedia "community". We should have room for various ways to organize and access the information. People are diverse and use diverse methods of learning and assimilating information. Modern information technology and the free licenses we will operate under guarantees that various methods and means will exist regardless of whether we do them locally. Perhaps we will miss the web traffic, perhaps not. I suspect we will. Knowledge is inherently fractal and infinite. Each little chunk can be usefully expanded to infinity or glossed over to an applicable bullet. We will have linear, pyramidal, and any other organizational approach some volunteer comes up with whether we want it not. The only real issue is how much effort you personally wish to apply convincing other people to delete stuff you do not personally like or want on the servers. If you can convince the community to do your bidding via well written policy guidelines that you ( or "Jimmy says ..." grams) can enforce somehow, then you might be able to have only linear vs. pyramidal or other organized information access. We once had a similar debate on Wikipedia regarding index pages. Oldtimers like me thought they were useful and created them. Others thought they were a waste of space, hard to maintain, and cluttered the user experience unnecessarily (neglecting that a person clicking through a nested set of index lists probably is expecting the index lists until he gets to the information he wants) in an era of search engines and deleted them. The search engines started overloading the servers and I notice now that they are back. Imagine that! Precomputed access lists are useful for efficient realtime repetitive data access. What shall we learn next? user:lazyquasar

Requirements of the Wikiversity[edit]

Taking this from an engineering perspective :) Lets think about the requirements; the goals that this wiki should have... using wikibooks:Wiki_Science as a guide.

Mind you, this doesn't really go anywhere in terms of a proposal... but with a strong list of requirements, it makes the next step (creation of a goal) much much easier. Just add what you think the ideal wikiversity would do.

Wikiversity must have these in order to survive[edit]

  • Self healing properties; namely, if a relatively advanced learner stops coming or takes an extended break, there should be an appropriate alternative or replacement fairly quickly
  • In depth learning where small encyclopedia articles don't suffice (wikipedia) nor do the static environment of books (wikibooks)
  • Easy entry for all participants
    • It should take minutes for a newbie to understand how to learn from the wiki
    • It should take minutes for a newbie to be able to impart knowledge or facts to other participants
  • Fun
  • Stub-friendly; the title of a page is all someone needs to make the page begin to evolve
  • Participatory work
  • Evaluation of participant's work by other participants (articles/lectures that can be self-graded belong on wikibooks wikibooks:German:_Answers_1)
debatable, extremely. Wikiversity should be a standalone project that makes effective use of other Wikimedia projects. user:lazyquasar
  • Takes less than 5 minutes to make a minor contribution.
  • Clear separation between wikipedia and wikibooks.
This probably is not possible. You are setting up a "Jimmy says ..." situation here. Who shall be Jimmy? You? If Wikipedia people want an extremely brilliant Wikiversity participant's FDL'ed homework or lecture essay incorporated into Wikipedia for presentation as an encyclopedia article let them request help or take the article to Wikipedia and merge it themselves. If Wikibooks wants a particularly successful course or curriculum's locally generated FDL'ed textbook placed upon wikibooks shelves for presentation to the public, let them take it (giving proper attribution to the Wikiversity class and participants that created it) and place it or merge it back into their local version themselves. Disk space is cheap and redundant copies of material that will inevitably mutate slowly in each location is a small price to pay to pre-empt the massive whining, fingerpointing, and credit stealing arguments and debates about whether a book is a book or an essay is an encylclopedic entry. user:lazyquasar
    • "Lectures" (in their current wikiversity form) appear to be more of a book form than lecture. Tutorials belong on wikibooks IMO.
Tutorial belong anywhere a student chooses to use it to learn something. IMO user:lazyquasar
  • Students must recieve responces from teachers within 3 days.
This is silly and should be deleted. Anyone who agrees delete this comment along with the orginal bullet. There is no must involving volunteers. Particularly anonymous or puppet or handle labeled volunteers. Further, who shall bell the cat? We will have plenty of arbitration involved in keeping the student body civil without empowering a committe to delete "teacher" accounts because somebody missed an arbitray suspense. Asynchronous means when a volunteer gets to it. If you want it sooner ask another participent then repeat until you get an answer. user:lazyquasar
I am not saying we impose a system that forces teachers to respond to students, I am saying we should create a system of active teachers that will in fact, respond to their students.
less than two but more than six billion would be better criteria user:lazyquasar
Fine, less than 2 and more than 6 billion :) --Dragontamer 01:40, 6 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
"teacher" implies a relationship that does not exist, perhaps even should be prohibited. Multiple participants do not know who knows what in what level of detail until they have a sufficient dialogue or predefined cues to make an initial guess. We have not yet discussed any specific credential systems or background checks. We do not want con people or child molesters wandering in and assuming positions of authority to utilize in victimizing newbies.
You worry a bit much about overlap with other projects. What difference does it make if a user is served from Wikiversity or Wikibooks or Wikipedia? If Wikiversity succeeds it will become a global focal point like Wikipedia has and there will be sufficient volunteer effort available to maintain and sustain multiple overlapping versions of the material. Indeed. One could argue with the existing proposed no original works policies that the entire Wikimedia Community is a superfluous parisitical organization reducing the monopoly power of pre-existing providers of information services. Free reliable information is redundant diverse cross checked information. Single points of failure result in dark ages and ignorant exploited masses. user:lazyquasar
If Wikiversity has the same mission as Wikipedia, then why create a new server for it? We need an argument for the board, something that convinces them that Wikiversity is worth a new server, and cannot be merged with the other wikimedia projects. That is a must if we want to ever convince the board. If there is overlap between this and wikibooks, then why not just make a wikibook rather than go through all this trouble? Obviously, you think there is some difference, a big enough one, to request a new serverspace for wikiversity. What I'm saying, is we should write that down in the proposal. --Dragontamer 01:40, 6 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
The other wikimedia projects, Wikipedia, Wikitionary, Wikinews, etc. are all intended to converge to presenting accurate reliable information to the community and walkin users. Wikiversity is intended to provide learning environments which maximize participant learning processes. The difference is critical. Envision or remember the last time you were in a large library being shushed by a librarian because someone sometime in the archaic past imagined that people could not read and ignore sound waves at the same time. Now picture or imagineer a virtual environment where you click on the learning portal you wish to play with and set a few parameters regarding your current study level, K1-12, undergraduate, post graduate, research leading edge .... and begin interacting with the material left for you by your predecessors, sorting, sifting, modifying, adding, deleting (sparingly after stashing in a more appropriate location), creating ....then saving and exiting for dinner and returning to your bookmark in a month to see if your buddies have dropped by as coordinated somehow, sometime. There is a very large difference between dropping in with a few buddies and interactively exploring a Mars environment or simulation created by someone else interested in programming simulations for engineering projections and purchasing a $100 Mars data book published by someone in cooperation with NASA. The latter is better reference data for final calculations while the former is more likely to create the information flows necessary and sufficient such that the latter reference data is required by someone, somewhere, sometime. Wikiversity is primarily a learning process while previous Wikimedia approved projects have all targeted final polished data products. Lazyquasar 02:33, 25 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

It would be nice to have, but we can live without[edit]

  • An efficient system, where students recieve responces from "teachers" within hours or minutes.
  • A "session" for a student should take less than 30 minutes to complete.
  • A "perfect" policy before it is off the ground.

Thats it for now... feel free to add to the list. --Dragontamer 05:58, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I agree with much of this, except for the parts which suggest that material should either be on wikibooks or here. If wikiversity is to be a coherent learning environment, it will certainly contain material which could be on wikibooks or wikipedia with fairly minor changes: this is not a problem if all text is released on the GFDL—all projects benefit! I am also slightly wary of the evaluation criterion: I think we should stick to self-evaluation for starters, otherwise we risk creating two groups of users (those who evaluate and those who are evaluated). Physchim62 13:11, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I might add that a textbook in which each chapter takes 30 minutes to read sounds more like a collection of lectures to me.... Physchim62 13:11, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
There should not be unnecessary forks of knowledge. Doing so creates more work without increasing the number of contributors. When you have the "wikiversity" version for calculus, and the "wikibooks" version for calculus, which should the contributor work on?
As far as self-evaluation, self-evaluation can be done on wikibooks (and has been). Wikiversity should NOT do anything wikibooks can do or else it will just sufficate. Wikiversity is for learning where books don't suffice.
Unless Wikiversity can find a mission way of teaching things different from wikibooks and wikipedia, then it will just fail with lack of contributors. --Dragontamer 20:21, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Au Contraire! Wikibooks is stalling for lack of participants. They cannot get their books done because it takes a large group of volunteers to match what a professional instructor working with multiple colleagues and entire sections of paying students can accomplish in a few terms. Wikiversity will take off as soon as we have a stable namespace and minimal policies that guarantee participants their work will be important and utilized and accomplish great things in the world by delivering free knowledge and information to anyone that can afford internet access or a selected set of DVDs of FDL'ed material. What is the retention rate or repeat edit rate at Wikipedia and Wikibooks and how can it be improved at Wikiversity .... that is the question we must ask ourselves. Not how to keep wikibooks people or the Board happy with Wikiversity. That way lies ultimate failure for the convenience of others. user:lazyquasar
The problem is that Wikiversity is no longer welcome on Wikibooks. This argument is a little dated. Personally I think that a short stub of a course on one aspect of a field is more useful than a chapter in a hypothetical textbook: in other words, wikiversity would be more stub-friendly than wikibooks. The number of contributors can hardly be said to be a problem in English-language projects: what is more difficult is to channel their enthusiasm into constructive work towards realisable goals. Don't forget that nobody is forcing us to work on this crazy idea! As for the mission, see above: a textbook should aim to be comprehensive, an encyclopedia is pyramidal in its organization, a wikiversity should be linear and pedagogical. Physchim62 12:41, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
That is a non-issue. Nothing is stopping a transwiki of Wikiversity materials to Wikibook materials. --Dragontamer 16:20, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
As far a stub friendly vs anti-stub, stubs are good on static projects, such as a book or a Encyclopedia. If a University becomes a stub and nothing happens to it, then it becomes a static project, built for wikibooks or wikipedia instead. Now, if you can find something that is stub friendly and isn't allowed in wikibooks or wikipedia, then lets let Wikiversity include those things.

Teaching Courses: A parallel distributed free market model[edit]

I beg the board to reconsider the issue of teaching courses for credit in the light of my new proposal for a parallel distributed free market system of teachers and students that will organize itself automatically, with little need for central organization and control.

I propose a school of thought model of e-professorship. As in the days of the ancient Greeks, a professor puts up his shingle and waits for customers. The e-shingle advertises the professor's accredation and credibility, publications, academic record, etc.

A student in search of a degree would seek out a reputable professor in the appropriate Wiki-department of their specialty, and register, paying whatever tuition the individual professor charges. This is a very powerful aspect of this scheme, because it is self-funding. Professors with greater reputations can charge higher fees than less well known professors, and insurance against gouging is guaranteed by the free competition with other professors. In any case the fee paying is done completely independently from Wikiversity, as a private transaction between the student and the prof. This keeps Wikiversity "pure", not open to corruption.

When a student signs up for a course, the professor adds a student page to his "students" list (see example shingle). All tests and exams are designed by the individual professors, who are responsible for checking on the identies and integrity of their students. The professor has to watch out for cheats, and he stakes his reputation on the merit-worthiness of his certifications. When credits or degrees are awarded, they are posted on the student's page, which is moved to the Graduates list on the professor's page, free for all to verify. The degree basically states that Professor So-and-so testifies to the fact that in his judgment this person is worthy of the degree awarded. It is up to the prof. how he reaches this judgment.

The role of Wikiversity is to accredit the professors. All the professors in a specialty pool together to form a department, and select a Dean (see example Dean Boudewijnse) from amongst themselves. The Dean in turn checks on the credibility of the professors and certifies them as valid professors of his department. Like the individual professors, individual departments have to protect their own credibility by watching out for fraud or abuse. Departments should rise or fall on their merits. And the departments elect a President from amongst themselves, and the President in turn certifies the departments as valid departments of Wikiversity.

Isn't that what Wiki is all about?

If we just allow this to happen, hundreds of professors will spring up spontaneously and post their shingles on Wikiversity in search of students. Next, the professors will associate among themselves and form "credibility clusters", they accredit each other by association into departments by mutual consent and respect. And if enough prestigeous professors appear in a department, students will flock in droves to get credit for courses that are arranged and funded privately between the individual students and the professors. It is a beautiful idea! It deserves to be given a chance! It has the potential to revolutionize the corrupt and decrepit academic model by cutting out the bloated middle-man and allowing the Wiki concept to do the accreditation! For more details, see Free Market Wikiversity. Slehar 14:37, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

If people want to use wikiversity (or any other wikimedia project) resources to accredit students, they have that right under the GFDL. There is no need for that to be a goal or an official part of wikiversity, and many legal and ethical reasons why it should not be. MediaWiki has always been about the free spread of knowledge worldwide, not about providing ways to make a quick buck. Such an idea is totally against the spirit of their projects. --Gabe Sechan 19:09, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Wikimedia projects normally are not used to buy and sell services. I suggest that you read c2:WikiFarms and find a place to start a wiki for professors to sell services. --Kernigh 19:20, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Gabe and Kernigh - the role of Wikiversity is not to accredit professors (nor even, in my opinion, to give degrees), but to facilitate learning. Cormaggio @ 18:36, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

This proposal is more likely to attract crooks and diploma mills than serious students and educators. If a student has funds and time why not expend them at a traditional university receiving economically valuable credentials? A further problem is that universities do not certify professors .... schools get accredited by regulatory authorities and then they test and certify students. They hire credentialed professors (usually from other credentialed schools) and check them out as they work their way up the totem pole. Before a student receives credentials from an accredited university they have been evaluated and molded by many credentialed professors, not just one. I think once Wikiversity is successfully interacting with thousands or millions of participants we will probably be wise to investigate and consider seeking accreditation. However, that is for the future. Not for getting started prototyping how to create and deliver pedagogical services via self selected semi-random volunteers and an internet or grid infrastructure. user:lazyquasar

What is a resource?[edit]

Quote from the current proposal: "Resources are relatively straightforward: these will include teaching aids, lesson plans, curricula etc."

I do not know what this means. Of all the discussion about Wikiversity, these "resources" have almost never had mention.

Can someone link to one example each of a teaching aid, a lesson plan, and a cirriculum? --Kernigh 19:30, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

My interpretation is basically schedual plans, etc. I don't know of any on Wikiversity at the moment, but the AP credits are a good example of them IMO.

Schedual/Lesson Plan: http://www.skylit.com/syllabi/JavaMethodsSyllabusA.pdf Syllabus: http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/ap/students/compsci/ap-cd-compsci-0607.pdf

--Dragontamer 19:41, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
??? By "resources" I mean the basic learning materials that will be used on Wikiversity, ie the content/strucure of a lesson, a set of provocative questions, photographs, as well as more teacher-based educational resources, like lesson plans and even curricula. I appreciate that debate is widely spread out on Wikiversity, but I thought this at least was fairly self-explanatory. "Never had a mention" - what are you talking about? See any Wikiversity page on Meta (eg. Wikiversity (overview)), all Wikiversity-related conversations on the foundation-l mailing list, and also Jimbo's presentation at Wikimania on "freeing the curriculum". On examples, there aren't any, because there aren't any well-developed courses or even learning materials. We're not basing any proposals here on what exists now, simply because it isn't good enough. Cormaggio @ 23:22, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
In general, Wikiversity should link to resources, not host them. My impression so far is that Wikiversity will not be a wiki for documenting things, but a wiki for collaboration. Therefore I suggest changing the proposal to only allow Wikiversity to host _temporary_ resources.
If Wikimedians write anything similar to the AP Computer Science course description ("Students should understand how to multiply two binomials" instead of "FOIL Stands for First, Outer, Inner, Last"), it should be hosted at Wikibooks. Someone might think that inventing a course is original work (which Wikibooks deletes), but I think that Wikibooks should host course descriptions so that users can come and write instructional texts for them. In fact, one could go the other way, and write a course description for Wikibooks:Algebra or Wikibooks:AP Computer Science as a chapter of those books.
I think though, that both Wikibooks and Wikiversity can have syllabi. The idea is that Wikiversity syllabi are used by learning groups at Wikiversity (and also by learning groups outside Wikiversity, thanks to GFDL license), while Wikibooks syllabi are used to suggest the order to use chapters of a textbook to teach something. --Kernigh 23:01, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
What is the point in restricting participants regarding the materials or forms of materials they will create for their own and others benefit? Just as Wikiversity can link to other resources ... the rest of the emerging Terran Grids can link to Wikiversity ... unless of course some over zealous IT administrator has instructed some fire wall not to allow any communications with Wikiversity. The point of free materials is too make it easy for free individuals and teams and nations to self and mutually educate and empower themselves. It seems a bit contradictory to be attempting to empower free volunteers by artifically constraining how they can participate in creating the educational experience. If Wikibooks is the best place to put a book for a course then Wikiversity participants can be trusted to do so once they have made that determination for themselves. A global wikiversity has the potential to be much larger than any existing university system. This is obvious because any serious student who in previous decades invested in purchasing extra reference books is likely to come to wikiversity and use the reference materials. If the Wikiversity evolves properly they will inevitably get drawn into participating at some level sometime somewhere. Integrate that across the entire species and globe and you will grasp why computer scientists worldwide are working on grid engineering and management issues to enable allocation on demand of previously deployed resources to users getting ever more accustomed to freely frequenting valuable high quality free services. Attempting to predefine Wikiversity policy for thousands or millions of courses delivered on demand to billions of participants over various emerging grids and technologies such that it will never compete or overlap with Wikibooks is a bit like demanding the Library of Congress use only the bookshelves currently available in Coquille, Oregon. Shall we also attempt to tell the School of Engineering that simulations or grid components can only be hosted and propagated through sourceforge? Perhaps only Python or Java can be used in engineering homework? At any rate, it will be interesting the first time a prestigious Nobel prize winner finds that his work has been deleted by a newbie following the official Wikiversity policy that we only host temporary stuff ... stuff worth throwing away in a few weeks or months. The need for a temporary buffer on the internet escapes me. Why not simply work out of the permanent location? user:lazyquasar


Moved from content page

"However, Wikiversity, like other Wikimedia projects, permits no original research. A "no original research" policy similar to the policy at Wikibooks prevents Wikiversity users from forming learning groups to start new businesses, propose new theories, or otherwise use Wikiversity as a soapbox to push their own agenda."

"Wikiversity allows secondary research, such as research needed to write a Wikibook or Wikipedia. Wikiversity is about making existing knowledge available, not about creating new knowledge. Note that while Wikiversity might have pages to support such research, the results of such research belong at Wikibooks or in Wikipedia."

I think original research (though it is controversial) should be permitted on Wikiversity. I think it is necessary to conduct a sociology course, for example - to sustain an academic learning community. I do realise there is the academia wikicity, but I feel we should be fostering more research for, from and within the Wikimedia community. For older debate, however, see wikibooks:Talk:Wikiversity:About. Cormaggio @ 23:47, 20 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Cormaggio. The ultimate role of original research in Wikiversity is not something that has to be settled now. It is not an imprortant issue for the launch of Wikiversity. --JWSurf 00:31, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
I would have to add my voice to the above. While I like the idea of a group of "researchers" working out ideas and philosophies for Wikimedia projects, I think it is very premature to put this into the proposal. Any original research is going to need some kind of review board, and policies like human subjects review and what you can or can't do with biological tissues or subjects (like testing with mice or radishes, for instance). Even "chemical experiments" are going to need a formal review just to avoid nutcases that use Wikiversity "original research" to make terrorist weapons. Human subjects policies in particular can be very contentious and I can see that policy taking several years to pound out and several megabytes of discussion pages and mailing lists going on about what should and should not be allowed. Even something simple like grabbing the usage logs for Wikimedia servers and doing statistical analysis is not a trivial thing and subject already to huge arguments.

Turn this into a compromise where original research is a part of the proposal, but that the specifics are going to be worked out through community input and subject to peer review and a formal approval process for any Wikiversity-sponsored original research. --Roberth 16:39, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

"Several megabytes of discussion pages..": well, we're not doing too badly with this page and Talk:Wikiversity alone! But yes, I agree that this should be approached with caution. Original research should only be considered "Wikiversity-sponsored" when it is peer-reviewed - this would be part of the more academic side of Wikiversity, in my conception of it. Cormaggio @ 18:25, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia normally does not host original research. When editing an enforced policy at Wikibooks, Board member Wikibooks:User:Jimbo Wales refered to "Wikimedia-wide policy of NPOV, no original research, etc.". Further, projects with original research have been rejected in the past.

If Wikitution obtains a rude strikethrough when it is proposed as a Wikiversity project, how can Wikiversity, hosted at Wikimedia, have original research?

If you want a wiki for original research, I suggest finding a non-Wikimedia wiki or using the list of WikiFarms to start a wiki. That said, it is only the Wikimedia Board that can decide whether original research is allowed, and the Wikimedia Board has never stated well what qualifies as a "Wikimedia-wide policy". --Kernigh 23:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

  • Research was a component (see the mission statement) of the original Wikiversity proposal that was approved by community vote. The Board voiced no objection to research as an element of Wikiversity. The original proposal suggested that learning would take place at Wikiversity because Wikiversity would be a place where "members of the community can actually take courses online." The Board requested a viable model for how learning will be possible for Wikiversity participants, a model that will "exclude online-courses". A large portion of the discussion on this page continues to be about Wikiversity courses. Maybe discussion of topics that are not relevant to the proposal modification that was requested by the board should move to another page. --JWSurf 03:28, 22 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Learning on Wikiversity[edit]

Ec suggested on the foundation-l mailing list [3] that we need a course on learning itself on Wikiversity. (This was in the context of a discussion on active, critical learning.) I've set this up as a stub at wikibooks:Wikiversity:Learning. Please take a look. Cormaggio @ 11:22, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

However decried they are in the real world, Wikiversity should certainly have a School of Education! Physchim62 12:31, 21 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Citing and listing sources[edit]

I am removing this next paragraph from the project proposal:

  • Wikiversity could have a list of various sources, free and non-free, that are cited in Wikipedia (or Wiktionary or Wikibooks), and other sources that might be nice to read and might be used to cite Wikipedia later. For example, the Wikipedia article Wikipedia:Effects of the automobile on societies cites no outside sources. But if it did, the article would not cite every outside source about said effects of automobiles. Wikiversity could list outside sources (including hyperlinks to sources and ISBN numbers). Wikiversity users could study all of these sources and provide comments. They can also use the sources to edit the Wikipedia article, thus adding those sources as citations.

Though this list of sources could help Wikimedia projects, hosting it at Wikiversity could be a problem. We already have Wikisource for free sources and Wikiquote for non-free sources. Further, Wikiversity seems to be for groups of learners, not for generally storing information (groups of readers).

Rather than worry about this, I would rather remove the above text from the proposal to the Board. The proposal already contains better text that Wikiversity users will study outside resources and potentially cite them in Wikimedia projects. --Kernigh 23:59, 26 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

The "sources" mentioned in this paragraph are not "sources" in the sense of complete texts that could be archived. The paragraph about "sources" is talking about "sources" as in Citing sources. This is a fundamental scholarly practice that will be fundamental to Wikiversity. In my view, the modified e-learning model for Wikiversity that has been requested by the Board should focus on a vision for the learning environment of Wikiversity. Promotion of good scholarly practices such as finding and citing sources should be a fundamental aspect of Wikiversity as it functions to promote a university-style learning environment. There is no "problem" for Wikiversity in collecting and evaluating lists of sources that can be cited by various WikiMedia projects. --JWSurf 00:37, 27 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I tried to reinsert the text at Wikiversity/Modified project proposal#Citing sources. This time, its not a general list of references to sources, it is only a list of references to sources which might have Wikiversity groups studying them.

Since the Board often gives little attention to projects other than Wikipedia, it is important to have some text showing how Wikiversity directly benefits Wikipedia, despite what I said above. --Kernigh 23:23, 29 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I think it is better to replace the terms Class with Study Group and term instructor with coordinator, which will be more suitable for wikiversity. It is better to have some kind of system of test. But I think wiki software is not ready for it. Srinivasasha 13:00, 27 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I don't think that there should be "terms"... unfortunatly, I can't figure out something that would be an adequate replacement. --Dragontamer 02:01, 29 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Scope of Wikiversity[edit]

(Since this has turned into a discussion of the fine points, I'm moving it to the talk page instead and culling out the talking points on the proposal side. --Roberth 07:47, 3 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

What Wikiversity is[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 participants have significant results they may be used to improve other free online learning, reference and data sources.
  • Using outside sources. One of the biggest challenges now facing Wikipedia is citations. Learning groups at Wikiversity study outside sources. The sources can then be used to make Wikipedia articles or Wikibooks more credible.

What Wikiversity is not[edit]

A resource for reading about a topic[edit]

That's what Wikibooks (or Wikisource, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia) is for. The essential difference has to be that at Wikiversity, in a reading and discussion group for example, you must participate as it is ongoing. If you want to learn about a topic ex-post-facto you are better off visiting Wikibooks.

This somebody having a bad hair day. Arguments for deletion or extensive reformulation to accomplish some meaningful prohibition: a.) There is currently limited participation modes without reading. A fetus might manage if her/his mother is listening to Mozart delivered from Wikiversity learning portal while contemplating some challenging material with her eyes closed. I doubt this will be a large segment of usage. b.)I can participate best in any asynchronous conversation between Einstein, Dirac, myself and others by remaining silent until I have a meaningful question. Unfortunately in the past this has at times meant remaining silent. Still the reading was participation of sorts. c.)Regardless of what arbitrary prohibition someone attempts to apply to me, they are going to have a hard time enforcing it until it is symmetrically applied to others. A requirement that I must modify any Wikiversity discussion I read is simply asking for trouble. I can barely restrain myself now. Oldtimer's clearly should shudder should "24" or "42" get wind of this legislative proposal. d.) If you choose to mandate this lowest common denominator ... speak or else ... how are you going to sort the personal WikiversityBots from the occasional actual human thinking participants? e.) If you cannot tell the difference between mirbot and me does this mean we have to extend mirbot "human rights" or should we weight for others to pioneer any applicable AI or DAAB (dumb as a bot) issues? f.) I will be the arbitrator of what is best for me and my alleged creation mirbot, thanks for your concern anyway, I am sure it was well intentioned. user:lazyquasar

An alternative to real universities[edit]

In short, Wikiversity is is not the same as universities in some countries. Wikiversity is about learning for learning's sake, not for getting a degree. Further, if everyone participating is both an instructor and a student (as is proposed above), then Wikiversity is much different from most universities.

This is pretty silly. Wikiversity is about empowerment of its participants. What they use their learning for is their business. Personally I am considering taking an Engineering PE exam in a few years in case I need it to coast in an executive engineering management position sometime. I have also considered investing in a grad degree. If I do I certainly intend to use the gray matter resources developed here at Wikiversity. I also intend to continue using the materials here in pursuit of any intended degrees. I suspect Osama Bin Laden's freedom fighters will find it a very effective "alternative" to traditional universities until we start performing background checks ... that is if they are daring enough or he is dumb enough to access the near random informative materials. Further, since my father recently renigged on an offer to send me to grad school and I am currently broke and on disability ... it certainly is an alternative to "real universities" for me. How you choose to use it is certainly your business but I fail to see why or how each specific participant's intended use could or should be put into our proposal or charter. This is a fundamental error in engineering .... specifying methods without knowledge of requirements or purposes.
I think the point meant here, is that Wikiversity itself will not hand out degrees or accredit teachers or students. The purpose of wikiversity is so its users can learn, the reason they choose to do so are obviously their own. This is different from a traditional university, where accreditation is the main purpose. --Gabe Sechan 17:38, 2 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

A repository of the texts of outside sources[edit]

There are already two Wikimedia projects for this.

Both of which seem to have trouble keeping a stable version of the King James Bible intact and accessible at a repeatable link. Notice that if it is in three reliable sources then I can have a bot scan for tweaks and alert me. If it is in five mostly reliable places I can have the bot scan and vote on which discrepancy is the deviant fundamentalists inserted errors intended to mislead my engineering ethics students in our systems analysis of belief systems and how they must be managed for the proper functioning of large complex systems ... say a 1,000 person lunar base, a Mars Settlement or the Aldrin Cycler required to move tens of thousand of tourists economically between the two. I have an idea. Why not let the individual schools (if freedom is way too dangerous for individual teams or groups) come up with their own meaningful policies. This likely solves our immediate conflict unless you are an engineer, computer scientist, or regulatory authority informant. user:lazyquasar
    • Wikisource contains a collection of free source texts.
    • Wikiquote is a collection of quotes. Though users of Wikiversity can quote sources at Wikiversity for discussions, Wikiversity is not a general repository for quotations; those quotes belong at Wikiquote. Interwiki links will allow Wikiversity users to find Wikiquote pages.
You realize of course that the interwiki links within a major undertaking like an online global learning resource for the human race is likely to eat far more disk space in syntax error tweaks than simply reproducing the quotes and linking locally? I realize once features are added to the syntax developers like the users to learn and use them all but surely this is raising the bar for initial participation? Still, you may be correct that it will provide job security and busywork for our underutilized conflict resolution people. user:lazyquasar
Again, you miss the point here. If you want to have an individual quote for a specific course syllibus or perhaps on some material that you are going to prepare for students, there is no need to do the hyperlink to Wikiquote. Just put it in and cite a proper reference. If, however, you are going to be building a page full of quotes that all belong to the same person, Wikiquote is a much better place to host that sort of content. The same goes for source material that is of an expository nature. There is no reason to have Wikiversity host large amounts of original source material when it duplicates effort of Wikisource. It is a waste of time and effort. The linking effort is just as difficult between two pages on the same projects as it is between two different projects, and to a general reader it really doesn't make that much of a difference. --Roberth 18:13, 21 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

A repository of multi-media content[edit]

That is the role of Wikimedia Commons which has a better support system already in place to manage this content. This is not to discourage the development of multi-media content for courses, but only links to that content should be on Wikiversity and the content should be hosted on the Wikimedia Commons instead.

Coincidentally, I was a producer of multimedia educational products for a couple years prior to my current disability. I can assure you that telling artists, developers, and integrators that their pieces should be scattered to other projects over which they (we) or their users have little or no control will have a distinctly chilling effect on development locally. It may accelerate the availability of learning environments and artefacts globally as developers tell lazy unhelpful hosting environments such as the proposed "Wikiversity minus pet project components" to buzz off and activate their own host sites. This is a difficult ethical question .... should we entice and encourage developers locally to assist with developing Wikiversity into a successful project, at the peril of reducing aggregate worldwide multimedia learning content availability or ... manfully throw ourselves onto our swords by admitting we have no intention of helping them responsibly manage delivery of excellent reliable fast friendly efficious multimedia learning aids? user:lazyquasar
This sounds like you don't understand commons in the least. Commons is a way for people to share multimedia content, primarily images, across multiple projects simultaneously. We are not trying to tell people that they should be scattered, but that there is a once source location that works even better than simply uploading to the new Wikiversity server. This content would also be available not only for the English Wikiversity, but also the German Wikiversity, and Wikibooks, and Wikipedia. Please get to know Commons, and understand that it is one of the best multi-media archives available anywhere on the internet at the moment. Perhaps the "Upload file" link should go directly to commons instead for Wikiversity? Linking the images and multi-media content into a page on Wikiversity is no different if you upload it to Commons first. Besides, it is all going to be on the same physical piece of equipment anyway regardless of where you upload the file. --Roberth 08:05, 3 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
The above is self contradictory and incorrect. I am absolutely certain that the Wikimedia Foundation runs several pieces of equipment and periodically tunes their configuration according to global demand on the namespaces. They have partial documentation online at wikimedia.org if you are interested in details. It is true that I have only a vague understanding of "Commons". It is also true that at this time I have no intention of learning how each and every wikimedia project operates in order to participate at Wikiversity. Location within the databases matter to anyone who is interested in downloading backups or mirroring sections of the Wikiversity database. It will do little good to have a backup of a link maze overlay without the fundamental components it accesses. If you wish to put pieces of Wikiversity components on other servers or namespaces or databases and simply link to it, by all means feel free. If I consider it critical information I will duplicate it locally and design guardbots if necessary to protect from vandals attempting to enforce their personal policies upon me or my mission critical components. It will be an interesting debate regarding maximalist or minimalist policies and appropriate enforcement methods. I look forward to the intellectual exercise should the Board ever decide that Wikiversity is not a threat to their personal economic interests or other pet projects. Lazyquasar 03:09, 25 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

A news service, even for educational issues[edit]

This can be dealt with through our sister project Wikinews.

Actually it can not. I personally attempted to initiate a routine investigatory project (call it an attempted character assassination if you wish, considering past history I could certainly not be mistaken for neutral regarding Jimbo's stacked board and picked "officials" and therefore I clearly staked out the Lois Lane attack role I was to play in the investigation ... big opportunity for local ass kissers to help me make a fool of myself while protecting the big cheese's reputation) there regarding the potential, apparent, and actual conflicts of interest of various Wikimedia Foundation Board members regarding the decision to proceed or not with Wikiversity. It was promptly deleted as "obvious tripe" or something similar to that emotional content. This without even a routine call to allow Jimbo and chosen cohorts to state that they had virtuously "recused" themselves from the pending decision .... or that they had discussed but intended to recuse themselves from the final decision ... blah blah blah. You should know the standard drills, excuses, and fig leaves since you are citing wikiNews as a reliable journalistic resource. It is true that: upon request by me of an apparent regular/administrator (dare I say wiki Journalist?) that the initial outline of the proposed project be restored; the talk page was undeleted. However, the actual project page is still MIA. The brainstorming looks even more idiotic than my usual content without the proposed project outline and initial data and links on the deleted content page. I am sure a few people would agree with me that a "news" service so uninformed regarding its own publisher's doings and unwilling even to discuss it prior to deletion can hardly be considered a useful mature journalistic endeaver that can be relied upon for "news" relevant to anything of any importance. When you have improved this pet project and wish to request of our responsible officers or participants that we consider relying upon them in matters of significance please feel free to bring the matter to our attention. If we have no School of Journalism active by then, bring by the School of Engineering, we are usually interested in community issues that effect planning for expensive large impact projects. user:lazyquasar
I don't understand your visseral hatred of Wikinews, but the point here is that we already have a news project, and if you think they are doing a lousy job of it, you should try to help make it better. Wikiversity should not be stepping on the toes of Wikinews as we are trying to be "one big happy family" even if you think the board is off their rocker. BTW, did you get anything actually written at least from your viewpoint of what was going on with the Wikiversity proposal? --Roberth 07:55, 3 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
You may, in the future, wish to consider developing your article at Wikinews:Story preparation. Consider Wikinews talk:Story preparation/Wikipedia class action lawsuit linked to possible earthquake charity fraud/QuakeAID and its related pages. - Amgine / talk meta 06:28, 4 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
This section should be deleted. It is only going to cause ongoing strife and confusion. The instant some Wikiversity participant shows up with a reason to establish any of the above with an existing, new or expanding set of learning portals or processes some troll is going to delight in deleting their material until the "community" establishes "consensus" on what to do. Define "community" for the engineering mass, momentum, and heat flow portal .... does it include biologists studying membrane transport at the Biology portals? Some will say yes, others will say no. Ad infinitum. When a real journalist shows up who wishes to establish a prototype investigatory task for the edification of neophytes browsing for a purpose in life .... the first time it is deleted from Wikinews they will most likely establish a Wikiversity rag or an in class simulation rather than waste time arguing or educating volunteers at Wikinews. Should we enable hordes of strife hungry power seekers to descend like harpies or furies singing stridently that Wikiversity School of Journalism is not not Wikinews or an online news services? Similar arguments are obvious for the other NOT!s and are left as an exercise for future debate. Lazyquasar 04:10, 25 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
I'm glad that there is somebody that wants to debate and discuss this point. If a real life journalist wants to set up a journalism class, the basics of journalism should be covered, but why not use Wikinews as a place for the members of the class to actually publish their content? In this case Wikinews would merely be a format to do this sort of investigation. Or the respected journalist who is teaching this class or learning forum could decide to offer his own publication as a forum to do something like this. The only real exception I could see is if somebody wants to do a project specific news page, like the Wikipedia Signpost. Even then, the discussion should be limited to just the project itself and not wider international issues. --Roberth 02:23, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
The reason to avoid Wikinews is empirical. When I established an initial page to begin investigating conflicts of interest on the Wikimedia Board it was arbitrarily deleted. When restored at my request to an administrator, it was restored incompletely. Perhaps there should be an explicit statement in our Wikiversity proposal that Wikiversity Participants are not required to participate in all Wikimedia projects past, future, and present in order to participate at Wikiversity. When a multi-talented other Wikimedia project participant shows up encouraging local participants to move their materials to the other projects we can then tell the offender candidly that Wikiversity is not WikiX. We accept, modify, republish any material at any time in any form that the community active at a learning portal thinks remains useful to current and future participants for pedagogical purposes. As you have pointed out each Wikimedia project evolves its own leadership, power structure, and participation policies in addition to the arbitrary dictates of the stacked board. We do not wish eight plus other power structures to have explicit veto authority over restoration of Wikiversity's content anytime one of the other projects or a board member wanders by and casually deletes materials locally which they think/allege should be in other projects. user:lazyquasar
I think you miss the point here completely, again. I understand that you are not pleased with the power structure of the Wikimedia Foundation, but we shouldn't be duplicating projects that exist elsewhere, especially if they are Wikimedia projects. That is the issue here, not that any other project can "veto" Wikiversity content. Most of the time on Wikibooks we are telling people not to recreate Wiktionary or Wikipedia, instead of having Wiktionary or Wikipedia claiming Wikibooks content for their own. If in this case you try to recreate Wikinews, you will also have to end up dealing with all of the headaches that Wikinews faces, and from my experience for people who try to start projects like this, they end up as a very poor substitute for the real thing and usually end up getting deleted simply through neglect. I would agree that there will be people who start out on Wikimedia projects on Wikiversity first. Indeed I think that is already happening right now, although the stats are hard to come up with due to the fact that they have to become registered Wikibooks users first at the moment. There certainly are users that focus almost all of their energies exclusively to Wikiversity and don't really pay attention to Wikibooks policy discussions at all. --Roberth 17:59, 21 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

Are we really getting anywhere?[edit]

Maybe I'm just fed up with the speed of wiki decision making, but am I the only one who thinks we're not getting anywhere here? Here's how I see things now:

  1. We still have nothing from the board explaning no online courses
  2. We have at least 2 very different views of wikiversity here, with minimal overlap
    1. The wikiversity as a wikiproject group (Yes, my bias is showing there)
    2. The general online learning group
  3. The proposal is seeing no substantial changes, yet has no substantial agreement
  4. The proposal really has very little in the way of real content on Wikiversity
    1. More of the mission statement is given to avoiding stepping on other projects toes than is to discussing the project, due to a vocal group of wikibookers who stepped in
    2. More of the project proposal is given to pet ideas on how to use wikiversity to help wikipedia than on what wikiversity actually is
    3. The members of group 2 aren't even touching the proposal, as the current version is so far from the original vision that it needs a complete rewrite.

I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say that the current proposal really doesn't resemble what most people who voted for it originally voted for at all. And at the moment, there's no real progress on any of these fronts- the board has been asked to but has not clarified their statement (and has been given more than reasonable time to do so), the two groups have not come any closer together. Due to the previous 2, the proposal isn't really being substantially changed, because there is no agreement to change it. Issue 4 is based on issue 3 and the fact the original revised proposal was written by group 1 and only really toyed with by people who were actually against wikiversity in the first place.

The reason for this rant is really just one question- does anyone really see things as likely to improve? Do we see any move to common ground between the groups, any chance of clarification from the board, or are we just here stroking our egos and wasting our time? I think its the second. Its my opinion now that this project has effectively been killed by the board, that the wait for board action, the wait since then, and the change in vision and disorganization of response to the board (for which I'm as guilty as anyone) has killed the chances for this project. We have no momentum left, and only a small percent of the original backers are even looking at this page, from the comments I can see.

At this point I wonder if its time for the members of vision group 2 to accept that how they saw wikiversity is dead, split off, and found wikiversity (or whatever name we use, as the foundation owns wikiversity.org) on their own terms and with their own vision, without being hedged in by board rulings and people from other wikis worried about their niche. And if you're a member of either group that really is set against such a move, please tell me how you can see a way through the current issues and see an agreement on a vision for wikiversity and an official sever set up and running within a reasonable period (say 3 months or so). Because I don't see one. --Gabe Sechan 19:56, 3 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

At the risk of over-simplification, I suggest that the "2 very different views of wikiversity here" are basically either
  1. agreement with the Board's request that the Wikiversity proposal "exclude online-courses" or
  2. resistance to the Board's request.
    In my view, the Board is absolutely correct to draw the line so as to exclude conventional courses from the Wikiversity proposal. The Board members correctly recognize that creating a conventional university course structure in wiki format is not the best way to start Wikiversity. Note: this does not mean that Wikiversity cannot eventually grow to include features that will be similar to conventional courses.
Some people seem to have a limited capacity to imagine models for online learning outside of the conventional classroom experiences they have had. We need to escape from conventional thinking and propose to the Board a vision for the launch of Wikiversity that realistically takes into account the way wiki communities function. We need to sketch a plan for how Wikiversity can, from day one, be a community where the participants will constructively edit Wikiversity pages. Was Wikipedia an encyclopedia when it started? Not really. At its start, Wikipedia was a framework for attracting participants who would form a community and collaboratively figure out how to make an encyclopedia in wiki format. Similarly, we need to describe a plan for the launch of Wikiversity that will allow it to attract participants who will figure out how to make a university in wiki format.
What worked for the launch of Wikipedia will not work for Wikiversity. Wikipedia needed a system to attract people who would write about topics that they are familiar with. Wikiversity needs a system to attract people who are devoted to online learning. The original Wikiversity proposal that was approved by the voters included the idea that Wikiversity would be a collaborative learning community structured to promote learning by engaging participants in scholarly activities within a wiki environment. This learning model is based on active learning. Wikiversity participants will take part in scholarly activities. In my view, this is the non-negotiable core of Wikiversity. Is it constructive to denigrate proposals for possible scholarly collaborations as "wikiproject groups" and dismiss them? It is out of the combined activity of scholarly wikiproject groups that Wikiversity will be built.
"tell me how you can see a way through the current issues and see an agreement on a vision for wikiversity" For those who see no value in learning by doing, scholarship and research and instead embrace the "online courses" model of a conventional online university, it is important to ask yourself where textbooks and "learning materials" and knowledge come from. How do you create a wiki community that will make these available in wiki format? In my view, you have to create a wiki community devoted to facilitating a wide range of scholarly activities that will be of interest to the participants. If we launch Wikiversity with that goal, then all the rest will follow. You have to have faith in the chaotic wiki system by which individuals in pursuit of their own learning goals will collaboratively create a university. --JWSurf 04:32, 4 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
I'm going to appologize in advance- some of the things I'm about to say may sound insulting. They are not meant to be, I'm just a very straightforward guy, and that can sometimes come out that way over the net. Its me shooting from the hip and giving my view of things, not an intentional insult. But if I try to write this the PC way, it'll take hours more and 3 or 4 beatings around the bush to get all my points across. This has gone on long enough, and I want to try and outline the differences between camps, get to the core of the issues.
No, I don't think your breakdown is accurate. I think there are two very different approaches to, and views of, Wikiversity clashing here. You can see the differences in how different people discuss what they see in Wikiversity. You talk about scholarly activities, research, the need for new ways of teaching, etc. This is your view of Wikiversity. Its like you want Wikiversity to be online academia.
My opinion? Anyone who seriously uses the word scholarly needs to remove their head from their ass. Its a word people start throwing around so they sound more important. Scholarly activity? 90% waste of time, followed by writing a long boring paper to justify that waste of time. But hey, it looks "scholarly" on a CV. Overall, its a form of mental masturbation. Research? Research is whats killing the modern university- professors who only care about their research and treat actually teaching as an annoyance to be overcome, with the few talented Masters students and adjuncts get treated like shit for not having done enough research to get their PHDs. If I could do one thing to improve modern university education, I'd remove researchers entirely from undergrad and keep the professors doing it to the grad level courses.
Wikiversity should be about learning, and teaching. Gaining knowledge and imparting knowledge to others. Not "scholarly activity". Not, as a primary goal, research (although its also shown in past discussions your definition of research and mine vary greatly, mine being more geared twoards scientific research). Just 2 simple goals- learn, and help others to learn. And if you only want to do one, well, you're welcome to make use of our materials anyway.
And I honestly think this is close to what the vast majority of supporters, those 200 people who voted yes, saw as the purpose of the project. The vast majority of people are not academics. They don't want to be scholarly. They don't want to do research. A large number of them don't have the time in their busy schedules to do a collaborative learning course. But they are interested in being able to learn. They are interested in free material with which to learn from. That is what they saw in Wikiversity, and thats why they voted "Aye". Reread the original Wikiversity proposal. It mentions elearning, it mentions courses. It mentions learning groups and building communities, all of which fit my idea. It does not mention "scholarly activity". It does not mention research as a primary goal, but as something which was under debate. The main things it mentions are the exact thing that our group supports- learning, and teaching.
Quoted from JWSurf "Wikiversity participants will take part in scholarly activities. In my view, this is the non-negotiable core of Wikiversity. Is it constructive to denigrate proposals for possible scholarly collaborations as "wikiproject groups" and dismiss them? It is out of the combined activity of scholarly wikiproject groups that Wikiversity will be built. "
No, this is not a compatible view. This is a completely different view. Your "non-negotiable core" has no correlation to what I, and most others (I think), saw Wikiversity as being. And as for contructive to dismiss your pet project- your pet project is, by size of text, almost 1/3 of the entire proposal, with another 1/3 being making sure we don't step on other wiki's toes. That's excessive, and to me its telling. It tells me that you see that project as the true goal of wikiversity, and not facillitating learning. Perhaps you don't, but thats sure what it looks like from here.
Quoted from JWSurf "For those who see no value in learning by doing, scholarship and research and instead embrace the "online courses" model of a conventional online university, it is important to ask yourself where textbooks and "learning materials" and knowledge come from. How do you create a wiki community that will make these available in wiki format?"
I see value in learning by doing. But I don't see that as the only way of learning. I don't see that as the best way of learning, for many subjects. And its definitely not the most efficient, for the vast majority of subjects. It should definitely be supported by Wikiversity, but it should not be the exclusive method of wikiversity. People learn differently, people learn at different rates, people have varying amounts of time and effort they are able to put into hobbies and side projects. Wikiversity should try and help anyone who wants to try and learn. Forcing us to use one method of learning is dooming us to failure.
How would I create Wikiversity? Well, we and the board dropped the ball here. We had momentum. We had supporters. We had buzz. We had 200 people voting "Aye", with at least 100-200 more invalid "Aye"s. And we had just recieved a big rush as the proposal had just gotten publicity through advertising of the vote. Had even 10% of those Ayes become contributors to the early wikiversity, we would have had enough people to run with it. Advertise it within the wiki community, get contributors. Get 1 or 2 courses or study groups with a decent amount of material up there, then officially launch it and advertise the hell out of it outside. *Use* the momentum.
Now? Well, it took to long for the baord to decide. Then we dropped the ball by taking too long to react, myself included. And the board made it worse, with a confusing directive that hit a schism in the supporters. Wether that was intentional or not is hard to say. I lean twoards not, but it doesn't matter- we arrive at the same point regaurdless.
What we can do? Stop dragging our feet. Get a wikiversity up, this week, with or without WikiMedia support. If we come to an arrangement with WikiMedia in the future, content can always be moved. Do the advertisement ourselves, without Foundation help, through word of mouth. With the loss of forward momentum, we've lost at least a year of progress in the past few months. But its not unfixable, for some things smaller is even better. If we can get people to volunteer to do a depth first approach and end up with a narrow but high quality early matieral selection, I'd say we can be in an even better position in the long run, with proper advertisement and leveraging. It just means we need ot do things the hard way.
Twoards this end, I will be writing a counter-proposal, and will have it posted here by the end of tomorrow. It will be written for how I think a wikiversity should be done, without pet projects butting into it, without a focus on the world of academia, and without worrying if it steps on the toes of other wikis. Should sufficient support exist, we'll start at a temporary site on wikicities, or I can put up something on my server. If sufficient support continues to exist, I'll fund the buying of a domain name and webhosting. If there's not, I'll butt out of this discussion and let you guys do as you wish, although I think your idea of a wikiversity will give wikispecies a run for their money for biggest wiki failure. But enough of this waiting- its been 2 months already and we have 0 to show for it. If we're ever going to get anything done, its time to stop taling and do something. --Gabe Sechan 23:26, 4 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
Starting a temporary site at Wikicities.com is probably counterproductive. Consider that at least two members of the stacked have publicly acknowledged financial interest in Wikicities.com. Now after a long delay that has damaged our Wikiversity project's momentum you propose to establish Wikiversity and all of its potential web traffic at a commercial dot.com owned by the Board members who are stalling in the face of an overwhelming majority vote from the "community". Forgive me for wondering if it is time to begin wondering whether you are an alias or sock puppet for a financially interested board member. user:lazyquasar
In the face of a personal attack, I'm going to stretch my no more comments rule. Well, seeing as I have the courage to post under my real name, you could just google it. You'll notice that I have a fairly large web presence for a sock pupper. For that matter, I tried to submit the question of wtf is happening to wikiversity to Jimbo via his slashdot interview, although I did not get modded up (unfortunately). The wikicities suggestion was made because its cheap, good webhosting is $30 a month which is a good amount to me at the moment. I'd also point out that I actually wanted to get something done, an achievment which is yet to happen otherwise. I'm currently considering the project dead, the board obviously doesn't want it, noone here has the balls to push for it, and my counterproposal didn't gether enough support to be worth trying. If you want to insult people surrounding this project, aim at someone who deserves it- the board mainly. --Gabe Sechan 23:47, 22 February 2006 (UTC)Reply
Gabe, I'm sorry if you feel hard done by some of the comments here (however, I'm not going to comment on this). But it's simply untrue that the board don't want wikiversity to happen - they quite clearly do, but differ (as the wider community does) on how exactly it should be set up and operate. As for "balls", well, I disagree - I remain optimistic that something genuinely useful will come out of this lengthy process, and as much as I'd like it to go a bit quicker, I think that it will pay off in the end. I just think this is a substantial decision to be made at a time when Wikimedia is still tentatively trying to find it's feet in the wider world - hence the heel-dragging. But steps are being made... Cormaggio @ 19:51, 23 February 2006 (UTC)Reply


Name: Wikiversity (may need to change if we split off)

Mission: To facilitate learning and teaching.

Primary goals:

  • To host free instructional materials for general use
  • To facilitate creation of new instructional materials
  • To facilitate the creation and communication of learning groups and classes


Wikiversity will be divided into schools, with each school being one branch of human knowledge (such as math, physics, chemistry, history, economics, etc). Each school is a community- a collection of people who wish to learn or share their knowledge on the subject. These communities should help answer people's questions on the subject, guide them in their studies, and help them learn what to study next.

Each school will also have a steering committee- a group of people who voluntarily give some of their time to help wherever the school needs it most. This could be in creating new content, helping students, etc. The overriding goal of this group is to improve the overall quality of the school and its materials, frequently by filling in the gaps in the materials themselves. Membership in this committee is voluntary, but highly encouraged. Anyone who wishes may join the committee.

Schools and their contributors will divide their materials into courses. A course may be taught top-down, collaboratively, or in any other method that makes sense to contributors. Courses are also learning communities, on a more focused level. Communities may include all levels of knowledge- from the beginner, to the expert. Those with more knowedge are encouraged to help those with less. Its highly encouraged for experts who can to keep an eye on courses and aid the learners in them.

How big a course is and the exact breakdown is school dependant, as such a decision is impossible at a higher level. Where one course is dependant on information learned in a previous course, the school should make that clear. Organization within a course is up to the course.

Its perfectly fine to use non-free sources to bootstrap a course or learning group. As time goes on, efforts should be made to replace those with free sources. Not everyone has access to non-free sources, writing our own (or linking to other) free ones is necessary to open learning to all who wish it.

Should members of a school be interested in subjects with little to no materials at the school, the school should facilitate their learning by doing one or more of the following

  • Having the steering team create content
  • Finding expert(s) to help and guide them
  • Finding outside sources (free or non-free) to help them along
  • Connect them to other interested learners who can learn with them

Which of these is the correct action(s) depends on the circumstances.


The scope of Wikiversity is all verifiable knowledge. This includes knowledge not commonly taught in schools. So long as the information is factual, it is welcome to be taught.

For scientific knowledge, any information should have be gnerally accepted fact, or have been peer reviewed. We do not have the knowledge or experience to serve as a peer review board.

Thats it. Comments welcome.

A few comments of my own on why I set it up as I did. The steering team exists as a way to solve a gap I see in wikibooks- the lack of any central organization causing information to cover many subjects poorly. As a comprimise with the wiki philosophy, membership is not mandatory but should be highly encouraged. I expect early on the steering team to create most content (and yes, I will be joining at least one myself). The emphasis on the school as an organization point is for similar reasons.

The scope is limited to "verifiable knowledge". Thats the out that lets us delete people who think the earth is flat and that magic in Harry Potter is real.

I disallowed non peer reviewed data, which disallows scientific research. On the high end, at some time, it might make sense to allow it. In the distant future when we have communities of people here with knowledge of those subjects at that level. Right now it doesn't. IF someone was to write a dissertation on string theory, noone here is qualified to review it. There are probably fewer than 100 people in the world who are. Claiming that we can does a disservice to both the author and ourselves- if the author is wrong, he loses the insight of a true peer review and we get bogged down with a bunch of incorrect information, lowering our credibility. If the author is right, he doesn't get credit for his insight, and the information is never seen by the scientists who could actually benefit from it and build off of it. Unless and until we get to that level, we are best off keeping to verified subjects. --Gabe Sechan 02:55, 5 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

This is what I wanted to see :) A small issue IMO with your counterproposal.
Quote: "Each school will also have a steering committee- a group of people who voluntarily give some of their time to help wherever the school needs it most."
Issue here is simple; it is obvious that with that kind of model, wikiversity will grow slowly, especially now with the lack of momentum. The "kick-start" will require a WHOLE lot of work, and it will still be risky to put all your material up on wikiversity with such little momentum. In essence, we got a chicken and the egg problem. This is a goal we want when we have more momentum, but not now. Teachers will want students, students will want teachers. We need a better "seed".
The only way I could see to fix this up, is to look local online right now, and find simple little tasks for wikiversity. I frequent a game-design forum, maybe rewriting the "Newbies to Game Design and Programming" FAQ at the Wikiversity would be a step up. Perhaps wikiversity should focus on these tiny stuff firts, as a seed to see what happens.
In essence, I agree overall with your counterproposal. I feel however that we need to focus more on seeds right now. Additionally, it uses the word "course", which is ambiguous right now. (no one seems to know what a course is)
Finally, I should add that to succeed with the board, we need to find something that cannot be done at wikipedia and wikibooks. As far as I know, wikibooks accepts books, tutorials, how-to guides, and self-study guides. "Lectures", are really just tutorials, at least what I've found so far at wikiversity.--Dragontamer 03:27, 5 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

I don't see the steering team as the only way of creating content. Long term, I see it more of a gap filler. Lets say the school of mathematics has plenty of material on calcI and calcIII, but little on calc II. The steering team should recognize that lack, and volunteer some of their time to work on calc II materials. That doesn't mean what the steering team is working on is the only thing that can be worked on- if someone comes in with a passion for discrete math, they can go right ahead and do that. The idea is more to help with the wikibooks problem of having key areas with little to no content, and 5 billion stubs. I also want to avoid a complete depth first approach just because I'd hate to see us lose passionate people who just don't care about the current subject. This seemed like a decent comprimise. Although I do expect early on that the steering team will create a majority of the content, as I hope to convince people of the need to focus resources and get a few polished courses together now, instead of stubs.
As for seed, you're right its a problem. I only see 2 ways to work around it. Method one is to find a group of people who want to do a collabrative course, let them work on it, and organize the results. Doable, not very efficient. The other way is to design starter material for a small subset of classes, then advertise to get students for those classes, and build from there. Neither will be especially speedy, but both are doable, in my opinion. Method 2 might be faster as you skip the research phase, and start with experts writing content. Either way, it requires us to grow at the right times with the right people.
The word course- for the purpose of the proposal, the word course is defined as "a set of learning goals for closely related subject material". How the course is taught is defined by the people writing for/taking the course, I expect some material to work best with traditional methods, some with collabarative methods, some via projects, some via hybrid methods. I expect there to be a lot of experimentation, as we find out what works and create new methods to help learners who slip through gaps in existing ones.
As for succeeding with the board- I'm not sure I care anymore. Anything to do with the board is going to take at least another month to get them to consider it, then another voting period, then a beta test, then.... Thats *if* they like the proposed changes. At this point I think the best solution is to split, establish that the idea works, and keep the possibility of remerging open at a later date, should the community deem it in our best interest. --Gabe Sechan 18:37, 5 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

For the seed, what does wikicities offer to us? I know it uses the same software, so it should be easier to transwiki back and forth. Once we got some experiance, I'm sure we'd find something that would work. -- 19:33, 5 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
Ah ****. Stupid school computer. The above poster was me btw. --Dragontamer 01:05, 6 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
Wikicities offers us a decent looking domain name and someone to maintain and upgrade the server for us, but has ads. Going off on our own requires us to pay for hosting (a few hundred for a good host) or piggyback off another site (I can offer a piggyback and give us wikiversity.sechan.net, but then I have to maintain the software and do the server admin work. Plus it has my name stuck in there). Any of the 3 ways works, but I want to prove we have enough contributors before paying for hosting. Which makes wikicities a good solution until we grow a bit. The biggest downside of it is ads, which we would lose when we eventually move off it. --Gabe Sechan 20:26, 6 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

Counter-counterproposal: Wikibooks[edit]

Read the "counterprosal" above, replace course with textbook and school with bookshelf. You get Wikibooks.

Regardless of what the Board says about Wikiversity not having online courses, Wikibooks already has them. As Richard M. Stallman wrote in "The Free Universal Encyclopedia and Learning Resource", "Courses in the learning resource are a generalization to hypertext of the textbooks used for teaching a subject to yourself or to a class."

So you do not need to start "Wikiversity" and create an online course for Algebra or Calculus; Wikibooks already has these, and you can start contributing now. Last time I checked, Algebra was lacking a section on logarithms.

Yes, some things are missing. The Wikibooks Mathematics bookshelf (Wikiversity School of Maths) does not have a "steering committee" because Wikibooks/Wikiversity does not yet have enough wiki users to provide one. And their is not much of a learning community around the Algebra course; their could be a large group of wiki users reading the course, commenting on the talk pages, and helping each other, but there are not enough users. Same for the Introduction to Sociology course - there could be a community of learners around it, but I have seen no recent activity other than my own maintenance actions (though it is January, it might be their winter/summer break).

Recently, in the Wikibooks staff lounge, users announced the elections for CheckUser status. We are worried that we might not be able to find 25 users to vote, as required by the CheckUser policy. Our wiki has backing of the Wikimedia Foundation, but we are too young and too small. If you are interested in Wikiversity, but want to write " free instructional materials", please come and help Wikibooks. --Kernigh 02:08, 10 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

I am pretty sure a cource like I'm designing Game Dev does not meet the criteria for "textbook-like" material in wikibooks. That is what I'm aiming Wikiversity to be. For now however, instead of working on this proposal, I'm just going to work on this course and see the best wikilearning organization. If this wikiproject works out, then perhaps the rest of the Wikiversity should be made like it. -- 04:15, 12 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

I have no intention of writing a textbook on homogenous catalysis, but I would like to teach more people University-level chemistry: how do I go about it?

WikiBooks was the cause of this dispute in the first place; it could not cope with the model of Wikiversity which was already there and so decided to try to delete it. If it cannot attract sufficient participents for its view of development, perhaps it should consider points of view, such as supporting the Wikiversity project instead of complaining that it will only steal contributers. Physchim62 17:54, 14 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

I would like to clarify: my "counter-counterprosal" was directed specifically against the "counterproposal", not the Wikiversity/Modified project proposal. The way I interpreted the "counterproposal", textbooks like Wikibooks:Algebra would be written as online courses for Wikiversity, whereas I would prefer to keep Wikibooks:Algebra at Wikibooks.
If, while teaching or learning chemistry, if you are uploading some wiki pages to explain it, then effectively you are writing a textbook for Wikibooks. However, if you are participating in group activities (such as "read chapter 1 before Monday", "do this calculation now", "grade/check/evaluate these answers"), then you should probably be using Wikiversity, not Wikibooks. Later, if a Wikibookian thinks that "this calculation" makes a good textbook problem, then one can copy it from Wikiversity to Wikibooks, just as Wikibookians currently copy some parts of Wikipedia.
The types of situations that I want to avoid are: users writing "online courses" for Wikiversity in the form of textbooks, users writing "textbooks" for Wikibooks in the form of encyclopedia articles, users writing "encyclopedia articles" for Wikipedia in the form of how-to textbooks, ... --Kernigh 20:47, 16 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

Abandoning Wikimedia[edit]

On January 3 Gabe Sechan asked #Are we really getting anywhere? and suggested that efforts to craft a modified Wikiversity proposal had produced "2 very different views of wikiversity" and "no substantial agreement". Gabe suggested that these two different views of Wikiversity might be called a "wikiproject group" and a "general online learning group".

As currently written, the modified Wikiversity proposal is centered on the idea of "Learning groups" as the central organizing focus for its e-learning model. An alternative way of describing this model of e-learning is to say that Wikiversity participants will engage in "learning projects". Learning groups (communities) will engage in projects that address the learning goals of Wikiversity participants. Gabe has mounted an aggressive campaign of complaints against the idea of "wikiprojects", yet "wikiprojects" is a reasonable description of what wiki developers do while they develop a new wiki. As for as I can tell, Gabe's only real complaint about learning-oriented "wikiprojects" is that not all Wikiversity users will be interested in them. Nobody ever suggested that all Wikiversity participants need to be interested in each learning project within Wikiversity. The various learning-oriented "wikiprojects" that have been proposed and discussed have been offered as examples of ways to engage SOME Wikiversity participants at the launch of Wikiversity. In particular, such projects have been proposed as a way of engaging Wikiversity participants who will actually add content and build Wikiversity. In my view, to denigrate and attack such proposed "wikiprojects" is suicidal. The modified Wikiversity proposal MUST include our best ideas for how to immediately launch Wikiversity and attract participants. Anyone who campaigns against such proposals simply because they are not personally interested in participating in them is not working for the good of Wikiversity. In my view, we need to propose a multitude of ways for getting Wikiversity off the ground. I think everyone has recognized that there are many visions for what Wikiversity might become. It is not constructive to act as if all of these different points of view are competitors in some imagined zero-sum game. We need to establish Wikiversity as a system for facilitating the goals of its diverse participants. Within Wikiversity there will be a true market place of ideas. Those ideas ("wikiprojects") that attract the most participants will drive the growth of Wikiversity. If certain ideas for how to jump-start Wikiversity are overly dominating the modified Wikiversity proposal, then the solution is to craft additional ideas and add them in to the proposal so as to make a more balanced proposal. Each suggestion for what would be a good way to attract Wikiversity participants and grow the content of Wikiversity needs to be judged on its own merits. Resorting to name-calling ("pet projects") is not constructive. If you have a rational argument for why a proposed learning project would damage Wikiversity, then state your argument.

Gabe has also suggested that to satisfy the Board's request for modifications to the original Wikimedia proposal, a complete rewrite of the proposal is required which will have to be followed by another voting period. However, what the Board requested was that the modified Wikiversity proposal not include online courses and that we provide a description of the Wikiversity model of e-learning. This does not require a complete rewrite of the proposal. In my view, what the Board requested is a reasonable adjustment of emphasis in the proposal and after the modifications are made there will NOT be a need for another vote. Also, in my view, it is not be unreasonable for the Board to impose a trial period on Wikiversity. This should act as motivation for having a well fleshed-out plan for how to get Wikiversity started. The Board also wants evidence that Wikiversity developers are happy with the proposed project. This only makes sense; if there is no happy and committed base of developers then there is no point in starting the project.

In my view, it will be impossible to prevent Wikiversity from eventually coming to contain elements of traditional bricks-and-mortar universities. Gabe's "counterporoposal" for a Wikiversity built upon a structure of schools, "steering committees" and courses is a reasonable description of what some people will choose to create within Wikiversity. I think the Board views the past history of Wikiversity as strong evidence that STARTING with such a traditional organization of Wikiversity just does not work. If it could work, it would have already worked and Wikiversity would be booming with thousands of participants and hundreds of active courses. I agree that if Wikiversity existed within its own domain as an official Wikimedia project then things would be better than they have been in the past with Wikiversity inside of Wikibooks. However, I doubt if things would be significantly different. I think the Board correctly foresees likely failure if Wikiversity launches with a traditional model of e-learning built around schools and courses.

Gabe has expressed frustration with the pace of events in launching Wikiversity and suggested that there might be people who feel that "how they saw wikiversity is dead" and that those people should "split off". I continue to argue that people who may view "wikiversity as dead" should open up their thinking to non-traditional modes of online learning that are suited to the wiki interface. I believe that in so doing, you will find the practical path towards attracting the many needed Wikiversity participants who will actually build Wikiversity. If you are open to the wiki way of growing Wikiversity as a learning community, including some modes of learning that you may not personally be interested in, then you become open to a viable Wikiversity that the Board will approve, a Wikiversity model that will be diverse enough to make room for all interested participants and which will eventually have a chance to include even the traditional courses and free textbooks that some people crave. If you are unable to see the wisdom of the Board's position and if you are unable to be happy with their wise direction, and if you are unable to trust the chaotic wiki-way of growing Wikiversity, then I agree that you should move away from the Wikimedia foundation. --JWSurf 18:51, 7 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

Well said. --Dragontamer 00:58, 8 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
Here, Here!!! You have most of the issues down fairly well. I have been fighting like a dog to get this proposal up and going, and in many ways I see Wikiversity as a test case for the viability of the Foundation Board itself in being able to respond to reasonable requests by Wikimedia users. The whole bureaucratic process to establish a new Wikimedia project was established in response to the apparent failure of Wikispecies, and some would even point to Wikibooks as a failure as well never to be repeated. Because of the high visibility of Wikipedia, it is felt that there should be something special and unique in order to become a sister project. I think this attitude is misguided, and have argued in a general forum about this issue as well. Having just started a Wikicity, I was very surprised at how quickly my request was granted, especially in comparison to the incredible resistance to new ideas from the Wikimedia Foundation, considering how many of the same people are involved in both projects including developers and board members. In particular, I see no realistic reason to stop an independent English-language Wikiversity when the German-language Wikiversity is already going, and no apparent comment from the board as to why that project was started without the red tape that we are going through right now just to get the English-language version going. I have never seen any board member say that the creation of the German Wikiversity was a mistake and did not follow proper policies. That is a huge source of frustration for any Wikimedia user that wants to create a new sister project. -- 14:21, 18 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

Very nice, "non-traditional modes of online learning that are suited to the wiki interface" i've mentioned just one mode here - schools, that is very real-life like, could someone describe other modes?(doubt they exist)

Going Formal with Online Courses[edit]

I'd like to throw a game plan out here for making a viable university out of this. I see two major issues out there from the schools being formed so far. Some need the backing of a "true" accrediting body. For example, if Wikimedia is based out of Florida... the logical choice would be the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. If we base this somewhere else, then whoever that accrediting body is. In short, there needs to be some clearinghouse for all of this work and that can oversee the accreditation of the overall Wikiversity. I would suggest there be some focus group step up to research not only the accrediting body, but what are the requirements to come under such an organization.

Second, there seems to be some schools that require certification. If each of those schools begin to develop game plans for how their programs could administer such certifications, how certificates would be issued (coming back to that centralized clearing house), and what are the requirements.

Based on what these two groups come back with, we could then begin to develop a framework for online course delivery. The key elements addressed we can then determine how to fit the Wiki framework and philosophy into the educational standards. In order for our research to be recognized, our academics to be accepted, and our organization to be upheld we need the accreditation. Understanding how the accreditation works, sets the parameters for how we can develop the courses.--Mfinney 23:43, 22 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

One of the problems with formal accreditation with this project, beyond the objections from the Wikimedia Foundation board, is that obtaining any certification is going to be a very long and involved process. I was involved indirectly with the establishment of the Western Governor's University, which had not only the backing of several state governors, but formal legislation basically giving a mandate that the organization had to be accredited with a veiled threat that if accrediation didn't occure that the states involved would pull out of the accredation body and start their own. Generally you don't have that kind of political pull when starting a project like this. That process of accrediation took over three years to complete, and a cost of several million dollars. Simply put, we are not even clost to ready for this to happen with Wikiversity.
There are models of on-line instruction and learning that can and should be tried first, and for my part I see Wikiversity as a realm of experimentation on many different forms of on-line learning that could take place. The real important thing at the moment is to try and appease the Wikimedia Foundation board with our intentions and to simply get the server for http://en.wikiversity.org/ turned on at all. Once that happens, we can discuss different strategies and approaches to seek partnerships and formal certification for some programs that have matured on Wikiversity. --Roberth 20:15, 24 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

I see your point. Your process makes sense. I guess what I was thinking that if we set a direction of standards and so forth towards accreditation, then when we reach that point it should be a no brainer. I guess I would rather build this from the beginning towards accreditation then have to do a lot of work to clean up. However, I do agree with you that perhaps let's get this thing off the ground... then worry about the accreditation issues. --Mfinney 01:55, 25 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

Personally I think we should press on developing items of personal interest. The Board at some point will either become convinced there is no further benefit to wikicities.com from slow rolling the volunteer non profit project at Wikimedia or some militant like myself or Gabe will establish a domain and issue a public invitation to potential participants. Meanwhile we can make progress in the individual areas that willing participants select to doodle or dogmatically work in which will help establish the viability for all future related projects. The harsh reality seems to be that the 200 votes yes for the project were not from people interested in actually participating. It is going to be difficult to attract new participants until a critical mass is reached where newcomers evaluating the project the first time they see it have a "Wow! I cannot believe I actually used to pay tuition for stuff I just wanted to learn (vs. an economically useful certification)" reaction. It is easy enough to begin experimentation to find out what will work. We can develop multiple policies and templates/tags indicating under which policy a specific page of material is developed and maintained. Adherents to the opposing philosophy can fork specific material that they wish to be free or regulated appropriately to suit their camp's preferences. Gabe's (and my) proposal that we fork away from Wikimedia if necessary need not split us up into splinters too small to succeed if we can define ways to use the technology to coexist peacefully. I personally volunteer to comply with whatever silly restrictive policies some page developer or maintainer wishes to apply to his/her school, page, project, or philosophy as long as they acknowledge my right to fork the material to a free school of engineering suitable to the free engineers I wish would descend upon Wikiversity en masse to do original research in cottage manufacturing and turn key volunteer spacecraft kit production via various CAD/CAM/CIM/CAE/DNC/CNC/CAR (computer aided reporting to regulatory authorities) etc. grid technologies emerging as we speak on the Terran Grid. Naturally I will expect the same committment to freedom on any pages, portals, simulators, etc. that we/our free engineers and/or student bodies create and tag as subject to our minimalist policies and extensive peer safety and regulatory reviews. Lazyquasar 03:56, 25 January 2006 (UTC)Reply
I wouldn't dismiss all 200 of the supporter votes. Many of those supporters came from other Wikimedia projects and are not interested in dealing with the fine points of having to debate things on Meta. Once a new project is started, I would venture to guess that we would be at 500 registered users within a single week, and a very active community of about 20-30 participants developing new content. This is based mainly on my observations of the current user base working on Wikiversity at Wikibooks right now, which is not a trivial number. It may be higher once it becomes a full-fledged sister project. Going off on your own and starting your own foundation and server farm is going to be much harder than you can anticipate, and the base number to start off with is going to be smaller.

Another thing to consider with the supporters of the Wikiversity proposal is that it includes other languages besides English, and there were a good number of supporters who didn't even speak English as even a secondary language. One of the huge issues that is going to need to be worked on even if the board gives a solid green light for en.wikiversity is to decide when the other language version are going to be given the go ahead to get started as well. This multi-lingual growth of Wikiversity is going to be simply put, explosive. Indeed, resources like Wikiversity, while somewhat common for English speakers, are virtually unknown in many other languages. It is possible that en.wikiversity may not even be the largest Wikiversity once things get going. --Roberth 21:15, 27 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

You know... that brings up a valid point. I have not messed with the multilingual component of this but it brings some interesting thoughts. If there were some automation in the translation process, I could see some major benefits to the projects. --Mfinney 13:52, 1 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

The certification body, if anyone wanted to go down that route, would be the Florida Commission for Independant Education. I dont think we are anywhere near the stage where we have to worry about that ;) Physchim62 02:16, 2 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

What is left to do[edit]

It seems we are bouncing around a lot of ideas and as we do so it seems we spiral away from the original goal. The board simply wants a revision to get this done. They don't even have to vote. What seems to be the hold up to get those corrections done? Is there anything I can do to help? Let's just get the corrections and proposal finalized, then we can go from there. My worry is that we are going get off on so many tangents that our window of opportunity will pass. The revisions are quite simple and can easily be done so why aren't we doing them? Point me in the right direction to help get this done. --Mfinney 05:31, 11 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

Maybe it is time to post a notice on all of the existing Wikiversity pages that a modified proposal has been drafted. This would be a last chance for people who are interested in Wikiversity to comment. --JWSurf 06:14, 11 February 2006 (UTC)Reply
That would be great - followed by postings to various mailing lists (like foundation-l and wikipedia-l) and project village pumps to get some community feedback. I still think we need to show something tangible that people can be "joyful" about - apologies for not really helping out here, but will try to give some time come Monday or so. Cormaggio @ 18:27, 11 February 2006 (UTC)Reply
Let's do it! What can I do to make it happen? My class, Leadership I:Strategies for Company Success is ready to go... should start seeing students enrolling in the next couple of weeks. Will that work for an example? Let me know....--Mfinney 04:29, 12 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

What is left to do? All that really needs to happen is for the Foundation board to give a formal thumbs up or thumbs down on the proposal. IMHO this has languished far too long and it needs to get the attention of the board members again. It is incredibly confusing to see exactly how you put something onto the agenda for the next board meeting, and it looks like new project proposals are going to get buried under another layer of bureaucracy from a hand-picked select group (not anybody nominiated by the Wikimedia community at large) that will deal exclusively with new projest like Wikiversity. If the Foundation board doesn't understand what Wikiversity is or could be, and are suffering from a lack of material over the discussion and direction of the proposal, I think they are not paying attention and deliberatly trying to ignore Wikiversity hoping it will go away. b:Wikiversity it taking off, with or without formal support of the board. It is just a matter of time before it leaves Wikibooks in one form or another. I wish it could stay as a Wikimedia project, but my hopes are not too high at the moment.

As far as putting up a posting on various mailing lists (like Foundation-l or Wikipedia-l), so much ink has been spilled about Wikiversity in both forums (as well as Textbook-l) that this isn't really going to bring out any new information or comments. It will be mainly rehashing anew a very old argument. I may be mistaken on this issue, but that would be a genuine surprise to me. --Roberth 17:09, 26 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

Ah ok - I've just responded similarly on Talk:Wikiversity. But to address a point above (and a commonly held perception) that people and particularly the board aren't interested in Wikiversity anymore, I refer you to the Special projects committee and it's talk page to show that it is very much in mind. Details of meeting agendas are at Wikimedia meeting agendas - points to be raised at future meetings should be placed on the talk page - it's no more complicated than that. But the aforementioned committee was set up to try and delegate responsibility from the board, so, as a member, I can raise this myself. Note, however, this still shouldn't stop you from doing whatever you would have done anyway :-) Cormaggio @ 00:21, 27 February 2006 (UTC)Reply
I don't like at all how the Special Project Committee has been formed and the attitude of eliteism surrounding the creation of these special committees. I have been very vocal about my disatifaction regarding the lack of action and the general attitude toward new project proposals for the Wikimedia Foundation. I have gone so far as to suggest, and even encourage the Wikimedia Foundation board to just simply be honest and openly admit that they will not be accepting any new project proposals from ordinary Wikimedia users. The technical reasons for inaction here are groundless. Perhaps it my open hostility and difference in opinion that I was not invited to this Special Projects Committee. Based on the comments made that are found on the IRC log of the meeting that created this committee, I don't hold too much hope and am not sure if I want to be involved either. In many ways I was using Wikiversity to see if a new project proposal with widespread user support was even possible to create that didn't have initial support from board members. I followed as closely as possible the example of Wikinews and tried to follow the points of New project policy as closely as reasonable. I made a few mistakes, but they were very minor. I was also involved with Wikistandards and their attempted vote for new project did not go over too well. I'm going to wait a month or two to restart that proposal, but that is a good example of what not to do. I can give other examples of ideas that have been shot down, mainly because of apathy if nothing else. I hope that doesn't happen to Wikiversity. --Roberth 15:59, 27 February 2006 (UTC)Reply
I would hope that a good proposal with community support would at least be considered, and could very well be supported by the board. I know that Wikimedia's resources are limited, and I understand the hesitancy in setting up Wikiversity (which isn't at all a technical consideration, but more of a social/political one IMO), but I still think it will happen, possibly sooner rather than later, simply because it is such a compelling idea. I've raised it myself just now on the special committee's mailing list - but I repeat that this shouldn't stop anyone from being involved or having their say. Even though I happen to be on that committee (and I was quite surprised to have been invited), I maintain that this process should be as open as possible. Cormaggio @ 17:20, 27 February 2006 (UTC)Reply
I would hope as well that a legitamate well-written, inclusive and open proposal with widespread community support would be seriously considered as well. The current mission statement on the corporate bylaws for the Wikimedia Foundation seem to suggest that no new projects will ever be accepted, or even be legally allowed at least under a strict interpretation of these bylaws. There is certainly an uphill fight going on here to get Wikiversity started. Thank you for your comment about Wikiversity. It would be nice to put this mailing list on the special projects comittee page, as I had to do some serious digging to find your comment, but at least I know where everything is at. I'm debating on subscription to the mailing list, as it would be hard for me to resist a comment about the stuff that is going on. As an outsider, (and having pissed off 4 members of the committee so far including Anthere) I feel my comments would be unwelcome. --Roberth 14:15, 28 February 2006 (UTC)Reply
Well, don't worry about the committee for now - it was set up to facilitate and support (amongst other things) what we (the people who are interested in Wikiversity) are doing. So I think priority is what we do here - to get this proposal together in a form that we are happy about, that we think is viable, and that we think will attract a solid community base - taking previous experience, like the community and board votes, into consideration. But I think mailing list discussions should, as always, be on foundation-l. Thanks. Cormaggio @ 00:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
I took the liberty of requesting an email list for the English Wikiversity on the foundation-l list. It seems clear to me that we need a better coordination space than continually rechecking these various proposal pages scattered around. To me it seems the issues involved with Wikiversity have been pretty well delineated and we know what we have in agreement sufficient to proceed while waiting for a community of diverse participants to drift into consensus as we see what actually works well in learning materials and processes. I think a mailing list could effectively consolidate some activities, generate additional interest in actual active courses, and stimulate some brainstorming regarding what we as a group might be interested in doing to help get wikiversity started. Lazyquasar 08:04, 1 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

wacky proposal: wikiversity as a tabbed extension to wikipedia[edit]


  • wikiversity web site looks, at first sight, essentially the same as wikipedia (though the first page would be different)
  • user clicks to any individual page on a subject
  • s/he finds that s/he cannot edit the page, however...
  • instead of the normal edit, history etc tabs, there are tabs:
    • study this
    • join existing study group 1
    • join existing study group 2
    • ...
    • wikipedia (to get to the normal, editable (if not frozen for NPOV etc.) wikipedia page)
  • if the user clicks on study this, s/he gets a source page of the corresponding wikipedia page, with help information something like Please remove all content from this page that you don't understand or else add comments next to the parts you don't understand. This is your area, along with other wikistudents who may soon join you, to think together and get to learn this material. When you eventually become confident in understanding the material, you might even wish to correct mistakes in the corresponding wikipedia article.
    • tech change: once a new user has edited this page and finally saves, the saved version becomes the text of a new study group, (rendered as html or xml or whatever so that it's associated with wikiversity.org, not with wikipedia) e.g. study group 2 if study group 1 already exists
  • if the user clicks on join existing study group 1, then s/he finds that a bunch of other people have already written a heavily annotated and discussed and modified version of the wikipedia page. Because those other people are also trying to understand the text, they are not trying to work on the wikipedia page and so they are not under pressure to already be experts.


  • there is a natural 1:1 match between wikipedia and wikiversity themes
  • this takes combines the power of:
    • existing material in wikipedia articles
    • wiki editing technology and culture
  • people can choose to start a new class or else join in an existing class, just by clicking on a tab (of course, there's the question of what's the maximum number of classes or study groups... this basic proposal certainly would need to be modified)
  • people who don't know much about a subject have a better outlet for their wiki-energy - starting off a real study group - rather than making bad edits to a wikipedia article or cluttering up a wikipedia discussion page even more than is necessary - in other words, this might decrease some of the CPU/bandwidth pressure on wikipedia and shift it to wikiversity, especially for articles getting close to ideal
  • there's also a natural feedback to wikipedia, after students become confident that they understand the subject, (this is why i suggest the wikipedia tab)


  • Requires tech people to do the work :P.

i don't often participate in meta stuff, so feel free to pass on, rewrite, post elsewhere (GFDL) or even... ;) edit this idea. Boud 20:06, 11 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

I like the basic idea. I have been thinking that we could do the same thing with templates that could be added to Wikipediapages, in the way that links are currently made from Wikipedia pages to Wikinews pages. --JWSurf 03:17, 14 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia also have Wikibooks, Wiktionary, Wikinews and Wikispecies. Wikiversity only to Wikipedia is a bad idea. 555 01:22, 16 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

Wikipedia is the major Wikimedia project. It would make sense to also have other Wikimedia projects integrated with Wikiversity, but Wikipedia will be the major source of Wikiversity participants at startup. --JWSurf 15:31, 16 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

sorry for my englishWikipedia is the major, but isn't unique. A biology study group may need to make edits in Wikipedia and Wikispecies. A history study group may edit in Wikipedia and Wikibooks, build some historical maps to Commons and create lots of definitions to Wiktionary used by w:Annales School and/or marxist teory. These are only some examples. 555 22:51, 16 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

Proposed alternate "What Wikiversity is not"[edit]

(moved from proposal page)

"A place to tell other participants what they cannot include in local learning processes prior to achieving a mandate (a pre-coordinated policy linked to from submission agreement page; for example [4] or substantial local consensus) from the local participants, a majority of the student body, or the board. Significant pedagogical disagreements should lead to productive discussion or forking, not deletion or edit wars."

I don't really understand this - I initially thought it was a gripe, but it may have something behind it. In any case, I think, for the moment, the proposal needs simple, practical and clear language and content, and I didn't think this fit. Cormaggio @ 00:03, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

Changes - final push?[edit]

I've made quite a few changes to the page - I'm trying to tighten it up to a form that someone who is either 1) new to Wikiversity, or 2) overwhelmed by all the discussions on Wikiversity, will still be able to get a picture of what the thinking is on Wikiversity. I've removed some overlapping content, and material I didn't think was workable (ie on peer review on research) - read through the whole proposal now and see if it makes sense. I've also moved some material that I thought was cluttering up the main gist of the proposal - mainly on various ideas for learning groups. I've moved this content to Wikiversity:Learning, a page which i'm going to work on now. Comments are very welcome - I hope we can pretty soon get this on the road :-) Cormaggio @ 00:17, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

The modified proposal looks good to me. My main remaining doubt is about the Board's hope that "the community seems joyful about" the need to deal realistically with courses within a wiki. I think it is the case that some people are still very upset about the fact that Wikiversity cannot proclaim its initial goal to be a conventional school in a wiki format. Such people are not joyful about the position the Board adopted. Additionally, many new people who come to Wikiversity will react in a similar way, wondering, "Where is English 101?" as they 'walk in the door'. In my view, the best way to deal with this this rift in the community is to keep its existence explicit and keep people talking and participating. Personally, I think the Board's position is correct and I am glad that the Board forced this issue out into the open. In my mind, what is important is not to view the Board's position as closing doors on what some people want to get out of Wikiversity. The Board cannot prevent the community from doing what it will do. I suggest that those members of the community who originally wanted Wikiversity to become an online school with a conventional set of courses need to take a long-term view of the project. What is needed at the start of Wikiversity is realistic understanding of how learning communities can be grown from the existing Wikimedia base. At the start, what we need is a way to make people who are devoted to online learning comfortable and productive within the Wikimedia community. If we can establish a happy and productive base of Wikiversity editors, then I think wondeful things will happen. I doubt that most Wikiversity editors will spontaneously create a conventional set of courses, but I do believe that it will be possible to create an online learning community that will in many ways be better than what can come from putting conventional courses online. So rather than view the Board's position as acting to close the door on conventional courses, I hope those who are not joyful can remain open to the need to keep wiki first within Wikiversity. Members of the community need to remain open to making use of the power of the wiki format to develop online learning in ways that is natural for a wiki interface. I think the wiki interface is a powerful enough platform to allow us to create a new and unconventional learning environment that will not only complement conventional courses but move beyond their limitations. --JWSurf 16:00, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
As ever, I'm in absolute agreement with you :-). I hope people will be joyful to be able to contribute materials to such a compelling project, and will take the reins in pushing the boundaries of what is possible within a wiki format - which could indeed develop towards some people's conceptions of what Wikiversity should be in the future. I hope that it being in a Wikimedia context and starting off as a "service provider" (as you've mentioned in the past) will only strengthen its momentum - that's one of the main reasons I haven't been so keen on splitting off to Wikicities or some other wiki farm. I hope, for example, some developers will help us in creating a base of resources to write MediaWiki code - how much more relevant to Wikimedia could we be? That, along with other other previously mentioned projects, should (I hope) be enough to make the community joyful. The main outstanding issue is whether Wikiversity is needed when we already have Wikipedia, Wikibooks etc - I think this was the main community objection. This is where I think research comes in, and I know we've talked about it before, but I think it will play a key role in showing how we are distinct from a WikiProject on Wikipedia or a learning manual in Wikibooks, for example. What do you think of throwing the question of research out to the community, and then submitting the proposal again to the board? Cormaggio @ 17:51, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
I'm not sure what you mean by "throwing the question of research out to the community". Research is a dimension for future growth within Wikiversity.....as the community sees fit to develop it. Many people who are interested in education have been brain-washed with the idea that research and education are in conflict. It is not worth trying to have rational discussions with some people about research. For other people, research and education are seen as being obviously synergistic activities and they will be the ones who take part in research activities within the Wikiversity community. --JWSurf 03:16, 9 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
I'm still confused by this position of the board for many reasons. It seems as though they don't want to trust the current group of users to at least start a new project "provisionally" and simply see what is going to happen. The big worry of the past is that a new project is going to be started and nobody shows up, or perhaps there will a short term flurry of activity and then nothing after that. Wikispecies is a classic example of the former, and the 9/11 wiki is a good example of the second kind of problem. I have offered a prediction that Wikiversity will have over 1000 registered users in the very first week after its creation, and have over 1000 pages of substantial actual content after the first month. And that is the stuff beyond what would be transwikied from Wikibooks.

Regarding if real classes will be offered, I think it ought to be more "show us what you will do first" rather than quash legitimate ideas from bold users. If on-line classes are just talk and no action, then it isn't a problem. Perhaps the "reputation" of Wikiversity would be tarnished, but there isn't a reputation right now to really worry about, and this is the very early stages of what could be offered. BTW, I think the suggestion that it takes about 1/2 hour to "master" development of a Wikipedia article, 4 hours to develop a Wikibook, and 4 days for a Wikiversity course is perhaps about the right ratio of degree of effort for similar quality level of results. A course is going to be necessarily quite difficult to organize and put together, but does that mean the board is telling us to not even try in the first place? And there will be opportunities for individuals to "tweak" a Wikiversity course just as you can do minor spell checking for Wikipedia and Wikibooks content, or add a minor section to an existing Wikibook.

For the original research angle of Wikiversity, this is something that does need further discussion. Wikiversity courses are going to have some very borderline original research anyway, and some issues about the POV of the "instructor" who is conducting such a course. I was trying to show how the inclusion of the Wikimania proceedings within Wikiversity as a positive example for what kinds of content Wikiversity might be able to maintain and develop by allowing original research. It is also a very good example of how Wikiversity could be beneficial to the Wikimedia community as a whole. Some significant studies could be done through Wikiversity, such as the current study done on the German Wikipedia for user interface and general usability of the content. Things like this would be of tremendous value to the Wikimedia community as well. Independent research is already happening on statistical analysis of Wikimedia databases, and there is a huge amount of material that can be mined from this very substantial amount of raw data. Wikiversity would be the perfect forum to present information of this nature.

Basically I'm not entirely sure of what the major concerns are for the board. The short two sentance summary of the concerns raised by the board seems to show a lack of understanding for the roadmap of Wikiversity. Perhaps this roadmap is more what needs to be done, and demonstrate that the issues of accreditation and formal credentials are something that is far off in the future, if it ever happens. Requiring formal credentials was only part of what some of the people working on Wikiversity brought up in the first place, and is something that was ever present with both Nupedia and the early development of Wikipedia as well. I understand how that might be a sensitive topic for Jimbo, but it should be made clear that was not a critical piece of the Wikiversity proposal.

A further point to note is that if you eliminate all of these extra things for Wikiversity, the courses, original research, student-teacher relationships, etc. all you end up with is a mirror of Wikibooks. That is a concern raised by many of the people voting against Wikiversity in the first place, and perhaps they have a point. How critical are these other features and how does Wikiversity measure up as a unique proposal to offer something that is very different from the other Wikimedia projects? --Roberth 03:32, 9 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

To John: We will eventually (I think very soon) have to put this new proposal to the community, to see if there is "joy" about it. Research is the most contentious part of the new proposal, though the way it's phrased at the moment indicates your view that it isn't a necessity to get it started in the first place, and could be instigated through due process as the project develops. But I still think it would be a key distinction from Wikibooks, as Robert points also out - otherwise we're still going to face the same questions as before. However, I take your point about how people perceive research in the first place - maybe we should make it clear that it's not necessarily a fundamental part of everything on Wikiversity, but rather a key difference between it and its sister projects. Or can you make a clear case for a separate project without it? Cormaggio @ 10:56, 9 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
To Robert: I'm speculating here, but I think the board will actually like what we're currently proposing as it stands. I think they basically didn't want to pass it as it was, and they were confused about a number of things, but more than anything, they were nervous, hence the two lines. The main thing that worries me at the moment is whether the community will accept that Wikiversity needs a separate identity, and I see research as pretty crucial to that. I thought we had forgetten about accreditation etc for now - it's not even part of the picture - but 'courses' remain a sensitive area. I thought we had veered more toward the idea of hosting learning materials, which can then be used by groups of people, who form learning communities (where people can be teachers, students, or both). I think that should be enough to indicate the learning process within Wikiversity, rather than simply the content - or do you have anything to add to this? Cormaggio @ 10:56, 9 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
  • Maybe there is no use debating which is more contentious: the role of research or the Board's "no courses" rule. Maybe these are the two sides of a single coin. If, as a student, all you want out of Wikiversity is a way to learn Somethingology 101 without having to pay tuition then what you want is a free online course and you have no interest in research. If, as an instructor, all you want is free webspace for your training sessions, then you are not interested in research either. If, as an instructor, all you want is to download a lesson plan, slide show, or some other "teaching materials" then you are not interested in Wikiversity as a place for research. Wikiversity will always attract some people who have no interest in research, even those who only view research as a distraction from the task of handing facts from teachers to students. In my view, for reasons I have explained before, the Board was correct to decide that they do not want the community to focus on the goal of creating a Wikiversity that is a conventional set of courses. This does not mean that the Board can prevent a group of Wikiversity participants from having a conventional course on Wikiversity. Wikiversity participants who want conventional courses do "make a clear case" for a Wikiversity without research since research is irrelevant to their goals. However, the Board will never forget that the power of wiki comes from a community of many people who cooperate to edit webpages. The trick of having a successful wiki is to be able to attract and retain editors who share a common goal that will guide the distributed editing process towards a constructive endpoint. My guess is that the best way to make a wiki-based learning community is to enable the formation and function of learning projects that are built on group editing of wiki pages as the means of conducting the learning project. Some wiki editors will be mainly students who are engaged in the goal of learning a subject. Some of the wiki editors will be more knowledgable about the topic from the start and will guide, correct and advise those who are less knowleable. To facilitate popular Wikiversity learning projects, some Wikiversity participants will help build online "teaching materials" including "textbooks" that will be suitable for online courses. I think successful wiki-based courses will not be conventional. They will be portals where people can come at anytime to gain access to organized information that can help someone learn about a topic. They will have to be self-sustaining communities of people who share particular learning goals. Wikiversity is only going to "take off" if it can attract a significant number of editors who will add useful content. A plan for attracting and retaining editors who will add educational content to Wikiversity must be the main concern of a viable Wikiversity project proposal. "Open the doors and content will magically appear" is not a viable project proposal. In my view, most of the editors of Wikiversity who will be adding useful content will be "students" who are engaged in research projects. They will be searching for good sources of information about a topic and putting that information into wiki format. This is "secondary research", learning about what other people already know. My guess is, that in order to grow the content of Wikiversity, we will need to attract many "students" who are willing to participate in group "secondary research" projects. My expectaton is that the wiki editing performed by these students will be the main source of Wikiversity content. Some Wikiversity editors will be "experts" who can help guide the "students" to good sources and make sure that the students "get it right". Many such "experts" will be experienced researchers who are concerned with questions for which the answers are not yet known. They will participate in Wikiversity if they have a love of learning and if there is a community of learners who share their interests. To find such Wikiversity editors, the logical starting place is to attract existing Wikimedia project editors who have an interest in learning about particular topics. Existing Wikimedia projects have serious needs for support from scholarly "secondary research" projects. It will be natural for Wikiversity participants to help build wiki textbooks. Wikipedia needs support in finding and documenting sources for its content. Addressing these needs of existing Wikimedia projects would be a good way to attract wiki editors and launch Wikiversity. It automatically brings research, mainly "secondary research" into Wikiversity. Eventually, a crust of conventional courses may accumulate at Wikiversity, but that will depend on first establishing a viable wiki community. --JWSurf 16:49, 12 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
Yes, absolutely - I can't add much more to that :-) So, are you happy with what it says on Wikiversity/Modified_project_proposal#Research? Personally, I think it's a bit vague. I also think we need to add more to Wikiversity:Learning to broaden and clarify our picture for those who are still unconvinced or who feel uninformed about Wikiversity. I don't mean at all to bang on about research - I'm just trying to make a case for a separate project, and I think we need to justify its existence. I think it's already clearer and less-controversial than what we proposed before - is it community-convincing enough yet? Cormaggio @ 09:34, 14 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

Now we can make interactive tests with mediawiki[edit]

The user w:es:Usuario:Comae has developed a monobook extension under GFDL which enables anyone to use interactive tests with Mediawiki. If you want to use it, you must copy his monobook in yours and, after cleaning your clache, you can see how it works in w:es:Usuario:Comae/Prueba. I believe this can be a good tool for developing Wikiversity. --Javier Carro 05:52, 21 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

I'll take your word on it - might have a look when I can. But this is great - thanks for letting us know! Cormaggio @ 11:51, 21 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
Is this something that can be added to the main monobook.js for the site or must it be something just for each user seperately. I'm just not that familar with Mediawiki hacking to know how to add this for mere mortals. I wouldn't mind adding it to en.wikibooks, for example, just to see how it might work, and make it a useful addition for Wikiversity development. --Roberth 17:47, 21 March 2006 (UTC)Reply
I don't know Mediawiki specs very much, but it should be easy to install for all users modifiying some "Mediawiki:" template (the "monobook.js" of the site, I suppose). It changes the window.onload function, so it could collide with some user monobook.js, which means that some users would need to slightly modify their own js code; but the changes should be very straightforward (only a line). If Wikiversity wants to have interactive tests with automatic correction, this shouldn't be an issue. And the current code is only the barebones of what could be accomplished later: error highlighting, showing of correct answers on ending, complete support for wikicode or images in questions and answers...
(By the way, if you find any bug or have trouble running this extension, please let me know - I only tested it on IE6, Opera 8 and Firefox 1.5, but it should work nicely on any modern browser)
I think the most important point about this is that, once it's installed in a wiki, everybody can create a test in any page of the wiki using a very simple markup. There is a brief example of that markup (note that there is no limit in the number of questions or answers in a test):
<div id="wquiz">
# 2+2?
#*More than 10
# Where is Leipzig?
<div id="wQuizAnswers"> <!-- Here go the correct answers, by question order -->
--Comae 16:04, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply

Ingmar / UNESCO[edit]

There has been a proposal by an Ingmar who wants to involve UNESCO at this early stage. Discussion on the points can be done there.

(this info moved from Wikiversity/Scope)