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Wikiversity/Rejected proposal

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This is a version of the page Wikiversity as of 00:33 (UTC), 8 November 2005. The board of trustees rejected this proposal. The approved proposal is at Wikiversity/Modified project proposal, and Wikiversity exists at http://www.wikiversity.org

See the proposal at the proposed projects page which was rushed into existence because of calls to delete the wikiversity pages from Wikibooks.

This page is a formal project proposal for the Wikiversity project. Please add ideas and thoughts to Talk:Wikiversity. For thoughts/proposals on how to develop Wikiversity, see Moving Wikiversity forward.


The purpose of the Wikiversity project, which will ultimately reside at www.wikiversity.org, is to build an electronic institution of learning that will be used to test the limits of the wiki model both for developing electronic learning resources as well as for teaching and for conducting research and publishing results (within a policy framework developed by the community).

The goals can be described as follows:

  • E-teaching materials. The development and cataloging of tests, teaching materials that go beyond the scope of Wikibooks such as slides and videos, complete courses, and more. All this information must be presented from a neutral point of view and represent the current state of scientific research. Wikibooks will be used as a partner project where appropriate.
  • E-learning. A framework within which members of the community can actually take courses online.
  • For more info on what Wikiversity is, please check its About page.


Wikiversity could become much more than "yet another university" - it has the potential for rethinking the mode of education itself, or, at least, for furthering the model of collaborative education that is taking hold of the progressive educative community. Collaborative learning (or, variously, "cohort learning", "constructivist learning", or as part of a learning community) is increasingly seen as a key factor in increasing participation and motivation in courses, both off and online. In this model, teachers are facilitators - they set up key elements of activities, courses and programs, but the content and process of these activities etc. is largely dictated by the students themselves; for example, collaboratively writing and researching a business proposal, or producing a poster of the pros and cons of GM technology. We can see collaborative work in any Wikimedia project, particularly the Wikipedias. If this is worked well (and it is all down to groupwork dynamics and constant monitoring by the facilitator), the students will take charge of the activity and it will usually have more meaning for them than something which is learned through the simple description of the field/subject/theory. This touches on the experiential element to education, requiring a reflective element on the behalf of students and teachers, which can be done through keeping a personal diary and sharing this selectively with the teacher or group, or even of writing this openly, for example in the form of a blog (or wiki-blog).

Furthermore, Wikiversity need not be confined to traditional university programs. It could be used for a wide range of literacy programs which could be of use to millions, particularly in the developing world. In a globalising world, major languages like English or Chinese are increasingly desirable - these could be taught through the wikiversity. Similarly, just like other Wikimedia projects, smaller languages could be promoted and taught by the same means. The scope could encompass any range of learning - educative content is shown to be deliverable through electronic means to a wide range of age groups (there is also the inherent potential for different literacies here, particularly computer literacy and media literacy - these need to be factored into any program). Fundamentally though, the scope of a Wikiversity course, whether it is purely research-led or about practical training, or what the age group and/or level of the course should be, should be up to the course teacher/facilitator, and be allowed to grow naturally according to its own need. Therefore the vision of Wikiversity cannot be defined by one person, but, like all wikis, by the participants themselves - including the students.

Possible software needs[edit]

Wikiversity should be possible without changes to our software, MediaWiki. However, the software may need work in the following area:

  • Electronic testing. It could be useful to have the capability to take tests through the wiki.
  • Web of trust. It may be helpful to have some kind of certification model to grade Wikiversity students.
  • Single login. Every new project makes it more difficult to merge the many user accounts from the different Wikimedia projects. It would be desirable to have single login in place before Wikiversity is launched.
  • MediaWiki extensions for various scientific disciplines (see especially WikiTeX, which is currently not installed for security reasons)
  • Templates and guidelines should be provided to authors in order to structure the courses (and "Learning Objects") according to sound pedagogy standards.

Wikiversity so far[edit]

In order to work in an organized way towards full coverage of the topics normally taught at universities, the current Schools of Wikiversity have been organized into five major divisions,

  1. Physical Sciences,
  2. Life Sciences,
  3. Humanities,
  4. Practical Arts and Sciences
  5. Social Sciences.

Within these five major divisions are 45 schools. For example, the Humanities Division contains schools of Art and Design, Classics, Law, Linguistics, Literature and English Studies, Music, Philosophy and Theology. Within the Wikiversity Social Sciences Division the School of History has an example of an active course called The Great War and Versailles taught by Christopher Polizano.

Other courses being developed include:[edit]


Q: Does Wikiversity compete with Wikibooks?

No, the goals of Wikiversity are to develop materials that would be inappropriate on Wikibooks, to index Wikimedia resources, to index existing resources by other institutions, and to actively use these materials for teaching, autonomous learning, and research. Wikibooks would be useful to relevant Wikiversity courses as texts.

Q: What will be the relation between Wikiversity and the Research Team?


A presentation of Wikiversity was done by Anthere in september 2005 in Pretoria. See the Presentation of WMF and Wikiversity and the report Conference reports/FLOSS, South Africa 2005/Workshop 2.


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