User:JWSchmidt/Blog/23 February 2007
Wikipedia is so large that it deforms the conditions for existence of all other wiki projects. In most cases, it helps when Wikiversity participants who are creating webpages here at Wikiversity are aware of the related resources that already exist at Wikipedia. I was pleased to see a new Wikiversity participant plainly express this as the need for "Searching Wikipedia to avoid reinventing the wheel".
I have been thinking about the fact that Wikipedia takes a one-size-fits-all approach to topics. The exception to this is built into the idea that Wikipedia articles can start "simple" and then get more technical towards the bottom. However, I've noticed that some people go to the discussion pages of the more technical Wikipedia articles and leave comments such as, "Can anyone explain this in English?" Wikiversity can complement Wikipedia by providing introductions to technical topics. At the opposite extreme, some people will come to Wikiversity because they want to go beyond what is possible at Wikipedia and investigate topics in greater detail.
None of what I have written above is meant to ignore Wikibooks. Wikiversity participants should search Wikibooks and become aware of existing textbook modules that are related to Wikiversity webpages. However, there is much less content at Wikibooks than at Wikipedia. Based on my experience, in most cases Wikiversity participants will be actively helping to develop Wikibooks textbooks that can be used as resources by Wikiversity participants.
I started using the Science journalism content development project as place to explicitly test ways to take a Wikipedia article as a starting point and then design Wikiversity pages around that existing Wikipedia page. In particular, I selected the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine learning project as my starting point. My goal with that project is to make sure that Wikiversity has learning resources related to each year's Nobel Prize. So far there is only the RNA interference page for the 2006 prize. That page now explicitly directs Wikiversity participants to individually decide if the related Wikipedia article is too technical or if it does not go into enough detail. For people who need a less technically detailed learning resource, there is a link to a subpage, RNA interference/Medical, where a less technical description of the medical implications of the Nobel Prize-winning research is outlined (still under construction at this moment). Anyone who wants to go into additional details is invited to join in further exploration of the topic, ask questions, and join in discussions.
This website has another approach, providing a set of questions about a topic, each with links to basic and advances options.