Wikiversity:FAQ

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Read below to explore some questions and answers about Wikiversity.

What is Wikiversity?[edit]

Wikiversity is a learning community. Learning and discovery are vital, ongoing aspects of life and society. The Wikiversity community aims to further the discovery and distribution of knowledge in a very natural way, by helping people to learn and to share learning resources.

You can use Wikiversity to find information, ask questions, or learn more about a subject. You can explore knowledge at Wikiversity through advanced study and research. You can also use Wikiversity to share your knowledge about a subject with others by building learning materials.

For a longer description, see What is Wikiversity?

How is Wikiversity organized?[edit]

At the time of writing, there are several major "Portals" in Wikiversity embracing disciplines such as Engineering and Technology · Interdisciplinary Studies · Humanities · Life Sciences · Physical Sciences · Practical Arts and Sciences · Professional Schools · Social Sciences. Over time, more will appear. Or you could start one.

Note that nomenclature at Wikiversity is a process of evolution, with learning material in the main space, and a variety of related information and resources in other namespaces. For example, The Faculty of the Humanities has organized itself into schools:

For this example, each "School" has Departments, for instance within the School of Music is the Department of Music in Film. Within this Department can be found Film scoring for filmmakers and musicians to learn how to create musical effects for motion pictures.

It should be noted, however, that each faculty and subject area are free to organize themselves in their own way, to suit their own needs.

Credentials, diplomas & provenance[edit]

Will I earn a diploma at Wikiversity?[edit]

No. That's one thing we don't do. At the moment you cannot earn credentials here. But you can learn here and then earn your credentials elsewhere. For now this is about the learning itself, by itself.

Are there exams at Wikiversity?[edit]

Some course leaders may post some questionnaires (see also: Quiz) so you can assess your learning progress. Course leaders may also give personal feedback on their observations of your progress. Wikiversity strives to help each person define and reach his or her personal learning goals, and so there shouldn't be any pressure to perform or fear of failure; instead, we promote learning through experience, which includes making mistakes.

Who gets to decide what gets posted here?[edit]

You do. Go ahead and post. A more complete answer is: "We all do." All Wikiversity pages may be created and revised by anyone. In this sense a Wikiversity page is being created by a community, by those who choose to be active in the process. The result is pages which reflect the current consensus. Note that older versions can always be revived. Any vandalism can be undone by any user.
If you're an expert (or, better, "have proven expertise"), we encourage you to be prepared to work with others in collaboration — just as they are encouraged to work with you. This encouragement of equal participation is a positive factor in building a healthy community of learning, for the sake of learning.
Appeal to non-present or non-proven authority is not the normal expectation here. Much less is learning by authoritatively stating a fact with no supporting reasoning. We encourage a reasoned dialogue showing a neophyte the reasons, assumptions, and so forth, that create a commonly accepted fact.
Wikiversity has no set-in-stone identification of authorship, or even a concept of single authorship. Each page version is preserved. You can easily step back and compare one version with any other, see who performed the edits and communicate with those editors. And indeed, enter into conversation with any of the editors about their choices. This is peer review of content.

How is "inappropriate" material kept off the site?[edit]

Hate speech is unacceptable.
Propaganda used as propaganda is unacceptable.
Material that violates copyright law is immediately removed, on discovery.
It's the community of active participants who decides what's irresponsible and inappropriate for Wikiversity. That community includes you, if you choose. Content is challenged all the time. Community consensus may cause sections or whole pages to be removed.
If you feel strongly certain material should not be published, then start by posting your concerns on the page's Discussion area, and/or by contacting the various editors of the page (available from the page's History tab), and/or by posting your concerns on the Colloquium.
Wikiversity is a Wiki driven by consensus building among its participants.

How reliable is the material on Wikiversity?[edit]

There's no simple black-and-white answer to this question. Realistically you should use your best judgment. Factual errors generally get squeezed out fairly quickly. Matters of point of view and opinion take longer to generate consensus.
In matters of authenticity and reliability we encourage you to contact editors of pages of interest and query them. Go to the History tab of any page of interest and discover who has edited that page.

What about cheating and cheaters?[edit]

Wikiversity is not interested in catching cheaters nor participating in entrapping them for disciplinary purposes. At the same time, Wikiversity shall not become a repository for materials intended to allow illicit publication of that which can be construed as resources for cheaters. Cheating is explicitly discouraged throughout this website.

Learning materials[edit]

Wikiversity is in the process of developing learning materials ready for downloading for use for all age and education levels, in and out of formal learning environments. Discover what's available by clicking on a faculty name on the Main Page and proceed down from there.

Can I download materials here and use them in my own offsite classes? What are the terms of their use?[edit]

You are absolutely free to download and use our materials in your teaching. Our content is licensed under the free licenses (CC by-sa + GFDL) - basically, requiring that the content be distributed in a similar license and with attribution for the content's creators - see the complete terms of use. You are also able - encouraged - to help revise our materials. Better yet, you could post your revisions back to Wikiversity. Also post your experiences using the materials to the page's Discussion area. Give back and make Wikiversity better. Thank you for this.

How can I determine whether the material here is any good?[edit]

By questioning, and by striving to understand the material yourself. It's your judgment call. If you can make it better, go ahead and edit. Note that every page has a Discussion area where you can post your observations and questions. You can review the History of a page, see who wrote which version and enter into dialogue with these individuals. Together we can, and will, make the material here stronger and stronger.


Learning Projects[edit]

Many Wikiversity pages are devoted to interactive learning activities taking place online. The Learning Projects page is a good place to recruit learners for your project and/or to discover an active learning opportunity for yourself.

Who can teach?[edit]

Everyone with the motivation to help others learn, no credentials required. Wikiversity is about people learning how to learn and teach — we value expertise and experience, but we also value learning through experience.
You will find all kinds of teachers here: retired professional academics, active ones, folks from the industry and the self-taught fellows with no formal qualifications at all. Ask course leaders for their backgrounds, or not.
If your students like the course, good, they will probably continue working with you. If not, they may wander away, or raise objections. You can only maintain yourself in the role of instructor through meritorious contributions, positive feedback from the community and especially from those who participate in your online courses. Everything at Wikiversity is subject to peer review.

If I teach, will I get paid, or can I charge my students?[edit]

No, no fees are collected or paid for participation in Wikiversity. Everything is voluntary. Wikiversity is free to all.

General[edit]

How can I become involved?[edit]

By visiting the Community Bulletin Board. There is a link in the sidebar under the Wikiversity logo. Here you'll learn what tasks need to be done, what groups can be joined. You are vigorously encouraged to join. It's free; as a member you identify your contributions and get a set of personal pages where you can engage in discussions.
Here's how to start a new page, some editing tips and the Edit Interface. And a whole page about adding content.
You don't need "sign" your submissions to content pages — that's recorded automatically and shown on the History of the page. But you are definitely encouraged to sign your contributions to the Discussion page and any Talk page. Do this with four tildes (~). Here's more about signatures.
Wikipedia's guidance on contributing generally apply to Wikiversity as well. If you don't want your writing to be edited or redistributed by others, do not submit it.
Be sure to visit the Colloquium for general discussions. For real-time chat with other Wikiversity users, check out our Chat page.
Go ahead and make what you see better.

Can I have my own User Page?[edit]

Absolutely. A clickable tab for it will appear at the top of every Wikiversity page. Use your personal page any way you like. Introduce yourself, add pictures. Best of all, add Wikiversity page links and other links you frequently visit. Your page will greatly help in your own navigation and help others connect with you. You'll also get a separate Talk page where others can post messages for you. Create your free membership here.

Is there an Index? How can I find "stuff" I might be interested in?[edit]

There are several ways. Try Wikiversity:Browse. If you want to see every page see: All Pages. Use the popup to limit the selection by type of page. Or use the Search field in the Sidebar on every Wikiversity page to enter your search criteria. Or start at the Wikiversity Main Page and drill down through the various faculties, departments and schools to material of interest. Or jump to the Examples page.

Who pays for Wikiversity?[edit]

People like you do, by donations. Here's how you can make a donation (entirely voluntary). Notice there's no advertising on Wikiversity. We're non-commercial, entirely run by volunteers, operating costs covered by donations from people like you and by grants from various institutions.

What if someone wrecks a perfectly good course?[edit]

If you see a page which appears (at least in your eyes) to have been degraded from an earlier version, then enter into the editing process.
It's good practice to enter into dialogue with the editor who made the changes you feel are unfortunate. Propose a compromise. Discuss your feelings in the Discussion area of the page. Don't be afraid to be bold. Integrate what you liked about the older version into the current version. Use the History tab at the top of the page to compare any two versions of a page and see what changed.
There's also the option of "forking" a course into two equivalent and equal versions covering the same subject but in different styles. Nothing at Wikiversity is "definitive".

How can change be monitored?[edit]

Change happens. On wikis, it happens all the time. Right now, pages are being created and improved, and edits are being published. Take a look at the recent changes log and see for yourself!
Since our launch on August 15th, 2006, we've created 27,097 content pages. For other statistics, see Wikiversity:Statistics. Right now, the project is being actively built by people like you; as you read this, it is very likely someone will be editing or previewing changes to one or more pages on this site.

Where and how are Wikiversity policies formulated?[edit]

As a project in the early stages of development, Wikiversity is undergoing a huge amount of discussion relating to policies, technical issues, and establishing an initial content infrastructure and general layout. The main forum for discussions is the Colloquium — take a look there and feel free to drop a reply to anything which interests you. You might want to, for example, take a look at or contribute to our various policies.

What are the long range goals of Wikiversity?[edit]

Wikiversity was started in the summer of 2006, so we're still articulating them. However, here are a few relevant pages—What Wikiversity Is, What Wikiversity Is Not, Scope and Wikiversity community. Add your thoughts to these pages' discussion pages, or edit the pages themselves. Best yet, add your comments and recommendations to Colloquium. And here's how a Wikibooks project gave birth to Wikiversity—History of Wikiversity.

What's 'Wiki' all about?[edit]

The word is Hawaiian for "fast", and in this context refers both to the software underpinning Wikiversity and to the editing and contribution conventions that have evolved around wiki software. Learn a lot more at this Wikipedia link. And some more here.

What languages are supported?[edit]

Currently 11 separate Wikiversity projects—see www.wikiversity.org. Yet not separated languages you can find at beta Wikiversity.

What are the admissions requirements?[edit]

Wikiversity is open to all who are interested in learning or contributing what they know. A willingness to work with others, however, is required (see Collaborative learning).

From the learning point of view, what is different from Wikipedia to Wikiversity?[edit]

Wikipedia has a narrow mission: the creation of encyclopedia articles. Wikiversity has a broader mandate to explore how to use wiki technology to promote learning.

More questions[edit]

Ok, I don't really get it. What’s the point of Wikiversity?
Wikiversity is a wiki where participants collaborate to learn things while creating a variety of web pages, learning aids, support systems and networks of people with similar goals.
Web pages and learning aids about what?
Whatever people are interested in....the participants learn while they participate...."learn by doing" is the general approach. Much of the "doing" is organized around "learning projects". One such project is currently prototyping a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system to allow conferencing, seminars, distributed jamming and other distributed voice communications activities.
What is the end product it's trying to make?
Our sister projects make encyclopedia articles and textbooks, at Wikiversity we work to make a fun and productive learning environment that supports the learning goals of our participants. Learning comes first at Wikiversity.
I guess, we'll see....?
Wikiversity is an experiment in how to use wiki technology to support online learning. As Jimmy Wales said at Wikimania 2006: "We should run small experiments, tests, see what works, what doesn't, and be prepared to be flexible and change, and not be too locked into stone about how things should work"
Where are the courses?
Wikiversity develops and hosts many types of modular "learning resources", which may be structured as part of a course or as a stand-alone activity. The philosophy of "Learn by doing", however, means that Wikiversity has unconventional "courses" called "learning projects", fun activities that attract participants. Wikiversity community members learn while they participate in learning projects - we are a learning community.
Who are the teachers at Wikiversity?
Wikiversity is not a conventional university; Wikiversity is a wiki. Wikiversity has participants, people who edit the web pages of Wikiversity. Anyone who edits Wikiversity and adds educational content to the website is functioning as a teacher. There may be some who know more about a subject than others - what we're about here at Wikiversity is helping each other learn more. We can all help someone learn something.
How can I help?
Start by browsing our content. Find a topic of study that is of interest to you such as Topic: Computer Programming and start participating. You can create a new webpage for a topic that is of interest to you and start typing! Alternatively you can solve some math or physics problem by hand or sketch an engineering design or painting idea and then scan it for upload (please set the copyright status correct) as a jpeg, gif or png file. Then this image can be linked to from within wiki web pages or linked to from IRC chat rooms. Wikiversity is exploring the use of multimedia resources (example) and distributed conference calls for connecting participants with common interests. Most of this is current capability. Some is still evolving. Feel free to join and help us improve our capabilities or use what we already have.
What is the difference between Wikiversity, Wikibooks, and even Wikipedia?
Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia. Wikibooks provides free textbooks. Wikiversity is for other types of learning resources besides textbooks and encyclopedia articles. Wikiversity supports online learning communities, groups of people who are trying to learn about particular topics. Wikiversity is a place where these learning groups can assemble and discover how best to learn things online. Wikiversity is also the first WikiMedia project that is open to hosting and fostering research.
Does Wikiversity have degree programs?
No. Wikiversity is not accredited, does not award credits towards completion of degree programs and does not award degrees, certificates or any other formal documentation of participant learning activities. In a wiki, your history of edits is a record of your participation in collaborative learning activities. See: What Wikiversity is not

See also[edit]

General information, guides & help[edit]

Overarching principles[edit]

The Wikiversity community[edit]

Additional links[edit]

Wikiversity is a facility for learning by doing