Broken/About

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Note: this page sould probably be renamed to Wikiversity: namespace.

See m:Talk:Wikiversity#Updated_proposal for other talk related to this page.

See also:Talk:About (duplicate of this page?)

Project identity[edit]

A few points:

  • Firstly, "The main goal of Wikiversity is to teach" - is horrible. Surely we are about promoting learning, not just providing information?
  • Second, why are we forbidding research? It doesn't seem possible in a learner-centred environment, especially if we are providing courses on sociology, chemistry, or anything to a reasonably high level? Or maybe we aren't doing this? And yes, I realise we don't want to just allow ourselves to become a repository for the work of Professor Fruitcake and his band of merry students, but surely there is a need for some form of publishing research and peer-review?
  • Following on from this idea, is it not necessary to provide some forum of debate wherein learners can exchange ideas/problems? Does this not obviate a project similar to all other Wikimedia projects where users have pages (again forbidden) and there is some sort of communal meeting ground, ie. Water Cooler, Helpdesk, etc.? This is a fundamental aspect of learning and motivating people to participate - one of the holy grails of e-learning.
  • And finally on the subject of cutoff point - I realise the idea of cutting off courses at high school level is probably a practical one - I realise that my points here are potentially huge and extremely complicated. But isn't that what we're supposed to be providing, eventually? It seems that for now we're just going to build a repository of books ie Wikibooks and then write up a few questions and get students to go figure - doesn't seem so inspiring to me.

I realise I could have gone and edited all this but I feel they're too big issues to just boldly change. So I'd like feedback on what people see as the identity of this project, or more like its potential identity, bearing in mind it will not remain on Wikibooks for ever :-) All the best. Cormaggio 17:33, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Teaching vs. learning. Education is still dominated by the factory metaphor: an endless stream of students comes down the line, empty bottles ready to be filled with knowledge using the most efficient knowledge injection technology. The students are viewed as passive empty containers to be filled by the fountain of information flowing from the instructor. I agree that it is a horrible image.
An alternative educational philosophy starts with each person as a curious individual confronting the wonders of the world. For each individual student there is a theoretical optimal way to promote the process by which the student can learn about the world. Educational institutions can be judged according to how effectively they provide the assistance that each student needs to find their intellectual path in life. Clearly, such optimization of learning requires feedback between learners and teachers. At the very least, a teacher needs to learn about the student in order to know what the student needs.
In the factory model of education, teaching can be one-size-fits-all. The Receptacles (students) that happen to be a good match to the Dispenser (teacher, educational institution, course of study, instructional methods) will be filled efficiently. The Receptacles that are incompatible with the Dispenser are knocked off the factory line and into the trash bin of society.
Can a Wiki University escape from the factory model of education? I'd like to find out. Towards this goal, I suggest that a good first rule for Wikiversity might be: Wikiversity does not have to do anything in the same way as conventional universities. We have the chance to designate the needs of learners as a central concern of the entire Wikiversity system. To accomplish this, we need innovative methods for allowing the educational process to be informed by student needs. Wikiversity should be constructed from the ground up using anything we can think of that will allow students to make known their learning needs and anything that will allow the Wikiversity community to facilitate learning and discovery.
This does not mean putting students "in control"; often students have no idea what is best for their learning needs, they just do not have the needed experience with options and knowing what works and what fails in education. There has to be a facilitated process of communication between members of the university community that allows institutional and personal knowledge to guide the learning process according to student needs. Of course, there has to be flexibility and wiggle room for experimentation and innovation.
Research. It is probably the case that university education should be centered on research. The university community has to be involved in exploration of the unknown. How to ask questions and explore the unknown is a major part of the subject matter of university level education. People who want a "university" without research should start a wikitechnicaltraininginstitute. A university community must be engaged in peer-reviewed publication. Wikiversity can make use of conventional informal wiki "peer review" of wiki webpage content and formal peer-reviewed wiki publication. Some forms of modern research can be very expensive and will probably require innovative cooperative interactions between Wikiversity and bricks-and-mortar research institutes. Some of the better research institutions are already developing online "community outreach" programs that allow for open access to the research infrastructure. Wikiversity could tap into this growing opportunity for access to research facilities and expertise. The wikiversity educational model will eventually infect and transform some segments of existing traditional universities. --JWSurf 04:26, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Thank you ever so much for that thoughtful and eminently quotable piece, JW. I absolutely agree that it's just too soon to start cutting off aspects of what is a potentially ground-breaking initiative. Just on a further identity issue, and this has been discussed on the m:Talk:Wikiversity page as well as mailing lists, but what about generalising it further and naming it something like Wiki-learning (or Wikisophia as Erik and Angela suggested)? This would include the (arguably) more passing information-driven aspect of high-school courses, and also the research-driven work of potential higher education courses. But, yes, I completely agree that we need to look at the broader picture of what is possible as well as what is practical for now. Cormaggio 11:37, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Name and Scope. In my view, early education depends on human contact; basically, children must be allowed to hear, see and do and you need a person there to see how things are going and help out. I'm not enthusiastic about the utility of online learning for young childrn. At some point, each person (with a healthy brain) can attain the ability to start learning from sources such as textbooks. Such a person has learned how to learn and has become self-motivated and can be responsible for their own learning. At that point, online learning resources can be effectively utilized. Some high-school students reach this developmental stage, but not all. I would not exclude high-school students from participating in Wikiversity (how could you?). Anyone loking for answers will be attracted to Wikiversity. I confess that I have no talent for naming things. "Wikiversity" seems fine to me. It is hard for me to generate much concern about names. I suspect people will use whatever name they want and the project should probably adopt the name that the community comes to use. I once heard about a new university where they did not put in sidewalks. After a year, they paved the paths that people had worn in the ground. Has someone expressed a coherent objection to "wikiversity"? --JWSurf 15:45, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Yes, see m:Talk:Wikiversity#Wikiversity_.3D.3E_Wikisophia and a number of threads on the foundation-l list in May starting with this post from Erik Moeller. Cormaggio 10:35, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Traditional Universities "the name Wikiversity is problematic in that it ties the project very strongly to the idea of traditional universities" (source)
It is hard for me to picture a "wikiversity" as anything traditional. I guess it is true that there are some people who would reflexively try to model wikiversity after "traditional universities". That reflex can be easily quelled; just state that it is the mission of wikiversity to be innovative and do what is best to promote education, not replicate in silico the limitations inherent in traditional universities. Was there a debate like this when wikipedia .... wikibooks and wikinews were named? "the name wikibooks is problematic in that it ties the project very strongly to the idea of traditional books." --JWSurf 14:01, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Too Cute. "The trend of squeezing things into obscure neologisms strikes me as too cute for a serious project." (source)
"We can never forgive Abner Doubleday for inventing the word 'baseball'. The trend of squeezing two perfectly good words into a new word strikes me as too cute for something as serious as a national passtime, er, national sport. Couldn't he come up with something better? Er, some other name? 'Doubleday' is a silly name, too." -Al Spalding (1907).
Ok, I'll hit the points one by one here.
Teaching vs learning- I think that the way I meant the term teach and the way you mean the term learn are identical. If you want to rephrase it as facilitate learning or sometthing similar, go ahead. As someone who has worked as a tutor and TA, I tend to mean teach as "do whatever is necessary to help people learn the material".
Research- I'll stick to my guns here and say that wikiversity's job is not to host new research. I think its a case here of people getting too caught up in the name "versity". If you're writing a paper, it ought to get peer reviewed either through a normal journal or through existing wikis. If its already gone through peer review and been generally accepted, its no longer research and thus acceptable (provided you turn it into a course or part of a course). A note from our discussion on meta- I would not consider redoing a sociology experiment or the like to be research unless it covered entirely new ground. If its a run comprised of existing knowledge, its not research but an experiment.
Exchange of ideas- Yes, I agree that a forum for exchange of ideas and thoughts are necessary. I don't think anything on the about page ruled it out. Perhaps it didn't talk about it, blame the fact that I did a quick rip-off of the wikibooks about for that.
Just wikibook problems - No, I don't think our goal is just to provide a few questions and answers for wikibooks. I think I stated it best in the differences between this and wikibooks part
"The major difference between the two is the difference between a course and a book. A course combines multiple methods of learning, to increase the chance of a student learning. These methods can include but are not limited to- wikiforums, lectures, homework, collaborative projects, discussions, student journals, etc. A book can be one part of a course"
The reason for the cutoff point is that below some point, students are not very capable of self-learning. At that point, any attempt to put courses on the web is not really aimed at the students, but at educators. Which while useful, isn't really our goal IMHO. Of course, this leaves a lot of ground open, and should not be intended to mean only things you learn in school are acceptable courses. --Gabe Sechan 17:58, August 19, 2005 (UTC)
I am not certain I have found the current draft goals or mission statements. I am confident that at least delivery of free self and mutual study processes to participants via internet or grid browser will be part of it or implied. Just as practicing engineers will be assisted by case studies and sample projects FDL'ed for the pedagogical purpose of illustration by example ... so too will kindergartner instructors and home schooling parents as well as any participants stranded in isolated pockets such as Gilligan's Island or Mission to Mars (or far beyond) probably be interested in FDL'ed lesson plans that can be easily and quickly cut and pasted into something useful for their instructional efforts. Are we to teach or enable self study for everybody except teachers and parents? BTW I think many here are placing way to much emphasis on the term "course". The Mars Society has a fully functional open source simulation of a Mars Colony that I fully have good intentions of eventually adding to or modifying when it is appropriate to start enabling my own cluster of space colonists or micro entrepreneur associates with access to fun educational materials. There is an open source flight simulator that my brother is currently using to help himself learn to fly. Both as part of ground school and for touch and go in various aircraft ... that is correct, the physics of the simulation and the feel of his custom built game rig is good that he is training his reflexes for survival escape modes before he gets in the aircraft and becomes a hazard to himself, his flight instructor and anyone on the ground nearby. If we restrict Wikiversity to our own crystal clear vision of what it should be with no room for innovation or learning applicable to real life then we risk alienating the technical modern computer savvy internet users that we wish to attract as self study participants. Speaking specifically regarding small children. Why should we restrict ourselves from developing useful video, sound, interactive clips? Clearly there have been no limits placed on commercial and advocacy groups in there efforts to profit, addict, brainwash kids in the U.S. Anyone really think that semi random groups of parents can produce worse results than some of the potentially damaging material delivered for profit or personal agenda? Perhaps a review board with some teeth will be appropriate to eliminate hazardous or inappropriate material or restrict it according to various cultural or geographical requirements (yes, filtering or censoring). The discussion I have seen to date all seems to converge towards building appropriate general tools and allowing responsible agencies (sovereigns, parents, etc.) specify to the adults running the individual accessing browser determine what the local machine should deliver to specific local consumers. Just my quarter's worth. I'll be around. Lazyquasar 23:50, 27 November 2005 (UTC)


  • First of all, on teaching - I couldn't put it any better than JWSchmidt's eloquent expression of the differences between teacher-centred and learner-centred education (see above). I don't think it's just a case of semantics, and I fear that, even if you think we mean the same thing, the difference will become apparent during the actual process.
  • I also think that your take on research is quite misguided. I think that you see research as some form of end product, whereas I see it (and I think JW agrees) as part of the process. However, I do agree that research is difficult terrain - we couldn't, for example, endorse research that someone did that was deeply unethical, and how we negotiate this is tricky, or will be at least.
  • The issue of creating a platform for exchange just seemed to necessitate allowing for some form of personal space, where users could upload their photos, list their interests, thoughts - ie. just like on any of our projects. The present wording forbids the use of wikiversity for hosting personal websites - ok, this could get unwieldy but so can any wikimedia user page.
  • It seems I misunderstood the cutoff point - I thought we were saying no courses above high school level, wheras it seems we're saying no courses below. Sorry about that.
  • But basically, I appreciate this discussion we're having and hope it does some good for the project. These are fundamental points and ones many members of the wider community will be interested in. Do you think we should advertise this a bit more - get a few more opinions? I also appreciate that you just recently wrote this page, Gabe, and as such it seems to reflect your view of the wikiversity. Can you maybe point me to previous discussions of these points so that I could look at their background? Thanks. Cormaggio 10:35, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
    • On teaching vs learning- I think you and JW had some bad teachers. I was a TA and tutor, and the good ones do whatever is needed to pound the data into my head, and thats why you see some distinction. But as I said- I'm not dead set on that wording. Please go ahead and change it, I believe that I meant it in the way that you mean learning.
    • The wikimedia software does have user pages for things like photos and interests. People are able to use that. I'd be nervous of allowing full home pages- it seems like it would be way too much work for the admins. THats the main reason we end up having scope talks in the first place- the more thats allowed, the more work it is to aintain stuff.
    • Definitely we want college in here. In fact, I don't plan on doing anything below it at this time. I'd even say jr high would work. There's just a nebulous cutoff somewhere below.
    • I think advertising this more widely is a good idea, the more opinions the better. Mind doing ti for me? I'm in the middle of moving, so I'm typing this on a webTV system that reboots every 10 minutes- hard to surf or type good replies. The issues that aused e to write ti were from a mix of sources- metawiki's wikiversity page, talk pages here for various wikiversity pages and course pages mainly. --Gabe Sechan 22:50, August 21, 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Gabe. I'm trying to understand your sentence about me, JW and bad teachers - is it that you think we'd make bad teachers? If so, why? But basically, yes, the point is that there are different teaching styles and we should accommodate for that. I've made quite substantial changes to the Goals section to reflect the general substance of this conversation - please take a look. i think the only thing we substantially disagree on is research, which I've changed in the goals section but which remains in the research section. I basically think that it's just too early in Wikiversity's identity phase to block out something which I believe to be fundamental to e-learning. I'll try to advertise this a bit more - set up a Wikiversity sub page on Meta - but I'm also really tied for time at the moment. Anyone reading this, even if you haven't been involved yet, is welcome to try to implement this community involvement process that this project so badly needs. (See below) Thanks. Cormaggio 09:18, 22 August 2005 (UTC)
No, not at all. Not having seen you in action I can't say you're good, but you definitely have the passion for it. I said that if you think there's a major difference between how I meant teach and you meant learn, you've had some bad experiences with teachers. A good one does whatever is necessary to teach the student, he doesn't just try to follow the same formula as JW's text said.--Gabe Sechan 10:05, August 22, 2005 (UTC)


Two short comments

The first is about the cutoff. I just do not see why we would put a cut off with a minimum age required, and definitily would not recommand it. We had several times on wikipedia some interactions with teachers from kids about 8-10, and these teachers are already using teaching supports to prepare their lectures. These are usually more illustrated, but definitly courses with guidelines over a few weeks. These courses could very well fit here. What I would not want to see if such teachers rejected from the place just because of a rule set up at the beginning of a project, by university teachers who do not considers needs for teaching materials for younger. The low level cutoff will just happen naturally. There is another reason : I wish we work on illiteracy, including teaching materials for adults. There are few of these materials in some little developped countries and I think these materials should have the opportunity to be hosted here. If they are rejected, I think they will reappear on wikibooks and upset editors from wikibooks. These materials belong here. So what are your arguments for putting a minimum age limit ?

Second, about research. I totally disagree that any type of university system should be centered around research. THis is how some students end up with brains loaded with useless stuff and do not learn to have a real useful job and end up unemployed as employers do not even see how to make a good use of all these freshly graduated people. Do not get me wrong : research is important, and in some areas, absolutely mandatory. But one of the wrong things we can see in university, is thousands of young being taught research stuff while it will never be what they will be asked to do in real life. This is not helping at all. This said, I think research should be part of wikiversity; if only in one sense : I think it should be possible for publish research papers, such as students to publish their PhD thesis, which in many countries end up on a shelf on a microfilm, hence useless. The thesis can be used as references for teaching courses. Anthere

I agree about the cut off point - I don't think there should be one. My initial objection was to cutting off higher courses, which i couldn't see us doing, especially if we're going to be a "wikiversity". But there is so much potential here and I think this broad scope of all education is what prompted Angela and Erik to propose Wikisophia, which I'm personally not so keen on (if not Wikiversity, then I prefer Wiki-learning for now). I think that really any courses that have a teacher should be encouraged, and those literacy programs would be fantastic.
And on research, I don't think that this project should be strictly "centred" on research, but rather that research has to have a place, especially in some fields. I take your point on being practical and "real world-focused", but essentially, I think it should be down to the person/people facilitating each course to decide what are the appropriate learning outcomes and teaching methods for their course. This way we are flexible to adapt - I just didn't want to cut off all this potential. Thanks Anthere. Cormaggio 16:31, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

The role of research in a university[edit]

"I think that you see research as some form of end product, whereas I see it (and I think JW agrees) as part of the process." (see above)
The role of research in a university is a source of endless debate. "Research" can be placed in the more general category of "scholarly activity". The members of a university community should be engaged in scholarly activities. There are many activities that are scholarly, for example, creating a textbook. This is why it is perfectly sensible for wikiversity to exist at wikibooks. If someone did an analysis, I think they would find that most textbooks are produced by members of a university who in making a textbook and in so doing, performing their obligatory duty to take part in scholarly activity. The term "research" actually gets used in two different ways. There is "original research" in which investigators try to discover something new about the world. There is also "literature research", which is fundamental to many forms of scholarly activity, including textbook writing. A wikiversity is going to have to utilize resources such as textbooks and these resources will depend on "literature research"....going into the "literature" (I'll accept a broad definition of "literature") in order to learn what others have accomplished in the past. A key reason why research is central to a university is that the students get to exist within a community where the members are actively engaged in the process of doing research. This is how students learn to do research. This is how the cultural heritage of research is passed from generation to generation.
I can think of two alternatives to institutions of higher education where research is central to the community. First would be some kind of technical training institute where the students do not need to learn to think, only how to put patches on flat tires. There are such institutions that pass themselves off as institutions of higher education, but it is a scam. Second, you could have an indoctrination center where students are forced to learn some corpus of propaganda and original thought is actively suppressed. Some political and religious institutions shun free enquiry and adopt the strategy of indoctrination. Again, I find it distasteful to call these "institutions of higher learning", but they do exist. --JWSurf 16:55, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Once again, I'm in pretty much total accord - it's much clearer now you outline what it would be like without research. (Surely the wikitechnicaltraininginstitute is virtually provided for in the "How to.." manuals in progress here on Wikibooks?) But more pertinently, are you proposing that "original research" as you delineate it would be outside the remit but that "literature research" would be allowed? As far as I'm concerned, research is always an original endeavour (and in my opinion subjective, though many will find that distasteful) and it simply cannot be prohibited from a learning environment, especially a higher institution. Cormaggio 20:17, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Original research- bring it onI agree that the distinction between "original research" and "literature research" is blurry and mainly a matter of emphasis. Hopefully anyone doing "literature research" is being just as creative as anyone else and making discoveries and creating new knowledge from old. That's why universities recognize activities such as textbook writing as being a valuable scholarly activity as is dicovering a cure for some disease. In no way would I try to exclude any form of scholarly research from wikiversity. With respect to "original research" such as that conducted in expensive research laboratories (example: human genome project) or in the field (example:space exploration) there is no reason why wikiversity could not host a wiki "virtual research space" that would hold information about every research project that exists in the world. I predict that, eventually, some researchers are going to open up their research activities to the world and put everything they do into wiki format. Wikiversity could strive to become a "host" for such virtual labs. --JWSurf 12:52, 21 August 2005 (UTC)
Right on. Cormaggio 17:32, 21 August 2005 (UTC)
Here's my problem with research and wikiversity. Its not that research is a bad thing. It isn't. And its not that people using wikiversity shouldn't do research. Its a matter of scope and difficulty.
Scope- there's a fundamental limit on what you can do on a project. There's limiting factors- money, time, manhours, etc. On wikiversity, the main roadblocks are manhours and expertise. Manhours are simple- we only hve so many contributors, and so many admins. The more data coming in, the harder it is to handle it all, organize it all, proofread it all, etc. The wider your scope is, the harder it is to do this, because everyone has their specialty. Wikiversity is already incredibly broad, for upper level meterial it will be difficult to find people to do this. There's a reason we don't have one giant webpage called wikifacts with an encyclopedia, dictionary, books, courses, etc. Its too difficult to do. By paring it down, you enable the amount of work to be reasonable. You also increase the amount of work done in a single area rather than 1 person in each of their pet research projects, creating a more comprehensive program of study, This gives the illusion of completeness, and will draw additional contributors because there is something concrete to contribute to. Then when we have more contributors, we can broaden the scope or crete a new project, depending on what we think is best.
Secondly, expertise. First off, writing a textbook is not research. Its scholaarly, its valuable, but not research. Research is investigation to uncover new facts. If you're doing original research, you have a major expertise issue. If, for example, you're doing research on string theory- you can count the number of people in the world who understand the theory to the detail needed on your hands. Its not possible for us to peer review it, because we just aren't qualified. The chance we have 2 or 3 others capable of following it are abysmally low. In addition it just doesn't give itself well to being wiki-ized (it gives itself well to being openly available, but not to being wide sored collaborated on). Joe Schmoe shouldn't be commenting on it, becuse he isn't capable of it. Those half dozen people who are qualified to help all know each other, they don't need a wiki to collaborate.
I just don't see us having the manpower or the expertise to do original research well. I think another poject down the line for it would probably be more in line. I don't have a lot of hope for that either, but I think its more likely to work. Its always better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. If we have too wide a scope, we will not be able to focus sufficiently to succeed. Doing original research seperately gives both the courses of wikiversity and any eventul wikiresearch a better chance of success. --Gabe Sechan 09:55, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Let's do this[edit]

Sj, in his board election manifesto, commented on the stagnant enthusiasm that is the proposed projects page on Meta. I propose we really get this project moving at Wikiversity's entry on that page and start to invite people who have expressed an interest in the past to save this gem from inertia. There really is enthusiasm but it's just so complex that nobody will really take it on. So, are you ready for the wikiversity challenge? Cormaggio 20:17, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

Indeed. I'd like to see more names on that list, and an overall show of support. Not here, nono, but on meta where it's more directly noticeable. We want to look as vibrant and excited to get going as possible--which I hope we already are. I'm afraid I won't be teaching any classes myself until the start of 2007, but I'll certainly find time to assist with the administrative and organisational side of things. I'm hoping we can get a nice balance of seasoned admins to balance out the contributor-only users as it's going to be a big undertaking to both transwiki and upkeep all the data.
I'd like so many "comments" they have to use a subpage for the proposal. If you want to get noticed as a potential sponsored project, display so much enthusiasm that the discussion becomes annoyingly unmanageable! Heck, maybe they'll give us en.wikiversity.org just to shut us up. :) GarrettTalk 13:03, 21 August 2005 (UTC)
wikiversity challenge. Just a guess, but probably what is needed is someone who can make a major and sustained commitment of time and effort towards consensus building and jumping through all the existing hoops (discussion, poll, etc.) that must be jumped through in order to get the wikiversity project a name space ("take the responsibility to realize it unto your shoulders"). Probably what the board really wants to see is an infrastructure in place that will ensure that the project will not be stillborn. So someone probably has to sign-on as "wikiversity chief development officer" and do a bunch of what I would call "administrative grunt work". As much as I like and trust the distributed wiki way to get things done, that is what has been going on for the past 2 years of wikiversity "development" and it has not impressed (favorably) the folks who are in control of setting up domain names for new projects. Personally, I have never understood the Wikimedia Foundation. I look at their Proposals for new projects page and the first thing I see there is "Wikimedia's goal is the spread and promotion of knowledge." To me, in looking for ways to promote that goal, a wikiversity is a no-brainer. When I see things like "Some veteran users are suggesting that it will be a year or two before any other project idea will be accepted as a new separate project, if ever." my enthusiasm for making a major commitment to wikiversity plummets. When people at wikibooks actively try to eliminate wikiversity, I feel like other people in the wikimedia community "just do not get it" and that creating wikiversity is going to be an uphill battle against people who are working against wikiversity. Roberth seems to actually understand the process for new project proposals, which is a plus. One thing I fear is that discussion of wikiversity is very widely distributed and nobody has that organized so people are going in many different directions. It seems like this should be the central nexus for discussion with all other related discussions pointing there and that page pointing to all the other relevant pages. I know that Cormaggio has already made some effort to get discussions organized. Maybe we need a page to list "outreach" efforts that can or have already been made to get the word out about the new project proposal. Maybe we need some message that can be "broadcast" about "now is the time to launch wikipedia, please help". --JWSurf 13:40, 21 August 2005 (UTC)
To be fair, I don't think the votes for deletion here at Wikibooks reflects anything more than a pruning of projects needed to be monitored, and, if we're going to be setting up some of the platforms that we list above, then I agree. I don't think therefore it represents an opposition to Wikiversity in principle, just in its current operation here. What's vital here however is that we start to get an active group together to form a solid foundation, define a suitable space for it to exist in (ie. domain) and put pressure on the developers to start it up. And I don't know, but it just may be a long time before this comes to fruition, so i wouldn't just throw in the towel if getting it up and running soon is a concern. But there's no reason we shouldn't keep momentum toward that end, and that's what I'm trying to galvanise here. Thanks for both your input, it's encouraging, and yes, I agree we should move back to meta to try to bring it together more. Create new pages or at least sub-pages of m:Wikiversity. And if you want to draft that message, please do - I'll do my bit but am hectically busy with dissertation at the minute. Cormaggio 17:31, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

There is no opposition on principle from the board. Quite the opposite. You are perfectly correct that the only way this project will ever be created will be after someone takes the lead of the creation and actually make the effort of 1) making a nice proposal page, 2) propose it for vote and 3) lead the vote. But *someone* (or a group) has to do the job... and the fact the job gets done is the best proof there is strong motivation from a core group of editors. Do not expect the board to do it... it is not our job and frankly it would be a bad idea. Even if Wikiversity was one of the board member pet project, I would recommand against leading the creation, as it could lead to accusation of favorism. A year ago, we created a new project at a moment where we thought there was enough consensus and thought it was slowed down because of us. The accusations of "authority abuse from the board" which resulted from this creation garantee today that IF you want wikiversity to exist, then you have to wet the shirt yourself. All I can say is that the whole board is supporting the idea as far as I know. When we can trust there are enough supporters, then creation of a new wiki is a matter of hours if not minutes. Power is in YOUR hands. If things do not get done, the responsability is not on the Foundation. We are not a top down organisation ;-) user:Anthere

PS : I will go next week at the next FLOSS meeting, and will try to present Wikiversity. My thoughts after digging for a week in the archives is that the project is not yet very well explained to outsiders :-)


Anthere- Robert Horning has already set up such a page at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikiversity and in fact voting has started up today. On that page is the nexessary translations, as well as a list of courses already started. He also sent an email to the meta list last month describing his intentions and timeline. If there's anything we missed doing, please let us know and it will get done.--Gabe Sechan 00:06, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Hello. I am aware of Robert move on meta. I have been following the issue quite closely since wikiversity here has been proposed for deletion. In the past few days, I looked with interest whether the vote would be really started, and was glad it was all in time and as appropriate. Thanks Robert for this. Let me tell you what I think is very probably missing in the current meta page. I strongly wish that Wikiversity is not limited to University (or tertiary education), and according to what I read here, I feel that most of you would agree with this; However, this is not reflected on the meta page... and as Erik pointed out, the name could bring the confusion. Another thing bringing confusion is the way information is currently organised in schools of various topics (sciences, social sciences etc...) which totally reflect a university organisation. Still, as a mom of 2, far from being at university, I can perceive MANY ways in which teachers could use wikiversity (even if a 8 years old is very unlikely to follow a course online), and as an adult, I can perceive MANY things that could be taught online, totally out of regular university frame. A couple of example 1) a course focused on bring help to injured people 2) a course such as the one followed by all pregnant women in developped countries before giving birth or 3) a course on how to use excel (or any software). These three make sense on wikiversity to my opinion. Students would benefit from the frame and the interaction with other students and teacher. Still, none of this is described anywhere and when I look at the meta proposal, I do not imagine this. I only wonder where the "giving birth without pain" could fit in the current proposal. Since I can't get a vision... I am not sure everyone will get it. And am not sure people will vote in full knowledge of what they could be voting for. By I hesitated to change the page as it is already translated in several languages. I wonder if we could not add a couple of "visions" examples to the proposal. Do you see what I mean ? 83.113.192.17 04:32, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Re: Cutoff point - College, High School, and Junior High courses[edit]

(moved from content page)

"Any material roughly equivalent to a college, high school, or junior high school course or a significant part of such a course. While even earlier courses would also be acceptable, you eventually hit the level where you're no longer targeting students, but educators. This is the cutoff."

This is nonsensical. What point in defining a "cutoff" for the "School of Education". Every teacher's college in the modern universe to have a stock of FDL materials prepared to assist current and future home, public and private educators except Wikiversity and other backwards faculty development facilities? Since this will probably be a long debate let us skip the local talk page and go directly to a policy discussion at the Wikiversity:School of Education:Wikiversity Content Policy:Content Cutoff.
Should our local educators refuse to take up this debate then we can shift to the Engineering Department. Lead engineers and planners often find some rudimentary education is required to successful complete and manage large complex projects and programs. Please remove this note when permanent policy is approved and published by the responsible Wikiversity Board, Voting Faculty, or Policy Body. Lazyquasar 23:15, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
There is no "Wikiversity Board" etc (or, alternatively, consider yourself on it!) I've tried to clarify this debate on the content page and I've also suggested Wikiversity:Project identity as a page to start this discussion if it does take off. Issues I see are: Wikiversity's name, the type of materials it hosts (ie resources or courses), the cutoff point for materials, and whether it should host original research. Oh, and where it should be hosted, of course. I'm also unsure if this debate would be more productively held on Meta or Wikibooks. Cormaggio 11:12, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Teaching & Research: It CAN be done![edit]

There is nothing in the concept of Wiki that is antithetical to either teaching OR research. In fact, Wikiversity offers the most promising framework for all of the functions of academia, and it can do it better than traditional academia! You just have to structure it right! After all, the most important function of a university is a system of accreditation, for students (earning degrees), for professors (whose teaching credentials are assured by the institution), and for researchers (whose research is also accredited by the institution, and accreditation is what Wiki does best! We just have to get away from the idea of Wikiversity accumulating vast sums of money from students and government grants, and then dispensing them on teaching and research, as in the old-fashioned "brick and mortar" academy. Thats the centralized Soviet concept of academia. We need the self-organizing distributed self-accreditizing concept that is the core principle behind Wiki.

First, in teaching, cut out the middle man, and have students pay directly to professors of their choice that they find listed in Wikiversity, which provides the framework where professors can "hang their shingle" and advertise their availability, as in this example professor's shingle. The professors in turn accredit each other by forming voluntary associations under various "departments", and they appoint a dean from amongst themselves to vouch for all the professors in the department, as in this example dean's page. The professors in a department check each others' credentials, and judge each other during disputes. Each professor in turn accredits and validates the students that they teach, watching out for cheats and charletans among the students. And clusters of departments can associate into mega-departments or instititues, again based on their mutual reputations. Finally, Wikiversity as a whole validates all the departments and institutes under its tent, using the same kind of self-validation seen throughout Wiki. If a scandal occurs, then very quickly, students, professors, deans, and Wikiversity itself, will rapidly distance themselves from the offender, so the system polices itself.

And research can be funded in exactly the same distributed self-accreditizing manner. Interesting research is posted on Wikiversity, as in this example research shingle, where interested funding agencies or even private individuals can pick and choose the research they find most interesting, then they send funds direct to the researchers themselves, again cutting out the middle-man and the need for middle-bureaucrats to make big financial allocations. Instead of one giant government bureaucracy allocating millions of dollars by way of requests for proposals, complex reviews, and panels of experts, the funds can trickle in $10 or $20 at a time, but from millions of small private doners who think the research is worth funding. Not only can Wikiversity perform the same functions as academia, it can do it much much better!

Right now we need to address the request for modifications to the Wikiversity proposal. --JWSurf 20:23, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Worldwide Vancouver University[edit]

Worldwide Vancouver University http://www.WorldwideUniversity.edu would be glad to collaborate in the Wikiversity concept.

00:13, 13 January 2006

Proposal: How to accredit students[edit]

Students of Wikiversity could be accredited if they could take exams or have term papers marked in a formal setting. I propose a way this could be done.

Markers, exam composers and exam supervisors from universities around the world could be allowed to register (after applying or interviewing) with the Wikimedia Foundation.

Students with a Wikibooks user account ready to be evaluated would enter some identifying information into a secure form and be given a private access code from Wikimedia. The code, combined with a full name, would grant a graduate school or potential employer full or partial read-only access to the graduate's permanent record. The uploading of exam papers by authors would also be highly secure; current papers would, of course, not be published.

Although term papers could be e-mailed to their markers, exams would probably have to be taken in a formal setting at a bricks-and-mortar university.

The markers would be given access to a highly secure form where they could enter marks into student permanent records.

When one student had met the requirements to graduate, Wikimedia would provide them with a printable diploma, certificate or degree. The certificate would be prominently displayed on the permanent record for easy verification by employers.

If the electronic security measures were strong enough, the one question remaining would be who would pay the markers and authors for their time, and the universities to rent their exam rooms, if they are not willing to provide these services pro bono; they could be paid for by the student (which would probably still be less than traditional tuition), the student's local government, and/or Wikimedia donors.

I would welcome some feedback. Would this enable accreditation of Wikiversity by professional organizations? Are there additional issues that might arise in the developing world? 70.24.193.71 16:18, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Accreditation is not where we should be going - it is impractical, and would actually hold us back. In any case, the board rejected "credentials" in their last decision - see m:Wikiversity/Modified project proposal - I think this logically extends to accreditation. -- Cormaggio 22:41, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


A far better approach IMHO is for the wikiversity to stay clear of accredation issues and simply allow already existant academic institutions to continue as things go along. If a particular institution establishes a bona fide examination for a particular course that people can enroll for (at a reasonable registration fee) then a note to that effect can be included. It would be great if real universities etc ... are prepared to between themselves offer examinations for courses but its highly unlikely that anything of the sort will ever occur.

Too long[edit]

This page has begun issuing warnings that it is too long for some browsers. Accordingly I am initiating breaking it up into multiple pages. Unfortunately I am confused about whether and where this project is still active. I hope the Wikimedia Board manages to publish some minutes regarding its scheduled 13 November Meeting where Wikiversity was an agenda item soon. A pointer placed here if the minutes online would be appreciated. Lazyquasar 00:09, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Link to original page before beginning segmentation.

Wikiversity:draft policy discussion:Should research be allowed, integral or prohibited on Wikiversity assets?

Please do not break up this page - if needs be, you can archive, but it is inactive at present, so it can stay the way it is. Cormaggio 22:36, 21 March 2006 (UTC)