Help:Creating educational content at Wikiversity/2
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In this resource we set out to orientate you, as a teacher, in the use and potential of Wikiversity for teaching. Anyone can take on a teaching role at Wikiversity, regardless of their background. You can participate in learning activities and create learning resources. Educators, school teachers, university professors, teacher trainees, group leaders in the informal educator sector, and students in a conventional education institution can teach as well. Other roles which might interest you include: learner, researcher, custodian.
Is Wikiversity a "university", a school, a playground or what?
Yes to all.
The word "university" is derived from the Latin “universitas”, which is short for "universitas magistrorum et scholarium", meaning roughly "community of masters and scholars". At Wikiversity, the terms "learner" and "teacher" are likely to be used rather than "scholar" and "master". The distinction between learners and teachers at Wikiversity is fuzzy. As soon as a student learns something, they are expected to share what they have learned with the community and so they become the teacher.
A playground is no less a place of learning than the most venerable of universities. Wikiversity is everything from playground to research institute, and it does not discriminate or judge anyone for being more one than the other.
However in one sense, Wikiversity is neither university nor school: it has no accreditation as such, because it is not an institution that grants university degrees or school leaving/graduation certificates. You can find out more here about what Wikiversity is and what Wikiversity is not.
How can I use Wikiversity in my teaching?
The fundamental principle is: any way you like.
Wikiversity uses the same software as Wikipedia, and this software is called MediaWiki. MediaWiki is primarily a collaborative authoring environment, also known as a place where people make things together! In general, any kind of classroom activity which can use collaborative authoring in any sense can be fruitfully transferred onto the MediaWiki platform. Collaborative authoring is good for any kind of group work.
On the other hand, you know, of course, that the MediaWiki platform is also used for Wikipedia, which is a collection of encyclopedia articles. The MediaWiki platform therefore also lends itself naturally to use as a repository of learning materials for individual study. Projects and resources can, of course, double up in their roles for group work and individual study.
While we are open to experimentation with new forms of learning, we also know that teachers may prefer tried and tested methods, so we help you both with experimentation, and with finding out about existing forms of learning which use MediaWiki.
Existing forms of learning
Many other educators have experimented with MediaWiki before you, and they have produced both many practical examples of learning resources and theoretical articles about using MediaWiki for teaching.
Places where you can find lists of learning resources
Places where you can find theoretical material
Experimental forms of learning
If you think of a new way of using the MediaWiki platform for learning, you are welcome, and please tell us about it! You may also be interested in looking at Wikiversity:interactive learning resources and the sandbox server project.
How do I start to create materials or learning projects?
Take a few minutes to browse the Wikiversity content. Since Wikiversity is new, a webpage for the topic you are looking for may not have been created yet. Enter a possible page name in the Search field (upper right hand corner of the Wikiversity page display, normally) and Enter (or click on the search symbol). If the page does not exist, you'll see, at the bottom of the search results, "Create the page [Pagename] on this wiki!" Clicking on the Pagename will open an edit window from which you can create the page. When you save the page, congratulations! You are now a Wikiversity editor and participant!
Questions about students, admissions and certification
Where do the students come from? Can I bring my own?
"Anywhere" and "yes". Anyone can learn from the materials or projects which you create here. But you are also very welcome to bring your own. Very often a particular project will have learners who have come here with their teacher, but this is by no means always the case. See also: Learning projects.
What are the admissions requirements? Are there fees?
Wikiversity is open to all who are interested in learning or contributing what they know. There are no fees and no admissions requirements. There aren't even any passwords or other access restrictions. Many virtual learning environments are full of passwords and even payment requirements for courses, but you will find none of this at Wikiversity - everything is open and free. See also: Open Educational Resources
If I teach, will I get paid, or can I charge my students?
No, no fees are collected or paid for participation in Wikiversity. Everything is voluntary. Wikiversity is free to all who want to learn.
Can my students obtain any kind of certification at Wikiversity?
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. Often a teacher may come here with their own students, and of course, what the students do here can count towards their achievements at the real-world institution they and their teacher come from. But Wikiversity cannot get involved in the assessment process.
Are there exams at Wikiversity?
Some course leaders may post some questionnaires so you can get feedback on your learning progress. Course leaders may also give personal feedback on their observations of your progress. Forms of assessment are purely in the hands of those participants who have a teaching role. Wikiversity may provide tools to assist with this process, such as the ability to embed interactive quizzes into pages. See also: making quizzes on Wikiversity.
If I'm doing a course-like project, can anyone join it?
There is no such thing as a closed course at Wikiversity, because everything is open. If someone wants to use the resources you have created, or join in with a course-like project, you can't stop them - in fact, quite the opposite - our principles of civility and assume good faith oblige you to be nice to them. On the other hand, you are not obliged to actively teach them. The learning projects article has more information about this.
Questions about putting materials and projects onto Wikiversity
How reliable is the material on Wikiversity?
There's no simple black-and-white answer to this question. Realistically you should use your best judgement. 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. The general idea of wiki-editing is that low quality materials will slowly improve over time as more and more editors use and modify them.
Can I download materials here and use them in my own offsite classes? What are the terms of their use?
You are absolutely free to download and use our materials in your teaching. You can print and photocopy unlimited numbers of copies. Our content is licenced under a free licence (GFDL) - basically, requiring that the content be distributed in a similar licence and with attribution for the content's creators - see the complete licence details and terms. 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.
How can I determine whether the material here is any good?
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 "talk page" 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.
See also: Developing high quality educational resources for more information on this topic.
What if someone wrecks a perfectly good course?
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 start by contacting the editor who made the changes you feel are unfortunate. Propose a compromise. Discuss your feelings on the "talk 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.
If you can't find a compromise with existing editors, then there's also the option of "forking" a course into two equivalent and equal versions covering the same subject but in different styles. In simpler terms, this just means that you take the earlier version which you liked, and create a new page to contain the older version.
See also: learning projects, which has more information on this topic.
Can I or my students have our own user pages?
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.
From the learning point of view, what is different from Wikipedia to Wikiversity?
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.
Do you have learning resources which help students learn about editing this site?
Do you have learning resources which help people learn about Wikiversity?
See also: Topic:Wikiversity.
When you are finished
How to mark your pages as complete?
When you have completed creating a resource page, a lesson or a course, you can use the new marking system for telling everyone your completion status. Instructions how to do this are at Help:Resources by completion status