Help:Resource types

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Learning resource means educational content in general terms. Wikiversity has many types of learning resources not available at other Wikimedia Foundation wiki projects (see Wikimedia and What Wikiversity is not). Wikiversity learning resources do not include encyclopedia articles, textbooks, or source texts, for example.

What learning resources does Wikiversity include?[edit]

Wikiversity includes learning resources in all subject areas for all age groups. Learning resources can be roughly divided into:

  1. Learning projects that support active learning, and
  2. Static learning materials for use outside of Wikiversity.

Learning projects[edit]

Learning projects guide active learners to exercises and collaborative learning projects. See: Portal:Learning Projects.

Research projects[edit]

Research is an integral part of advanced education and professional work in many fields. See Wikiversity:Research for information on Wikiversity research projects.

Learning materials[edit]

Learning materials can be audio and video files, text files and are generally static learning objects that can be used either by Wikiversity participants or downloaded for use at bricks-and-mortar educational institutions.

Finding Wikiversity Learning resources[edit]

Portals. Every Wikiversity learning resource may be linked to by at least one portal page. You can browse the Wikiversity portals. See Category:Portals.

Categories. Every Wikiversity learning resource should be in at least one Category. You can browse Wikiversity by category. See: Category:Categories.

Search. Try using the search feature to find learning resources. See: Wikiversity:Searching.

Your turn[edit]

Wikiversity has many learning resources that are on hard-to-find pages. You can help make sure that every learning resource has a link to it from at least one portal page. Particularly exciting learning resources should become featured content on portals or the Main Page.

When existing portals become too crowded you can make new portals.

Creating learning resources[edit]

See: Wikiversity:Content development.

See also[edit]


Introduction[edit]

Shortcuts: Help:TYPES, Help:RT

What kind of things are there on Wikiversity? We can start by looking briefly at other projects - both Wikimedia sister projects and the wider world of open educational resources.

Resource types in other OER initiatives[edit]

We could say that "Wikiversity does open educational resources". So what are open educational resources? All the main definitions and declarations relating to open educational resources emphasize the diversity of resource types. Unfortunately there is no complete list. This is probably because there never could be a complete list.

  • Cape Town Declaration: "course materials, lesson plans, textbooks, games, software and other materials that support teaching and learning".[1]
  • Hewlett Packard report on OER (2007): "full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge."[2]
  • iCommons.org: "...different types of resources, including learning content (courses, lesson plans and learning objects), tools (software that supports the development, management and re-use of content) and implementation resources (the intellectual property licences that promote open licensing and other principles of best practice)."[3]

See also: Classifying educational resources.

Resource types on Wikiversity[edit]

Wikiversity differs from its Wikimedia sister projects in that its resources are of multiple types and highly varied. Each resource type has its own "ideal" way of being written. This makes it much more difficult to write a guide to writing the ideal Wikiversity resource than writing a guide to the ideal Wikipedia article. Resource types at Wikiversity have grown from the grass-roots level - the community of contributors has decided what they are in an extremely ad hoc fashion. The box at the top of this page contains a list of all resource types currently known about on Wikiversity.

Conventional resource types[edit]

Most of the resource types on Wikiversity have pretty straightforward or established forms. Although Wikiversity never had any formal taxonomy of resource types during its first two years of independent existence (up to 2008), contributors nevertheless tended to create resources in conformity with existing conventional patterns.

The following list draws from the list of resource types above. It describes what Wikiversitarians have in fact created during the last few years. It does not lay down a set of restrictions on resource types, but it shows you the way to build on accumulated experience and it gives you a wide range of ideas from which to choose when constructing your own resources. Note in particular the sections further down this page on experimental and new resource types.

Resource type Comment Essential links
Activities Activities are a broad range of things which usually motivate a learner to do more than just edit the wiki. Wikiversity contributors have created (among other things): challenges, experiments, games, labs, learning activities, quizzes and simulations. Activities are normally included into larger projects such as courses and lessons, although there are also excellent resources which are simply collections of activities. Feel free to extend the range of activity types.
Articles Encyclopedia articles for the most part belong on Wikipedia. Articles pasted from Wikipedia into Wikiversity are generally deleted. However articles on educational topics are acceptable on Wikiversity, especially when they are more specialized than anything on Wikipedia, or might qualify as original research. For guidance on good article writing, see Wikipedia. An example: Open Educational Resources (originally written for Wikiversity, but might be copied back to Wikipedia).
Courses Courses at Wikiversity are generally organizational pages which collect together other resources, such as lectures, assignments, lessons, quizzes, reading lists and handouts. Courses are frequently associated with real world classes, but occasionally their intended audience will be new visitors to Wikiversity. Sometimes courses are re-run at intervals by their original creator (e.g. annually); sometimes they will be abandoned after first use, which makes it easier to re-purpose them for use with different classes and a new teacher. Please note that Wikiversity itself cannot offer credits - any credits must be offered by the real-world institution to which the course facilitator belongs. Generally you are recommended to use subpages for the resources which constitute the course.
Glossaries Many learning projects introduce people to new language in their particularly discipline. Accompanying glossaries can significantly help to facilitate learning both as an adjunct to other course activities, but also can be collaboratively created and a valuable learning activity in itself. Tip: Create your glossaries as subpages of the course/project page, because this will add an automatic link-back at the top of the page.
Lectures Contributors to Wikiversity who come from real-world universities often structure their courses as sequences of lectures and assignments. The individual lecture pages may look similar to encyclopedia articles if taken out of context. It's a good idea to tag your lectures as lectures and link them back to the course/project page, so that they don't get mistaken for encyclopedia articles and deleted. Tip: create your lectures as subpages of the course/project page, because this will add an automatic link-back at the top of the page.
Lessons A lesson can be thought of as a methodologically (very much) more sophisticated version of a lecture. A good lesson is one of the most difficult types of educational resource to create. Lessons may typically display some of the following characteristics: segmentation to aid learning, sequencing by difficulty level, use of didactic styles of writing (e.g. simplification, repetition, redundancy), creating learning paths from known to unknown, attempts to involve an audience of learners, setting explicit learning goals, reflecting and catching the immediacy of a learning context.
Lesson plans While a lesson is targetted at learners, lesson plans are targetted at teachers. Lesson plans have well-established formats which teachers are trained to create. Wikiversity can be used to collate, redistribute and (collectively or individually) develop lesson plans. Teachers may then visit Wikiversity and take away lesson plans for using in their real world classes.
Assignments Assignments are homework tasks which have often been created as subpages of "courses".
Events Wikiversity is sometimes used for announcing educational events of national or international importance. If you tag your event as an event, it is more likely to be picked up by others. Conferences are a sub-category of events.
Reading lists Reading lists and bibliographies are very common on Wikiversity, and are usually included at the bottom of other resource pages. Occasionally contributors create a separate page for their reading lists. Tip: create your reading list as a subpage of the course/project page, because this will add an automatic link-back at the top of the page and help prevent your reading list from becoming disconnected from the other resources to which it belongs.
Discussion The discussion is a well-established form of creating content on wikis. Encyclopedia articles aside, discussions are the second largest "genre" of writing on Wikipedia. Discussions on wikis have simple threads and basic rules of behavior. The discussion is the simplest form of exchange of opinions. Discussions can develop or merge into other genres of opinion exchanges, such as blogs, forums, colloquia and symposia (all categorized as forms of discussion).
Quizzes A quiz (using the special quiz extension) is technically much more difficult to write, but the technology pretty well dictates what it looks like. See Help:Quiz. Writing a good quiz is more than just writing the first questions that come to your mind, however. Thousands of publications have been written on this topic alone, and you should let external resources guide you to writing good quizzes. Here are some places to start:
Papers / essays An academic paper is another fairly standardized form which you can create on Wikiversity. If you are a postgraduate or post-doctoral academic, then you won't need any more guidance. For students at earlier stages of their studies, there are 1000's of publications which help you. Here are some places to start:

A paper or essay will typically have a closed set of original authors (maybe only one) and a point-of-view. Unlike neutral forms of expression, papers or essays should clearly attribute authorship and possible POV at the top (not just in the history), and offer feedback and discussion options at the bottom (not just on the talk page).

An essay can be thought of as a derivative form of discussion, where an editor has more to say than can be fitted into a paragraph. In this sense, the essay is associated with the blog (a sub-category of essays and discussions).

Reading groups A reading group is a resource type that has grown of its own accord at Wikiversity. To set up a reading group:
  1. Look at other reading groups to see how they did it.
  2. Feel free to adapt and improve on their methods for your own purposes.

Specialised resource types[edit]

Resource type Comment
Observation clocks For an example, see Bloom Clock (one of the earliest and largest resources on Wikiversity). An observation clock is a specialized use of the wiki to coordinate recording and identification procedures for observing natural cyclical phenomena. If you wish to create an observation clock, you should start by talking to the coordinators of an existing observation clock (e.g. User:SB_Johnny).

Experimental resource types[edit]

Resource type Comment
Projects "Project" is a good name to give your resource if you're not quite sure what it is. A project can be as conventional as a traditional "course" or as experimental as a "workshop", or anywhere between. A project may also be much larger or longer-term than a course, and may comprise many courses, workshops or sub-projects. It could be collaborative, but not necessarily. "Project" is the most open and vague designation you can apply to your resource.
Workshops Workshops at Wikiversity have rarely been called such - they have gone under names such as "learning by doing", "learning projects" and others, or sometimes no name at all, and very few are categorized as workshops. However the experimental workshop, collaboratively exploring the potential of the Mediawiki software for educational purposes, was one of the core resource types around which Wikiversity was planned. The workshop is still in need of a recipe for success. Looking at some of those workshops which have been successful may help produce such a recipe.

Organizational resource types[edit]

Organizational resource types without namespaces[edit]

These organizational resource types can be said to be the main entry points for one learning resource. Learning resources on Wikiversity, when developed, are often spread over many pages and need a page to coordinate the resource. When tagging a page as one of these resource types, please just tag the main entry page. The sub-pages of the course (project, etc) will normally be other resource types and would require different tags.

The main entry pages for courses, projects and workshops tend to have learning content when small or at earlier stages of development, and become largely organizational pages when more developed. The last pieces of "content" to remain in them, as they grow and expand across many subpages, are normally introductions and reading lists.

Resource type Comment Essential links
Courses See above.
Projects See above.
Workshops See above.

Organizational resource types with their own namespaces[edit]

Some of the highest order organizational resource types are given their own namespaces. These resource types should not directly contain any learning content.

Resource type Comment Essential links
Portals Portals are the highest level of organization. See Wikiversity:Portal reform.
Schools The school is a subordinate level of organization to the portal. It used to reflect the organization of universities into "schools". Proposals to remove the namespace have met with substantial support but not consensus. There is no agreement on the purpose of the namespace.
Topics The topic is a level of organization which is perhaps smaller than that of the school and which has met with similar controversy. It is not clearly defined at the current time. There has been a successful tendency to use the topic namespace for the main organization of learning resources relating to specific languages (e.g. Topic:French coordinates all French language learning resources).

Categorizing resource types[edit]

Resource types on this page have been categorized, rather arbitrarily, into: conventional, specialized, experimental and organizational (with intentional overlaps).

Possible further criteria for analyzing resource types:

  • the extent to which the resource type favors, combines or requires individualistic or collective approaches to editing (e.g. a blog is highly individualistic, but often leads into a subsequent collective discussion).
  • the way in which the resource type relates to the requirement for a neutral point of view - i.e. certain educational resource types, such as essays, blogs and articles, necessarily breach neutrality and need to be looked at as regards how this is controlled and declared.

References[edit]

  1. Cape Town Declaration, http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/read-the-declaration (middle of 3rd para.)
  2. Atkins, D., Seely Brown, J., Hammond, A. (2007) A review of the the Open Educational Resources movement: achievements, challenges and new opportunities. http://www.oerderves.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/a-review-of-the-open-educational-resources-oer-movement_final.pdf
  3. http://icommons.org/2007/03/01/virtual-learning-10-open-education-resources/#more-491

See also[edit]