Wikiversity:Supporting Wikiversity participants
Identify and develop ways of supporting participants in becoming actively engaged with Wikiversity.
What happens when people visit Wikiversity
A quick look through the list of Wikiversity user accounts indicates that only about 1 of every 8 user accounts has anything on the user page for that account. Based on results with this tool, Wikiversity has had about 1,000,000 page hits, but there have only been about 40,000 page edits. For those Wikiversity visitors tracked by Alexa, the average visitor looks at about 5 Wikiversity pages.
What do these numbers mean? Many people who visit Wikiversity probably saw a link to Wikiversity on the main page of another Wikimedia sister project. It would be interesting to know what happens next. Based on results with the page hit tool, maybe as many as 1 in 7 visitors to the main page makes use of the browse page. The major portals that are listed on the main page also get a large amount of page hits. A large number of visitors apparently go from the Wikiversity main page to one of the main portals to a school page and then to a topic page. In most cases they probably verify that there is very little actual educational content for the topic that they are most interested in.
The question becomes, do the Wikiversity pages that are seen by most visitors make clear that it is up to those visitors to becoming actively engaged with Wikiversity and take part in a process by which they will help create the content of this wiki? What changes could be made to the Wikiversity main page, the major portals, the school pages and the topic pages that would help to get more Wikiversity visitors to actually edit Wikiversity pages?
There are several different types of visitors to Wikiversity. Some visitors are new to wiki websites, others have visited wiki websites but not edited and other Wikiversity visitors have experience editing. It might be constructive to provide each type of visitor with a special path towards participation in the Wikiversity project.
Newbie track. People who have essentially no understanding of how to participate as an editor of a wiki have special needs. I suspect that these visitors are least likely to stay around Wikiversity reading pages until they finally decide to participate. Wikiversity should have some kind of multimedia presentation that is entertaining and informs wiki newbies about how to participate and what the goals of the project are. The special path for these visitors could be
- reach a Wikiversity page
- watch a video that explains the project and how to participate
see:Wikiversity the Movie, Wikiversity Reports
Wikiversity:Welcome, newcomers was designed to be a helpful introductory page for "newbies". Should the Main Page be more oriented around the needs of "newbies"? See: Wikiversity:Main page design changes.
Student track. A significant number of students might be interested in joining something like a "study group" for one or more topic area that they are interested in. Students should be encouraged to describe their learning goals on their user pages, at topic pages and at pages such as Wikiversity:Learning goals and Wikiversity:Student union.
For those visitors who just want to find learning resources (without helping to make them), Wikiversity needs to have good portal pages. Wikiversity could have a ranking system such as the one at Wikibooks for indicating the level of completeness of learning resources.
Teacher track. There have been some great examples of teachers at conventional educational institutions making use of Wikipedia and Wikibooks. Increasingly, there are schools that seek to use online curricula (example). We need outreach and standing invitations for teachers to make use of Wikiversity resources. Providing a sense of "trust" in Wikiversity as an institution is important at all levels, but particularly important for teachers who need to have a professional contact.
Currently, the Main Page still links to Wikiversity:Wikiversity teachers, but we also now have Wikiversity:School and university projects which is linked to from Wikipedia:School and university projects and Wikibooks:Guidelines for class projects.
Experienced editor track. Why should an experienced editor contribute to Wikiversity rather than some other wiki? One approach to allowing experienced wiki editors to find their own answer to this question is to have Wikiversity-based "service projects" that would allow such editors to continue to work on improvement of other Wikimedia Foundation sister projects while making use of special resources available at Wikiversity.
Sometimes experienced editors have a short period of time to devote to editing. Wikiversity could have a system for "To-do lists" as exists at Wikipedia:To-do list.
Some experienced wiki editors also have expertise in specific academic areas. One way to attract such participants might be to have a new type of Wikiversity "functionary" that allows the community to recognize its experts and call upon them to perform certain special services for the community; see Wikiversity:Review board.