Talk:Improving Technical Topics At Wikiversity

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Many good ideas and thoughts there. My concept of Wikiversity is that it is a place where students of a topic, advanced students or relatively knowledgeable amateurs, and subject experts can cooperate to create learning resources. Each bring something of value, and perhaps the most important contribution, in the end, is that of the students, who, after all, are the point of the whole thing! If course material doesn't work for students, does not engage them, it's pretty useless, even if completely "correct." This model is not the traditional setup with experts as professors in full charge of the class, and students can take it or leave it. Rather, it is collaborative, and will work if expertise is respected but cannot dominate (which is really not about expertise itself but about an expert as a human being), and students realize that to create a course that will work for them may sometimes take work on their part, even to build the "classroom," and, of course, they will need to give due respect to expertise. That's the tuition! --Abd 19:02, 11 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Hi David, agreed, lots of good ideas here. Teaching in universities in my experience does tend to be a bit of a one-man or one-woman show and could significantly benefit from a team/multi-disciplinary approach as you suggest. And I very much agree about the potential for collaboratively developed textbooks, as well as usability in design. Modularity I think is also critical on Wikiversity since the vast majority of Wikiversity visitors are not doing a whole course, but rather looking for very specific pieces of learning content. I'd encourage you to consider starting a stand alone page just on the topic of your posting - either in the main space or a user sub-page - your material and this talk thread could be copied or moved there. You also might be interested in a conference presentation I gave yesterday: User:Jtneill/Presentations/Open academia: A philosophy of open practice. I look forward to learning more about your ideas. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 00:11, 12 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Great! I'm glad to see some interest/agreement. I can't claim this idea as my own - Professor Woodie Flowers gave the keynote talk at a recent ASEE Northeast conference that I attended. I've been trying to get him on board with helping to implement his idea but he's a busy man!
Jtneill - I read your presentation. I whole heartedly agree with all the points there. I actually see it being very easy to convince the mainstream school systems to use free "text books" that we produce, particularly given budget restrictions that are a constant headache for administrators. This is very different than the typical open source software idea. No matter how hard people work on Open Office, the fact of the matter is that Microsoft Office is used by millions of people, and to maintain compatibility and uniformity companies won't even consider switching to anything else, despite financial savings. In text books, however, it seems to me that school are not employing any kind of consistent text books, so nothing is lost by any individual school switching books. In fact, there is much to be gained by everyone switching to the SAME book (our free ones!)!
The only thing holding this back is quality. The quality must (of course) be reasonable and I think that this multidisciplinary approach is a good way to improve it.

Daviddoria 01:04, 12 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]

A brainstorming session can start at any time, no need to wait. Anyone that wants to join in on the brainstorming can. -- darklama  14:31, 14 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Abd writes: "it is collaborative, and will work if expertise is respected but cannot dominate"

This is very true (of course), but it is only part of the wiki power, which I think is what we are indirectly talking about. I think the most important fact about Wikis is that they build their own information, irrespective of collaboration on a single project. This is because the entire wiki project is collaborative in ways unimaginable prior to the Wiki's evolution -- Wiki has become an entity unto itself. Wiki knowledge will change the World

Rather than focus on attempts to create an improved online campus, my advice is to simply "go with the Wiki flow." Deconstruct existing writing into sparse structures of topic headings followed by explanations followed by bullets of subsidiary material, each having more explanations and links to citations or expansive resources.

This technique creates layers up layers of information nested into a single phenomena, which is the definition of Science, and also eliminates licensing headaches. The material becomes available to be re-constructed into prose by anyone--it is valid wiki information in this sparse format, and makes for exceedingly easy to reading and high rates of absorption!

Or if you have the structure in your mind already, simply "core dump" it onto a page and then fill in the details as they occur to you, which will come quickly. One should always hope for collaboration, but my experience has been that WV information tends to be solo-writing, and one should feel confident in wide-scale wiki collaboration because material will flow if it has value.

On technical topics

My feeling is that technology research and dissemination is the obvious best use for the WV, but it is not happening to any satisfying degree. Part of the problem is that the double-hit of the tech market crash and the bombing of Lower Manhattan in the early 2000s killed the best run the Information Society ever had. No significant information breakthrough has emerged since, and, generally speaking, the star economies have been thrown on the floor.

My question is how can we reverse this process making the WV an important entity (making it immune to whatever ails it at the moment).

I throw out these suggestions:

  • Become the information source for Wiki technology, which is effectively the mediawiki
  • Become a critic of Wiki technology so as to help lead the development process
  • Make a place for a public domain implementation of the L4, the advanced OS that was conceived before the tech crash, but has been beleaguered since, and is apparently dying on the vine

In light of recent issues that we all have to be aware of by now, I think we should start thinking about alternate funding. If we become financially independent, we might even think about forking, an idea that has been in my mind for a long time. This would allow us to evolve the wiki mark-up language into a genuine extension of HTML, and perhaps a great tech writing tool for writers of all ages, especially starting with middle schoolers. I have found from experience that CSS can actually function as a mark-up language itself. We might want to (finally) initiate the HTML programming language for which JavaScript has been a long-term substitute. It remember it being originally titled "Umm" at a meeting in downtown NYC, but as I mentioned, we basically got blow away on two fronts, never to recover either financially or fully from grief of loss-of-life.

--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 15:10, 27 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]