User:Mu301/Learning blog

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My thoughts about creating learning resources, developing Wikiversity, and the broader subject of collaborative learning in a wiki environment.

I encourage discussion and comments; feel free to edit these pages. Create a subsection header if you include a block of text that is longer than about a paragraph, otherwise no need. Please sign with --~~~~

I also write about the history of science and technology at the Ladd Observatory blog and at my personal blog Fornax Chimiæ. --mikeu talk


Pinned to top[edit]

Monday's learning project image[edit]

Retrocomputing

Two users playing the Spacewar! video game on a PDP-12 minicomputer at the Vintage Computer Festival. (2001)


February 2018[edit]

Fizzled[edit]

One of the ambitious projects that I followed when I first came to Wikiversity was BoomCode. This is an open source project to simulate a supernova using a computer program. The resource was created by User:Roadrunner in 2006. It never really developed; the main contributor moved on, creating QuantLib and other projects, before leaving Wikiversity about 5 years ago. The external links to the BoomCode source code are now broken. There's very little that can be done with resources like this. Not only is it abandoned, but it is impossible to resume the project without the missing pieces that have succumbed to link rot. --mikeu talk 15:47, 5 February 2018 (UTC)

Ancient Egyptian language[edit]

I recently stumbled upon Pre-Late Egyptian Reconstruction which contains "some notes of the Ancient Egyptian verbal system as well as research on other pertinent grammatical information and vocalizations that have been gathered together" by User:Danielito el traviesito. We also have a project created in 2009 called Ancient Egyptian vocalization project which is "dedicated to researching and teaching the vocalization of the ancient Egyptian language" by User:Hakseng. Both are part of Portal:Egyptian language. There is also a page on Ancient Egyptian literature created by User:Pablomr84 in 2011. This is some fantastic original research and a welcome addition to Wikiversity. --mikeu talk 16:40, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

Ancient Egyptian papyri
The Edwin Smith papyrus containing a surgical treatise on trauma  
The Ipuwer Papyrus containing the Admonitions of Ipuwer  
The Papyrus D'Orbiney containing the Tale of Two Brothers  

January 2018[edit]

What I learned this month...[edit]

  • We can include interactive maps in a wiki page. --mikeu talk 12:05, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
Rhode Island Observatories
  • How to render page view graphs. Here are dynamically generated results for User:Mu301/Learning blog during the previous 30 days. --mikeu talk 08:37, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

Google analytics[edit]

I've been interested in the topic of Google Search and Wikiversity for some years now. Periodically I've looked at the Google Search Console data for en.wikiversity.org and summarized the results in two reports: 2009 and 2015. The prior results were not too useful to me. I didn't see any actionable items that we could use to improve our prominence.

Last night I took a look and discovered something that is very troubling. Google has cut the number of our pages that it is indexing to ½ of what it was just one year ago. If we extrapolate this trend forward it looks like we'll hit zero sometime around the middle of the fourth quarter 2018. Please join me at Google/Search and Wikiversity to discuss the topic. --mikeu talk 14:44, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

The total number of URLs from en.wikiversity.org that have been added to Google's index. (with extrapolated trendline) Learn more

Public humanities page[edit]

I finally followed up on my two year old pledge to organize some wonderful resources that have been developing here. I've created a landing page for the group at Public_humanities. There is still much work to do. These projects have accumulated many pages over the years with little attempt to work them into our category structure or link them to our other resources. --mikeu talk 03:01, 7 January 2018 (UTC)

This page now uses dynamic content to highlight featured resources within the topic. The stories rotate each day. See the wikicode at Public humanities/Featured. --mikeu talk 15:21, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

"A rose by any other name..."[edit]

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet is a popular reference to William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo is from her family's rival house of Montague, that is, that he is named "Montague". The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are."

How should we name and organize pages? Should we adopt some form of Wikiversity:Naming conventions and what would that include? Below are some initial thoughts where I will examine some of the pros and cons of various schemes.

Example page titles[edit]

I'm going to pick a couple of pages to use as a case study to muse about the ramifications of choosing one page title over another. I'm going to pick a couple of pages that I started to avoid sounding critical of the choices that others have made. I'll also be picking a rather uncontroversial topic to begin with. The pages I'll use for this example are one new learning project and two resources on the subject:

Often we structure our resources using subpages like this:

That could be a logical and convenient way of organizing the materials, depending on how the project develops, and renaming at this time would be unlikely to disturb incoming external links.

Contrast this with the Wikipedia:Article_titles:

Note that there is not an exact correspondence to our local resources as VAX-11/750 is a subtopic of the larger topic VAX-11. FYI: the names VAX-11/750, VAX-11/780. etc. (including the "/") are manufacturer part numbers and not a subpage demarcation (though it might make sense if we had multiple pages to organize resources about the topic this way.)

There is no right or wrong way to organize material and choose resource titles. There are, however, consequences that we might want to consider. One is how Wikidata: cross-links our Wikimedia sites:

How data models deliver benefit

The name of these items are, of course, in part due to Wikipedia's choice of article titles, but it also reflects a broader attempt to create and organize structured data:

"A data model is an abstract model that organizes elements of data and standardizes how they relate to one another and to properties of the real world entities."

If someone is searching for information to learn about a topic they are going to naturally use search terms of the type that are described at Wikipedia:Common names. Our resource on the topic comes up as the fifth hit in a Google search using the common name. Our local resource is also linked to in the Wikipeda article (via an entry in Wikidata that I updated.) I imagine that in the future this process of cross-linking resources on multiple wikimedia project will become increasingly automated.

What point am I trying to make here? None, at the moment. I'm simply w:Thinking Out Loud about how we find information. --mikeu talk 19:21, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

The World Wide Wikiverse[edit]

Interconnections[edit]

Wikiversity and its place within the circle of Wikimedia projects.

Wikimedia projects are becoming increasingly interconnected. Wikidata assumes that W:cold fusion and V:cold fusion cover the same subject matter and treat the topic in a similar manner. It then cross-links the resources (on numerous multilingual projects) together because they have the same title. Every other project treats this subject as a mainstream physicist would: a research area that has produced few results and is primarily known for a spectacular failure to replicate. Our resource never clearly disclosed that it was original research that treated the topic from a decidedly enthusiastic POV.

The interlinking of dissimilar content becomes especially jarring when you compare W:fringe science and V:fringe science. These pages have nothing in common except the title. Numerous pages here are damaging to the wikimedia foundation's attempt to cross-link similar resources. Even pages like V:plants could be damaging because wikidata incorrectly identifies wikiversity as a site that hosts a learning resource on this topic, but when we don't. For these reasons I am going to strongly advocate for the deletion of minimal stubs and a policy that "prime" page titles (those found in a library subject classification system) be required to adhere to a neutral point of view and present the material from a mainstream perspective. Minority POV interpretations should not be given such prominence to cross-link to mainstream counterparts at wikipedia and elsewhere. The "prime" titles should treat the subject consistently across the world wide wikiverse as wikidata sssumes. --mikeu talk 07:01, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Example[edit]

The relationship between topics within a single project. Multiply the complexity by the number of all interconnected wikis.

Take a look at the left sidebar for V:Observational astronomy. It contains links such as:

In other languages

In other projects

Where do these links come from? A long time ago we had to manually insert [[fr:Département:Astronomie d'observation]] in the local page, though in practice this was often maintained by a WV:BOT. Now, these are automatically generated and updated by the properties defined at Wikidata:observational astronomy. I just discovered an error in this link to Wikimedia Commons and fixed it.[1] After purging the cache for our local page the correct link to commons then appeared. I suspect that in the future such corrections will be automated. --mikeu talk 18:38, 3 January 2018 (UTC)