User:Solstag/Wikiversities: get over the content, serve the flow

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Flow away!

During Wikimania 2017 I organised a session about Wikiversity highlighting the direction taken by Portuguese language Wikiversity away from content production and towards hosting communities, discussing its consequences for the project and for the Wikiversity concept at large. Here, I (finally) document the links I have shared!

If you're interested and want to talk to me about any of this, leave a comment on this page's discussion page or on my own personal discussion page. Cheers, Solstag (discusscontribs) 11:50, 19 May 2018 (UTC)


I started the session presenting the topviews of portuguese and english wikiversity, highlighting some entries that fit the idea that Wikiversity is more meaningful as a space for organisation and for open notebooks of existing classes and study groups - or research projects and groups. That is, rather than as a place for the production of generic course material, which in my view lies within the scope of Wikibooks and is better housed there, even though it is likely still the main focus of most Wikiversities.

Search topviews of en.wikiversity for june 2017 (for april 2018)

Search topviews of pt.wikiversity for june 2017 (for april 2018)

A selection of interesting cases over at pt.wikiversity[edit]

I then showed a sample of communities, most of them courses at universities and in other settings, that since our change of focus have made Portuguese Wikiversity their home for organisation and documentation of learning activities.

EncontrADA (independent group)[edit]

This page documents meetings of women studying self-care in gynaecology.

Cisterna Já (independent group)[edit]

This page documents an effort to teach how to build cisterns in response to water crisis in Brazil

Jogo 2017 (Federal University of São Paulo - Unifesp Baixada Santista)[edit]

This page is part of a series of documentations of a class on sports and games at a Brazilian university.

Sistemas de Produção (University of Brasília - UnB)[edit]

This page and those it links to organize the course works of a group of engineering students at a Brazilian university.

Wikinativa (University of São Paulo - USP)[edit]

How much of course work done on Wikiversity can be directly incorporated to the subject's page on Wikipedia. One of a dozen of pages related to a course at a Brazilian university.

Utilisador:Solstag (researcher)[edit]

This user has some of his academic production as open notebooks. on Wikiversity. (Maybe you've guessed, that's me!). On this page he documents his current job and main research project.

Ciência Aberta Ubatuba (research project)[edit]

This page documents a research project in the city of Ubatuba, led by a researcher from Fiocruz.

Sociedade e Tecnologias Digitais (Unifesp Guarulhos)[edit]

Another course at a Brazilian university that was organized and documented in Wikiversity, leaving as always a vast and useful free as in freedom collaborative record.

Tecnologia de Fermentações (School of Medicine of the ABC region - FMABC)[edit]

Yet another one, interestingly from a private school, moreover from a school of medicine.


There are several more communities using Portuguese Language Wikiversity for documentation, usually connected to courses taking place at universities and culture centres, as well as some research projects. One way to check them out is simply to visit the wiki's main page and check out the dynamically generated selection of study groups, courses and research projects displayed there.

None of this is to imply there aren't similar things taking place on English Wikiversity as well. You can find some good examples. But my personal feeling is that it is much less frequent, even less if you take into account the population scale of the language, and that it happens in a more constrained, less empowering way.

Opportunities and examples outside Wikimedia[edit]

Beyond the above, which is already happening and can happen spontaneously in Wikiversity from a simple change in focus, there are some exceptional English language communities that merit attention as they seem symptomatic of what we're missing out by keeping Wikiversity geared towards content.


Wikiversity should have been the obvious and natural choice for the folks on this wiki to host their course organisation and documentation, plus their research. Instead, they use an ill maintained and featureless wiki. Why is the Wikimedia movement missing these people?

Open Source Malaria[edit]

Same thing here, the Wikimedia movement has every interest to be the home for this kind of community.

Polymath Projects[edit]

These folks are exploring completely new ways for collaboration in mathematics with huge success, using blogs... and a wiki hosted as a patchwork under the personal website of one of the participants. We can do better than that, as a movement, for them and for us together.


All these awesome and game-changing communities are relying on uncertain and dubiously maintained infrastructure, and are often missing out on properly licensing their content. Also, as a consequence, potential collaboration with the Wikimedia projects is being overlooked. It seem that, had they adopted Wikiversity, both the communities and Wikiversity would be better off. What happened? Do they not know about Wikiversity? Does Wikiversity not convey the message that these kinds of activities are welcome? Does Wikiversity lack some feature or has some usability issue?

Yes, one notable point is that some of these wikis do not allow anonymous editing. But the Wikimedia movement already has many tools to help communities coexists with higher levels of openness to participation. And if there isn't yet the right tool for some of their use cases, it's essentially in the heart of our mission to work with these communities to develop new tools and procedures that would help them broaden participation and join us.