User talk:Historybuff/2007-archive-1

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Welcome![edit]

Welcome to the jungle, Historybuff. Thanks for your interest and contributions at School:Computer Science. I've changed the main CS school page a bit. Hopefully we can get things organized before too long. Just jump on in! (BTW: We could use some help at Topic:Perl if you are so inclined) CQ 18:48, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Computer science portal[edit]

Before the Wikiversity website was launched in Summer 2006, there were Wikiversity-related pages at Wikibooks. We have attempted to move the useful content from Wikibooks to this website. In many cases, the material that was created at Wikibooks needs to be edited and modified to fit in with this website. Portal:Computer Science needs to become a page that is very user friendly. It should be the page that new Wikiversity visitors go to if they are interested in computer science. It should quickly connect visitors to existing computer science educational resources. It should have a featured content section. It should mention the computer science-related content development projects, in particular, School:Computer Science. --JWSchmidt 15:00, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

"archive discussions" <-- Much information here: w:Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page, might not all be relevant to Wikiversity. We have Template:Archive. You can look at this example.

"contact areas for contributors to the Comp Sci area" <-- My best guess would be School talk:Computer Science.

"build some consensus on changes and content required, but it's hard when there aren't many editors that seem active" <-- My advice is be bold. If you are familiar with the level of activity at Wikipedia, you have to change how you think when editing here. Wikipedia is thousands of times larger than Wikiversity....we are just getting started here.
--JWSchmidt 17:00, 13 January 2007 (UTC)


Alan Turing Memorial Closer.jpg

"It might help in the early going here if there was someone who was knowledgeable about Wikiversity who would guide participants." <-- I do not mind helping. In general, I suggest placing questions at Wikiversity:Colloquium. Also, IRC channel #wikiversity-en is a good place to get help.

"I .... found the CS area from the French language Wikiversity" <-- I think the Main Page could be better at guiding visitors to content. We can discuss changes at Wikiversity:Main page design changes and then make them.

"images out of the commons .... interwiki magic code" <-- If an image exists on Commons, just call it directly, example: [[Image:Alan Turing Memorial Closer.jpg|thumb|right]]
--JWSchmidt 17:44, 13 January 2007 (UTC)



"Is there any standard/convention for something like a Todo list for schools/courses etc? (a subpage, a template, etc)" <-- The participants at Wikipedia have developed several: w:Category:To do templates. As for as I know, only one has been brought over to Wikiversity: Template:To do, and I'm not sure that it is used. It would be great if you could bring these tools to Wikiversity from Wikipedia. --JWSchmidt


Comments about Category:Computer Science Courses. Topic pages at Wikiversity (pages that are in the "Topic:" namespace are content development projects like Wikipedia's "wikiprojects". "Topic:" pages can link to other pages that hold lessons and learning activities. There is danger in using the term "course" at Wikiversity. The Wikiversity community was explicitly directed to "exclude online-courses" from Wikiversity. The conventional meaning of "course" includes several components that are not possible at Wikiversity. Courses are one type of "learning project". Wikiversity allows many types of learning projects but not all types of courses. Thus, we are caught between a desire to use familiar terms such as "course" while not giving visitors the false idea that they will find conventional courses here. I think it is best to not use the term "course" in Wikiversity page names. I think it is best to only use the term "course" in the context of fully describing non-conventional "wiki-courses" that exist at Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 15:08, 14 January 2007 (UTC)


"most if not all of the listed courses are lesson fragments or course fragments, so even if a visitor came across them it would be hard for them to link them with a traditional course" <-- Yes, but...often the first thing visitors see at a wiki are the names of the pages. It might not be wise to judge a webpage by its name, but people see a word and their mind automatically jumps to conclusions.

"I needed a way to refer to and gather together all of the potential learning content" <-- The general term I tend to use is "learning resources". Learning resources can be static "learning materials" or more dynamic "learning activities" or "learning projects".

"knowing full well it will either be renamed or absorbed into other more appropriate catagories at a future date." <-- well, I think the general attitude at Wikiversity is that "we should run small experiments, tests, see what works, what doesn't, and be prepared to be flexible and change, and not be too locked into stone about how things should work". We are trying many different approaches and eventually we hope to observe which one work best. You have to decide what you think is best.

"bringing over stuff from wikipedia." <-- For things like templates, cut and paste is fine. Just make a link back to the original source of the template.

"I was wondering how we could compose a locked page" which is made up of subpages.....I've found participants who are just adding their names to the bottom of the page, not looking where category tags are." <-- There are some cases where people remove category tags from pages. I think they just do not know what they are doing. The next tutorial I make will be about categories! My advice is to not make pages hard to edit (like the Main Page is hard to edit). The Main Page is a target for vandals, so it makes sense to have it be hard to edit. Most other pages do not have a real problem with vandalism or loss of category tags. --JWSchmidt 17:35, 14 January 2007 (UTC)


"Is there any way to get a listing of Topic space�" <-- try this. --JWSchmidt 22:11, 14 January 2007 (UTC)



"I've managed to go though all of the CS related topic entries....I have a bit of a headache this moment" <-- I suspect these are related phenomena!

Faculty->School->Division->Department->"course"->Lesson hierarchy
how this maps into the Topic/Portal/Article space
and given them a category

I do not like the use of "Faculty" at Wikiversity (see Template talk:Portal Header). We should only use "portal". Every category can have a portal, if needed. A portal is a user-friendly page that can quickly guides visitors to wiki content in the main namespace. An example at wikipedia: Portal:Molecular and Cellular Biology. Portals are for people who want to find learning resources quickly.

"Topic:" pages are Wikiversity content development projects. They are like Wikipedia "wikiprojects". An example from Wikipedia: Wikipedia:WikiProject Molecular and Cellular Biology. Wikiversity "School:" and "Topic:" pages are for people who want to create educational content at Wikiversity. You can call "Topic:" pages "divisions", "departments", "centers", "programs", "institutes" or anything else you like as a "title" for a content development project.

The Wikiversity main namespace (page names with no prefix) is where most actual educational content and learning resources should be such as lessons, learning projects and research projects. We should avoid the Wikipedia term "article"....we really do not want to write encyclopedia articles at Wikiversity.

Every wiki page should be tagged with one or more categories. There should be a unique category for each main "Portal:", "School:" and "Topic:" page. There can be any other categories that are useful.

None of these conventions are "obvious" or particularly "logical". They provide one method of organizing Wikiversity content. This system arose from a series of historical "accidents" and people need to adapt to them the same way we learn to drive on one side of the road. If you can use QuickTime, try watching this short video tutorial (hosted at InternetArchive.

Another important tool for organizing wiki content is the "navigation template". So far we only have a few primitive ones at Wikiversity. For example, see the "page navigation box" at the bottom of Introduction to VB6.
--JWSchmidt 04:11, 15 January 2007 (UTC)


"while we should reinforce that Wikiversity isn't here to offer traditional courses, I think we should allow a bit of a blanket in terms of what we call learning units" <-- I agree. That is why there is no rule against creating courses and calling things courses at Wikiversity. Just as Wikipedia expands the conventional concepts of "encyclopedia" and "encyclopedia article", Wikiversity allows us to expand our thinking beyond convention ideas about education. Wiki technology allows Wikipedia to include content that simply cannot be included in conventional printed encyclopedias. People may see the name "wikipedia" and expect to find an encyclopedia, but they cannot expect to find a conventional encyclopedia. This is often expresses as Wiki is not paper. Similarly, Wiki technology allows Wikiversity to include types of learning resources that are not found as part of conventional educational institutions and there are important aspects of conventional education systems that we cannot replicate using this wiki website. People may see the name "wikiversity" and expect to find a university, but Wikiversity is not a university and the Board of Trustees has made clear that Wikiversity will never be a conventional university. Some people who can only think conventionally and who cannot see past traditional thinking are enraged by this. Luckily, some people do calm down after the initial shock, open their thinking to the potential of wiki technology and realize that Wikiversity has the potential to do some things better than a conventional university and provide new educational opportunities. There is a tricky balance between helping people by means our making use of familiar terms and misleading people. It is also important that we not antagonize the Board of Directors. They explicitly directed the Wikiversity community to "exclude online-courses" from the Wikiversity project proposal. We are now 5 months into a 6 month "beta testing" period for the Wikiversity project. We are trying to establish a culture for Wikiversity, a system by which people think clearly about what Wikiversity is and what Wikiversity will be in the future. There are many people who come to Wikiversity and can only think in terms of replicating conventional courses in wiki format. There is real danger in leading such participants to think that Wikiversity is or can be a conventional university with conventional courses. Their resentment can be explosive if they work here for a while and only slowly come to the realization that Wikiversity is not what they thought it was. I have spent more than a year watching many Wikiversity participants "explode" in this way, which is why I am always concerned that Wikiversity not send out signals that can be interpreted in the wrong way. Since this is a wiki you are free to contribute as you judge is best. I just wanted to be sure that you are informed about the history of Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 14:47, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Re:Request for help[edit]

Yes, and no. I've been able to get many examples of quizzes down, but no one seems to be willing to adopt them. Mostly because they are not simple to use. I've been recently looking at monobook plug ins. You wouldn't happen to know how to code those, would you?--Rayc 22:54, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, every user has their own monobook code (yours is, or would be at User:Historybuff/monobook.js, mine is at User:Rayc/monobook.js). Monobooks are special code that allow users to customize their user interface. A user from the Spanish wikipedia provided me with sample code for making a test, but if I want to implement in on the main MediaWiki:Monobook.css (the all user monobook) I've got to beta test it. Problem is I have no idea what code it is written in.--Rayc 06:34, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

cooperation between wikis[edit]

See my repsonse please. ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 20:34, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Reponse to Hitler's Germany[edit]

Hey, you're more than welcome to give the topic a shot. If you've read the page then you can see what I expect of people - assume that it's the same environment as a scholarly discussion and put forth an honest effort. I give people my honest analysis in the hopes that should they take an actual university course on the subject, then they will be decently prepared. The week layout is only a rough guide for people to 'chunk' learning into manageable blocks. Cheers --Kfitton 07:25, 15 January 2007 (UTC)