Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/August 2006

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Please do not edit this page. Continue old discussion at Wikiversity:Colloquium.

15 August 2006


Request administrator action for protecting and deleting pages and blocking vandals at: Request administrator action.

One thing we need to do for now is to nominate some sysops/admins who can start putting this site together (and monitor it from an early flood of vandalism). Apparently we need to set up an RfA-type process - we can do so here temporarily (or you can move it to a page of its own, if you like). I would like to nominate the following for a start:

  • JWSchmidt (admin on en.Wikipedia)
  • Robert Scott Horning (admin on en.Wikibooks)

Cormaggio 13:56, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I accept the nomination, at least on a temporatry basis. I'm going to make a formal request for temporary adminship on meta from the stewards (and ask for bureaucrat status as well for the time being) so we can get some stuff put together. --Robert Horning 14:08, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to volunteer. As to my credentials, I'm active on the English and German Wikipedia (about 9,100 edits), Wikisource (de), Commons and Meta. I also run the Mediawiki-installation we use in the office and have written numerous extensions for it so I have a lot of the experience with some of the behind-the-scenes-features, template programming, mediawiki-messages, user rights, etc. I've also started the template and category projects on German Wikipedia. -- sebmol ? 15:03, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I'll help as an admin if needed. I'm an admin on en:wp. --Fang Aili 15:49, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to be an admin. I plan on being very active in this project. Masterhomer 06:33, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I am willing to have my history of wiki behavior be evaluated so that the community can decide if I can be trusted to be protecting and deleting pages and blocking vandals at the English language Wikiversity. I am an administrator on the English Wikipedia. --JWSchmidt 16:00, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I'll help admin if needed, based on much experience facilitating academic and media projects outside the sphere of wikimedia. Doug 19:56, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I've created Wikiversity:Administrators. List yourself if you are one. Cheers. --Fang Aili talk 17:58, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for doing that. What do you mean by the heading "group"? -- sebmol ? 18:21, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I copied it from Wiktionary. They use "group" for extra designations like "steward" or "bureucrat". We may or may not find all the columns useful. --Fang Aili talk 19:02, 15 August 2006 (UTC)


There's an iRC channel at #wikiversity-en(on Freenode) for anyone who's interested. We'll need a mailing list soon also - this was requested months ago, but still isn't set up. Cormaggio 14:15, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I signed up for a wikiversity mailing list today so I gather it does exist. Sebmol 14:52, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Never mind, it's the German one. -- sebmol ? 14:58, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I was looking for a mailing list too. --Fang Aili 15:37, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I thought that there was a mailing list for Wikiversity, as this discussion came up on textbook-l a few months ago. I can't find what happened, although I know a formal request to Brion was made, and I seem to recall that the mailing list was set up. I can't find it, however. --Robert Horning 17:53, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

The mailing list has just been created, and is found here as Wikiversity-l. --Robert Horning 21:22, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikibooks pages

So are all the pages on Wikibooks being moved here? How is that all working? --Fang Aili 15:55, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

That will be a long process, and unfortuantely mostly manual at the moment, although there are some aspects that can be automated. I hope it doesn't take too long, and that Wikibooks regulars won't try to fight us here too much. --Robert Horning 17:21, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Besides the pages from wikibooks, is there any training materials that will be developed here? --Smalltalkman 17:29, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Hopefully there will be all kinds of materials developed, if I understand the project correctly. --Fang Aili talk 17:41, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely - training materials are most welcome. Wikiversity aims to be immediately practical to its users, both learners and educators. Cormaggio 06:27, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Transwiki-Import from Wikibooks and Meta has been enabled. The import feature allows importing pages with complete version history. Therefore, Please do not copy and paste any more pages from Wikibooks. If you want to move a Wikiversity page from Wikibooks or Meta, please list it on Wikiversity:Import. An Admin will take care of the import as soon as possible and notify you afterwards. -- sebmol ? 10:29, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
P.S. I'm going to delete all pages copied from Wikibooks and Meta and reimport them through the import feature. This may take a while so I appreciate your patience. -- sebmol ? 10:30, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Is there a detailed procedure somewhere for admins new to the transwiki? First person to find it put the link here please and/or a link to Wikiversity's Custodian inbriefing. Probably another tailoring opportunity, anyone undertaking it could put a link to it here so we do not get three or four by mistake ... although merging would probably improve it rapidly. Waste not want not. 8) Mirwin 23:14, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Right now we are using the English Wikipedia logo, and that needs to change ASAP to something else. If there are any suggestions for a interim logo for Wikiversity, that would be appreciated (and no, we are not going to use the U.S. Flag like was done with Wikipedia). --Robert Horning 14:08, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I've uploaded the one on the right
as a temporary logo (I know it's the wrong message and it's crap, but it's better than the Wikipedia one), but I'm trying to get a developer to add it as the logo. Cormaggio 14:11, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
As you may have noticed, I've uploaded the logo at the wrong size - but I can't now re-upload the re-sized image, as apparently you need to have a four-day-old account to do so. As soon as we have an admin, can s/he delete the image, and i'll re-upload the new one? Thanks. Cormaggio 14:46, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes. Is somebody getting bureaucrat-status? -- sebmol ? 15:03, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Trying.. :-) Cormaggio 15:05, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I have uploaded that logo to commons; Image:Wikiversity beta.png and created commons:Category:Wikiversity --Walter 22:11, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

To get Wikiversity on the main portal this template needs to be updated; template. But maybe it is better to wait a bit for that. --Walter 22:11, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

For a logo how about a large magnifying glass on a piece of a computer monitor showing some cryptic math equations or pictographs? Mirwin 11:28, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

meta:User:Nightstallion (away for the moment) is good at arranging logo design competitions. I suggest you center it at Meta, similar to the current Wikibooks/Wiktionary discussions there. I don't like the current one, but it's OK for the moment. Dbmag9 11:56, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

The French, German, and Swedish Wikiversities all have the same logo at present -- which is this nice amalgamated image combining the middle ages, the renaissance, and a modern guy of today. we can either affirm our solidarity with the EU (although Italy doesn't have a logo yet), and use theirs or come up with something equally complex and rich. I like suggesting our affiliation -- albeit distant -- with the medieval university which was a bastion of learning, a refuge and repository of knowledge and an international center for the exchange of ideas in a very chaotic and war-torn world. --Smithgrrl 00:42, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
A discussion about Wikiversity logo has started here: m:Wikiversity/logo. Feel free to share your ideas. guillom 16:22, 23 August 2006 (UTC)


Wikipedia is to Wikipedian as Wikiversity is to ? --Fang Aili talk 20:10, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Wikiversitians
  • Wikiversitites
  • Wikiversian
  • Wikiversitarian
My two proposals. -- sebmol ? 20:11, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

We could consider beginning to move away from wiki* and towards shorter and/or more clear neologisms. How about:

  • co-learners
  • learners
  • participants
  • scholars
  • WVians
  • wivians/wuvians (hee hee) --Doug 20:32, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps wikiversian. --Fang Aili talk 20:38, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Maybe Wikischolar/Wikilearner or something to that effect? Also, on most of the wikimedia projects, editor and user are interchangable; would scholar/learner be acceptable as well as editor/user?--Digitalme 23:25, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Personally I like Wikiversity Participant or Partyer for short. '8) Mirwin 11:25, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikischolar is nice. Dbmag9 11:52, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I like that too. --Fang Aili talk 13:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
It's nice. So, wikischolars practice wikinquiry and wikiate together in a wikiwise way, eh? Referring to working the WV site: Editor works for me too. Scholars are editors too.
Hmm, perhaps wikian works too.Doug 13:31, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikischolar goes a long way towards setting a good productive initial tone for the site. Perhaps we could use wiklar for short and wiklars for plural. Mirwin 19:30, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
btw, users of Wikia use Wikian, just a note. [[User:Lcarsdata ([[User_talk:Lcarsdata|Talk]])]] 19:53, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Oooh...Wikischolar sounds nice. --HappyCamper 13:16, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
wikilar looks sort of like wiki-lier. I think wikischolar is less confusing. Would it work the other way? Wikischo? Wikislar? Wikiscer? Wikishlr? Na, no truncation sound right.--Rayc 13:57, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I really like wikischolar. It encompases both the learning portion and the teaching portion. --The Winged Self 03:20, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
I like "wikischolar" also! It's funny, it makes people feel smart, and it resonates with the "serious playfulness" of the wiki-projects. --Smithgrrl 00:33, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I too appreciate Wikischolar. It has the haf-credibility that all the Wikis have. Dev920 14:02, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Scholars simply. Since the word does not contain the root "uni", there is no place and no need for the root "wiki" either.
  • If the need arises, you can say, "the scholar working at the Wikiversity..."Hillgentleman 00:21, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Heads of Schools and other "titles"

On some of the "department" pages that have been moved from Wikibooks, some users have become self-appointed to become the "dean" or "head of school" for the current content organization at Wikibooks.

While it is an interesting idea that one user is going to take responsibility for the content of a school and act as a moderator, it seems to go against the ideas of Wikiversity:What Wikiversity is not, particularly the issue of confering titles or assuming an office.

I think it is a legitimate point to make that perhaps these positions should be removed in some regard, or at least a debate over how the social organization of Wikibooks will be made. This issue even goes down to those who want to be the "instructor" of a topic. I would defend that an individual's name be attached as an instructor of a course, as there sometimes does need to be somebody acting as the lead to a learning experience. The "expert" who will let you know more about the topic and guide you through.

Certainly this is something that needs to be thought through a little more before it becomes standard practice here. --Robert Horning 21:19, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that over time somewhat of a social structure will and should develop. In that sense, Wikiversity may be less of an anarchy as Wikipedia sometimes becomes. For example, I think it would be useful if some direction could be given as to breadth of a course or other formal requirements and that such direction would differ between different schools or departments. Whether titles are conferred should be determined by each department. However, I don't think there's any point in having them as long as there aren't any other people around. -- sebmol ? 21:23, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I definitely think "Heads of school" should be eliminated (the title, I mean ;-)), and replaced by something like "facilitator". Wikiversity is for materials that other peopel can use for their own educational ends (teaching or learning) as well as developing learning communities around those subjects. Nowhere does it seem appropriate to be giving ourselves titles like those appropriated from conventional universities. I agree with Seb that we may develop different working practices than other wikis (like Wikipedia), but this, for me, should be developed out of mutual respect. Leadership is there for the taking if anyone wants to drive a portion of Wikiversity forward - and if anyone does not agree with these developments, they should feel free to say so. Cormaggio 06:34, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I think all these titles are wholly inappropriate for an egalitarian wiki community, and they should be removed. This was always one of the concerns I had about the name Wikiversity: that it would encourage copying existing models of organization. We can think about trust models to highlight people with particular expertise, but deans and department heads are just silly.--Eloquence 09:48, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Easiest thing is to just have a box where people can add self-appoint themselves as a "contributor" Roadrunner 21:32, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Roadrunner and Eloquence. We sure don't want to replicate the power structures of the school and the university as they are commonly practiced and understood. i like the self-appointed contributor box. --Smithgrrl 03:21, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree that we can do without needless titles except when they reinforce our ability to laugh at ourselves. Perhaps a "barndean" to parallel Wikipedia's "barnstar" -- in our barn some deans may be more equal than others. :-) Eclecticology 19:40, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Did the earliest universities start as a loose community of scholars living near each other?Hillgentleman 00:25, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think there was ever anything "loose" about the university. From what i've read -- the "university" as we commonly think of it (and that some of us attended) is a Western European institution that grew out of the scholastic movement in the Catholic Church. It was extremely rigid and hierarchical, and that structure remains in place today (at least at the research university and in most 4 year colleges) in the rankings of faculty (lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, full professor) and in the ways those faculty are valued by the institution (tenured versus untenured faculty for example). This is part of what i'm getting at in my post above. I think one of the biggest challenges facing the framers of wikiversity is to devise communities and strategies that do not reinscribe the traditional hierarchies of the university, and that we just don't make a cyber-clone of the university's very limited modalities of knowledge, expertise, mastery, "excellence" and so on. This sounds obvious, but in practice (at least in my experience [I am a renegade academic with years and years of experience with these issues]), it's actually quite difficult for most of us to think outside the box of our own intellectual formation. anyway, i surely hope we can do it. --Smithgrrl 01:14, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Encore! That's exactly what we need to do here - find a way to forge a new "frame" for a community of scholars without reverting to age-old hierarchical structures such as those in place at traditional universities. However, if someone wants to identify themselves as "professor of linguistics at the University of Arcadia", that's fine (provided that is their title/role in that university). This might raise the issue of "how do you prove you are who you say you are?" - personally, I'm not too worried about this, but we might want to do something about this in the future - I don't know. In any case, finding our own ways of working is our priority for now. Cormaggio 17:17, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

16 August 2006

Adding content

I think we need to help out people who are coming in to Wikiversity who would like to help out or add content. I've started a page at Wikiversity:Adding content - it needs continuing. Cormaggio 06:42, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Great idea. I will check it out. 8) Mirwin 11:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)


We need to tailor and transfer some of the more useful templates from various projects like Wikipedia and Wikibooks. A great example is the user template that identifies user pages and there origin. Mirwin 11:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

You're talking about Babel, right? I was planning on importing that later today. However, I think we should from the start have a common understanding on other "user boxes". -- sebmol ? 11:18, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I am not sure what provides the capability. This tag /* */ is placed at the bottom and a fully explanatory note of the origin of the page is autogenerated so if it is posted elsewhere online people know it is in error. Mirwin 11:32, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I brough {{Userpage}} over, so it should be good to go.--digital_metalk 14:21, 16 August 2006 (UTC)


The import feature has been enabled so pages can be moved from meta and wikibooks with their change history. Please list pages you want to have moved at Wikiversity:Import as, for security reasons, this feature is only accessible to admins. Please do not copy and paste any pages from meta or wikibooks. -- sebmol ? 11:25, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

The Grand Proposed Agenda of Getting Stuff Done

Well, someone had to propose it! ;)

I'll be using Wikiversity:Browse as a reference point here — be sure to load it up in addition to this page so you'll understand what I'm talking about. The large titles that head each section would be categories. All the schools (the links underneath the large titles) of their respective discipline would be included in these categories. Each school would also get its own category, in which the portal itself as well as all relevant pages are categorized in. Each school would have two types of pages: lessons and research projects. Lessons would be independent pages in the main namespace; although subpages may be appropriate in some cases (that shouldn't happen often).

Then comes the second type of page: the research projects. These would be in the main namespace, too, however multiple pages of a research project would have to be subpages of the main one. Research projects would be useful for at least one of two things: developing lessons and original research. However, before it can be considered acceptable, a peer review will be done on all the information to make sure it is accurate and can be verified with evidence. Once it's approved, the article is protected from editing and now the conclusions can be used to make Wikiversity lessons, or, even cooler, as a reference in a Wikipedia article.

The typical school page would give a short description of the topic at the beginning, then a list of advisors. These advisors should typically know what they're talking about, and becoming one is as easy as adding your name to the list. These advisors could maintain lesson pages, answer people's questions, and generally be figureheads (not that these heads would have power more than they'd have a figure). Then the latest school news, and then the list the pages. That's basically a summary.

If there's anything I left out, let me know. If there's anything you want me to explain or clarify, let me know. Tell me what you think. Messedrocker 13:07, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Addendum: While the research projects can be based on original research, they can also be based on scholarly research (involving sources). Messedrocker 14:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I think maybe we should go slow on protecting pages in the main wikispace. Many issues need to be resolved satisfactorily before we can have any large credibility with peer reviewed journal articles. How is peerage established. How is the article updated consistently with new evidence or findings as they become available. Protected status implies gatekeepers. How are gatekeepers chosen and validated. When has enough participation arrived we are confident we have adequate expertise and oversight of "frozen" or "published" articles. Further, large numbers of frozen pages toss away the primary strength of our wikimedia format ... bold editing serene in the knowledge that colleagues (fellow wiklars at any level who spot errors may repair them immediately while placing explanation on discussion pages. Perhaps peer reviewed articles of adequate quality could be placed a separate namespace (say journal articles) and linked to from the primary authors user pages in both directions. These could still be used as citations like any other online article but would not clutter the primary wikiversity namespace. Mirwin 19:44, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
How would "research projects" be organised? As parts of schools? As independent projects? --SB Johnny 20:09, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
All projects and lessons would be individual/independent nodes which are categorized by school. This way, multiple schools can be involved in certain projects/lessons and if we re-do the infrastructure in the future, we don't have to worry about constant re-naming. Messedrocker 20:38, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
So how/where does one propose a project? --SB Johnny 21:10, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Never been done so you could be a pioneer. Be bold and just do it :) -- sebmol ? 21:11, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Until we have a research portal and associated support pages you can add research-oriented projects at Wikiversity:Learning projects.

Participant knowledge base and other ideas

So, is wikiversity going to assume that everyone knows what they are doing and if not we can just revert them, or is it going to have some sort of system to figure out who knows what? At the very least, we should set up some "university student in field XXXX" categories to help recruit people into wikischools.

Second note, I am still waiting the for some non-traditional school creations, like "how to play yu-gi-oh" or "the history of star trek" to see how participants will react.--Rayc 15:27, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I hope Wikiversity can become known for its support of learners who are interested in "serious" topics of study. I also think Wikiversity should be open to scholarly study of just about any topic. (exceptions would be anything that disrupts the community including anything that is illegal or against Wikimedia or Wikiversity policy) If we allow young learners (or just the young-at-heart) to follow their interests (such as "how to play yu-gi-oh") and if we try to teach them how to be scholarly learners, they will gracefully grow into life-long learners who move on to more serious topics. Every school should have a playground. Learning should build on play. --JWSchmidt 15:43, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree totally with JW's paragraph above. I also think we can and should assume good faith but caution all users to engage their critical thinking skills. Errors will be made and caught, confusion and debate will occur, each wikiversity scholar (wiklar) must evaluate for themselves, until agreement or understanding arrives. Greater participation should lead to greater accuracy overall but specific errors will still occur until caught by participants. Regarding intentional malefactors. As per PT Barnum??? Approximately: "You can fool some of the people most of the time and most of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time." Wikiversity should not (at least for a while) be a place where answers are sought uncritically. Perhaps after some multitudes arrive with sufficient expertise and participation; we can establish some tentative best truths or reliable data that can be published (effectively peer reviewed, polished, and reliably controlled for accuracy) and used as reference data by those unwilling or incapable of following the reasoning and deciding for themselves. But not initially. For the moment let's concentrate on effective learning processes and useful free learning materials. Mirwin 20:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
All good points.--Rayc 22:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)


At Wikiversity:Policies, a first set of policies has been proposed. Your comments and vote are greatly appreciated. -- sebmol ? 18:33, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm confused

I'm not quite satisfied with how the organization and labelling of pages currently are... who would chase after me with a flail if I attempted to re-organize some things? How I can get to work once the transwiki process is complete? If I were to try re-organizing, I'd try to change as little as possible. Messedrocker 04:38, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, everything can be undone, as you obviously know, so I wouldn't worry too much. However, if you have a major plan on how to structure Wikiversity's pages, maybe you could make a page about it and let us know where that is? Cormaggio 06:42, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Is page moving along with edit history preservation available to standard users? If not, it would be nice if user:Messedrocker had appropriate administrator priveleges before undertaking a massive overhaul. A lot of the early edit history was lost at Wikipedia by inappropriate moving between article titles before the move capability became standard and reliable. Mirwin 04:39, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I think there is a minimum number of edits and time before you are able to move pages, but otherwise yes, any registered user can do a page move. If you want to move pages from Meta or Wikibooks, you need to make a request at Wikiversity:Import, but even that will move the pages with the full history intact. Kinda cool in that regard, as I havn't had that ability on Wikibooks. The import is still a little buggy, but it seems to be working well enough that the minor problems can be fixed manually. --Robert Horning 04:48, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Departments or schools or other name?

On the Wikiversity:Browse page, links are being made to specific topic pages renamed starting with "schools:". Someone made the point somewhere yesterday that main groupings of subject areas could be called "schools" and specific topics called "departments." I prefer subject area and subject or topic, but schools is fine for large groups. Specific topics like Physics or Linguistics could be called a department or something else or nothing at all, not a school. At this time, along with dropping titles like "dean", I think the whole school/department naming convention could be dropped in favor of area/topic or some other flexible or even minimal nomenclature. Perhaps an extensive collaborative think through of structure and naming, considering different models, is needed at this time. It might be best if issues of naming and structure are not arbitrarily decided based on whoever gets in the most edits early on. What do you think? --Doug 14:37, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Schools are what's linked to from Wikiversity:Browse — the larger groupings are topics or disciplines or departments or something. Messedrocker 14:41, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the point that is being raised is to label Wikiversity:Browse subjects as something other than "schools" and to avoid such organizational structural labels, such by using "subject area" instead of "school" and "subject" instead of "department". If labels are necessary, "subject" and "topic" work better, being more flexible and perhaps may be less alienating for collaborative, nontraditional, and/ or independent learners. Doug 15:00, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
JWSchmidt is pushing for Portals to be used instead of schools - the more I think about it, the more I think he has a point. Basically, all we are doing here is finding a structuring system that works for all types of material (remember, all levels, not just university..) Cormaggio 15:21, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I have no objections to using the School namespace. I think we should also have a portal namespace so that we can create portals that do not fit into conventional academic schools. --JWSchmidt 15:33, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Right, on the other hand there's something to be said about familiarity. What do we want to see users spend their time: Figuring out how Wikiversity is organized or quickly finding the content? <exaggerate>Maybe I'm too pragmatic but I'd rather go with established terminology than starting a language revolution.</exaggerate> -- sebmol ? 15:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

"I'd rather go with established terminology than starting a language revolution" <-- I do not know what that means. I hope it does not mean that Wikiversity will only categorize topics according the the system used in conventional bricks-and-mortar educational institutions. This is a wiki. --JWSchmidt 15:46, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

No, of course it doesn't mean that. We should strike a balance between familiarity/usability and innovation. If we talk about the actual category:-Categorization, thankfully it's so flexible that multiple methods of classification could be employed. Basically, I just want to make sure that average users spend only very little time figuring out how Wikiversity works and a lot of time getting actual value from the project through research and learning materials, collaboration, etc. -- sebmol ? 16:05, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

The conventional "school" structure will always be needed for people who come to Wikiversity from the world of conventional education. A portal system will be useful to Wikiversity participants who are ready to think outside of the box. The Wikiversity e-learning model is not conventional and we need to find ways of letting Wikiversity grow in natural ways that are not constrained by systems that are appropriate for conventional educational institutions. I think it would be constructive to have portals for general topics such as "Wikipedia learning activities" and "Learning materials". These two are the two main components of the Wikiversity project proposal and they each should have a portal that explains these fundamental elements of Wikiversity. The third portal I would like to see is a portal for research that would be concerned with the role of research in Wikiversity. We should have a "portal" namespace for portals that do not fit into the "school" namespace. If we don't, they will just be created within the "wikiversity" namespace or the main namespace. I think we can learn from the experience of Wikipedia that a portal namespace is very popular with wiki community members because it allows special interest communities to self-organize. That is the wiki way, even if it seems chaotic. --JWSchmidt 16:33, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. I can ask Brion whenever he comes around to add a Portal namespace. It's a wiki, nothing has to be perfect. If School: doesn't work out, no harm will be done either, as long as we get going, we have good content and people are enjoying themselves here as learners, writers, admins, or whatever other roles there are. -- sebmol ? 16:40, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

A Current Problem with usage of School: There is a conflict in usage on the main page and the browse page. "School" is used on the main page to refer to such areas as "Humanities" and "Life Sciences." This is the traditional usage though "Subject Area" would be better. On the browser page, "school" is used to refer to an array of sometimes narrow subject topics which in traditional usage are called "subjects," "subject areas" or "departments" - not schools. The usage of "school" on the browser page might seem confusing or odd to traditional academics. "Department" or preferably "Subject" would be better. So... I suggest using "Subject" (not "school") or another more open content-related term, if a traditional topic-oriented namespace is needed. It is a less structural term -- more open. While allowing traditional topic structure, "subject" seems somehow more in the spirt of the free culture movement, having more open boundaries, serving the freeing of information and its production. Portals are an additional good idea.--Doug 16:59, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Further: Another issue is that the use of the term "School" moves in the direction of reifying the topic categories. Some of the most interesting learning is interdisciplinary. Inter-subject movement and creating new hybrid subjects and renaming subjects is congnatively easier than creating new schools, which invite institutionalization rather than dialog and exploration. I think we should avoid at the start terms which have an institutional ring. Doug 17:03, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I think we should allow multiple indexing schemes accessible from the main page. Some people will prefer a traditional hiearchy closely aligned with existing brick and mortar organizations while others will prefer more topical approachs and yet other indexing schemes (Dewey Decimal anyone?) might be devised or implemented by future arrivals. I fail to see why any widely useful indexing scheme should be arbitrarily dismissed if sufficient volunteer effort arrives to create and maintain it. This should be self controlling with the more popular schemes better maintained. Mirwin 19:50, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
That's precisely why I want lessons and the like to be individual and independent of other pages — so that they can be categorized as much as possible. Messedrocker 21:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Mirwin, While I like the idea of using multiple indexing methods, I think, at the start of a new project in a new medium, it could be helpful to use basic organizing terms that bring less institutional/historical baggage than more. For the hierarchical model which uses "school" as a name space, I think another term could be found that is more flexible and open to interpretation. However, I'm still reflecting on this. If "school" stays in that context, perhaps it will work well. Doug 01:59, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I think there's still use for schools as means to organize our work. We now also have a Topic: namespace and a Portal: namespace. -- sebmol ? 21:22, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

So I'm thinking that we should keep the School organization plan I was thinking of, and the Topic and Portal namespaces can be for two other plans? Messedrocker 21:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikiversity's Portal namespace is active. --JWSchmidt 04:08, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Further discussion can be held at Wikiversity:Naming conventions. Messedrocker 05:30, 19 August 2006 (UTC)


One thing we need to add to Wikiversity is our Help section (it's currently just a link to Meta's main help page). If people could help with doing this, that would be great :-) Cormaggio 17:33, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Could we not import that from Meta? I mean, the Help namespace usually has pages about how to use the software, right? -- sebmol ? 17:34, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I was thinking we do - import. The Help should have the basics of how to edit a page - Help:Editing is a link from the edit mode of a page, and we should definitely consider people coming in as newbies - especially since we could get blogged about pretty soon :-) Cormaggio 17:41, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Yuck! Surely we can link to the help pages at Wikipedia until software deviances arise? Maybe a link to proposed local policy discussions in lieu of reliable community standards which we obviously do not have yet. Mirwin 20:42, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

For myself, I hope that we never do the mirror copy of Meta, but come up with our own pages that only reference the Meta Help. Some very simple basics might be fine, but any of the rest should be trying to explain unique things about Wikiversity instead that are beyond what is in the Meta help pages.

Please, oh please, oh please do not set up a 'bot that pulls in all of the help pages from Meta on regular updates, nor get into the very confusing mess of templates that is also connected to the Meta help pages. We simply don't have the people necessary here to maintain that, nor is it necessary. A link to the Meta pages is more than sufficient if you need to reference that content, as it is stored on the same physical computer equipment that Wikiversity is also on. --Robert Horning 23:47, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Research project proposal

As a wikipedian, I work on articles related to plants, insects, soils, etc.... essentially everything related to gardening and farming. On wikibooks I work on how-tos related to the subjects. But there's one thing that seems to have never been done, which makes writing both articles and books on the subjects difficult, namely seasonality.

For example, Bloodroot is an early blooming flower native where I live. Here, it starts blooming at the end of March. Later in Canada. Who know's when in New Zealand.

The solution has been to simply say "early spring". But even in a local climate, early spring could mean a lot of things. (in my area, some things start blooming in late February, but is that late winter or early spring?)

What I'd like to propose is a long-term research project recording bloom times, insect feeding cycles, etc., to try to come up with a "neutral" system of pinning these things down. It would have to be cross-listed with growing degree days and day length as well, as some plants and animals might react to heat, while others to daylight hours.

This would need to be repeated and augmented for 3 or 4 years (and thousands of plant and animal species) to come up with a working system, but should be workable with a few thousand wikiversalists. (Would also be a good way to get the ToL and Plants people from WP involved, to get the party kicking).

So what's the system for project setting up going to be? Would something like this just be "Wikiversity:Wikiproject_foo"? --SB Johnny 22:28, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Cool, the first research proposal... I think Wikiversity:Research would be the place to start. What if you got random people to go out and photograph plants, upload them to commons, and have mark down when they are bloomming and use our sources to figure out other info. --Rayc 23:00, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it's even easier than that. Just if you happen to have time and this or that plant is blooming, note that it is. Participants would need to include something about where they are (county should be close enough), so they can be related to a GDD clock and a solar calendar. --SB Johnny 00:09, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
You or someone should start a research page on this, just to test the concept. Or is there a request for research page?--Rayc 00:38, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Got a stubby up for it... busy elsewhere now but I'll try to get more on there later. Bloom_clock_project. ----SB_Johnny | talk 01:56, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

"Wikiversity:Wikiproject_foo" <-- I think we need to be careful with the term "project". Wikiversity will have general Learning Projects, projects to develop learning materials, research projects, and meta-projects devoted to development of Wikiversity itself. The meta-projects should go in the wikiversity namespace (Wikiversity:Wikiproject_foo) as is done for projects at Wikipedia. Other projects that are devoted to the educational mission of Wikiversity should go in the main namespace of Wikiversity.....they are the key content of Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 20:58, 17 August 2006 (UTC) (late signature)

Food for thought

From the Foundation's mailing list:
"in the US many people who homeschool do this because they do not like the lack of religion in public schools. How will WV handle the develpoment of science teaching materials for homeschoolers which are based in 'creationism'?"
Birgitte SB
Wikiversity is going to need both "category:science" and "category:pseudoscience"....and maybe a major learning project designed to make clear the difference. --JWSchmidt 00:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Would anyone actually label their educational material as "pseudoscience"? ;-) It's a good question though - we'll need categories (and hopefully also metadata) to help us in this. Maybe some sort of template for the top of a material page indicating what agegroup the material is aimed at and what sort of pedagogical/theoraetical framework it fits into would be useful? Cormaggio 06:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Doubtful. 8) But can honest religious people demand that their beliefs be called "science"? People who advocate creationism should quite happy to explain that the bible tells how the universe and man were created. I see no reason they would disagree that this is a belief system, not a theory proven by modern empirical evidence. Thus there should be no problem putting the material under appropriate theology or religious links. This material can and should be put under an appropriate area or category and linked to from the appropriate areas in science regarding disputed material such as evolutionary theory. If it is labeled as alternate scientific theory then it should be reasonable to identify upon what basis it is falsifiable. If it is simply belief, faith, and therefore unproven honest people will not insist on calling it science. Likewise it can include information attempting to demonstrate that evolutionary theory is or is not falsifiable in various contexts. I think it should be pretty obvious when dishonest people insist on labeling their opponents with perjorative terms. For example practitioners of Wicca are pretty sensitive about being labeled and lynched by "Christians" with good historical reason. If somebody insists on placing information about the Wiccan religion under the category of Christian Witches then we might suspect a problem exists. Intelligent Design on the other hand should stimulate very interesting discussion! A key I think is not allowing specific POV to label others destructively while attempting to present all reasonable or mainstream views for the participants to evaluate for themselves. Mirwin 10:57, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Geeky intrusion - Wiccaversity! (Sorry, I couldn't help it..) Cormaggio 15:43, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
There are different ways to teach creationism in an NPOV way. It can be a subject of history, especially US history: how did the creationist movement start, who are its leaders, etc.? It can be an interdisciplinary examination from biology and political science, describing the strategies creationists have used to attack science, their propaganda materials, etc. It can be a look at creationism as a mythology, in which case the subject can be divorced from scientific criticism and presented only in terms of its beliefs and values. All these are NPOV, i.e., they would be based on what the most knowledgeable people have to say about these topics.
Of course the idea of "teaching" creationism in the sense of colporting creationist propaganda is anathema.--Eloquence 11:08, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I think we need to be a little more open than that. I don't think there's anything outright wrong with having learning materials that teach creationism or other theological concepts. One exciting possibility this project has is to bring together all kinds of disciplines and point of view. Why limit that to what science has approved? -- sebmol ? 11:20, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
It's not about approval, it's about experts in a particular field. Where creationists make claims about biology, they are in the domain of biology, and experts from that field will unequivocally refute them. When they limit themselves to stating their beliefs about creation as mythology, biologists are irrelevant. NPOV requires us to give the most space to the most knowledgeable people in a particular field. I don't think there are any peer reviewed biological papers written by creationists, except maybe in their own fringe publications.--Eloquence 11:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Seems to me there should be no problem with them forking it to another wiki, keeping the hard science basics, but recontextualizing to fit into a different metaphysics. --SB Johnny 20:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
NPOV is not a confirmed policy at Wikiversity yet although it may be binding by the terms of the approved proposal for six months. There is no effective material volume limit at an electronic learning institution beyond that of our infrastructure. If the Wikimedia Foundation refuses to host intellectually honest non NPOV material then that will limit our initial learning processes quite a bit and likely limit initial participation but it will have to be lived with until other arrangements are feasible for supporting infrastructure and technical expertise. There are at least two kinds of peer review likely to be quite prevalent at Wikiversity. Peers at equivalent levels exchanging/studying material new to them. People with less learning in a given subject interacting with a subject expert. In the latter case "NPOV only" attitudes are likely to at least occasionally hamper people attempting to analyze the assumptions and detailed reasoning chains implicit in their own current POV. While this may be appropriate for highest speed manufacturing of an NPOV encyclopedia I have serious questions regarding its uncritical application to self motivated peer exchange groups. Mirwin 04:35, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Although I agree there is no electronic limit to the material. If we really want to provide usable teaching materials, there will limits on the materials themselves. Lessons must be doable in a reasonble amount of time and courses also have usability limits. This will certainly hamper the WP approach of giving voice to all competing opinions in order to achieve NPOV.--BirgitteSB 22:27, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I disagree entirely. There are no single standard fits all. With alternate presentations always just a link or search away why define straitjackets? If somebody wants to come in a provide a single massive two week lesson plan and others feel it is unwieldly and unusable as is then they can take the FDL'ed material, link back to the point of origin, and rip it up and represent in whatever chunks they wish to present to their intended audience. Now we have two groups serviced. The orginal group of two oddballs that show up to interact with the first one. And the millions who can benefit from the second. Certainly we should have some voluntary guidelines or non binding recommendations on how to effectively present the material. Consider a division of labor between technicians, tech writers, engineeers, and customer instructors. We wish to get information from all of these sources and present it to all of these sources. In some topics an engineer does not want effective lesson plans. He/she has spent between four and ten years learning the material in reasonable size chunks. When studying advanced techniques some of them would prefer a huge (and I mean huge) specification document and a thick drawing set (say two inches of E-size drawings). If someone chooses to FDL a set of the above in print ready FDL form so it can be used somehow in an intensive 3 day seminar on how to do a real heat analysis of a real building we do not want someone pointing to a firm limit that was set out of concern for the mythical average student. Wikiversity to some extent should be about freedom from constraints often encountered with good reason in physical world but which are being redefined by managed information on demand on the internet. If there are practical considerations like disk space and servers then obviously we have to live with it we can expand the infrastructure appropriately. There are articles on Wikipedia in math way too technical and compressed for non mathmaticians. I have a fairly good practical education in math and since I have difficulty reading these pages I know they are not appropriate for the general public. The solution is not to delete or restrict these pages but rather add appropriate introductory lead in material liberaly laced with links to entire textbooks at Wikibooks and courses here at Wikiversity such that the average reader who chooses to can spend ten years studying math and then go back and read these advanced pages and fix typos if they choose to discuss them for a few months with the others hanging around the page. Mirwin 23:35, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

When we start labelling pages with "pseudoscience" or other pejorative terms we compromise our neutrality. When we silence the creationist or expect him to explain himself from the confines of the coffin to which we have relegated his ideas we give the lie to our own principles. It is not the function of NPOV to put chains on free speech; it is sufficient that it support an asymptotic approach to consensus. Thus faced with the thesis of "Arguments for creationism" we must allow for a (presumably articulate) guest lecturer to put forth his point of view as a proponent fairly and unmolested. Another guest lecturer in opposition should be able to present his case under the same circumstances. Both of these POVs should be protected. The "students" would then discuss the matter and strive to bring the matter closer to NPOV. Most importantly, part of their discussions should be focused on what do these two guests have in common. The role of the teacher in all this is not to disburse knowledge, but to facilitate its acquisition by the students, perhaps by repeatedly asking the questions that bring a subject to a new synthesis of NPOV. Eclecticology 20:17, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikiversity would never try to silence creationists, but Wikiversity can force creationists who participate at Wikiversity to follow a code of intellectual honesty. Wikiversity scholars need a way to move beyond the confines of Wikipedia's NPOV policy. I think that a policy on Scholarly ethics is a good way to guide Wikiversity participants when they step outside of the confines of NPOV. --JWSchmidt 20:32, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Would you exclude an article that starts with, "I am a creationist, and this is what I believe: ... " Eclecticology 05:56, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

"I am a creationist, and this is what I believe: ... " <-- I have two questions about your question:
1) What more does the creationist say after, "I believe"? Many "scientific creationists" assume the existence of a "supernatural force". As soon as you go down that road you place yourself in the position of needing to explain what a "supernatural force" is and why you can assume that one exists.
2) What is the context of, "I believe"?. In the study of religion, the observation that many people believe in a "supernatural force" is not remarkable. In the study of science, the concept "supernatural force" must be approached with skepticism and Occam's razor, key elements of scientific investigation that very few "scientific creationists" bother to apply to their religious convictions.
If unexamined belief is the foundation of one's exploration of reality then you have left the domain of science. Creationists who do so, yet continue to claim to be "scientific creationists" have become pseudoscientists.
I would not exclude such an article from Wikiversity, but if an article is making pseudoscientific claims then it should be in Category:Pseudoscience. --JWSchmidt 11:58, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Two points

  • This can be solved by the proposed Disclosures policy; people just declare their streams to be Creationist, with Creationist units and lessons
  • As someone on Slashdot pointed out, just because it's science doesn't mean that it's true. For example, AFAIK, there's no scientific way to either prove or disprove the existance of God. Science therefore typically applies Occam's razor (part of the scientific method), and assumes that God doesn't exist, and bases some parts of scientific knowledge on this assumption. If one assumes, though, that God *does* exist (via non-scientific methods of proof, eg. philosophical methods), then the parts of science that are based on the assumption that there's no God, while still quite scientific, can seem like rather a waste of time. Both Creation scientists and Non-creation scientists believe that the purpose of eg. Natural science courses is to teach the truth about nature using the most reliable method where possible. So basically, the main disagreement is:
    • Atheistic scientists generally believe that the scientific method is the only, or most reliable method of truth, and don't use any other method when determining the existance of God
    • Creation scientists believe that the scientific method is not the best method to use when determining the existance of God, and use some other method. While many will admit that this is not science according to the scientific method, they all believe it to be true, and therefore what should be taught while studying eg. Biology. They look on Science as subordinate to their religious beliefs, and, if you assume that's true, then it's still science, not pseudoscience.

Anyway, much as I enjoy the discussion, I'll hopefully be able to stop here :). Hopefully Disclosures should make the entire discussion redundant :). TimNelson 12:10, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

"Science therefore typically applies Occam's razor (part of the scientific method), and assumes that God doesn't exist" <-- If you apply Occam's razor you are following an algorthm that leads you to use as few assumptions as possible. The idea of a supernatural God is an idea for which it is difficult to find objective evidence. If you build a world view by assuming that God exists, you have increased your number of assumptions beyond what science requires. Science does not "assume that God doesn't exist". Nobody has to create an assumption of non-existence to deal with every imagined thing for which there is no clear objective evidence. Science has another rule: "big claims require strong evidence". The existence of a supernatural God is about the biggest claim ever made and most scientists rightly demand a large amount of objective evidence to support claims of such magnitude.

"scientific way to either prove or disprove the existance of God" <-- Science is not about "proof" in the sense you seem to be suggesting. Science has a standard approach to claims about supernatural entities: show us the objective evidence. Then there is the "scientific Catch-22": if we do have objective evidence for a phenomenon/entity then it becomes part of the natural world and science can study it.

"If one assumes, though, that God *does* exist (via non-scientific methods of proof" <-- This makes no sense. If you have a proof then you do not have to assume.

"Atheistic scientists generally believe that the scientific method is the only, or most reliable method of truth" <-- I doubt it. I agree with what it says at Wikipedia: "Science does not and can not produce absolute and unquestionable truth. Rather, science tests some aspect of the world and provides a reasonable theory to explain it."

"Creation scientists believe that the scientific method is not the best method to use when determining the existence of God, and use some other method." <-- This is fine as long as they do not call what they are doing "science".

"this is not science according to the scientific method, they all believe it to be true, and therefore what should be taught while studying eg. Biology" <-- This is a perfect example of what the practice of pseudoscience amounts to; not doing science yet teaching it as science.

"They look on Science as subordinate to their religious beliefs, and, if you assume that's true, then it's still science, not pseudoscience." <-- What constitutes science is not determined by what creationists believe, it is determined by a social process in which objective observations that people can share are studied in a collaborative way. Beliefs that are not supported by objective evidence make little progress within the scientific community.
--JWSchmidt 17:25, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Definition of Science
TimNelson 12:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Definition of Science

Ok, I didn't stop; maybe next time. I think the definition of science is the key to understanding the whole disagreement. I can see two possibilities:

  1. Creation scientists and Atheistic scientists disagree on the definition of science
  2. Creation scientists and Athetstic scientists disagree on the definition of the scientific method

Under possibility 1, the Creation scientists assert that the category eg "natural science" should contain the truth about the natural world, whereas Atheists believe that it should contain only the output of the scientific method.

Under possibility 2, the Creation scientists differ in their definition of the scientific method in that they presuppose that God is part of it.

Non-scientific methods of proof

IIRC, non-scientific methods of proof aren't as objective/rigorous as the scientific ones (whether one is attempting to prove or disprove).

I apologise for linking to something from 1873, but it does cover the subject. No, I don't expect you to read more of those links than you're interested in; they're just provided for examples (I'm not trying to prove God here, as this margin is insufficient :), but merely help you see how some people think).

  1. Links: Can the existance of God be proved
    1. Ontological argument (this page also contains, partway down, "The cosmological argument" and "The Teleological argument" -- they presumably didn't scan the book very well :) )
    2. Moral/Anthropological argument

Yeah, I got bored of the usual comment style :).

  • Brigitte, There are strict standards in the sciences. In mathematics, it is rigorousness. In physics, it is prediction-experimental verification-repeted verification. If the creationist can do that, great! I would be interested to hear about such a complete, rigorous, predictive, repeatable, self-consistent theory.Hillgentleman 00:33, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

This thread was copied to: Science teaching materials for creationism. --JWSchmidt 17:33, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

17 August 2006

Teaching a formal class

While I admit that this isn't going to be the only model of Wikiversity, I'm proposing a semi-formal "class lecture" style educational experience that is going to use a combination of Wiki interfaces and IRC discussions.

The first "class" that I'm going to be "teaching" is College Algebra. Even if you know the topic cold (or if you don't), you would be invited to participate. The intention is to have a weekly topic for the learning group, a course outline to the topic and perhaps a lecture on the topic.

I know that I'm experimenting here, but I would like to see something going here, and to note that this is precisely what Wikibooks is not: this is not a textbook but rather using a Wiki for communcation of knowledge. How many classes have you been involved with that allowed you to modify the homework problems as a student? --Robert Horning 20:03, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Cool, though I was thinking that the classes were going to be on going perpetually and anyone could jump in at any time. Though, who knows how this will work. I say go for it!--Rayc 00:15, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Is there a guide for teachers somewhere? I'd like to add some notes about the classroom model that University of Phoenix uses, which I think is quite useful. Roadrunner 01:13, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
The closest we have is Wikiversity:Teaching, but even that isn't quite up to what I think you are trying to suggest. We are so early here with Wikiversity that we have to still install infrastructure like this. --Robert Horning 04:10, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I've started linking in information from the School of Education. One reason that I'd like to do this is that I'd like really to get wikiversity teachers in touch with education academics and researchers, since they really are working on some cool stuff that often never gets filtered out to practioners. Roadrunner 14:41, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Some things to do

Right now, Wikipedia still does not show a link to Wikiversity on the Wikipedia main page. Also, Wikipedia needs a template similar to Wikipedia:Template:Wikibookspar. --JWSchmidt 21:04, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Progress!!!! en.wikiversity has a link now at the bottom of en.wikipedia! Eventually this will surely be changed to point to once it is online as an indexing front porch for our multiple language based projects. For now this should help us start to get some attention from newcomers and people who browsed in the past but concluded we were nonviable. Remember not to bite the newcomers! Mirwin 07:05, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Why would the English language Wikipedia main page point to anything but the English language Wikiversity main page? -- sebmol ? 10:04, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
The smaller activity languages might like some advertising. A lot of multilingual people go through English Wikipedia. If the link went to our front porch page .... and there people could pick their language, we get an easy to remember total access point symmetric for everyone and all language wikis get an opportunity for a hit. This was a bit of issue with Wikipedia early when the main domain opened on the English Wikipedia main page then one had to go to the bottom to find links to the smaller languages .... which stayed smaller than English possibly in part because of organizational flaws such as this not helping with their growth. Further, we do not need the animosities and strife this generated for a while between English Wikipedia and other languages at Wikiversity. Finally, this type of link layout preserves the bottom of the main pages for the main front porch links to the other Wikimedia sponsored wiki projects instead of other language Wikiversities. Mirwin 11:13, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
en:Wikipedia should link to en:Wikiversity, just like fr:Wikipedia should link to fr:Wikiversity, and just like de:Wikipedia links to de:Wikisource. People can then browse language using interwikis. Guillom 11:39, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

18 August 2006

Other things to do

Contact all wikiproject and portals on wikipedia, wikibooks, wiktionary, (and wikia) and invite them to newly created schools. --Rayc 00:21, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I would probably suggest that we try to get some content going first. One thing that has been done on Wikibooks in the past is to add links from specific Wikibooks into the various school structures of Wikiversity and integrate the books themselves into Wikiversity. Still, I like the enthusiasm and hope that we can attract more people to Wikiversity to actually help out. --Robert Horning 03:17, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I actually think Robert is right: if we want to recruit, we need to do it first to find people to find content and to organize the project. If we try to recruit people for schools, I'm afraid they would find Wikiversity too young and not worthy joining. Guillom 11:50, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Rayc has a point though - I've always seen WP:WikiProjects as a great place from which to bring in contributors to Wikiversity. many people who contribute to such 'meta' projects (as wikiprojects) are experts in their field (eg. w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Chemistry), and would be excellent brains to tap about teaching and learning their subject. Guillom makes a pragmatic point, but maybe these early disgruntled folks will come back later when they see that one of their peers has made something of real worth? In any case, I don't see the harm in advertising Wikiversity within the Wikimedia community (and outside, in special interest teaching/learning groups) - provided we do so with humility and sensitivity. Cormaggio 13:21, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
The only way that Wikiversity is going to have content is if people come and join the project. We do not select participants, they select us. --JWSchmidt 13:25, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm avoiding the portals and article talk pages for now. Those pages are for "readers" of wikipedia. Wikiprojects, in theroy, only have editors looking at them, and in most cases editors who are use to having information missing or disorganized in a wiki (Otherwise, why form a project?).--Rayc 14:10, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
What I meant was: when contacting people, we really need to be clear about the fact we're a 3-day-old project, and (almost) everything has to be built. If they don't mind, very well for them and for the project. If this is a problem for them, they would probably delay themselves their joining. Guillom 16:22, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
  • From here on, many people who arrive will probably be following the link that is on the Wikipedia main page. The Wikiversity main page needs to make clear that Wikiversity is new, has little content and needs participants who want to explore how to use wiki technology to facilitate online learning. This is a wiki. Participants make the content. --JWSchmidt 16:28, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Standard Operating Procedures

Anybody have any insight to share regarding these types of pages and procedures to go with them? Special:Log/delete|page deletions, Wikipedia:Protection policy|lockings, and Special:Ipblocklist|IP bannings) I am working through a draft policy[1] and need to know whether to track these links down in Wikiversity or create them or delete them from the draft policy. Mirwin 14:10, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I think Wikiversity should have its own pages for these. --JWSchmidt 15:58, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Agreed! It is just that I never worked as an administrator long enough late enough at Wikipedia to have a good feel for what useful procedure and standard process should initially. Perhaps one of our more experienced custodians could create a starting point and help refine it as we learn what we are doing. In another area, naming conventions and link network structure, James Ohare user:messedrocker? might be a good resource as he is doing a lot of initial setup while user:sebmol seem quite experienced with the transwiki and could share insight on how the logs should be setup for tracking deleted files etc. Mirwin 23:06, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

All pages prefixed with Special are that - Special, and can't be created, modified or removed like other pages. Special:Log provides access to the automated logs which track various actions, e.g. Special:Log/delete tracks the deletion and undeletion of pages and images. Special:Ipblocklist is an automatically generated list of all blocked users and IP addresses.

As far as policies go, it's usually advisable for individual communities to build their own deviations from the Wikipedia norms. For instance, most Wikipedias will advocate blocking as a preventative measure, etc. which is a decent and sensible guideline (at least, I think so), but the specifics about who can block which users, and for which "offences", vary greatly between projects and languages. robchurch | talk 22:13, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

guided tour/introduction

Wikiversity needs something like Wikipedia's introduction or a wikia guided tour. --JWSchmidt 16:02, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Terms to define

Might be good to think about meanings (and lacks thereof) for a few words: ----SB_Johnny | talk 20:21, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Student - someone who participates in Wikiversity primarily as a learning experience
  • Participant
  • Instructor - see facilitator
  • Facilitator - a facilitator for a Wikiversity learning project participates in the development of the project and acts to support other participants as they strive to achieve their learning goals.
  • Class
  • Course
  • Seminar
  • Studio
  • Materials
  • Quizzes
  • Tests
  • Papers
  • Primary Research
  • Research Projects
  • Tutor
  • Guidance
  • Creation/Participation
  • Teaching
  • Learning
  • Sharing
It would be great if you started a Glossary of Local Terms which we could maintain as a local culture emerges. Under teacher, instructor, professor you could include the information that we do not currently have formal classes and certify no educational credentials. That all teams are formed on an adhoc basis per the participants needs and desires. Then add a link to the approved proposal that gained us the philanthropic support of the Wikimedia Foundation for at least six months until our first performance evaluation and links to the applicable policies. If you do not wish to do this work, add this note as a placeholder under those three terms and let someone edit for concise accuracy and add links. As of now the appoved Wikiversity project has no classes and certifies nobody in a given role. Everyone here is an equal participant who choose their roles voluntarily according to their own needs and the needs of the learning community where they choose to participate. Where correct these terms might be defined by links to Wiktionary. Thanks for this great idea! I am sure somebody will choose to implement it soon! Mirwin 23:00, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Blocking policy

I've set up the shell of a blocking policy at WV:BLOCK, and I'd appreciate input and expansion! --digital_metalk 22:31, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I will say that as a personal policy, I block anybody that adds profanity, particularly if it is in the name of the user. That is immediate and usually infinite, especially if that is about the only edit the user has made. As for anon users, I tend to follow a policy of starting out with modest blocks (about a year) and move up over time. There is also a general policy of blocking open proxies with infinite blocks that has been suggested on Meta.
It would be nice to have some people with Check User rights here, but that is very unlikely at the moment for reasons I won't get into here (it is a part of my political beef with the WMF right now and I will be spewing some very POV stuff here). I think that we can work around that, however. --Robert Horning 05:30, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't think we'll need to use CheckUser at this stage, unless we come under fire from some serious, concentrated vandalism, in which case, we can ask a steward for assistance. robchurch | talk 22:15, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Logo and slogan

OK, we are the "The limitless learning center" according to wikipedia. After about a week (to get partisipents) we should start up a slogan and logo contest.--Rayc 00:21, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

"The limitless learning center" might be a good slogan, but it's a poor description. (It tells readers nothing about the project's nature.) I changed the text to "Free learning materials." —David Levy 07:24, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I've used "Free Learning tools" on the other Wikimedia websites. I am still not sure what should go here, but it is important that people are made aware of this project. --Robert Horning 13:18, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
How about "Open learning centre"? Or is that too similar to "Open University" (a household name in the UK)? And on the logo contest, if someone wants to organise these, please be bold and do so. It should even help generate further momentum in the project. Cormaggio 13:24, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Is there enough room to make it "Free learning materials and activities"? --JWSchmidt 13:42, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

JW, I like the one you mention. This catches the dual nature of textual study and engaged learning. To tweak: How about "free learning resources and activities." Materials sounds more limiting than resources. Reswik 01:21, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
How about the "Free Learning Community"? Is inclusive and stresses the concept of learning. Awolf002 01:51, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Maybe we could have a list of good slogans and switch between them on a regular basis. --JWSchmidt 02:02, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

On second thought and taking a step back... A consensus mission statement could be very helpful. Perhaps a consensus mission statement needs to be developed first. Then, a slogan could reflect that. But can the mission be settled while the status and extent of research in WV is up in the air? If extensive research sponsorship is eventually a part of WV, then a slogan might read like: "creating and sharing free knowledge." And this is really the nature of a university or any academy of scholars: creating and sharing knowledge. The free culture movement adds freedom and co-creation of content to that mission. Sharing can imply co-creation, so one can add freedom to "creating and sharing knowledge." Sharing also implies service another aspect of the life of universities. There may be actually too much emphasis on learning in some WV discussions at the cost of service and knowledge creation -- which are also primary motivations of scholars. Reswik 02:49, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

That's a fine idea, Doug. Please, everyone, help out at Wikiversity:Wikiversity mission. -- Cormaggio 07:47, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I made extensive edits to the mission page to outline a Delphi method planning process for co-creating a mission statement. What do ya think? Reswik 13:25, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
We need to lose the beta on the logo. This is not a software project. The project is fundamentally about building online learning communities. Would you spend your precious social/learning time joining a club of card players, fraternity, or writing circle with a loud "Beta, planned shutdown next week." painted on the front door? Mirwin 07:22, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Marking Wikiversity as "beta" is just a warning to the outside world that nobody should expect to find a finished "product" on any Wikiversity page. Speaking bluntly, I suspect it (the beta period) is also a way to "cover one's ass". I know that during the next six months Jimbo will run into people who say, "I saw Wikiversity and, you know, there is nothing useful there." But Jimbo will be able to say, "Ya, well, it is in a beta phase, just getting on its feet. It is not really open for serious use yet." Jimbo should have that kind of "out". --JWSchmidt 20:04, 23 August 2006 (UTC)


Is there any possibility of including exams later? I personally believe that it would be a good idea, to have after awhile. Spacey 22:41, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that these would be set up by those who are in charge of the learning project, probably the facilitator.--digital_metalk 22:56, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
There is a CSS script that is available to help facilitate testing, and we are likely going to be doing some "experiments" here as well in a number of areas to help with this. Indeed, this is precisely one of the major activities we are going to be doing with Wikiversity, and if you happen to know some php programming, you would be welcome to try and help out with either extentions to MediaWiki or helping to modify CSS scripts that would allow stuff like this.
This is something that was discussed and even worked on during the "proposal" period of Wikiversity. Of course we are also open to new ideas, and trying to decide how testing might actually happen. --Robert Horning 05:25, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Also, it has been previously discussed and agreed that our FDL'ed learning materials can include tests for users to use elsewhere (say in a homeschool environment) or for local learners to check themselves or in cooperation with a mentor to see how they are doing in an area of study. Mirwin 22:51, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Er, CSS has nothing to do with writing scripts for mean JavaScript or PHP, I take it? I personally think MediaWiki is going to need a bit of extension writing done before it's suitable for all Wikiversity purposes. Question is, what do we need? Perhaps a separate forum should be started. robchurch | talk 22:04, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

There is a Wikivervsity-L mailing where generic discussion can take place. The Technical Developers mailing of the Wikimedia Foundation is the place to start immediately with immediate task or project goals as they must approve anything placed on the Wikimedia Foundations servers, which is our underlying infrastructure at the moment. As for a separate forum I could see the rationale for putting under the School of Pedagogy with links from various other schools. Requirements discussions to be followed eventually by learning projects for implementation. Mirwin 06:02, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
In case it hasn't clicked yet, I'm a MediaWiki developer. :) So I know quite a bit about "how it works at Wikimedia" and the sort of barriers to putting crap on the servers. Technical discussions can, and should take place on wikitech-l, of course, but that is not the place we should be deciding what we need developed for this project; that should happen here. robchurch | talk 12:00, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

An important question here could be what do we want to accomplish with exams. In keeping with a lot of ideas that have gone around educational communities we should strive to assessment for learning, and not of learning. Howard Gardner and others have studied this matter in education, and see examinations as a part of a feedback loop that leads to greater learning. Rather than trying to draft full scale exams from the beginning it would probably be more helpful to develop workbooks where the students could enter their answers, and the software could immediately assess their answers without the "teacher" even needing to know if they were right or wrong. A right answer would allow the student to move on. A wrong answer could redirect the student elsewhere, perhaps breaking down the problem into its component parts. I could certainly see the usefulness of this in Robert's proposed algebra course. Eclecticology 20:58, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

In my opinion, the assessment style should depend on the educational philosophy selected by the course developer. See the proposed Disclosures policy for details. TimNelson 12:10, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
tim nelson's idea is probably the most democratic option, and i also think the workbook options for certain kinds of classes might be worthwhile. However, i do want to raise a red flag about the "assessment" question. Schools and universities are plagued by standardized testing (there's a serious move to bring star-type testing to the university), and the stress on exams, tests, and other kinds of grades has become the modus operandi of education in America at least. do we really want to get into the business of assessment? the model i keep on coming back to for wikiversity is the College de France, founded by Francis I (I think). The College de France does not hand out degrees, all its courses are public, and they don't assess work. They do, on the other hand, feature incredible professors, like the late Michel Foucault, who taught there, as did (I think) the famous psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan). Since wikiversity isn't a university in the traditonal sense, why is assessment necessary? --Smithgrrl 01:23, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
"the educational philosophy selected by the course developer", I thought the courses were developed by the communitee. Unless Wikiveristy as a whole has a particular educational philosophy, we should try to have the material presented in as many different ways as possible. For those who haven't seen it, here is a self quiz worked up for Algebra: College Algebra/GrammarQuiz--Rayc 02:11, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikiversity "educational philosophy" will evolve over time to reflect the best practices for using wiki technology to support online education. What we do have now is the "e-learning model" that was requested by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. The best practices for using wiki technology to support online education are never going to escape from the reality of what a wiki is: a website where a community of participants collaboratively edit webpages. The Wikipedia project has shown that you can produce a great learning resource, a free online encyclopedia, by inviting the participation of non-experts. When non-experts help write Wikipedia articles they are learning while participating in a "learning project". Non-expert Wikiversity participants ("students") will learn by participating in Wikiversity learning projects and learners should not be forced to wait until experts create online courses at Wikiversity. The Board of Trustees had good reasons for guiding the Wikiversity community away from online courses. The Wikiversity e-learning model is "learn by doing" and that means we need wiki editing activities that excite and stimulate learners and allow them to move towards their learning goals. Each Wikiversity department can start seminars, discussion groups, essay writing contests and other activities that will attract participants. Along the way towards their personal learning goals, Wikiversity participants will create most of the educational content of Wikiversity. Wikiversity "teachers" who do not learn harness the contributions of Wikiversity "students" are just making their own work harder than it has to be by not working in the "wiki way". --JWSchmidt 02:56, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

19 August 2006

Needless diversion..

..but I just realised that, if you click someone's contributions (eg. mine), you are also getting their contributions to a page they have developed on another wiki (such as Meta or Wikibooks), but which has been moved to Wikiversity. It's not a problem of course, just something I found interesting. Cormaggio 10:49, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

That's due to the import process preserving histories, of course, and it's one of the main reasons use of the proper methods is preferred. :) robchurch | talk 22:05, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely :-). I was just surprised to see my contribs list (not that it's anything spectacular, mind) - and then it made me think that some people would be eligible to vote in the upcoming board elections with just their Wikiversity edits.. ;-) Cormaggio 15:43, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Featured participants and content

Wikipedia is about making an encyclopedia and has "featured articles". Wikiversity is about learners and should have "featured participants". Wikiversity should also have "featured content" as a way to show off our best learning projects and learning materials. --JWSchmidt 15:10, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikibooks has a "Book of the Month" instead (as well as "collaboration of the month") and this might be a more viable option for us until we start to develop some really excellent material. Perhaps "Learning project of the Month"? Though, I'm not too enamoured by the idea of "Learner of the Month" - akin to your "featured participant" ;-) Cormaggio 15:23, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia had a featured editor page-- it was speedied deleted--Rayc 16:28, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Something I was impressed with at Wikipedia was individuals started giving specific awards such as Barnburner or Barn Builder?, colored star achievement (easy on that too prevalent in lower grade school 8/ ) to individuals they saw doing something impressive. They were simply little cute icons that were put on home pages or talk pages. The point is they were a direct pat on the back from individuals rather than the entire community and possibly avoids the jealousies or tedium of selection or ratification by the entire community. Besides, it will quickly get difficult to reach agreement as a total community. Mirwin 00:52, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's a "barnstar" - I've already given one to User:Sebmol :-) Cormaggio 15:45, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

See also meatball:BarnStar. robchurch | talk 22:06, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Names and levels

What should be the school hiearchy? What should be the main schools? Discuss at Wikiversity talk:Naming conventions --Rayc 16:28, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Lab prototype lesson with Java applet

I'm trying to figure out where to place GPL licensed Java applet code and binary to start a prototype physics lab lesson (source from Virginia University). I looked at WikiSource and the Commons and clearly they do not qualify to hold those files. Is it envisaged the Wikiversity will host things like that? Awolf002 18:59, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

It has not really been addressed yet how generic and self sufficient Wikiversity intends to be. All early discussions of this nature during the proposal prepartion and prototyping phase were colored by insistence of proponents of other Wikimedia Foundation sponsored that Wikiversity never be allowed to compete with them for purpose or participants. Usual rationale stated against this was duplication of materials on Wikimedia Foundation server hard drive space. Might I suggest you start with until a firm policy or capability emerges if you intend the code to be run on the student's machines and immediate service is required? The open source Wikimedia wiki software that we depend is actually hosted there to provide easy access and configuration control support. I certainly think we need the capability for classes to download and use java applets or executable binary analysis tools but it raises large hairy issues about security of the files so we do not have vandals or crackers downloading compromised files with virus or spyware to our participants. Maybe you could subscribe to the Wikiversity-L mailing list[2] and start a policy discussion and/or start a policy discussion under the Organization of Wikiversity Self Management[3] link off the main page. This certainly bears on both short and long term organizational structure issues. Should each class handle this stuff or should it be filtered through a central group maybe based out of a computer or engineering school. Perhaps it is best if this is handled by Wikimedia Foundation's tech support, perhaps not. My personal preference is that we get a Wikiversity Technical Support group setup and rolling as soon as possible. Our Wikiversity technical developers should participate at the Wikimedia Developers mailing list and their site at Sourceforge. I think the needs of a large learning institution will quickly overwhelm the current Wikimedia Foundation tech staff with routine work unless it can be automated as other features have been at Commons and other places. I think initially either they will need to expand or we will need to provide a lot of initial tech support and then hand the final requirements to their technical staff for final implementation on their servers. Mirwin 22:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, interesting... I signed up with the mailing list. For what it is worth, choosing a Java applet is intended to ally fears about running arbitrary code from an non-trusted source, since this code is in the Java sandbox. But, I do see the need for a management of source coding/pre-compilation steps. I just had hoped that each interactive lab will have some kind of "steward" to watch over it. I definitely do not think we should break with the approach of nobody owning anything on the wiki, but it all is "free" as promised. Awolf002 00:12, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

This might be great stuff for junior hackers to increase proficiency with open compilers and to learn code management techniques while working with our sophisticated developers when they all show up and volunteer. There was sombody starting a Java learning program a few months back. When I check back I will keep my eyes open for potential volunteers to point your way. 8) Mirwin 00:56, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not so well up on tech issues, but one thing I know is that Wikimedia projects are dedicated to free software and file formats, so if there's a file format that isn't allowed on Wikisource or Commons, there's a good chance it's not allowed on all Wikimedia projects. Please, though, correct me if i'm wrong. In general, Wikiversity does need to look into its tech needs/requirements, and it would be great if people interested in wikiversity would participate in tech discussions. Most of this is on the wikitech mailing list or on IRC channels: #wikimedia-tech or, more generally, #mediawiki (on Freenode). I'd say peopel there would be better equipped to deal with technical questions than people here (though I could be wrong :-)) In any case, it's great you're trying to apply this to your own learning materials/course. Cormaggio 10:00, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

20 August 2006

Wikiversity mission

Please contribute to developing and refining the mission statement for Wikiversity.

To participate: please post or edit a sentence here that characterizes what you think Wikiversity is and can be: Wikiversity mission.

The Delphi method is suggested as a participatory way to develop a mission statement. The method enables a wide range of input to achieve a synthesis of what is best in previous and current creative work. -- Reswik 03:19, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

New department (philosophy)

Want to pat self on back, encourage others to participate I like philosophy, so I started the Department of Philosophy in the School of Humanities. I'll post a heads-up at the WikiProject Philosophy. Koavf 06:06, 20 August 2006 (UTC)


I was quite excited to learn that some institutions such as MIT releasing content as "OpenCourseWare." We need to have a clear policy or guidelines on how we use or don't use this material.

The big issue will be licensing. E.g. the MIT OCW Creative Commons license requires attribution. Perhaps we can have templates, placed at the bottom of pages or sections, stating that the material is based on or uses materials from institution X.

Starting points:

--Singkong2005 07:38, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Demarcating Wikibooks & Wikiversity

We don't want confusion or duplication of materials... but I couldn't find anything on Wikiversity to explain exactly what goes there and what goes here. Wikibooks is for textbooks, Wikiversity is for course material... but there's a lot of overlap, so clarification is needed. --Singkong2005 08:11, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Basically, we are to Wikibooks what a school is to a bookstore/publisher. We use Wikibooks plus other materials (both hosted here and elsewhere) and combine that for the purpose of facilitating learning about a subject. Does that make sense? -- sebmol ? 15:12, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but Singkong's question is a valid one - I think we need to make that clearer for newcomers to the project (and, aren't people coming in at quite a rate..?). I started Wikiversity:Adding content (which needs work) to help newcomers, but we probably need a better introduction page (or two). Cormaggio 15:49, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. My impression was that it was something like sebmol described. However, Topic:Foreign Language says: Get to work writing lessons! Simply make a link to the name of the lesson (lessons are independent pages) and start writing! It seemed like this suggestion perhaps shouldn't be in Wikiversity, and so I looked for clarification.
I gather discussions have taken place somewhere about what exactly Wikiversity is? Can they be used as the basis of some help and introduction pages? --Singkong2005 16:19, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Have you read Wikiversity:Wikiversity project proposal and the pages that it links to?

Specific name space for learning groups

I would propose to create a specific name space called [[Learning group:XXXX]]. The pages on the "learning group" name space could be:

  • The meeting point of those users studying in these groups.
  • The place where they can share questions and answers, as well as useful information related to those studies.
  • The pages in this namespace should be able to have subpages ([[Namespace:Page/Subpage]]) where the learning group can organize archives, different activities,...

I think that having a differentiated namespace for that purpose would facilitate organizing content in the whole project of Wikiversity. What do you think about?--Javier Carro 08:33, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that's what the main namespace should be used for. Learning projects have talk pages that can be used exactly for that purpose. -- sebmol ? 09:52, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Ups, sorry. I didn't read previously Wikiversity:Naming conventions and Wikiversity:Namespaces. --Javier Carro 11:08, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Centralized discussion

We seem so scattered around on this project - can we designate a place to have centralized discussions, say, like a cafeteria? --HappyCamper 10:31, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

This is it, right here. -- sebmol ? 10:49, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Great! --HappyCamper 11:04, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

A case in study - Wikipedia's Reference Desk

Perhaps I am misunderstanding what this project is all about, but I am finding it difficult to grasp what exactly it is we are trying to do here. I thought it might be prudent for me to share some experiences I've had over on Wikipedia - specifically at the Reference desk.

I have watched the desk grow from a single page which dealt with a potpourri of ideas, to one where we have multiple pages for different topics. At the moment, the way I see it, Wikiversity aims to be an efficiently run institution analogous to the reference desk. Multiple topics with multiple participants collaboratively answering and asking questions on a certain topic. Of course, with slight modifications here and there, but essentially, topics should accumulate

I bring this up, because it is apparent from the success and popularity of the reference desk that much of that can carry over to this project. It is by far, one of the most heavily edited project pages. It is also edited by the most diverse of Wikipedians. The ratio of productive edits to vandalism is the highest amoung comparable pages of that size. The amazing thing is that there are actually very few institutionalized rules for governing the operation of the reference desk. There are rarely conflicts on the desk which cannot be resolved within a day or so. I am optimistic that we can achieve that here as well. In fact, I might suggest that we create a reference desk somewhere here, just to get everyone together and work collaboratively. In this way, at least we can quickly accumulate a critical mass of editors working on "scholarly stuff". --HappyCamper 11:04, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I like the idea of relating the reference desk to this project. I mean, in a sense, the reference desk doesn't really fit into Wikipedia. It's just a means to learn about something, which is what Wikiversity strives to be. -- sebmol ? 15:14, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh yes, HappyCamper, we will definitely benefit from a space akin to the Reference Desk, where people can ask questions and then be directed to the materials or communities on that subject. Your experience in helping us in this regard is invaluable :-) Cormaggio 15:52, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikiversity has Wikiversity:Help desk --JWSchmidt 16:05, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Is that intended to serve as a help desk for Wikiversity, like a reception area or call-in centre? --HappyCamper 20:06, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I think Wikiversity will eventually have many "help desks".....asking questions is so fundamental to learning. We also need something like a "request desk" where people can just drop by and say what they would like to be able to learn about at Wikiversity. Even a "suggestions and comment box" would be useful. --JWSchmidt 21:37, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Another question

How is course material written here different from a textbook? Can we say, perhaps that what is written here is like course notes for a textbook? --HappyCamper 11:58, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

The idea here is to develop learning materials. Those can come in the form of a textbook, something like course notes, or really almost anything.--digital_metalk 13:26, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Is there anyway to develop a wikipowerpoint? --Rayc 13:58, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Could you be more specific about what you have in mind? -- sebmol ? 15:20, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
FWIW, you can save PowerPoint files as image files (pdf) and then upload that to the wiki (though i'm not sure if that's what you were asking). Cormaggio 15:54, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, making PPT files and then uploading them would work, but what if there was a misspelling on page 2. You would have to download it, edit it, then uploaded it again. There would be no way of seeing diffs or even telling it was the same presentation without compairing it. Would be neat to have a wiki-equlvanat to PPT, just like this page is an equvalant to word.--Rayc 20:43, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
A simple picture slideshow or animation would work better.--The Winged Self 03:27, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

One way to think about the nature of Wikiversity content is to create a system for selecting featured content. --JWSchmidt 21:30, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

that's a good suggestion. Let's work on getting a few good pieces togeather as opposed to more scattered tidbits.--The Winged Self 03:27, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that wikiversity should rely hevily on multimedia to augment the learning. Lectures similar to wikipedia's recorded articles would be a good place to start; videos of powerpoint-style presentations or videos of learning concepts (i.e. a chemical reaction or a car engine running) also have huge potential.--The Winged Self 03:27, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

This discussion reflects the confusion on Wikiversity - that the project hasn't clarified what should go in Wikibooks, and what should go in Wikiversity. See my question at #Demarcating Wikibooks & Wikiversity. Note that Digitalme's comment in this section (about develop learning materials including textbooks) contradicts sebmol & Cormaggio's answers to the Demarcating Wikibooks & Wikiversity question. I don't mean to be harsh - confusion is understandable, be we need to deal with it immediately and nip it in the bud.

I've heard comments to the effect that Wikiversity won't conflict with Wikibooks, but where is this written down? --Singkong2005 04:24, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

It is written down at meta in many of the discussions regarding what Wikiversity is not. It is further defined by Wikibooks Mission Statement to write "NPOV" "Textbooks" only. Wikiversity's requirements are much looser as we intend to host actual learning processes for actual people. Not just textbooks suitable for others to use elsewhere. Many of the materials already drafted at Wikibook use links to Wikibooks texts as well as FDL'ed texts and copyrighted texts around the web to form their lesson plans or outlines or notes. So basically Wikiversity is going to be slightly more generic learning materials and processes while the best of the material should migrate to Wikibooks as high grade NPOV textbook quality material to be published and maintained there. Mirwin 05:48, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

where is this written down?

The idea that Wikiversity participants can develop textbooks contradicts nothing. Wikiversity participants can work to develop textbooks, but all textbooks will be kept at Wikibooks. Please read the project proposal. If the statement, "Wikiversity is not a duplication of other Wikimedia projects," is not enough for you, follow the link to Wikiversity:What Wikiversity is not where it says: "Wikiversity is not a repository of textbooks". Textbook development is going to be a very minor part of Wikiversity. Most Wikiversity learning resources will not have anything to do with textbooks. --JWSchmidt 06:58, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Philosophical things

For want of a better place to write and share ideas, I think we need to be a bit careful about the sort of thinking we want to establish here. Do we wish to take on the traditional rationalist approach used in most universities around the world? Or should be consider Wikiversity as a sort of experimental place for alternative educational strategies? What balance should we have between different extremes? --HappyCamper 12:22, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Good question - and one which will need its own page to address :-). I think that, since different people learn in different ways, and every teacher has a preference for (a) particular form(s) of pedagogy, we will need to be open to different kinds of materials - conventional and radical. Personally I think we should be trying new things (I think that's one of the whole points of Wikiversity), but that we should also try to be relevant to the teacher who needs some material for their next day's class, for example. In any case, the idea of setting up a page outlining different pedagogies is an excellent one - and which was also suggested during Wikimania. How about Wikiversity:Pedagogies? Or Wikiversity:Teaching and learning styles? Cormaggio 16:01, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikiversity does have Wikiversity:Learning. --JWSchmidt 16:12, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I meant to add that in - thanks John. Cormaggio 16:28, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
The balance is inherent in alternate material being a quick click away. Also, our Custodians and regular users are certainly going to be alert for false advertising that leads us astray. Keep in mind that any user can delete any link or descriptive paragraph they feel misleads them into inappropriate or incorrect areas of the stacks. Just as militant groups will not be able to restrain others in accordance with their thinking it will be difficult for "alternate" or "experimental" groups to mislead people into their material. The key to the scenario as I paint will be willing knowledgeable participation of our regular learners and mentors. Bold editing as appropriate. Ultimately the large volume of participants will evolve and protect sensible link routes into various materials. Mirwin 05:55, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Participants of Wikiversity

Yes, yes...I know I'm the only one posting here at the moment :-) But I was wondering...what is the name of a participant of Wikiversity? Would it be a "wikiversian"? But this sounds very clumsy. I wonder if there might be a better alternative? --HappyCamper 12:46, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Please check #Naming further up this page. -- sebmol ? 13:00, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Oops, I missed that. Thanks. --HappyCamper 13:13, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Custodian candidates

Please check Candidates for Custodianship to see who's been applying to be a Custodian. Candidates who have gone through mentorship will be up for discussion by the community so take a look and ask questions. -- sebmol ? 16:15, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Candidates for Custodianship <-- this page is for community comment. At Wikiversity sysops are called "custodians" (sysops are usually called "adminstrators" at other Wikimedia projects).

21 August 2006

User Profile?

Some one point me in the right direction if I’m just lost, but is there a specific place where a user such as myself can my own profile so as to create a level of respectability with my contributions? --michael_DesignNZ 00:27, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

okay ignore that im just lost found my user page some how.. --michael_DesignNZ 00:31, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

REPEATING We need a good introduction to Wikiversity, particularly for people who are new to wiki. --JWSchmidt 02:06, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

At the moment I think the best introduction is the approved proposal. With 37 files transwiki'ed on an adhoc basis it might be a litte hard to find good tour areas. Mirwin 06:14, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
We could start with a quick introduction for wiki newbies that explains how to use a wiki.User:Michael did not even know that he had a user page! --JWSchmidt 15:34, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Bibliography Wiki-Catalogue?

Is there a wiki catalogue for finding out what has been written on a particular subject or by a particular author? Or has there been any attempt at creating a universal catalogue of academic writings? I would assume that this would be an incredible asset to many academics and I would love to know if any such service exists out side of private databases and library catalogues? I have been tempted to start a list of important texts and even websites for my own subject area with the hope that others may add to it but it would be much more productive if there was a central database.

There is a proposal for such a project called Wikibibliography at [4] michael_DesignNZ 04:08, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikiversity needs projects for creating catalogs of publications. Wikiversity currently has this "starter" project: Citing Sources. The "citing sources" project and all of Wikiversity will need to grow towards the goal of providing easy access to publications that Wikimedia projects need to cite. As a center for scholarship, Wikiversity should participate in developing such "bibliography" projects that will be of use in all Wikimedia projects. --JWSchmidt 06:44, 21 August 2006 (UTC)


Is there a general idea of what the lessons should be like? Should they be written essay-style, or more like an outline to follow? I'm a bit confused as to whether the lessons are meant to be utelized by teachers, students, or both. --The Winged Self 04:14, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Any or all of the above. The idea is to cover all areas useful to any learners. We, the advocates of the Wikiversity project for the last two years, are aware that is a gigantic scope which will take a lot of volunteers to hit critical mass. Then it will take a lot of participation by learners and education professionals. Ultimately we hope to be an FDL'ed archive of useful materials for use by anyone elsewhere as they see fit and for the local spontaneous or planned use of new learning processes spawned or joined by randomly arriving participants interested in any specific or general study of "free human knowledge". So Edit Boldly and provide as many different versions as you please to place at different appropriate places in the link mazes accessible as appropriate from different learning portals. Mirwin 06:24, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Some Wikiversity learning resources can be for easy download and use by teachers in bricks-and-mortar schools. Some Wikiversity learning materials might be tutorials that could be used by online learners browsing Wikiversity. Remember, Wikiversity has adopted a "learn by doing" model of online learning. We need learning projects for Wikiversity participants. In the early stages, good learning projects might involve working on a Wikibooks textbook or creating Wikiversity tutorials. Wikiversity participants can learn about topics while they help build Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 06:26, 21 August 2006 (UTC) gateway

Especially now that there is both the de.wikiversity and en.wikiversity, the gateway page at needs to be fixed. BlankVerse 13:11, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

See:, below. --JWSchmidt 21:30, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Network naming and structure conventions

I am concerned that the current Naming conventions page may prematurely encourage the unnecessary expansion of a hierarchy of substructural elements (division, subdivision, department, subdepartment, etc.). This could lead to overstructuring new projects -- loosing content development items in a mass of mostly unused structure oriented text. This could be quite a turn off to the kind of creative learners and scholars we wish to get involved in Wikiversity early on. Hence, I created this alternate policy: Network naming conventions.

In the interest of encouraging creativity and networking, as one experiment in organization (and there should be others) but also as a possible top level view of wikiversity study areas/departments, this network naming policy calls for a strict limit on the hierarchy of school elements (these being school, area, and project).

This policy could encourage horizontal spreading of study areas and the creation of various interdisciplinary areas that draw on other areas of study. Hence, diversification of participation in area (department) set up and interdisciplinary cooperation might possibly result. This would make for longer lists of study areas and more inter-areas, but that is the nature of networks. It is an alternative. Perhaps it should be developed first before the hierarchical naming model. Comments? Reswik 17:28, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

The School>Division>Departmentt>Learning Project hierarchy is just an organizational tool. People who are familiar with traditional academic disciplines are going be arriving at Wikiversity in search of pages related to a particular topic of study that they are interested in. They will be able to make use of an easy to navigate hierarchical system that can lead them to the relevant Wikiversity pages. I agree that we want to free Wikiversity participants from the restrictions of conventional categorizations. We are free to invent new portals in the "Portal:" namespace. Learning materials can be arranged into any imaginable categories. Right now we only have a few portals such as Portal:Learning Projects. Feel free to make new ones. --JWSchmidt 17:48, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
I think that academics can just as easily or even more easily find a subject area with this simple hierarchy: School>Area>Learning Project with area being a traditional topic name like Biology. Choosing to represent at the start the organization of topics by the traditional division/subdivision/department/subdepartment/etc. categories (rather than by using simple network language suggested above or some such) brings connotations (and possible assumptions and practices) of authority, power and bureaucratic relations and processes that do not need to be in the project at the start. While we may decide to use such terms in long run, trying some other more flexible structure now could be very valuable. Now the above distinctions may not seem a bit deal but the concepts and structure entailed are quite different.
Using simple neutral "network"/spatial sounding terms as our first and main (for now) organization scheme might be a very interesting social/organizational experiment. Doing this would fit with and possibly create a synergy in unexpected ways amongst a variety of factors at play in Wikipedia: the nontraditional educational nature of this project, the grounding of this in wiki culture and in the free culture movement, and participant creativity evident in startup projects. Then again, maybe not. Don't know if don't try. Let's talbe the old (for possible later use) and as a first stop on this journey do something a bit new and evocative of the medium and our values. Reswik 23:35, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Lesson plans - The watering hole concept

I'm in the process of creating some lesson plan pages for physics, and the idea that I have in my head is the watering hole concept. Basically, its 2:30 a.m., you have EM homework due the next day, and the material makes no sense. What I'd like to have is some page that you can go to at wikiversity with links to study materials and hints, which will make it your first destination. Now once you have one confused student ending up at that page, you are likely also to have a lot of confused students showing up at that page at 2:30 a.m., at which point people start discussing things over IRC and you start to develop a community.

Roadrunner 21:07, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Excellent! This matches my college experience with 400 level physics, a couple of nights a week at the student memorial union. I suggest you remind them they cannot submit copyrighted problems (i.e. an exact problem from their class assignment) but if they modify the problem or submit a problem similar to what they have in their problem sets I for one would welcome a chance to hack through one occasionally with some interaction from other interested parties. If they start early in the week they might have useful examples to compare with their tougher assigned problems. We can build up an example library that way with just a few participants occasionally tackling a problem and categorize them by topic or link to them from lessons. As you say, this might start a community. Particularly if we get active students from multiple institutions. I will try the technique on a couple general engineering classes so we have a couple of data points on how it works and in what disciplines. 08:36, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

22 August 2006

Naming Conventions

Does anyone have an opinion on whether this chain of links meets one of the naming conventions or not? I am having a bit of trouble visualizing what is intended from the naming conventions files.

Thanks for any inputs. Mirwin 09:41, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

According to Wikiversity:Naming conventions, "A school does not contain other schools." My advice would be to change the main "Engineering_and_Technology" page to Portal:Engineering_and_Technology. Why? Because "Engineering_and_Technology" is a good idea, but it contains what are usually called "schools" by universities. In particular, if we had Portal:Engineering_and_Technology then we could change Topic:Engineering into School:Engineering. --JWSchmidt 14:33, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Looks good! Thanks for shuffling appropriately. Mirwin 02:04, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I like the idea of using "Poortal" instead of "School". It breaks with tradition, and establishes Wikiversity as something different. Carrying it further, "Topic" shows a remarkable lack of imagination. A "Cupboard" that one opens, and which one enters into a world of discoveries would have a more unique flavour. Thus far people seem to have put in tremendous effort building up all these ticky-tacky boxes to store all the lessons that we do not yet have. Wikipedia had the material long before it had the boxes. The boxes do look a little pompous. Eclecticology 07:36, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
"remarkable lack of imagination" <-- At the risk of putting unwanted words into the mouths of those who decided to create the Wikiversity "Topic:" namespace, I suspect that the "Topic:" prefix was selected because it is bland. "Topic" pages should be thought of as special portals that provide user-friendly access to a collection of learning resources that are related to a particular topic of study. The Wikiversity schools each concern themselves with a particular set of several related topics of study. The Wikiversity community long ago decided to organize learning resources by making use of a list of schools corresponding to major divisions of academic topic areas. The Wikiversity naming conventions have been developed in order to adapt the list of Wikiversity schools to the Wikiversity "School:", "Topic:" and "Portal" namespaces. "School:" and "Topic:" pages should be thought of as specialized portals with specific well-defined and strictly limited functions. At Wikiversity a "Portal:" page can be associated with any category that is not more appropriately associated with a "School:" or "Topic:" page. "Portal:" pages are particularly useful for guiding Wikiversity participants into categories of learning resources that are difficult to fit into conventional academic disciplines.
--JWSchmidt 12:27, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Please see my comment about capitalization below. - dcljr 22:45, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

There is now a functioning Wikiversity Hub. It needs to be edited into something nice looking along these lines. Please contribute to a draft hub page by editing at the meta-wiki template page.
--JWSchmidt 05:18, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Here's some info from Erik (Eloquence) sent earlier to foundation-l:
The content of the portal is wikitext which is inserted into the content of the template, which is HTML (the template therefore needs to be protected, as it can contain JavaScript and the like). You can see an elaborate layout at , which is made of: and . I would suggest that a call for participation is added to the sitenotice (MediaWiki:Sitenotice) to make a nice portal. Because MediaWiki renders the HTML in a very ugly fashion, those who want to work on the design should probably do so in an HTML editor and then ask a Meta sysop like myself to copy it into the template page.

Surely someone can do a better job than what's on Just a logo and two links would be good enough for now. Could someone spare five minutes to do this? Cormaggio 17:03, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

1 week old

Nuvola apps cookie.pngThere are 326 registered users
--JWSchmidt 13:54, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Happy, happy birthday! -- sebmol ? 13:55, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Joyeux anniversaire :) guillom 13:57, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Curricula Vitae

Wikipedia has a general policy of "posting no resumes" on the user pages, but in the case of Wikiversity, I think that might be a little bit too much. There has been some requests for some biographical information on the part of the "instructors" that are invovled with this project and their educational background.

I'm just throwing this out there, but I think such information is very useful and that perhaps extended biographical notes can be not only allowed but encouraged strongly, particularly for the leaders of learning groups. This is not to suggest that Wikiversity ought to be a resume posting service, but there are times and places to legitimately have this information.

I welcome debate on this topic, especially if there are individuals who understand the reasoning and philosophy behind the anti-resume policy on Wikipedia. I'd like to know the justifications for that policy and to see if those justifications really apply to Wikiveristy. I don't think they do, but I would like to be somewhat cautious. --Robert Horning 14:25, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

This seems not to be a general rule. German Wikipedia doesn't have it, for example, and there are plenty of users who post their resume. I don't know of any reason why that shouldn't be allowed. -- sebmol ? 14:30, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
In fact I can't even find that rule on the English Wikipedia. Are you sure it exists? -- sebmol ? 14:34, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I have not seen this written down explicitly, but it does exist, at least implicitly - very often, curriculum vitae posted on userpages on English Wikipedia are used to for things like job hunting, advertising, and such. Also, a lot of these pages are created by new users who do not understand what a Wiki is. Sometimes, these pages are deleted to protect the user's privacy. Generally speaking, an administrator on English Wikipedia uses their discretion to delete these pages - if it is apparent that the user has no intention of contributing material to the encyclopedia, then it would be deleted. Often, I add a writeup of sorts on the user's talk page to explain what is going on. Many people, especially new administrators, are quite observant of what other administrators do, so I find it important to document such things. Other Wikipedians might give a different interpretation of the above, but it all boils down to common sense, and striving a good balance between the needs of newcomers and the needs of the community. I suspect that this is not documented extensively on Wikipedia, simply because there are too many subtleties involved. One coulde codify this, but it would not be an effective policy.
Now, I suppose there shouldn't be a problem with someone posting their curriculum vitae here, but I think we want to be careful that Wikiversity doesn't degenerate into a place where people simply meetup with common interests, and then leave. We want to foster communities that will thrive online here, not offline. So for that reason, if curriculum vitae are written for job hunting, it probably should not be here. But, if someone posted that they had experience doing X at company Y, and wanted to share their educational experiences, that might be something to look at - imagine, say, an astronaut documenting about their training and experience here!
There is quite a lot to say about this, but I'll step back for a little bit to see what happens. One thing that worries me about such a project, is that assuming this becomes a succesful project, the ambiguity in many situations will mean that administrators will need to make very mature and judicious decisions to handle these things. I might even suggest that to make the administrative community more cohesive here, we could do something simple such as the following: Each administrator has a subpage where periodically, say, every month, another administrator comes by, signs it and simply says 'Hey! How are you doing these days? :-) ' - And of course, conversations take off, and checks and balances automatically come in as a result. --HappyCamper 17:40, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I think Wikiversity projects should list only "active participants" on their main pages and no titles should be used. If there is a list of participants on the main page of a project then the participants should state what their personal goals are for helping to developing the project. Additional information about individual participants can go on subpages such as: Cell Biology/JWSchmidt. --JWSchmidt 18:15, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I think right now active mean anyone who made at least one edit to that department's page, which coveres adding yourself to the list. When we get bigger, then we can impose higher limmits.--Rayc 18:47, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree, resume/CV is very important as far as credibility goes

Dept. of History

I've taken the liberty to post the first bits in the School of History; however, it is rather general information regarding what "good history" includes, vital themes, etc. I am in search of anyone that may be interested in helping to better structure and develop the school. NCHE1776


The first three languages of babel templates have been imported (en, fr, de). If you would like more, please list them at Wikiversity:Import. -- sebmol ? 17:06, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

23 August 2006

Quizes/ Self Exams

Ther apperently has been some work on making quizes on wikitext. Look at this. The people at mediawiki said brion or another dev would have to install this an an extention. They say it's an ugly hack. Maybe some of our computer science people could take a look at it? "Hint hint" --Rayc 01:25, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Here is another attempt m:User:Sent/Poll--Rayc 01:28, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
A possible home for Wikiversity efforts in support of this. --JWSchmidt 01:30, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
User:Trevor MacInnis already has something worked up on his user page! No patch required.--Rayc 03:55, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Here is the first wikiversity quiz: Test and Quiz

The posted code is not an acceptable implementation, but the idea is sound enough that I might take it, run with it, and write a special page extension; as a rough write-down of what I'm thinking, this would allow creating quizzes in a "quiz" namespace, accessing, e.g. Special:Quiz/Foo, answering questions and having scores totalled up either at the end, or as one progresses.

Thoughts? Would this or something like it be usable? robchurch | talk 11:16, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

What is presently wrong with the{{ABCD}} template? It seems intuitive. I think it would be useful for in text questions and pop quizes, but your right that we need something more advanced with tests. It needs to give grading and have a timer feature. I could work up a subpage system that could do autograding, but it would require 2^N subpages to work (where N=# of questions)--Rayc 02:47, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

What's wrong with it is that I don't believe in using hackish templates to work around a hole in the software; I believe in using the right tool for the job. robchurch | talk 22:28, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Ok, so how do alter the software?--Rayc 03:08, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Animation files for lessons

Do we support uploading animation/video file formats for lessons or should all of these type of audiovisual aids be loaded at WikiCommons? I have a query at their village pump regarding a specific avi file but I am wondering if a generic guideline should be put together detailing how, when, where, why types of things for generic chunks for lesson plans. Mirwin 02:38, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Maybe just house them here for now? --HappyCamper 04:24, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes I think I might try that. I need to load the file into one of my animation tools and create a couple of jpg's for the lesson plan so it will be a while. I have some other computer problems to deal with first. Thanks! Mirwin 08:21, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Good question, Michael. Commons is meant as the general Wikimedia media repository of course, but it might be a good idea for people to host their media files here first before we decide what's best. I simply mean, will Wikiversity's and Commons' file use policies differ in any way? Cormaggio 10:26, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Guided tour

Wikiversity:Guided tour is up. But it needs work :-) :-) :-) --HappyCamper 03:04, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

PDF files

Is anyone else having problems with Adobe readers of PDF files or know anything about how to resolve persistent crashing of Adobe reader versions 6 and 7 on Windows XP?. Much of the course work in engineering at MIT's OCW is in PDF files as well as some of NASA's download materials so now after being aware of the problem for six months I am seriously interested in a fix. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Mirwin 08:25, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

I haven't encountered a problem myself... --HappyCamper 13:57, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Category Tag Usage

Is it intended to place applicable category tags on individual topic or lesson files? Like this [5] or this [6]Mirwin 11:23, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

I would think so. -- sebmol ? 13:11, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely :-). Eventually (or possible sooner than that) I think we'll need a Metadata system in place so that someone interested can quickly find, say, a learner resource for Key Stage 5 on the History of Egypt (or whatever). Categories are our basic way of doign this for now - but we'll probably need something better. User:WiseWoman is working on this, as far as I know. Cormaggio 14:09, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Motto and slogan contest

The revise mission and create motto page is moving slowly so I create this based on comments on talk:main page.

Feel free to dive in...

Please list your suggestions for mottos and slogans here: Motto and slogan contest.

The very short motto will go with our logo (yet to be chosen) for listing on wikimedia sister projects. The slogan will go on the top of our main page with "Welcome to Wikiversity."

A simple contest process is suggested:

  • list as many mottos and slogans as you wish
  • add *one* vote for one motto and one slogan
  • feel free to change vote and add mottos at any time.
  • winners are the motto and the slogan with strong majority of votes. (there may need to be a run off if a strong majority is not achieved).
  • voting ends in 15 days: September 7, 2006, 5:00 pm GMT.

We may use ideas from the motto and slogan contest to help refine the mission statement. Feel free to post mission statement revisions here: Wikiversity mission. --Reswik 14:05, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Problem set questions and answers

This page -- w:Seven Bridges of Königsberg -- might be of interest for those who want to develop question/answer type materials. Scroll down to the bottom, and there are sections which hide various portions of the solution. --HappyCamper 15:09, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Logo for Wikiversity

Hello. A logo discussion for Wikiversity has started on meta: m:Wikiversity/logo; feel free to share your ideas. guillom 16:15, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Use new main page design?

Please comment soon on talk:Main page for the new main page design created by Trevor: User:Trevor MacInnis/MainPage.

This is probably not big issue so there is short timeline suggested: 24-48 hrs perhaps. Just seems good to check that no one objects. Can always revise if strong feelings emerge later. Reswik 18:47, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Voting is evil; please discuss and share opinions :) guillom 20:21, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Voting is not evil, though many voting processes are messed up these days. :) While consensus through discussion is a wonderful objective and should be tried whenever possible, large groups have to have some sort of voting process, at least as fall back option, in order for any kind of collective decision making to unfold. Anyway, this is just a straw poll to check if anyone objects to the new design. And: I changed the wording "comment" from "vote". If you don't mind, please take time comment on the new design -- we need a few folks to indicate if they care one way or another or not at all about the change to a new design. Thx, Reswik 20:32, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Voting is a double edged sword :P -- I don't care one way or the other, so long as we're clear that this place remains perpetually welcoming for changes that are healthy. --HappyCamper 20:35, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
And unavoidable. ;) Ongoing flexibility would be nice - but wonder if that will turn out to be the case -- one thing is for sure: we will only see ongoing flexibility if we build our systems flexibly and keep a culture of participation going. Regarding voting: Whatever you call your group decision making -- "voting," "selecting," "rough consensus," "group process," or whatever -- eventually if there is not unanimous agreement, you have to decide what at what threshold percentage the minority opinion will be overruled (while retaining their comments in the log) in interests of moving forward. I really like that wikimedia projects look for strong majorities of 70 to 80% before moving on. Very nice. If we could do better, great. Reswik 00:13, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I still agree with the general principle that voting is evil and should be avoided if possible. For the main page design, please feel free to make changes and implement them if no negative feedback has been offered. If negative feedback is give, we can discuss how to incorporate various visions into one. That surely is the model we are working under, not a majoritarian democracy. Cormaggio 10:10, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
A vote is at minimum a concise opinion, often it is a reasoned position. This "voting is evil" crap should probably be treated as trolling. Are the currently appointed admins seriously trying to imply they are going to ignore an opinion survey's (or vote) majority position on any particular issue which they happen to disagree with? Custodial agents applying the "consensus" of the community is getting to be a pretty thin fiction if "votes are evil" campaigns are allowed to discourage systematically collecting the community members opinions or current positions on various issues. Perhaps it is time to consider implementation of a secret vote mechanism so members of the community do not feel constrained by existing custodial agents' position that "votes are evil" when choosing to express their own position. I think Debian has a serious voting mechanism that could be adapted effectively. Mirwin 05:55, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Votes can be used as a quick indicator of opinions, sure. But if, say, 49% of us were in favour of a policy and 51% opposed it, it would not be wise to adopt that policy as is. Consensus is an attempt to move beyond making voting necessary - that is what is meant by the maxim of voting is evil - see m:Polls are evil. Cormaggio 09:14, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
"Custodial agents applying the "consensus" of the community" <-- There are two key issues when a custodian looks at the result of a vote. First, the custodian must wonder: "to what extent does the vote really indicate the views of the Wikiversity community?" One of the ways that "voting is evil" is that vote results often do not reflect the views of all community members, rather, they reflect only the views of the few who bothered to vote.....yet partisan voters will claim that the vote reflects community consensus even when it does not. Second, a custodian must judge if vote results are in conflict with the goals of the Wikiversity project. If a few editors set up a vote on some obscure page that results in the conclusion, "Wikiversity is a waste of space and should be deleted," no custodian is required to act on that vote result. That votes can be used as a way to counter or disrupt the mission of a project is another reason that "voting is evil". Custodians rightly place the mission of the project above the results of votes. --JWSchmidt 14:17, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

School of Medicine

I'd like to start the School of Medicine, but thought I'd ask first because I find it rather strange it doesn't exist yet. There are already some redlinks to it. Where and how should I start?--Stevenfruitsmaak 22:41, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Probably should move some content from b:Wikiversity:School_of_Medicine?--Stevenfruitsmaak 22:52, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

There is a link currently at the top of all Wikiversity pages to request imports of existing files at Wikibooks where the Wikiversity was "prototyped" initially. Files listed there are sometimes slow to showup. Possibly due to the limited number of custodians available to perform routine maintenance or startup tasks on the Wikiversity database. You might wish to request custodialship so you can move the files you desire yourself. Mirwin 07:14, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Anyone frustrated with the rate of page imports should visit Help with the migration of Wikiversity pages from Wikibooks. --JWSchmidt 17:29, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

24 August 2006

Rounded corners

Can someone please remove the ghastly rounded corners (added to MediaWiki:Monobook.css by Sebmol on 16 August)? They look jagged and weird in Mozilla browsers, and other software (such as IE) doesn't support them (meaning that the site's appearance is intentionally inconsistent across browsers). Over at the English Wikipedia, people actually made fun of Wikiversity because of this issue (and no one disagreed). —David Levy 02:15, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

This matter has been discussed here previously. None of the Wikiversity custodians seem to be concerned about these sorts of subjective evaluations of the Wikiversity buttons. The buttons look fine on my computer. Maybe you need a better display. --JWSchmidt 05:50, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
1. I'd appreciate a link to the earlier discussion.
2. I sincerely hope that I've misinterpreted your comment, as it seems to imply that Wikiversity sysops are considered a higher level of user and possess the authority to dismiss other contributor's good faith concerns. Again, if that isn't what you meant, feel free to correct me.
3. There's nothing wrong with my display (the 1400x1050px LCD screen attached to my Thinkpad laptop). For some users, perhaps these actually resemble rounded corners. For me (and many other people) they appear as a series of jagged, partially disconnected lines. This is the one design element that causes websites to look better in IE than they do in Firefox.
4. As noted above, this is a Mozilla-specific feature. Approximately 85% of website visitors use Microsoft Internet Explorer (in which the rounded corners do not appear). This code creates a major style difference that manifests as users switch from browser to browser or computer to computer (which interferes with the goal of providing a uniform MonoBook interface, and can lead to confusion and frustration for users who don't understand why the appearance keeps changing). For this reason (and the reasons cited above), the inclusion of rounded corners was overwhelmingly opposed during the English Wikipedia's main page redesign process.
5. What's so desirable about rounded corners? The links at the top are supposed to resemble folder tabs (which typically aren't rounded). —David Levy 06:55, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
1. Wikiversity talk:Main Page and MediaWiki talk:Monobook.css
2. No, they don't. However, they do have the discretion to make their own decision based on what's best for the project and what the community wants. So far, criticism has only been voiced by users who have had no other significant contributions to the project, hence don't constitute part of the community.
3. As I said below, please provide a screenshot. On any screen I've worked on the corners are round, not jagged and not disconnected.
4. "goal of providing a uniform MonoBook interface" - who says that's a goal?
5. IMO, they make the appearance of Wikiversity less edgy and more friendly. I'd also like to point out that Wikiversity isn't the only Wikimedia project that uses these corners. The change was made and there was no opposition from within the community but general approval. Also, I do have plenty of foulders that have round tabs and I've seen them in many offices too. It's not atypical. -- sebmol ? 07:25, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
1. Thank you. I see that one individual expressed exactly the same concerns ("jaggy edges," "gaps," "bad browser support," inconsistency, et cetera).
2. Your continued dismissal of new users' comments (with the rationale that they aren't members of the community) is illogical and counterproductive. This is a brand new project, so there aren't many experienced users yet. (And of course, most people use IE, so they won't even see the rounded corners and become aware of their existence.) This is something that jumps out at first-time visitors (whose impressions are very important), and you're telling them that their opinions don't matter. And of course, Wikiversity is part of a greater community—the Wikimedia community. I've been an active Wikimedia contributor for two years (and an English Wikipedia sysop for almost eight months). I'm one of the principal designers of the English Wikipedia main page. It isn't as though I just appeared out of nowhere. Most importantly, this is a MonoBook styling issue, not an editorial issue. Anyone with an opinion is qualified to express it, as it has no bearing on the site's academic content.
3.See below.
4. Multi-browser consistency is a widely accepted design goal of websites in general. Why would anyone want to deliberately create an appearance that significantly varies depending upon the software in use? Furthermore, compliance with W3C standards (which this code lacks) should be a top priority for all Wikimedia projects.
5. I see far more opposition than support, but you've disregarded it.
As noted elsewhere, this is the only English Wikimedia project to adopt this element. (That doesn't automatically mean that it's bad, but it certainly doesn't support your contention that it's good.) I'm not fluent in any language other than English, so my direct participation in non-English projects is extremely limited.
Folders often have rounded corners, but not on the scale of these tabs. (I apologize if I haven't adequately conveyed the distinction.) —David Levy 09:01, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I admit I'm somewhat confused about the distinction. I agree that the scale of the rounding leaves a bit to be desired but that's a question of details, not a question of substance. -- sebmol ? 09:19, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I mean that it's common for folders to have corners that aren't perfectly straight, but the rounded portions don't constitute nearly as large a segment of each tab as this. —David Levy 09:52, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
If you have no greater concerns than the appearance of rounded corners than maybe this isn't the project for you. -- sebmol ? 06:00, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I never claimed that this issue was my greatest concern, and the above was hardly a cordial welcome.
Some of my most significant contributions to Wikipedia have been in the area of visual design, and I'm taking time out of my rather hectic schedule to make a good faith attempt to help in that regard. Implying that I should go away because I disagree with you is a rather unkind, uncivil and unconstructive response. —David Levy 06:55, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm glad that you put so much thought into visual design. If you care to provide a screenshot of what these corners look like on your screen, it would be much appreciated. -- sebmol ? 07:25, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Sure, no problem! Here is one in actual size. Here is one enlarged to 5x actual size. —David Levy 09:01, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
In regards to civility, responses come in the same tone as the questions that prompted them. Calling something ghastly, jagged and weird, demanding a change instead of asking for a reason for the status quo, and lastly resorting to dubious authority to support a claim that seems based on an attack of our egos (why else would we care if Wikiversity is being made fun of for such a trivial issue) is equally uncivil. -- sebmol ? 07:25, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I sincerely apologize if my original post came across as uncivil. That certainly wasn't my intention.
I used the adjectives in question to describe my personal assessment of an inanimate thing, and I didn't mean for them to be taken as insults to you or any other person. I also intended for this to be perceived as a request (not a demand) and as an invitation for others to express their opinions.
I mentioned the comments from Wikipedia not to attack anyone's ego, but because I was disheartened by them. As mentioned above, this site is a part of Wikimedia, a community of which I consider myself a member. When I saw that people were making fun of our newest project over an issue that you accurately describe as "trivial," this bothered me a great deal. Given the triviality of the problem, I saw this as something that was easily fixable.
Again, I'm sorry if my feedback seemed like a personal attack. I, like you, seek only to improve the project. —David Levy 09:01, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I've taken a look at the corners and have to say that they don't appear as jagged on my screen as on the screenshot. That said, I also don't believe it is necessary that all English Wikimedia projects look the same, in fact, they rarely do. In terms of usability, it makes no difference whether corners are round or edged. It's purely an aesthetic questions (which is also why sound argumentation is rather difficult). Please also don't interpret the lack of support for the design change on the talk pages as a lack of support in general. We do talk at other places (especially here) and have discussed this numerous times. To those participating, it didn't appear like this was an issue significant enough to divert their attention away from other more productive pursuits. -- sebmol ? 09:18, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not claiming that all of the projects should look the same as one another. I'm saying that each individual project should look the same (or as close as possible) by default for all users of graphical browsers. This is nonstandard, non-W3C-compliant HTML (a bad idea for a free, open project) and it causes the site's appearance to significantly vary depending upon the browser in use. As you now can see, the rounded corners also look terrible for some users. (That they look okay for you is beside the point.) It also makes little sense for you to disregard opinions expressed here, in favor of opinions purportedly expressed via IRC. —David Levy 09:52, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
There's still a lot to do in Wikiversity, visual design questions included. The Community portal could use some help because at the moment it indeed looks "ghastly" and not inviting at all. Similarly, the school and portal pages could use a little more work in that regard as right now they organized more like articles than like portals. -- sebmol ? 09:18, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
The fact that there are other matters in need of attention doesn't mean that this one should be ignored. —David Levy 09:52, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Ok, everybody - deep breath :-). If this is a problem for some people in some browsers, we should clearly be aware of it and make it easier for people to address. Is this being done at the moment? If not, clearly something needs to be done. Thanks for bringing this up, David. Can anyone address this? Cormaggio 10:17, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm not a fan of the rounded corners, though I tweaked my custom CSS so they aren't an issue for me. I agree that they make the interface less consistent between browsers and users. I disagree with the amount of arguing taking place, this early in a small project, over what is a fairly trivial issue. If a group of users prefer one visual interpretation, then they can customise their CSS.
It might be advisable for us to keep the straight edges, to maintain a consistent look and feel with most of the other projects. Or should we go all-out and have our own skin? robchurch | talk 11:11, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Most users have no idea how to set up custom CSS, so the default is what they'll always see.
I'm disappointed by Sebmol's instance upon retaining the rounded corners because "they don't appear like that on [Sebmol's] screen" and "nobody from the project has complained" (meaning that anyone who hasn't contributed an arbitrary amount of content isn't "from the project" and has no valid opinion on the subject). Even after I provided the requested screenshot (proving that the appearance is extremely sloppy for some), my concerns were dismissed.
Sebmol's attitude ignores the fact that the most important users of any Wikimedia project are its readers (not merely those who edit). This matter pertains not to editorial decisions, but to the interface that almost all readers see by default. Telling people that their viewpoints are irrelevant (regardless of an issue's triviality) is likely to alienate readers (many of whom are potential contributors). —David Levy 13:54, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I never said anything about irrelevance. I do not have much patience however for new or anonymous users coming to the project who start demanding that something be done, especially if it's done in an uncivil tone. If you take a look at prior comments (not yours), you'll see what I'm talking about. Either way, in the interest of civility and constructive discussion I've disabled the rounded corners for the time being. -- sebmol ? 14:08, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. Please keep the above points in mind when pondering any future decision regarding this feature. I realize that the rounded corners looked good on your computer, but the non-rounded corners look good on everyone's computer. While this isn't nearly as important as the articles' content, it is something that many people care about. —David Levy 14:24, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
My own position hasn't changed, I'm just not interested in arguing this anymore. -- sebmol ? 14:35, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, your position is based upon what looks good to you. No offense, but that's rather selfish. —David Levy 15:26, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Key Wording

At the bottom of the main page the macro "Sisterprojects" included in curlicues states that "Wikiversity is run by the Wikimedia Foundation". This is incorrect. Wikiversity is "run" by its participants. The line should read that "Wikiversity is sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation or something similar. Mirwin 04:14, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

I changed it to hosted. That's also the language used on Wikipedia. I hope that's not a problem. -- sebmol ? 07:31, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Oooh, wording controversies. Love it. Wikimedia provide hosting and financial sponsorship for the projects, and set out key policies that they must follow...ultimately, the Board of Trustees has final say over what happens (with respect to user behaviour, management, policies, etc.). So what's the correct term? robchurch | talk 11:09, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

"hosted" works for me. I have not seen Wikimedia Foundation Board Members creating policy[7] for Wikiversity yet. Final veto over use of servers by a community that can always fork off is not exactly a traditional top down management like "runs" implies. Mirwin 05:40, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Please stop telling us we can "fork off", Michael :-) Cormaggio 09:08, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Why? It is educational for people to evaluate the effort required. It provides a certain background to evaluate the sincerity of people shouting "Like it, lump it, or fork it!". Besides, sooner or later (with enough advertising) someone with some serious interest in distributed computing will contact me privately and we will get started building a technical capability easier on the finances and local bandwidth even if we never actually use it for a fork. No "evil vote" required. Plenty of other potential projects exist which could use a distributed infrastructure. Mirwin 06:59, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Interesting - thanks for making your motives clear. You're, of course, free to set up your own project with whatever mission etc you want, using the content of Wikiversity, under an appropriate licence. But until you do so, can we please stop pretending that we are somehow not a part of (and, yes, "run by") the Wikimedia Foundation? We're trying to build a community here. Thanks. Cormaggio 08:11, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Difficult to build a community by telling people to shut up all the time. You yack about what you want and I will yack about what I want to. Mirwin 07:05, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, I can't see how that comment helps us in any way. Nor do I wish anyone - including yourself to "shut up". I want to make the best Wikiversity we can. I think you do too. But my point is that there is no point in talking about forking when there is no reason to do so. Cormaggio 14:54, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually, Mirwin, this project is already bound by some policies that govern all Wikimedia projects; the licencing arrangements being one. Various non-discrimination stuff also applies, as do several other of the "pillars of Wikipedia", which were adopted Wikimedia-wide. robchurch | talk 22:24, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Oh, and can we drop the "Wikimedia are evil" attitude when using their server space? The project is more likely to be underlined and written up as a failure if all we do is bitch about how much we dislike Jimbo being in charge. You've got a break here; a wiki hosted on the largest wiki farm in the world, opportunities to advertise the concept off the back of Wikipedia (and pinch or borrow several of their contributors), etc. - take it. robchurch | talk 22:26, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Never have I said "Wikimedia are evil". You must be confusing me for someone else. Mirwin 07:05, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

On IRC #wikiversity-en

From a new Wikiversity editor: "You rely too much on people."
--JWSchmidt 21:44, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

8) After some quality time here he/she shall really be nervous! Mirwin 05:31, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

25 August, 2006


The learning projects seem to be developing nicely, but now they need people to man them. Once the main page is switched over, we should start working on some way of showcasing things like projects and/leassons. Right now, only the people who created the learning projects know how to get to them and where they are. --Rayc 15:09, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

We have Portal:Learning Projects which is linked to from the main page. Rather than list schools on the main page the major portals could be listed. (These portals need to be worked on.) Also, Wikiversity:Featured needs to be linked to from the main page and developed by the community. --JWSchmidt 18:50, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Whole Department / Lesson thing too confusing

Hi all. I just want to add some Latin grammar notes and am finding this whole school, department, course, lesson thing just too confusing and complicated. What am I meant to do if I just want to add some content, pure and simple?

Navigate to the Wikiversity page that is closest to your topic of interest. Click on the edit button and then type [[new page name]] in the edit window; this will create a hypertext link to the new page. Click the "Save" button. Now find the red link you just created that says "new page name". Click on that link and start editing the new page. Type in your information. --JWSchmidt 18:38, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Content files can also be moved easily later by using the move tab that is enabled on everybodys' screen after a certain small number of edits. If you find or someone creates a better place for the content you are creating you can also request help from other users or a custodian in moving the file. Here would be a good place to make such a request. Mirwin 06:47, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

26 August, 2006

Wikiversity the Movie

The next new learning project, Wikiversity the Movie, has been created. For people who want to act, people who want to write scripts, and maybe even people who play videogames. Enjoy!--Rayc 04:39, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Post/pole construction

I am trying to get information on learning to build agriculural buildings for my small farm. This is my first time on this site so please excuse method of use. Thanks, Edwin Harris

At this point, I'd suggest using Google, as Wikiversity is still in the self-organisation stages; we'll have better ways of answering that question in 6 months to a year.
w:Barn raising
TimNelson 09:11, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

28 August, 2006


Hello, I followed your discussions about original research on wikiversity and I wonder how many projects on en.wikiversity are currently doing original research (or aim to do this)? I'm pretty interested in this matter and I would be very grateful for an answer. Greetings from the german Wikiversity. --Frank Schulenburg 22:00, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

At the moment, I only know of one, which is the Bloom clock project. I don't think we have talked too much about this here yet. --HappyCamper 22:04, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
During the six month beta phase of Wikiversity there will be community discussion of guidelines for Wikiversity research activities. Please join the effort at the Wikiversity Hub to create a system for multi-language discussions about Wikiversity research policy. --JWSchmidt 23:16, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Welcome! I'm glad to finally see someone from the german wikiversity. How do we compair? WE have a bunch of research proect being propsoed, though they are sometimes called "learning projects"--Rayc 03:00, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Report from the german Wikiversity

As Rayc asked how the two wikiversities compare, I would like to give you some information about the things going on at de.wikiversity:

  • We completely restarted the project on August, 26 with a team of three experienced users coming from the german wikimedia community. During the last four days more than thirty new user accounts were created. Most of them by wikimedians already active in the german wikipedia and wikisource projects.
  • Actually the department of history is the most active of our ten departments (in german: Fachbereiche). Somewhat away from conventional universities we invited users to create new departments like "Department of virtual construction of knowledge" (Fachbereich Virtuelle Wissenskonstruktion), founded on the german Wikiversity by a professor at the university of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Bavaria.
  • We have two research projects, one dealing with the edition of a manuscript from the 16th century (which is being transcribed on the german Wikisource), and another one which is underway to do some oral history about the daily life in the city of Hamburg during the last year of World War II (interviews with contemporary witness).
  • Yesterday a course on palaeography (in close cooperation with the german wikisource) started. Most of the course participants are Wikisourcians who want to improve their ability to read old manuscripts.

So far for today. Warm greetings from the german Wikiversity --Frank Schulenburg 11:33, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Fascinating - thanks very much, Frank. Those research projects sound great, and I particularly like your tie-in with other Wikimedia projects. I'd just like to re-iterate John's point above that we really need to work on common (ie international) research guidelines that are realistic to apply to any newly created language Wikiversity. This should be done at Any help from the participants of the German Wikiversity would be deeply appreciated. Thanks again. Cormaggio 13:35, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
(Edit conflict with Cormaggio) I have copied your report into the Reports section of Wikiversity beta, as it deals with multilingual coordination. Thanks for your work Frank! guillom 13:47, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

30 August, 2006

Fantasy School of Education

School talk:Education is looking for examples of what partisipants think their "Fantasy School of Education" would be like. All are welcome.--Rayc 03:55, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

31 August, 2006


I wonder will it be possible to give people certificates that they achieved some degree on Wikiversity? At least Brainbench ones are recognized, so why not "Bachelor of Science, 2010, Wikiversity, Earth"? DarkFighter 01:39, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

An idea: we should create coveted Wikiversity Barnstars! --HappyCamper 03:11, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
How could we veriiy that they did something? They could just give it to themselves--Rayc 04:23, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, most people will try to pass themselves. We can make tests in-person for every country - an accredited representative of Wikiversity will check the exam. However, certifaction is in far future anyway... DarkFighter 17:45, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
I, too, believe that accreditation/"certification" is a far, remote possibility, if at all. But I've been wondering if it would be possible to make connections with accredited institutions/universities so that they would certify someone for having completed a course in Wikiversity(?) Just a thought.. and FWIW, User:Roadrunner is interested in this and has posted briefly at Wikiversity:Accreditation. Cormaggio 18:08, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
I know that there are certain tests in USA that give you college credit. There are also GEDs. Does anyone know if people can take w:Advanced Placement Program exams without actually going through a class?--Rayc 05:13, 1 September 2006 (UTC)