Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/December 2007

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Open Education

This might be of interest to Wikiversity participants: The Cape Town Open Education Declaration.
--JWSchmidt 16:54, 1 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Audio registration

Here I have just record a recording help for registration on Wikiversity: --Juan 21:00, 3 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Related link: Wiki Campus Radio. --JWS 23:11, 3 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nice! Cormaggio talk 16:04, 5 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IRC meeting: What is Wikiversity?

If you are interested in participating, please coordinate with betawikiversity:User:ZaDiak and list yourself as interested at betawikiversity:Wikiversity:IRC meeting:What is Wikiversity?.

I think there are two matters "in the air" for this discussion. First, the request for a Greek language Wikiversity has been "conditionally approved" but is now held up...see m:Requests for new languages/Wikiversity Greek and related discussions such as this. Also, there was some discussion on the mail list, see: How do Wikiversity and Wikibooks relate to each other?.
--JWS 23:13, 4 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Will an agenda be posted before the meeting? --mikeu 00:43, 5 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
agenda...I suggest you press ZaDiak on that. I think a rumor started that for some languages, people are rejecting Jimbo's decision that Wikiversity-type stuff has to be kicked out of Wikibooks....if so, then why bother making new Wikiversity websites? The request for a Greek Wikiversity got caught in this cross-fire. --JWSchmidt 01:24, 5 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've posted a comment on the Greek Wikiversity situation to the mailing list: [1] Cormaggio talk 10:56, 7 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ive added some brief comments to the talk page - regarding the time, it seems that most people are available around 23:00 UTC - should we start it then, and try and keep it to 1-1.5 hours? Cormaggio talk 12:55, 6 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just updated the main meeting page to say that the start time is 23:00 UTC this Saturday, 8 December 2007. It will be in IRC freenode channel wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 16:15, 6 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree completely with JWS's eloquent post on the Wikiversity mailing list. Further, in my view, it is nonsensical to be talking about revising the main URL yet again now tht Wikiversity is nearing critical mass and a few Wikibookeans would like to poach some web traffic. I may not be around much as I am at my sister's for Christmas and my nephew and I are working on various Lunar Boom Town pieces and operational scenarios. I would far rather be discussing closed and open loop systems and chemistry with him with a few towards augmenting Lunar Boom Town than debating non management of non wiki universities with the non management and undefined leaders of our mobocracy. Back with larger footprint in Jan or Feb for reading club with Daanchr. Merry Christmas to all! user:mirwin

wiki in education (spectroscopy)

I found an interesting wiki website called The Science of Spectroscopy. It has examples from chemistry, medicine and art history. A description of the project is here. Uses a CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Of particular interest are some of the links at Using wiki in education. Sadly, it does not appear to be very active. The last month of recent changes shows a lot of spam and crap.--mikeu 00:58, 5 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've previously suggested that we should run an adoption process for small educational websites.--JWSchmidt 01:09, 5 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I was thinking we might want to import some of the material. Is the license at that site compatible with here?--mikeu 01:22, 5 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The GFDL and any non-commercial-only license are not compatible. "Adoption" would involve telling the other website that we welcome their educational efforts/goals at Wikiversity. Their contributors would have to decide if they are comfortable with a license that allows commercial re-use. --JWSchmidt 03:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are there materials here on Wikiversity inviting small wiki's to do this? --Remi 14:50, 6 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

use public libraries

There are two great sources for college courses given by exemplary professors, wherein one may self educate without cost. Through your public library access the general collection and go to keywords 'modern scholar' and teaching company'. Let's dialouge these courses. --Jurahd 17:29, 6 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you have links to online resources you can add them to Hunter-gatherers project or more specific Wikiversity pages for each topic. --JWSchmidt 18:35, 6 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Voice Acting Courses

Does Wikiversity have courses in Voiceover/Voice Acting? I am very interested in this field and would like to learn more. --robin 17:10, 3 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Little Space Games learning projects and related game development learning trails offer an opportunity to publish practice sessions in voices. Specifically the Space Traffic Control scripts could use better voice pieces for sound track and game piece designers to use in synthesizing prototypes and final pieces for publication. has references to many other Wikiversity courses related to film that Robert Elliot facilitates. The most applicable to your stated desire may be I hope you find these or other links accessbile through them useful. Hopefully I will hear your efforts around cisLunarFreighter or Lunar Boom Town sometime soon. Do not be bashful about asking for specific scripts or providing an outline of the part you would prefer to try first. Sometimes scriptwriters are bashful and prefer to work towards products they know a voice actor will be interested in recording. Mirwin 17:05, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There used to be some small scripts here Developing_Scripts_and_Case_Studies_for_cisLunarFreighter/Radio_Communications/STC that requested voice talent readings. I guess someone moved or deleted them. You can either ask a custodian for assistance in finding them, use the history page to locate where they were, use the search engine to try to find them, or request someone provide some new scripts that might be used in the games Space Traffic Control and/or cisLunarFreighter when the game designers or producers get active again. Sorry for the confusion. Seems natural to wikis that when sections go inactive for a while someone comes along with a delete key to "help" "clean" it up so as not to scare away tidy minded newcomers. Mirwin 17:17, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One script needing some voice recording and posting of GPL'ed audio clips. [[CisLunarFreighter/Scripts_and_case_studies/Radio_communications]Mirwin] 20:21, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Time for a change: Featured Content

I'd like to propose that we think about changing the Featured Content on the front page ... think of it as a Xmas present for someone. This comes after realizing that the front page hasn't been edited in over 6 months!!! My current suggestion is for Bloom Clock but please make alternate suggestions. There are a few old candidates mentioned here: Wikiversity:Featured. Countrymike 20:47, 3 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the whole main page could so with a make-over. I agree that the Bloom Clock project would be a good choice to feature on the main page. --JWSchmidt 23:08, 3 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that the Bloom Clock project is good candidate for featured status as I think it might have wide appeal to newcomers and because it is consistently active on the recent changes log ... making it interesting to potentially newcomers. Mirwin 18:21, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In the next few month I'm going to be working on some outreach programs. The Ladd Observatory just received a grant to purchase equipment to do programs in the local public schools. For instance, a Brown student would bring a solar telescope to a high school and teach the kids about the Sun. I'm also thinking about ways to work Wikiversity into what I'm doing. One idea that I'd like to try is to recruit some teachers in my area to come here and collaborate with me on creating lessons and activities related to astronomy. Another is to create some online lessons (for instance, see Observational astronomy/Planning) where teachers and students can download astronomy data and analyze the info in the classroom. Of course, anything created here could be used for other types of learning activity, but this is the focus of what I'll be working on.--mikeu 15:07, 11 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I wonder if we can start to define a general strategy for Wikiversity Outreach. "recruit some teachers" <-- a first step would just be to make the Wikiversity main page more inviting to teachers.....I don't think we even have a direct link from the main page to Wikiversity:School and university projects and that page has never been developed as a resource to help teachers come to Wikiversity and make good use of wiki resources. We should also have some kind of workshop for crafting short invitations that could be sent to publications read by educators. Short notices and invitations that say basically what is said at the top of this thread would help spread the word that Wikiversity exists and help build collaborative editing groups for specific topic areas.--JWSchmidt 17:04, 11 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I will try to get a solar furnace prototype done for Lunar Boom Town if my nephew is interested that consists of creating a solar oven from cardboad and foil. As Lunar Boom Town develops the prototype could be moved to a grade appropriate classroom/extra credit project that science teachers could link to as a resource while the Lunar Boom Town moves on to larger entrepreneurial appropriate furnace facilities that can melt and cast lunar regolith, glass, and aluminum into valuable spacecraft components. Some discussion of local solar fluxes and interference (atmosphere, intruding planetary masses,etc.) will no doubt also result. Mirwin 16:49, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mike, this is really fantastic - I probably didn't give that impression on IRC yesterday (I was distracted!). I think John's proposal is also excellent - we need to document ways that Wikiversity is being used by classrooms/practitioners/learners, and to use these experiences to endeavour to become more useful. Perhaps Wikiversity:School and university projects could exist as part of a portal which would include those tutorials on how to create learning resources/communities - and would also include workspaces to back up the kind of activity that Mike outlines here - ie pages for teachers etc to figure out how to use Wikiversity (something which I think we're all still figuring out)... Cormaggio talk 16:01, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New Main Page

I've created a candidate new main page at Main_Page/Draft_version_0.4. Comment is invited on the talk page. McCormack 19:16, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I like it.--mikeu 20:22, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It looks good, except for the lack of featured content, which I assume would be added at some future point? Also, the "Did you know?" box was an idea I liked, and it doesn't seem to have made its way into your version. --Luai lashire 01:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Did you know box: the "did-you-know" box wasn't really a box at all; theoretically it should have had a switch command which rotated content from one day to the next; but in fact it was a fixed comment about using v: prefixes. It was just dressed up to look like a switching "did-you-know" box. I took out the comment and added it into the development section, so the information is still there. Of course, we could go back to the switching-box idea, but then we need 6 more ideas for tips - one for each day of the week! McCormack 08:02, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also would like to see the Did you know? on the main page. If for now it has too less content, then how about including now already in the design a space for it ? I am sure it will grow over time. ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 16:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Featured content: to my knowledge, there have only been two suggestions for featured content so far. The bloom block project, and the film project. The problem is that I don't have an adequate piece of text describing the bloom clock project (yet), and the film project template has aesthetic problems. I will probably work on this today. McCormack 08:03, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

History of the main page

The current main page was created in a large group effort at Wikiversity's foundation in August 2006. Since then it has been changed very little. So little, in fact, that many of the links and comments were still related to the founding of Wikiversity (e.g. comments about motto and logo contests; formation of policy). There have been calls for a new page, including calls from JWSchmidt, for quite some time now. There has also been ongoing, intermittent discussion and drafting. Earlier drafts: Main Page/Draft version 0.1, Main Page/Draft version 0.2, Main Page/Draft version 0.3. There is pretty well universal consensus we need a new page. I think it's something that is now so overdue that we have to fast-track the issue. McCormack 07:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

General comments about the proposed new main page

The proposed new main page is primarily a design change rather than a content change. It draws on the designs of the non-English-language wikiversities (French, German, Italian, Spanish), and pulls the English Wikiversity slightly more into harmony with the more recently designed pages of these other wikiversities. Particularly in draft version 0.3 there were also proposals for content changes (i.e. changes of wording, particularly with respect to the introductory text). These have been adopted into the current proposed new main page pretty well without change, except for formatting. Additionally I have removed some links which seem to be related to outdated events. Some areas of uncertainty were research and featured content. McCormack 07:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The wikipedia Main Page throws a lot of contents into your face so that you immediately start reading it. The wikiversity main page keeps the contents at least one or two clicks away. Featured content is good. And featured schools and topics and all. Hillgentleman|Talk 07:56, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, Hillgentleman. Are you talking about the old (current) one, or the new (proposed) one? Can you suggest changes to the proposed page? McCormack 07:58, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Both, really. Just open two browsers and compare the main pages of wikipedia and wikiversity. I find that wikipedia is more enticing. (But, of course wikipedia has years of accumulated content to back it up...) You can learn something new right away. Hillgentleman|Talk 08:08, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So what would you additionally like to see? I'm looking for suggestions. More featured content? More colour? More images? Please be concrete! Can you suggest some new featured content? McCormack 08:13, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Put more contents (and information about study groups, like Erkan's) on the front page, and not just links to them, so that people can learn things or find something to do immediately. Hillgentleman|Talk 08:30, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you give me a link to Erkan's study group? McCormack 08:38, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not a participant of their irc discussions. But two useful links are user talk:Erkan Yilmaz, user talk:daanschr and de:benutzer:Erkan Yilmaz.Hillgentleman|Talk 14:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I assume Hillgentleman has the Reading groups in mind, which started recently. ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 16:58, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think so. It would be great if it is possible to sneak in sometimes. :-) Hillgentleman|Talk 03:34, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Further ideas about the future of the main page

WV's static front page has been one of its less desirable features in the past, and if we are to promote the growth of WV, one thing we must do is the same as any other major website: show plenty of activity on the main page by changing its content (or parts of that content) frequently. I would suggest that in future, instead of going through lengthy approvals processes for every change, we have a small main page task force, mandated with the task of weekly or even daily changes to the main page. Only major changes, such as design overhauls, would be subject to a wider consensus creation. Of course, the main page task force would be accountable, with a talk page & c., and the community could call a halt to their activities at any time if it got too out of hand. What do people thing about this? McCormack 12:21, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two ways to have "dynamic content" for the main page are to rotate featured content and to have something like a "going on" section. --JWSchmidt 13:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But in addition to this we need real people making real changes in response to WV's growth and activity. McCormack 14:49, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it would work well to have small teams responsible for small chunks of the main page intended to be dynamic .... such as what's new (Usable texts at Wikibooks?), featured content, editing tips, in the news (Maybe some Wikinews people would like to manage this space for us.), etc. Mirwin 20:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The proposed featured content

As the featured content will be difficult to see all in one go once the switch is activated, I'm posting the initial featured content here. This was put together during an IRC discussion between 3 of us. But rather hurried. People may like to comment or suggest additional items. Perhaps descriptions could be improved? McCormack 14:48, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The Horsehead Nebula
    Observational astronomy - Astronomers can gain an understanding of objects in the universe by studying them with a telescope. Observational astronomy is the process of collecting and analyzing data to learn about these objects. In this learning project a computer program will be used to view and study images taken with a telescope to learn basic concepts in astronomy. Part of the Astronomy Project.
  • Flowers
    Bloom clock project - The Bloom Clock is a research and learning project about flowering plants. The research component is aimed at creating a language for discussing the bloom times of wildflowers and other plants that is neutral in respect to climate, region, and hemisphere. While the learning project aspect is aimed at helping people identify plants using visual keys.
  • Networked learning - Assisting you in developing online communication and internet learning skills. The project is based on the principles of networked learning where individuals establish an online identity and formulate relationships with other people and information to communicate and develop knowledge. Part of the Teaching and Learning Online project.
  • Plato's cave.
    Historical introduction to philosophy - Do our senses and thoughts reveal reality or just a shadow of reality? What is philosophy? Topics covered include: philosophy of religion - philosophy of mind - epistemology - ethics - free will / determinism - metaphysics - logic.
  • Learning the basics of filmmaking - A well designed course on writing scripts, storyboards, and other aspects of narrative Filmmaking. The purpose of this course is to learn how to make a short motion picture starting with pre-production. As you walk through all the steps of making this movie, you will prepare yourself for entering film school.
  • File:TechWriting5.jpg
    Technical writing - This course offers Level 1 and Level 2 courses in technical writing, plus a workshop on writing system requirement specifications. We're constantly updating and restructuring our content, and welcome your active participation in building and improving this learning community.
  • Web Design is an incredibly fun skill to learn - combining the latest toys of technology with the creativity of design! On top of that, learning web design is unique in that we can learn directly from current professionals who publish their techniques for all to read on their own Web-logs! You'll find below a growing number of topics that we think provide a good foundation for any web designer. We're also working on the requirements for formal qualifications, so you can start collecting evidence of your skills towards a formal qualification in your country. Of course, if you have anything to add or improve then please join us and contribute!

Stub types - Stub sorting

Please see Wikiversity talk:Stub for possible way of stub sorting. --Gbaor 13:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Did you know?

An idea that sort of developed from some idle discussion on IRC was to create a template that includes random useful tidbits, hints, facts, and other useful information about Wikiversity and wikis that people may not be aware of. This could then be included on the main page, user pages and on other pages. Being bold I decided to go ahead and give creating such a template a try. Here's what it looks like:

Did you know...
Wikiversity encourages learning through doing original research?

What do people think of the idea? Should this template be placed on the main page? So far only 2 entries exist, and I could use everyone's help to create more entries. --darklama 20:56, 9 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm going to start some work space for developing this idea. --JWS 17:13, 10 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looks like an excellent idea to me. Many commercial games and software applications use this technique so they must think it works well with new and returning users. user:mirwin

I have a question: is it also possible to take randomly from (all or certain) WV-pages one sentence and display this in a(nother) box like this ? The idea is similar to the "Random page", but instead we bring excerpts to the user, which on interest could be clicked (and the user goes to the begin of that page). Rotating interval could be fast, perhaps every 30 secs a change. Of course then there exists the possibility that one of the displayed sentence is not "good" (whatever good may be). But I think this is also not bad, because then it is seen and can be optimized, if wished. What is your opinion on this ? ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 17:06, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This sounds like the "gadget" for preview of linked pages..for most linked pages the text at the start of the page is ya, I think all the code needed must exist. --JWSchmidt 19:39, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, let's see if we can convince someone to initiate this. ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 20:03, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The blue thing

Reading black text on a blue background isn't a pleasant experience for some of us, or at least one of us (me). After a long day working in the blazing sunlight, it's actually hurting my eyes a bit to read black text on a darkish blue background. In fact, there's a big conversation goin on above, but I'm having a hard time reading it!

Please at least arrange an easy preferences option for easy-on-the-eyes reading. I'm going to attempt to revert the js change now in the meantime. --SB_Johnny | talk 22:47, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Much better white now :). In the future, I think we should carefully vette changes to the appearance that lower contrast between text and background... it's one thing for short comments, but the section on EW/WV had a lot of text that was embedded in various shades of blue, which got hard on the eyes after a few minutes of reading.
This brings up another point I've been thinking of for a while though, namely that the edit window is also hard on the eyes because of the teeny-tiny text (not for eyes yet, but probably for others and eventually for me I'd guess, and larger text in the edit window certianly wouldn't bother me). In fact, the teeny-tiny text does cause me problems when it comes to counting colons or brackets in edit windows.--SB_Johnny | talk 13:17, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

interwiki image copy

I just discovered that there is a tool for copying images from Wikipedia to Commons called Move-to-commons assistant. It will also copy images from Wikibooks and Source. Then you can use a link from here to Commons to include the image in a learning project. --mikeu 02:33, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just learned from darkcode that there is also a tool to find out which wikis a commons image is used on: CheckUsage
I suppose we might want to talk to Magnus about getting commonshelper enabled for wikiversity as well, though I hope we don't have too many free use images here (they should generally be loaded on commons directly). --SB_Johnny | talk 13:11, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For a learning project at Observational astronomy/Supernova I uploaded about 20 images to Category:Supernova Images here on wv. I didn't think that the bulk of those would have much general interest. But, I did leave a note at the commons page to see also the images here in case anyone finds them of use.--mikeu 13:28, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmmm. those seem to be uploaded as GFDL-SELF... you took those images yourself? We can probably use them as fair use here, but the licensing of the source document would be required before we could load those to commons (they'd be speedy deleted rather quickly as they stand now). --SB_Johnny | talk 13:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I took the images myself. What is wrong with choosing GFDL? That is the same license that appears at the bottom of the main page. Why should it be considered fair use? I clearly state on the upload page that "I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license: GFDL" Commons also allows me to choose GFDL for uploading my own work. --mikeu 14:16, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nothing at all! GFDL is a good liceense (the best IMO), I just was wondering if you were the one operating the telescope :). --SB_Johnny | talk 15:36, 16 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Cool! Mikeu, can you get closeups of the moon ... like lunar landing sites? Spacecraft data is available through USGS but it would be nice to have locally generated top down views of lunar sites for Lunar Boom Town. Maybe only a couple with a description of how created so some of our participants can create additional views if they can access appropriate combination of telescopes and computer communication formats and links. 8) Mirwin 23:14, 16 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Never mind. I will place links to at strategic locations in the land planning processes. Be good exercise for someone to figure out what resolution we need for planning purposes. 8)

Extending the search functionality ?

In de.WV we talked about: to add in the Wikiversity search a functionality to also search in WP. Perhaps with a checkbox the user can activate "search in xyz" (where xyz can be: WP, WB,...) to the already existing WV-search. The search results could be displayed in a new window or in a frame inside WV ? Well my question would be, who could be contacted to implement such a feature ? ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 14:01, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I heard from the French WV chat (merci dcrochet) that it could work with a script on tools.wikimedia to search in the WP SQL Datenbank, which is separate from the WV database (access needed). Found also this [2]. ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 14:53, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Easier yet would be to just add search links on the mediawiki page. I don't think we can really do what the toolserver does on this project, but maybe. --SB_Johnny | talk 15:25, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems there is some html implementation possible, see info at de.WP ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 20:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Might put unacceptable load no servers. Don't they periodicaly turn off search in Wikipedia and encourage people to use google to search Wikipedia? Mirwin 23:09, 16 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikiversity is dead. Long live WikiEducator. (?)

The provocative title of this section reflects a statement in a post by a member of the advisory board to the Wikimedia Foundation, posted to an influential and public UNESCO forum yesterday. Quote: "In projects like Wikipedia and WikiEducator we have...". This reflects trends in the long-term dialogue and strategy to associate WikiEducator with Wikipedia, eclipsing Wikiversity, and implying that WikiEducator is really the project which assumes the mantle and prestige that belongs to Wikiversity. None of this is ever directly stated - Wikiversity is merely "eclipsed" and "forgotten" in a strategy of manipulating the dialogue of open education, while WikiEducator slips conveniently into the empty space.

In a series of short posts, I would like to collaborate with others at Wikiversity in establishing what WikiEducator is, whether the eclipsing of Wikiversity is justified, and how we should respond on the UNESCO forum.

McCormack 07:51, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Where is this forum? Cormaggio talk 10:19, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a mailing list, really. The administrator of the list is Susan D'Antoni (she is not responsible for content!), so contact her if you wish to join. It's now known as "UNESCO-OER". Susan's address is easily google-able, but I don't want to publish it here. McCormack 19:26, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Cormaggio -- for the record, I have copied a full copy of the text I posted on the UNESCO forum below. This was in response to a growing debate on the closed approaches adopted by the group who authored the Cape Town Open Education declaration. WikiEducator has started an open discussion on the Cape Town Declaration over here. I will post a more detailed response under a separate heading to clarify the wide range of issues raised in this discussion. --Mackiwg 05:13, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wayne wrote:

"I too have expressed concerns that an Open Education Declaration was developed in a somewhat closed fashion. Developing the declaration in an open wiki, for example, would have gone a long way to promote inclusiveness and wider opportunities for debate and refinement. Lets hope that the authors of the declaration will learn from the experience.

You make an important distinction between the differences between free software and free content (free used here as in freedom of speech <smile>.). DRM and proprietary file formats are clearly a risk to the sustainable growth of the free content movement. As you point out, the challenge for free content is that it is not the medium itself and can be locked behind closed formats or formats which are not editable.

In projects like Wikipedia and WikiEducator we have adopted the free cultural works definition as our mechanism to deal with the differences between free software and free content.


This requires us to ensure that content is made available under free file formats. Hence, you will not be able to upload a MSWord document on WikiEducator. The important point being that our meaning of free content is derived and founded on the essential freedoms as opposed to an arbitrary license choice.

Working for development, in particular the millennium development goals associated with the eradication of poverty WE does not support the NC restriction. We do not wish to curtail the rights of an individual to earn a living. So for example, an entrepreneur might find ways in which to add services in widening the distribution channels of free content. We encourage and support this kind of initiative. (An attempt to work towards Red Hat equivalents of free content.) Legally -- all modifications to the content must be shared back with the community. Granted - this will be difficult to monitor -- but I prefer a democratic system where we presume innocence until proven guilty. (Unlike DRM - which presumes guilt before any transgressions in copying material are made!). That said -- the orginal WikiEducator materials will always be freely available in free file formats which are editable.

The context of the quote is pretty well irrelevant. It's the style of dialogue that is being adopted over a long period of time. In "side-comments" somehow WikiEducator becomes privileged and associated with greater projects, while Wikiversity becomes eclipsed. To see the strategy, one really has to have read a huge number of documents being produced about Open Educational Resources. We are not talking about specific messages here, but the way in which these messages are being tilted over the course of time. Mackiwg tried to change the subject here again to the Cape Town Declaration, but this is not the issue here. The issue is his long term commitment to Wikimedia projects and the possible conflicts of interest. I do not feel comfortable with people represented on Wikimedia boards actively competing against Wikimedia projects elsewhere, and as a simple foot-soldier, I wonder how we can be sure that Wikimedia's governing bodies will support Wikiversity 100% when these conflicts of interest exist. Think about the quoted section: "At Wikipedia and WikiEducator we..." - there is no common "we" behind these projects; an illusion of endorsement or association was being created. McCormack 05:42, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"how we can be sure that Wikimedia's governing bodies will support Wikiversity 100% when these conflicts of interest exist" <-- Of course, the answer is that we cannot. We have to continue to push for open governance of the Wikimedia Foundation and when we have the chance, we have to vote for Board of Trustee members who are actually members (foot-soldiers) of the Wikimedia community and who do not have conflicts of interest. When Board members who have conflicts of interest ignore their obligation to admit their conflicts of interest, the Wikimedia community should launch recall efforts and have the offenders removed from the Board of Trustees. The advisory board is another matter. The Wikimedia community has to hold the Board of Trustees to their obligation to make use of the advisory board as a resource to aid the Foundation's efforts and goals. By its nature, an advisory board will include people who have their main interests outside of Wikimedia, but such people can constructively work with the Wikimedia Foundation towards common goals. --JWSchmidt 06:39, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "In projects like Wikipedia and WikiEducator we have adopted the free cultural works definition" <-- I think there is a "we" here, exactly as stated. The "we" is those projects with a deep interest in free culture. It would be more accurate to say "Wikimedia" rather than "Wikipedia", but it is common practice to say "Wikipedia" when talking to people who have a hard time recognizing the distinction. --JWSchmidt 06:51, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Board of Trustees are elected by the WMF community -- Advisory Board members do not have voting rights or any say on WMF community decisions. Our role is to support and promote the attainment of WMFs goals and have no more say than the foot soldiers. In helping WMF achieve its goals, COL's WikiEducator, has assisted with the development of Wiki ==> pdf technology which all WMF projects will be able to implement in the near future. We have invested real dollars in free software which will add considerable value to all WMF projects - an excellent example of the free knowledge community collaborating in widening access to the sum of all human knowledge -- especially learners who may not have access to the Internet. See WMF's press release - I look forward to seeing this technology implemented on Wikversity. --Mackiwg 07:28, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lets see my anwer from crashed browser, I am lazy to rewrite this again.--Juan 11:56, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Juan's crashed response (click to read)
I don't like the word footsoldier. I have no intention to have to fight a war on the side of Wikiversity or Wikimedia versus some other group of people.--Daanschr 11:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that my choice of word was bad - I didn't think long about it. But what else? Hoi polloi? Munchkin? McCormack 11:55, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the term "footsoldier" was being used to make a distinction between people who are just editors of the Wikimedia wiki projects (the "footsoldiers") and people who have decision-making powers on the Board of Trustees (the "generals"). It is a metaphorical use of a military term in a non-military context. --JWSchmidt 15:38, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

rather long comments, sorry!

  • I suppose it would be nice to see the "post by a member of the advisory board", but independent of that, we can still discuss the relationship between Wikiversity and Wikieducator. "WikiEducator is really the project which assumes the mantle and prestige that belongs to Wikiversity" <-- What "belongs to Wikiversity" is what the Wikiversity community has built and if I had to put that into a short phrase maybe, "a chance to explore new ways to use wiki technology to support learning". In particular, the Wikiversity community has established itself as the Wikimedia project where we are free to put communities of learners at center stage and where we have won some freedom to move beyond the traditional Wikimedia "nothing original" doctrine. A central interest in community and freedom to explore a wide variety of content is a strong foundation upon which to build an exploration of ways to use wiki technology to support learning.
  • As a Wikimedia Foundation project, Wikiversity is constrained in terms of what we do by the larger Wikimedia community. The Foundation was born from the success of Wikipedia and Jimbo defined the Foundation in terms of using wiki technology to collect and develop educational content. The Wikiversity mission was designed with two main parts that can be called the "conservative" part and the "radical" part. The "conservative" part is very similar to the stated goal of WikiEducator: "a free version of the education curriculum", "free content for use in schools, polytechnics, universities, vocational education institutions". The "conservative" part of the mission fits best with the "Wikipedia model" for creating and hosting educational content. The more radical part of the Wikiversity mission is to host learning projects and communities. This focus on wiki-based communities of learners is "radical" from the perspective of Wikipedia because the Wikipedia project has a long history of putting first the static encyclopedia content while putting less importance on the parallel issue of fostering collaborative learning communities. The Wikiversity emphasis on being "a place to come and interact and help each other figure out how to learn things" (source) does not really grow naturally from the past success of Wikipedia and is an important challenge for Wikiversity.
  • In practical terms, this means that the Wikiversity community finds itself experimenting with many different approaches such as reading groups as possible ways to build communities of like-minded learners. The development of learning communities at Wikiversity is naturally linked to our Wikimedia Foundation sister projects in many ways. Wikiversity learning resources hyperlink to resources at the other projects and many Wikiversity participants are Wikimedians who edit and improve resources at Wikipedia and Wikibooks. Also, the sister projects are an important source of Wikiversity participants. Many people come to edit at Wikiversity after first running into the limitations of other projects like Wikipedia. A natural process is for a start to be made on a Wikiversity learning resource and then make links from Wikipedia to Wikiversity so as to inform WIkipedia users about what is available at Wikiversity. In these ways, Wikiversity is created and grows as an integral part of the Wikimedia family.
  • Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if when Wikipedia launched the Encyclopædia Britannica had launched a wiki ("Encyclopædia Britannica Wiki") and invited the world to edit Encyclopædia Britannica pages. It might be useful to think about the relationship between Wikiversity and WikiEducator in these terms. There are professionals who get paid to develop curriculum, just like there are professionals who get paid to create encyclopedia content. So unlike the case of Wikipedia where there was no "Encyclopædia Britannica Wiki", Wikiversity is developing in parallel with WikiEducator, a wiki that is oriented towards professional educators. Does it make sense to think of this situation in terms of WikiEducator taking something away from Wikiversity? I do not understand how that can be. Wikiversity and WikiEducator are two complementary education-oriented wikis. Wikiversity has natural orientation towards making use of existing Wikimedia content and attracting Wikimedians to edit at Wikiversity. WikiEducator is naturally oriented towards attracting professional educators and addressing their traditional concerns. Since the content of both projects is copyleft and everything is just a hyperlink away, WikiEducator, Wikiversity and other free-content education-oriented wikis will all develop in parallel in a cooperative way.
  • "eclipsing Wikiversity" <-- There is nothing that says the Wikipedia model (and the modifications of that model we are working on here at WIkiversity) of educational content development is the best. Wikiversity is trying to extend the Wikipedia model in new ways...what we are doing is experimental and who knows how successful our approach will be? It may be that Wikiversity will always be in the shadow of WikiEducator. It is natural for WikiEducator to associate its name with that of Wikipedia (and the proven success of Wikipedia) in order to compete for grant funding. There are vast amounts of money spent on curriculum development and if WikiEducator can channel some of that money towards the support of copyleft learning resources then that is a good thing for the Wikimedia goal of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. Hopefully the new versions of the GFDL and the CC-by-sa licenses will be come fully compatible and all barriers between WikiEducator and Wikiversity will collapse, allowing both to build on its strengths while jointly contributing to the process by which wiki is applied as a tool to support learning. --JWS 15:46, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merging Wikiversity with WikiEducator

Perhaps merging with WikiEducator is an option? I surved through their pages and discovered that WikiEducator and Wikiversity are very much alike. It isn't right that WikiEducator only likes to recruit educators, it is open for everybody just like Wikiversity.--Daanschr 20:02, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It appears to be open. But what institutions guarantee this? It would be a mistake to simply assume that because a site looks like Wikiversity, its people/managers function in the same manner. Most people who create websites maintain an intrusively high level of control; Wikimedia projects like Wikiversity are very unusual in their openness and inclusivity, but we take this for granted and forget it. McCormack 09:26, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It should be noted that high government officials from Oceania are involved in WikiEducator. That is definitely something different from Wikiversity. That could explain the prominence of WikiEducator in UNESCO and the denegrating remarks of the member of the board of the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikiversity is a collective of amateurs without any power in the world. WikiEducator seems to be different, if governments with representation in the UN are involved.--Daanschr 20:07, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The involvement of these people would only guarantee openness and inclusivity if they actually understood and monitored the day to day operations of the site, or acted as a board of appeal accessible to all users. Don't forget that the founders of a website can be well-connected and make a show of this, without it actually making the site any better. McCormack 09:26, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some months ago, I did a study/comparison of Wikiversity and WikiEducator to find out what the difference was and what WikiEducator was. This study followed on from a discussion with Wayne Mackintosh which didn't really answer the question. At the time, the results of my study of the actual content of WikiEducator appeared to surprise him. The results of this comparison may be a little out of date now, but indicate a fundamental incompatibility and the inadvisability of merger.
  1. Administrative and structural issues. Some of the custodians at Wikiversity have done an excellent job of categorisation and generally ensuring good structure. By comparison, actual content pages at WikiEducator were rarely categorised or linked in to portals or the main page, making navigation a nightmare. Importing WikiEducator content would create significant administrative difficulties. In addition, the spam defences at WikiEducator (particularly as regards spam-bot creation of user accounts) do not seem to have been good, also resulting in a bit of a mess there.
  2. Licencing issues. WV uses GFDL, while WE uses CC-BY-SA. Although some people believe these to be broadly compatible, and some users dual-licence their contributions, there are nevertheless legal issues with any merger.
  3. Cultural issues. The mindset at Wikiversity follows the Jimmy Wales mould, with emphasis on tolerance and inclusivity. This is the mindset which has created a civil society throughout Wikimedia projects and which promotes a community with near democratic values and qualities. The mindset at Wikieducator is very much the opposite to Jimmy Wales, focussed on control. Rules and policies protecting users from admins are absent and content is pro-actively corrected. A civil society at Wikieducator will not emerge if the level of central control is retained. A merger would risk a shift in the culture of Wikiversity, which would be a loss.
  4. Point-of-view issues. In some texts relating to WikiEducator (but not all), its founders are very open about their use of WikiEducator to propagate a specific view of digital education. Wikiversity has avoided any such global adoption of a perspective, and rightly so. A merger would be accompanied with serious issues of dealing with POV on imported pages. However I can't imagine that WikiEducator would want to abandon its POV, or that its leadership would want to step down and relinquish control, which would be essential if WikiEducator merged into a WikiMedia project.
McCormack 09:26, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Administrative and structural issues: Well, i've constantly disagreed with the structure of WV as replicating just the kind of structures that we should have been moving away from, so in this sense the job may have been a bit of a disservice to us in the long run. I also find the structuring to be sometimes more confusing than worthwhile -- there are more pages on WV about structure than there are about almost any other topic. Less is better. Countrymike 20:36, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"..focused on control..." <-- Can you back this up? I don't think this is true at all. Countrymike 20:36, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually the so called "leadership" (of which I guess I'm a part of being on the Interim Advisory Board) has been having many discussions lately about how any kind of long term advisory board may be established, what the terms are, etc. Originally such a board was 'appointed' due to such a small community or users being avialable with the stated goal that when users reached 2500 this would all be reviewed. We have also been talking about how to sustain WE beyond the capabilities of the Commonwealth of Learning with consideration being taken towards partnering with international agencies like UNESCO, which is probably why this discussion emerged in the first place. McCormack, please don't try to paint this in a brush whereby WE is seen to be a bunch of control freaks, thats just simply not the case or the ethos of that project.Countrymike 20:36, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I took a quick look on Moodle and discovered how enormously large this organization is. I don't think that WikiEducator will stand a chance versus Moodle, just like Citizendium and Encyclopedia Britannica are very small compared to Wikipedia. Wikiversity is a small organization as well, our largeness is dependent on our relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation. If Wikiversity is replaced by WikiEducator by the board of the Wikimedia Foundation, than it will be the virtual end of Wikiversity.
I agree with the lack of structure on WikiEducator. It should be noted though that many of the topics and schools dramatically lack in activity and are thereby not much better than WikiEducator.
I am in favour of openness and a civil society. Not only because i like inclusivity of views and persons, but also because an organization on the internet can't become notorious (usefull) without being open for as much of users and views as possible.--Daanschr 09:52, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Moodle is an entirely different kettle of fish :-) The most important thing is that Moodle is an open source project with multiple installations, no central installation and predominantly closed content. The closed content nature of Moodle is antithetical to what both WV and WE do. You might also like to read Help:Quiz/Wikiversity compared to Moodle (something I wrote quite a while back). McCormack 10:08, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moodle is a tool for school teachers, primarily. It could be seen as a community with nearly 2 million teachers who communicate with eachother on several forums. Who knows in what ways Moodle can be changed in the future. I am working in a computerroom and this school lets its students surfe the internet to any pages, so the use of media doesn't have to be limited to a single organization like Moodle or Wikiversity.

What should be adressed is the kind of people that will use Wikiversity or other websites dedicated to learning. A school is something different from persons like me who want to do something in their leisure time. Organizations, like governments and companies could use Wikiversity to communicate with common civilians. The kind of learning activity is important. Is it an activity dedicated to improving society, or is it just a way to spend a leisure time, or is it a way to learn something which is needed for a carreer or to organize things. I am in favour of openness to experimentation, because their are so many purposes and groups of participants possible.--Daanschr 10:44, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Size comparison

Daanschr made some observations about size, which seem to be in need of correction. I just compared the stats of the two sites.

  • Overall pages: Wikiversity is over three times larger.
  • Page edits: Wikiversity is over twice as busy.
  • Users: Wikiversity has 8 times the users.

I don't have access to site visitors and page hits, but my feeling is that Wikiversity is probably visited way over 10 times more than WikiEducator, perhaps far higher.

McCormack 10:24, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is good to know this, McCormack.--Daanschr 10:32, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, you know what they say ... bigger is not always better. Countrymike 00:27, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If folk at Wikiversity want more detailed figures on WikiEducator statistics, you can take a look here. We're a very small project -- but growing rapidly. Our strategy for the coming year is to scale up content development building on our existing foundations. --Mackiwg 05:18, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Response from a WikiEducator

Well, I'm pretty much user number 2 on WikiEducator (I was there when we started it on a box laying around the office in Auckland, New Zealand) and having worked extensively on the site for quite some time (bit longer than i've been on WV) I'm always open for questions/dialogue whatever on the project. Personally, I think that the two projects have very different missions - WVs being quite astutely articulated by JWS in the above. I've never heard or read specifically of any strategy to align WE with the Wikimedia foundation although there are definite relations: the founder of WE is on the WM Board of Advisors and the site is hosted and supported by Erik Moeller who is on the Board of Trustees .. so make of that what you will. I've always thought that there could/should/would be greater synergies between the two projects -- but has proved easier said than done. For me the distinction mostly is that WE is for the most part about generating content, OERs, whatever and developing capacity. That's why you see all those high ranking educationalists from the Pacific -- we've been teaching them how to edit on MediaWiki/WikiEducator so that they can go back to the islands and get other people interested and trained. WV is about Learning Projects; there isn't anything close to a Bloom clock or a reading group and in fact when I started the reading group on Illich I purposefully chose WV over WE because it seems to suit WV more. One advantage that WE does have over WV is the amount of control over the code that it has; over the last couple of months WE has experimented with Liquid Threads and today is trialling out a pretty cool print function, enabling pages to be collected and printed. Its nice; its not for a Learning Project, but for a long structure piece of wiki content, its nice. My .02c worth would be for WV to push the Learning Project angle as much as possible, forget the content development and get away from all this School this, Topic this, etc that's crowding up the place. Countrymike 23:12, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In a tiny step towards closer collaboration I've had an interwiki link created from WikiEducator to Wikiversity. Can now use [[v:blah]] on WikiEducator to point towards Wikiversity pages. Would be wonderful if we could reciprocate. Countrymike 07:20, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've never done this myself, but I think you can go to m:Interwiki map and propose an interwiki prefix for a new website such as the WikiEducator website. --JWSchmidt 16:57, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"School this, Topic this" <-- We could certainly have a discussion about "School this, Topic this"....there have been many such discussions in the past. In the "Wikipedia model", there is "actual wiki content" (encyclopedia articles) and there are also "wikiprojects". Wikipedia wikiprojects are meta-level pages where editors collaborate to create and manage content in particular topic areas. When Wikiversity was gestating within the Wikibooks project a significant number of pages were called "School of Foo" and "Department of Bar". Many of those pages were like wish lists for future Wikiversity content....kind of like a college course catalog. When the Wikiversity website launched and we were copying the old pages from Wikibooks, the school pages became pages in the "School:"namespace and the department pages became pages in the "Topic:" namespace. These pages remain as Wikiversity content development projects where editors can collaborate to plan and develop learning resources. Of course, if you find no use for "School this, Topic this" you never have to go to those pages. I suspect that most people at Wikipedia never bother with wikiprojects. Its one of those things that is there for the people who find them useful. The system of portal pages should give content browsers access to all the actual learning resources at Wikiversity. "push the Learning Project angle as much as possible, forget the content development" <-- This makes no sense to me because my belief is that the learning projects are important Wikiversity content. So saying "forget content development" means "don't create learning projects". --JWSchmidt 00:52, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was too quick with my opinion about WikiEducator, most of what i said didn't make any sense. It is good that you clarified WikiEducator for us, Countrymike.
It seems that we have a conflict between opposing ideas. The kind of organization that John wants, would overlap WikiEducator in many ways, while Countrymike wants to make a clear distinction between WikiEducator and Wikiversity.
I don't mind the distinction between schools and topics. That doesn't have to be different from Countrymike's view of Wikiversity. The good thing about a distinction between schools is that people who are interested in a certain genre of learning and not in others can become a member of a learning group dedicated to that genre, which could be organized in a school. Another benefit of a distinction in schools is that experts have a clear place to go to with their expertise, in case Wikiversity becomes a large organization. Of course, not every learning group has to be organized in schools.
During the meeting on Wikiversity chat, the desire was expressed to be open to experimentation, something unique within the Wikimedia Foundation. I hope this can be the case, and that we will wait for the kind of results of these experiments in the coming decades. At the moment, i am experimenting with reading groups, but these will take years and decades to develop.Daanschr 08:12, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There's long been a debate about whether Wikiversity and Wikieducator could/should be merged - eg Leigh Blackall posted to his blog, which sparked responses from Teemu Leinonen [3] and myself. And in that discussion, as above, the issues of culture are raised; both WV and WE are influenced by their organisational backdrop - Wikimedia and Commonwealth of Learning, respectively. Both projects have compatible goals, technology, and (soon) licences - but the issue of culture is possibly the more difficult to see merging. In any case, I certainly have no problem in having both projects coexist, given that they will be focusing on different activities (or carrying them out in different ways). In terms of, as Brent suggests, having Wikiversity focus exclusively on learning projects as opposed to content (which, incidentally Teemu also suggests), I don't agree - since there is clearly educational content that does not belong on Wikimedia projects, and which therefore must be allowed to be developed here (even if there are many other OER projects out there). Similarly, I don't believe we should be intentionally limiting ourselves from supporting any particular type of user of an educational space - Wikiversity is surely open to professionals (not just to Wikimedia editors), even if there may be other sites for them to choose from. But to specifically adress McCormack's point, I don't feel that the prestige associated with Wikipedia "belongs" to Wikiversity - I think this is something that we will obviously benefit from, but which we must also earn on our own terms and merit. Cormaggio talk 16:55, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cormaggio - good point. Reminds me of early debates within the Open Source movement where people finally got sick of the endless "I hate microsoft" monkey show and started suggesting that all those whiny slashdotters spent more time making linux compete on its own terms rather than bash the competition. WV will rise and fall based upon the quality of its contents. I think my "distinction" between WE and WV is not meant to be absolute (we should welcome some forms of content), but I guess I see one of the possible distinctions that WV can leverage at this point is focusing on learners and learning activities rather than teachers and content or curriculums. WE seems mostly about teachers (as is the recently discussed Cape Town Declaration), developing curriculum that can be printed out for face-to-face, not particularly something that WV has ever aspired to. Countrymike 20:23, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, there seem to be some French teachers of Wikiversity, who use Wikiversity for their class.
The whole debate here is a bit confusing. There are a lot of claims made by several persons on what Wikiversity is and WikiEducator and these claims don't seem to fit together.Daanschr 21:46, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's an interesting observation - and I've been interested to read how people are characterising the scope of one project in contrast with the other - something that also happens between Wikiversity and Wikibooks. It's not always the best way of defining the project, even though it does - always - make sense to clarify project goals and processes. It often helps here to go back to the approved Wikiversity project proposal (essentially our "founding document") - though Wikiversity has developed in strength and complexity since then. Cormaggio talk 12:11, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A response from an institutional man

What an excellent discussion! --Leighblackall 21:42, 13 December 2007 (UTC) Thanks to CountryMike (Brent) for pointing me into it. And thanks Cormaggio for mentioning the post and discussion from my blog. I'm someone who works in an educational institution and am trying to build a critical awareness of FOS software, content and practices. It is a bit of a hell ride and I sometimes long for the freedom of freelance. In 2006 I started using Wikiversity to build content for the teacher training we do. Pages for blogging, RSS, wikis, podcasting, video, tagging etc. Almost all these things are very foreign ideas to the teachers I work for :( I started adding links to our institution's support, formal courses and qualifications and started to get a little flack from a Wikiversity user. At the time I was feeling very sensitive to criticism because I get it daily from people in my institution who are reluctant to consider FOS software, content and practices in their teaching. I constantly need to demonstrate worth and prove it. When criticism started coming in from Wikiversity I saw the writing on the wall.. this was not going to be sustainable. So I needed a space that would be supportive in every way of an institution trying to make steps towards FOS ethics and exchange. Wikieducator became that space. But all along I wish to be part of the Wikiversity project, and the Wikimedia foundation. I posted to my blog the desire for WV and WE to merge and form Wikilearner, but I think I'd like to retract that. I agree with CountryMike and Teemu that WV should focus on building online learning communities as I believe that this will become the most important feature in online learning as content continues to grow in every quarter. Content will also grow out of such communities and that may serve Cormaggio's concerns for the need for content of WV. So, learning communities should be the focus and the university metaphor (schools, topics etc) should recede. Let Wikiversity become Wikilearner. But what is to happen to Wikieducator? As the stats suggest, it will putter along while the majority gravitate to WV. Wikieducator plays an important role to the Institutions. It offers support for the Institutional culture, but more importantly it facilitates Institutional people into the more free and freelance world of WV - and that's a good thing. Eventually, I hope to be working a lot more in WV (that will hopefully become more of a Wikilearner) but I can't do that until the people I work for are ready to see that their content is not as important as their network and the learning communities that may become resources for their students to tap into. So Wikieducator is the interim (and it is already radical enough). As the people I work for become more comfortable with MediaWiki technology, they will start to engage with Wikimedia Foundation projects more. We already have 3 staff members who are writing the Anatomy and Physiology of Animals text book in Wikibooks! You see, as our teachers become as familiar and enthusiastic for the free world as you already are, you will see that free content will become an everyday thing and you will have lost your competitive edge.. we will start to need learning communities a whole lot more. I only hope that the freedom politics that is the more ugly side of the Wikimedia foundation generally will not stifle the growth of community. Many thanks for your thought provoking discussion, I hope I have added something of worth, and I look forward to the day when this institutionalised man may be free with the rest of you. --Leighblackall 21:42, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A school doesn't have to be a real school. Internet will change the whole meaning of learning. A school on Wikiversity can't be the same as a school in the face-to-face world.
What do you mean with freedom politics? I have only written and discussed articles and didn't belong to the political organization of Wikipedia. The only place where i entered discussing bureaucratic issues was here on Wikiversity.--Daanschr 21:54, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"started to get a little flack from a Wikiversity user.....when criticism started coming in from Wikiversity I saw the writing on the wall.. this was not going to be sustainable." <-- This hit me like a brick between the eyes because I have a habit of telling people that Wikiversity is open to all kinds of learning experiments and approaches I recently made the rather sweeping statement that as far as I knew Wikiversity had never turned away someone's contribution of a learning resource. Is this the "flack"? --JWSchmidt 04:56, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that was the flack - but it developed into an email discussion between WiseWoman, Leigh and myself. I seem to remember we patched it up in the end, and that Leigh didn't seem to be left too aggrieved - I take his point that it motivated him to look for alternatives, but I'm kinda disappointed Leigh saw (sees?) it as "writing on the wall". (Leigh, I'll respond to your great comment elsewhere - just a clarification here.) Cormaggio talk 09:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi there Cormaggio. by "writing on the wall" I was talking about myself, my own energy levels. The flack from a Wikiversity user was justified in my view today, and I respect the "civil society", user generated, egalitarian status of Wikiversity. The writing on the wall was my own sanity as I juggled criticism from colleagues met with criticism from Wikiversity. Basically, WV was just a bit too radical for me (and the Institution) at the time. My post here says that that time will pass.. eventually.. the culture of the institutions will change, and come to acknowledge and respect that which Wikipedia et al has achieved... --Leighblackall 10:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the clarification, Leigh - I can see into your mind and situation better now. :-) I think it's very interesting the way you've framed this discussion for yourself in terms of your being an "institutional man" (which brings with it another set of organisational/social/political constraints). I also very much appreciate your forward-looking perspective, acknowledging that open/free learning communities will become more important as open/free content begins to proliferate. ;-) (This isn't a "dichotomy", as Hillgentleman and JWSchmidt point out - but rather an appreciation that there are different educational processes to be facilitated.) In fact, I asked a question about this topic during the recent OpenLearn conference, and it seemed that the funding at the moment is towards the generation of content, but that the support for this open/free content (ie open/free learning communities) isn't really a huge feature on the OER community's radar (yet). Cormaggio talk 11:09, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statistics can be very misleading. Since I have enough content at Lunar Boom Town to begin playing and testing scenarios with my first grade nephew I have been rather idle about the Wikiveristy site. After the Christmas season is over I may get real active keying into Lunar Boom Town and cisLunarFreighter and Space Traffic Control what I have learned from playing various scenarios out with him. Personally I think it is not advisable to be advocating major changes or merges at either WikiEducator or Wikiversity since both sites have now spent years collecting interest towards critical mass. Better to be a bit patient and harvest some benefits of having developed viable communities at both sites around their respective cultures and target or emergent markets. Mirwin 23:18, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A response from Wayne @ WikiEducator

I picked up on this discussion from WikiEducator's feed -- it's great to live in a connected world. I'd like to clarify a few points:

  • I founded WikiEducator and posted my first edit on 13 February 2006. I set up Wikieducator shortly before taking up my current position as Education Specialist (eLearning and ICT policy) at COL. You can read up about our early history on Terra Incognita
  • The WikiEducator's infrastructure is funded by the Commonwealth of Learning, an international agency dedicated to encourage the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.
  • I am a member of the WMF Advisory Board. WikiEducator is an independent project and not part of the WMF projects.
  • WikiEducator works collaboratively with the free knowledge community in developing free content for education. We recently funded the development of Wiki ==> pdf functionality. See WMF's press release today. This technology is released as open source software which Wikiversity will be able to implement in support of their work. I hope that Wikiversity will assist us in testing the technology. WikiEducator offered to be the gunea pig for testing the early releases of this technology so that the large projects like Wikiversity and Wikibooks would not have to go through the pains associated with the early bugs of new software.
  • WikiEducator is not competing with Wikiversity, Wikibooks or any other wiki project in the educational sphere. We are working together with the free knowledge community in widening access to the sum of all human knowledge. It's a big task and the more folk working on this -- the sooner we will achieve our objectives.
  • The WikiEducator community have not discussed mergers with any of the WMF projects. User:McCormack's assertions that Wikiversity is dead. Long live WikiEducator. are unfounded. User:McCormack's assertions "that WikiEducator is really the project which assumes the mantle and prestige that belongs to Wikiversity" is UNTRUE. Prestige is something which is earned -- not commanded.
  • I do think that it would be a worthwhile exercise for WikiVersity, Wikibooks and Wikieducator to convene some time in the near future to compare experiences and to see how our different approaches can contribute to the vision of the free knowledge community.

Hope this helps. --Mackiwg 06:02, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clarifying your misattributions: my views are precisely the opposite of what you suggest. I suggest that WikiEducator has neither the prestige nor anything else that is derived from Wikipedia (so we agree). As you say, prestige has to be earned. That is why I object to even using "WikiEducator" in the same breath as "Wikipedia" (here we disagree). One way in which prestige can be earnt is through the establishment of a civil society, including institutional structures which prevent administrative abuse. Wikipedia has these in abundance. It is one of its greatest achievements, even if those structures are sometimes criticised. The best thing about Wikiversity is that it is linked into these structures of a civil, near-democratic society, and this is why, for me, the future is Wikiversity. Unfortunately WikiEducator does not have a civil society (yet), nor do I see it likely that one can form until the leadership strategies change. When a leadership style is too strong, it stifles democracy and becomes blind to the potential of its abuse. This is a universal problem with over-strong leadership, so it should hardly be a surprise to you if WikiEducator suffers from this problem - it's nothing personal. I think that exceptionally strong leaders have to create very concrete self-restraining mechanisms in order to protect the democratic structures around them. McCormack 08:37, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Further correction: the title of this section (Wikiversity is dead. Long live WikiEducator) which I created represents the opposite of my views. The title parodies the way in which WikiEducator seems to be marketing itself elsewhere. As a parody, it does, of course, state the matter in a provocative fashion that stimulates debate. The problem I see is that WikiEducator is attempting to "place" itself strategically where Wikiversity in fact is: right next to Wikipedia as a Wikimedia project. McCormack 08:37, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I withdraw from this kind of discussions here. I frankly do not know what this is all about and what's the need for all the fuss. For me learning on Wikiversity is mainly linked to leisure time and fun. Perhaps we can come up with some usefull concepts for the outside world. I am highly scepticle about the capabilities to dramatically change schooling and i don't see the need for it. I have the impression that you both believe in progress. I regard progress as something silly. Everything which is new becomes dull and old in the long run. For me, day to day communication with humans is the main reason to live. Not some squabling about freedom or schooling.--Daanschr 13:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Have fun" is an important part of the culture of Wikiversity. Many people participate at Wikiversity because they can have fun exploring topics that are of great personal interest. "dramatically change schooling" <-- I do not see this as part of the Wikiversity mission, but I think it is fair to say that Wikipedia has broadened the concept of "encyclopedia" and I think wiki technology will also create new learning opportunities. To the extent that new sources of information and information sharing are being fashioned by tools like wiki, it is not unreasonable to speculate about how these advances might make possible some dramatic changes in schooling.....particularly in learning niches where conventional schooling has never been strongly established. "day to day communication with humans is the main reason to live" <-- Some of us in the Wikiversity community are trying to learn how to facilitate the growth of online learning communities where participants can come together and make use of new technologies to promote new forms of "day to day communication with humans". We do not need to frame this process in term of "progress" but I think we can seek useful metrics such as "efficiency". It is not as much fun when multiple independent communities of wiki editors duplicate their efforts at isolated websites. It is more fun when like-minded learners can find each other an collaborate efficiently. "what's the need for all the fuss" <-- Some people who are dedicated to using wiki to support learning ask if it makes sense for a Trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation to adopt a negative attitude towards Wikiversity while supporting WikiEducator. "squabling about freedom" <-- I think many Wikimedians are enthusiastic about the Foundation's mission, but there is room for disagreement about some of the details of how to facilitate that mission. It is understandable that Wikimedia is a magnet for some people who are free software crusaders. This has implications for Wikiversity when we are unable to fully use available computer technology because some new technologies are not free. Do we put learning first or do we put the crusade for free software first? If "squabbles" over such issues distress you, by all means, ignore them and just have fun editing. --JWSchmidt 16:20, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"when we are available computer technology because some new technologies are not free. Do we put learning first or do we put the crusade for free software first?" <-- Yea, you can always try to solve the problems in your own way, whatever the constraints are; if the constraints become a burden, you call the developers, or learn to be one yourself :-). Whether one should put learning first or free software first - here is an interesting and clear difference of wikiversity from the rest of wikimedia projects: it is to host learning communities and therefore it is not portable. There cannot be a mirror of wikiversity. Anybody can duplicate the contents but not the community. Hillgentleman|Talk 03:31, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The dialogue and ideology of freedom

I quote from Wayne (above) about his vision of cooperation for Wikiversity, and his idea that Wikiversity should see how it "can contribute to the vision of the free knowledge community". For those who are new to Wayne's philosophy and way of speaking, "free", in his view, is always used in the idealogically loaded sense of libre. It is not an option, for his way of thinking, to question the truth of this very specific view of freedom. When Wayne states as a goal for Wikiversity that it should contribute to the "free knowledge community", it is bringing us closer to a world in which both the membership and editorial content of Wikiversity should be orientated towards a particularly ideological end. Wikiversity's current culture is founded on openness and inclusivity. A reorientation towards the libre knowledge community is precisely the cultural shift I warned about above in an earlier posting. Newcomers might want to express this cultural shift as a "loss of freedoms", and this is where the language trick becomes insidious: because the meaning of "freedom" has already been hijacked by libre-philosophy, it is difficult for non-libre-thinkers to express their commitments to things like the ancient freedom of association and freedom of speech in their original meanings. In the many meanings of freedom built up in philosophical and political thinking of the last 3000 years, we are talking, however, about a loss of freedom. McCormack 08:58, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm a bit confused here, McCormack - Wikiversity as a Wikimedia project is an explicitly ideological project: to make educational resources free (and this "free" has always explicitly incorporated the "libre" connotation, as well as lack of cost). It's true Wikiversity is based on openness and inclusivity (probably more so than any other WMF project), but there are clear boundaries of this inclusivity - and that would include content that is copyright or not free enough, in the same way that we would not include propoganda or allow uncivil behaviour (though in many cases, the 'limits' still need to be drawn, and will always be based in dialogue). Cormaggio talk 10:08, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A free learning process can include copyrighted materials including textbooks available from libraries or materials published online for free use or at a cost. Naturally our preference is free libre materials accessible to everyone via the internet. My personal preferences include free internet access for everyone on the planet but that will be a while coming. (If you think that is economically infeasible consider the cost of the current Iraqui occupation.[[4]] Others pragmatically look to libre cdroms to spread libre materials which are not "free" but must be financed by somebody with cold hard cash. The only limit that I see as useful to draw is that Wikiversity servers do not host non-free materials or materials so dependent on specific external non free materials as to be considered advertising spam. Mirwin 17:13, 16 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't understand the selling of libre material. There is already an abundant of knowledge for sale. What does libre material have to add?--Daanschr 18:45, 16 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fact that you can turn around and redistribute it as is or modify it and redistribute the modified versions. Consider a cdrom with a video game. If it is propriety you can play it or give it away or resell it once. If it is free (libre) (say you bought it at a flea market for $3.00USD or downloaded from internet and burned yourself) then you can give it away as many times as you can afford to burn it on cd, you can burn cds and sell them at the same flea market where you bought it for less than $3 USD (hopefully more than price of burning CD slug and energy), you can loan it to a friend who wishes to burn copy or go into business remastering, then there are all permutations of how you can modify the data objects on it and then given away those modifications as long as you meet license requirements for attribution of previous authors, access to source code allowing modification, etc. i.e. passing along the freedoms you received from previous authors to new consumers. Mirwin 04:12, 18 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

content and community

  • Re:Leigh Blackall: (two screens above)

    that WV should focus on building online learning communities as I believe that this will become the most important feature in online learning as content continues to grow in every quarter. Content will also grow out of such communities and that may serve Cormaggio's concerns for the need for content of WV. So, learning communities should be the focus and the university metaphor (schools, topics etc) should recede.

    It is difficult "to focus on XXX" on a wiki, for everybody has all the freedom to decide what she does - so long as she is contributing useful content. And then how can we build a community? We need to attract people to come, keep them entertained and interested enough to stay - that can be achieved by quality and easily accessable content. (Even better, if they could get answers for their questions.) Building content for community use is also a way to build the community, at least until a certain threshold is reached. Hillgentleman|Talk 06:33, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Hillgentleman. There is a false dichotomy being imagined when people talk about content or community. Some learners use wiki technology to collaborate and create wiki content.....they learn by editing Wikiversity. Other learners use that content to explore their learning goals. We encourage everyone to join this creative loop, click the edit button and participate as part of active learning groups and projects. There is a dynamic positive feedback process by which content supports the community and the community creates content. Of course, Wikiversity does not have to re-create the wheel.....Wikiversity learning resources can always link to other resources outside of Wikiversity and many Wikiversity participants move freely between multiple websites as appropriate to their personal interests as well as the specialties and strengths of various websites. --JWSchmidt 07:09, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There are two ways to improve accessability: a good portal (Main Page) and a good content structure. Since wikiversity's goal is to be a place where anybody can come and learn anything (using contents on-site or off-site, on-line or off-line), which is a wide and not very specific goal, it is difficult to have a one-page summary.
  • On the other hand, there are many ways to improve the content structure. Schools, Topics, and Dynamic page lists are very useful. There are a lot of interesting ideas in . Hillgentleman|Talk 07:05, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Still the main page is important; it should be optimized to guide the most people to do a little something useful. People like to browse wikipedia because they come away knowing a little more - even if it is just something trivial. Wikiversity should deepen this process in certain areas for those who want it. Hillgentleman|Talk 07:32, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Neither-both here nor-and there

While it is of course deeply frustrating when a foundation Board member somehow forgets about the existence of an entire set of WikiMedia projects, it is in some ways understandable that he would want to highlight a large project that from the start has connections to real-world foundations and organizations. Neither project has really figured out a sensible way to make more of these connections, at least not yet. From the "about" page on WE, it looks like our missions do indeed overlap, but they've got a headstart due to their associations with CoL, and we have a headstart due to our status as a Wikimedia Foundation project. To their advantage/disadvantage, this means that they have a final "customer" who can guide them in designing their "product". To our advantage/disadvantage, we don't know who our "customers" are, and often aren't sure how our "product" will be used.

It's nice to hear input from our compatriots/rivals though, especially their views on the uniqueness of our learning community structure. I think the new main page and portal will help us a lot in explaining ourselves to the foundation and our fellow Wikimedians, but to build learning communities we might need to be a bit more proactive with outreach, rather than just leaving out the main page as an invitation and hoping people will happen to find it. We could outreach to a number of types of organizations, including:

  • Universities (brick and mortar), schools, and other institutions of education
  • Student groups
  • Hobby or avocational groups
  • Non-profit groups
  • Business groups
  • Corporations
  • Labor unions
  • Small and large businesses
  • Religious groups
  • Web forums and other online communities

I think so far we've mostly tried to reach out to other wikimedians (primarily wikibookians and wikipedians), but it might be the case that the members of those communities have already found the thing they want to do (otherwise they wouldn't be there, and thus wouldn't be on those projects waiting for someone to reach out). Universities are going to look at us with some degree of skepticism for now (as will most schools). Student groups usually like to have beer with their meetings. Non-profit groups are often overtasked already, but if we could at least in part be providing a web service for them, they might really like that.

Businesses are going to do what's to their advantage as businesses. If our collaborative learning and research projects can help them educate their employees or otherwise improve their growth potential, they will happily participate. Small business owners and independents may be able to use our project as continuing education and improvement, as well as networking.

Religious groups tend to be formed of people with a variety of interests outside of their religion, and making them feel welcome to organize (but not prostelytize) those interests on Wikiversity might help us grow our learning communities exponentially. Web forums and other online communities would probably be hit-or-miss, since like the other wikimedians they might already have found their niche.

The question is, how do we reach out? --SB_Johnny | talk 12:54, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"The question is, how do we reach out?" <-- This was identified as a key issue back before Wikiversity launched (for example, see some early discussions at Wikiversity talk:Moving Wikiversity forward). I think we should update Wikiversity:Community Portal to be more of a community workshop for efforts aimed at building collaborative learning groups at Wikiversity. We need a community archive of strategies and experiments for attracting and retaining participants. --JWSchmidt 20:05, 15 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the most effective outreach is one on one with friends and relatives. Unfortunately until we hit critical mass with something for everyone this will be a very low percentage success rate. I think we need to function somewhat as an internet beacon where successful groups attract attention from search engines and other related online groups because they have something unique and useful to people with those interests. The sandbox sever project has potential to bring in a lot of interest once it is operational to the point we wish to advertise it at sites such as advogato or slash/dot where a lot of young hackers hangout. Likewise I think cisLunarFreighter could bring in a lot of game modders once it is an operational game ... probably two to three years down the road at current levels of interest and effort. Bloom Clock project sounds ready to advertise to gardening or bird watching groups. Mirwin 17:01, 16 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

coures available with streams

i wanted a list of courses available in different fields of every field available even at higher level basically i am looking for a course for my younger brother for his future studies. so that i can show him the different fields available and their future studies and what will he become in future
i could find a long list of different course no connected in seeries like after compiting 10th chose a field arts, commerse, science and then compliting 12th in that striem different coure or field will open to which he can apply to and how many years he has to spent to complite that course etc
if there is already such a link please tell me where it is
if possible could there be a list of all course available so that i can also show that to others and give them proper guidence
i am new to wikiversity
thank u for all your support

It looks like School:Future studies is ready for anyone who is interested in the topic and ready to start in on the "ground floor" of developing learning resources for the topic at Wikiversity. Maybe you could start by doing a web search for established future studies programs at universities. --JWSchmidt 02:36, 18 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some of the Engineering specialties have pretty extensive lists of courses based upon college catelogs. Wikiversity is still in early stages of development. Personally I expect within 5 years you be able to find extensive material and learning projects here related to almost anything that can be studied at physical schools with rare exceptions of very specialized leading areas of knowledge. This prediction is based upon watching Wikipedia explode in volume, usage, and utility as the internet accessible public discovered how to participate and use it effectively. In my opinion, a good way to teach your brother how to use Wikiversity effectively is to encourage him to participate in areas of personal interest to him. He should get enough structure and discipline at his local physical schools to provide a generic general studies capability. Allow him to pursue personal interests at Wikiversity and he may create the very information you are currently searching for to use as guidance for him. If he does not then someone else will. Probably they will work on it together. Ultimately each individual must be responsible for the stream of links they pursue. Many people will provide generic starting points or learning trails that will improve over time with extensive usage. Mirwin 04:29, 18 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New research projects: need both etiquette and technical advice

As the bloom clock has finally come together to become less high maintenance (thanks in large part to the technical saavy of darklama), I'd like to start several new research projects. While these projects are agriculture-related (and hence won't make sense to most of you), they can help to define what sorts of research projects we will accept in the future, and how we handle outreach.

Here's what I have in mind:

  • 1. An Entomology Clock: This one shouldn't be controversial, as it more or less just follows the example of the bloom clock ("entomology" is just the study of creepy-crawly things with many legs -- but butterflies too!). For this one I really just need some technical advice, because part of the clock will involve what the little buggers are feeding on, and I'd like it to somehow connect with the bloom clock and perhaps other research projects).
  • 2. Goat de-wormers suitable for certified organic production: this sounds (and is) very esoteric, but controling intestinal worms in goats without the use of synthetic dewormers is actually a major problem. This would be a "product testing" research project, dealing with specific brand names and commercial formulations (as well as "old-time" remedies which unfortunately aren't as effective as they used to be). This might need to be combined with a goat grazing research project as well (since wormloads will be affected by the type of forage available).
  • 3. Ornamental cultivar trials: For trying out new cultivars of ornamental plants that are developed by the breeders but don't have a long history of actual "behavior" in gardens. This would include susceptability to pests and diseases, shade tolerance, winter survival, adaptability to soils, weediness, etc.
  • 4. Garden plants and browsing by white-tailed deer: White tailed deer are a rather serious horticultural problem in parts of the United States and Canada, and this project would try to collect data on what gets browsed and what doesn't.

The technical issues are really just this: one of the reasons the bloom clock works so well is that a certain kind of "results" are created as we go along, which is both convenient and (frankly) very satisfying. I can't see how #2, 3, and 4 can be designed that way, and I think the "instant gratification" afforded by the bloom clock's structure is a major advantage.

The etiquette issue is perhaps a bit more interesting, and is very much an issue with #2 (and to a lesser extent #3). In this project, we'd want to get in touch with both the developers of the products in question, as well as with goat herders who are trying to maintain an organic herd (for the record, I personally don't raise my herd organically, precisely because there isn't enough good information available about organic dewormers). I suspect we can get the herders if we can get the companies, but this would be a very new thing for Wikiversity: we'd essentially be using Wikiversity for product testing. I'm not convinced we should be hosting product testing for every concievable product, but I am convinced that we would reap-provide benefits from permitting this sort of project when it comes to agricultural projects, as it would be an excellent example of Wikiversity's mission of teaching-learning.

The other thing, however, is that this begs the question of the need for an OTRS. If a company wants to register itself as a user, it seems to me that we might want some way of confirming that they are who they say they are. We might in some instances want to confirm that the farmers are who they say they are too (particularly if the company in question wants to offer samples of a dewormer to wikiversity-participant-farmers).

There's a lot to think about here -- and I realize some of this might sound alarming to people who are experienced Wikipedians and see the prospect of businesses directly participating in the wiki as a Very Bad Thing -- but I'd like to point out that farmers and small business owners don't have time to go to "brick and mortar" universities, and small companies that create products for niche markets often don't have the capital required to fund research studies by "brick and mortar" universities. Maybe we can do that :). --SB_Johnny | talk 23:35, 18 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Projects #2, 3, and 4, I don't know anything about and couldn't help with, but I will toss in my two cents and say that I personally don't have any problem with partnering with businesses, as long as there is no plastering of ads and logos all over Wikiversity. Cooperation yes, advertisement no. As for project #1, though, I think it is a great idea and one I would personally be interested in- moreover, I'm currently in a class called "The Insect Connection" and I know the teacher quite well, she's also my advisor, and I know she'd be fascinated by such a project. I don't know whether or not she'd be willing to trust wiki technology, but she would love the idea of an "Entomology Clock" and I might be able to get her involved (and potentially, her future students!). I've also been thinking for a while about an "Ornithology Clock", if you will, although I don't know if we'd call it that. It would be based on the Bloom Clock model, but also be similar to Cornell's Project Feederwatch. It might be too much to start several of these projects all at once, though, and I know I'm too busy to be involved in actually running one of them, unfortunetly. --Luai lashire 02:35, 19 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"I'm not convinced we should be hosting product testing for every conceivable product" <-- Wikiversity should pay attention to the future of innovation and significant contributions from communities of online collaborators in some areas of research. Some research projects are orphans either because it is very hard for companies to profit from them or because nobody has taken the steps needed to devise a research strategy suited to the research problem. We should be trying to devise innovative ways to work with companies as well as public and private funding agencies to tackle appropriate research topics that might yield to methods that make use of a wiki-based community. Getting reliable date will require a good research project design for such Wikimedia wiki-based research projects, but I think it is something we should explore. Good record keeping is a fundamental foundation. An important "trick" for research is blinding. For example, you could have a company make two remedies (one might be a placebo) for the goats and not allow the owners of the goats to know which remedy they are getting....they would collect their results "in the blind". A neutral party (Wikiversity participants) would "break the code" and only then would it be possible to decide from the date which remedy had the best results. --JWSchmidt 03:45, 19 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"I'm not convinced we should be hosting product testing for every conceivable product" <-- I think we should host projects as interested parties show up with sufficient resources to perform effectively in accordance with our evolving policies. Obviously we have to build capabilities. If someone wanted to start human trials at Wikiversity I would say they have quite a steep long slope to build the necessity capabilities to do such things ethically and as responsibly as possible, and as legally required. I think you have some great project ideas above and it appears to me that you have already started thinking clearly about how to implement them effectively at Wikiversity. I think real world identity authentication is going to be a critical first step. Somebody has to be accountable for data authenticity and verification or nobody is going to trust it when they get surprising (to them or perhaps everyone) results. Then the question of acquiring resources and effort to reverify vs. simply deleting questioned results will come up. We probably need to find an experienced agricultural college professor who has dealt with some of these issues before to help us along. JWSchmidt's experience and expertise appeared invaluable to me in moving the existing research policy along to something readable, understandable, and (appears to me so far anyway) effective as a starting point. The companys' you approach may have Ag college programs they already work with occasionally ... perhaps they can introduce us and request consideration of your projects for student/prof/research participation. I will think some more about this, it is a big important topic for Wikiversity to realize its full potential. I agree we should be looking for niches where we can productively contribute, not trying to compete with existing brick and mortar capabilities, but using our strength in distributed access to make new things possible. Mirwin 04:24, 19 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps one thing that would help initialize such new projects is a dedicated Wikiversity technical development team area or mailing list. We need a way for people to request and discuss technical needs with people willing to help them accomplish the required technical development whether it is a bit of wiki syntax for easy data logging or prototyping of a sophisticated new capability such as the molecular modeling that Draicone and others are tackling on the sandbox server project for a chemistry class. We need to be routinely developing and testing new required capabilities in a trusted fashion such that new required capabilities can move to operational status on the WMF's server farms and mirrors in a timely fashion vs. the indefinite stall and perpetual confusion we currently seem to experience. Do not get me wrong, the current custodians have done a marvelous job of supporting newcomers. It is just that some things need teams of effective specialists pooling their skillsets to accomplish. Mirwin 04:32, 19 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stub Policy

Perhaps we should ask people labeling articles as stubs to outline what they think is missing. For example see hydrogen. It is a discrete small set of physical constants, possibly complete for someone's purpose. Someone tagged it as a stub. I added a link to a rather lengthy complete looking Wikipedia article w:hydrogen. Is this stub now complete and non stubby so that the tag can be removed? What should be added to remove stub status? Hydrogen car technology? Hydrogen production from coal? Hydrogen technologies such as feul cells, bunsen burners, etc.? Personally I get tired of tags that seem to add little to material creation. I understand some people view them as useful for finding stubs .... I just wonder if content experts could not more usefully edit by following the learning trails or existing link maze and modifying materials with a knowledge of the context for which they are created or currently being used. That said, I am in favor of volunteers working/playing when, where, and how they please. I just wonder how one knows the web page is no longer "stubby" in the eyes of the tagger, creator, or community maintainers. Perhaps this is merely a matter of editing boldly and allowing the preponderance of community effort to drift the material towards its proper fate or categorization. What are some others views? Mirwin 17:55, 20 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would very much appreciate it if anyone finds uncategorized astronomy pages to please add them to Category:Physics and Astronomy stubs or at least to Category:Astronomy. Putting an article in either cat will get my attention that an article exists. I just discovered Liquid water on Europa which has an interesting bit of info. I would consider this a stub, although I didn't tag it as such. Instead I added an image and a link to wikipedia. There is no learning activity or jumping off point to start a discussion on the topic. To be honest, I'm not really sure where the creator of the page intended to go with it. --mikeu 18:35, 20 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not entirely sure that the idea of "stubs" is even helpful in a Wikiversity context. A page may not require very much content in order to be complete & useful within its context. It makes more sense to describe Wikiversity pages purely on the basis of coherent content and usefulness than on length. --Luai lashire 21:00, 20 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Changing my user name

Hi. How can I change my user name? a.z. 04:31, 21 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just make a new user account. If you like, you can link the userpage of your old account to the new one. --JWSchmidt 04:47, 21 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, but the name I want has already been registered. It has no contributions, and I was hoping I would be able to have it. Is it possible to deregister it? a.z. 05:29, 21 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might be possible for you to get the name, but many Wikiversity usernames "belong" to Wikipedians who came here just to register the name they use at Wikipedia. You can try contacting User:Cormaggio or User:Sebmol. They have the tool that is needed to rename users. --JWSchmidt 06:07, 21 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Wikipedia now has some options in user preferences for "gadgets" We could request this for Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 18:22, 10 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An interesting "gadget" allows you to place your browser's cursor over a link and then see a "popup" window with information about the page that you will reach if you click the link. In this example, the link is from a Wikipedia userpage to the corresponding talk page. The popup window has a yellow border and in this example shows a thumbnail image from the talk page.
Pro. Let's get it to "play" with it. Who doesn't want (it later), must not enable it :-) ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 17:41, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The navigation preview gadget is now available here (see your user preferences). Are there any others that we should have? --JWSchmidt 17:14, 18 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Second gadget available: Enhanced Talk: Color codes discussions to make easier to follow, much like some forums or bulletin board do.
Navigation popups: there appears an error message when previewing pictures: imagepage preview failed :( is the query.php extension installed?
Though for 2 tried file formats (png+gif) the mini pic was shown anyway (tried with different browsers). More info also here. ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 09:13, 23 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've never seen this error message I had never seen it because I never tried to get a navigation popup for an I see it. Are you saying that you always get that error message? Are you saying that you see the error message with all browsers? I wonder if seeing this error message has something to do with other preferences setting such as skin or Thumbnail size preference. --JWSchmidt 14:00, 23 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, it happens with all 4 browsers (Firefox:, Internet explorer: 7.0.6001.17119 32bit, Safari: 3.0.4 (523.13), Opera: 9.25 (build 8827)) and the standard settings are used: skin: MonoBook (default), Thumbnail size: 180 px. I just tried so far only on one pc. On request I could give more info (my system, preference settings, ...) ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 14:27, 23 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Am I doing something wrong

Following a discussion on IRC, the material previously placed here has been moved to Wikipedia arbitration committee/Pedophilia userbox wheel war. McCormack 16:42, 24 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

School and university projects

I posted a note at w:Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classroom coordination to get some collaboration started. I'll be watching w:Wikipedia:School and university projects and Wikiversity:School and university projects to see if we get any interest.--mikeu 15:04, 18 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I added a section called Wikiversity:School_and_university_projects#Welcoming_committee, please sign up if you are interested.--mikeu 16:41, 26 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ayn Rand quote on the main page

The Ayn Rand quote on the main page is a bit distasteful to my opinion. I see love as a normal condition of the body as it has been evolved. It is not a second hand emotion, while creation is something better. I prefer to be part of a moderate Wikiversity, not something radical extremistic.--Daanschr 15:45, 29 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest that we start a learning project for discussion and selection of quotes to be used at Template:QOTD. Also, what bothers me most about the current quote of the day ("The second handers offer substitutes for competence such as love, charm, kindness - easy substitutes - and there is no substitute for creation." -Ayn Rand) is the fact that it links directly to Wikipedia. I think it would be good for Wikiversity to have pages about all the people who we quote on the main page. We already have Wikiversity:Quote of the Day, but I would like to see a related page in the main namespace where people could discuss the quotes, what they mean and if using particular quotes are suited to Wikiversity. I started a new page for dealing with QOTD as a subpage of the main page learning project; see Main page learning project/QOTD. --JWSchmidt 16:22, 29 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't knew it was the quote of the day. Perhaps, that could be notified and that has been derived from Wikipedia as a solution?--Daanschr 16:52, 29 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry I was not clear. The choice of these quotes is made by the Wikiversity community. When I said, "it links directly to Wikipedia," I just meant that the name "Ayn Rand" is a link to Wikipedia. I think we should change that so the link is to a Wikiversity page. --JWSchmidt 17:01, 29 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Isn't the general avoidance of WP links a little isolationist? After all, one of the great things about WV as a learning resource is the ease with which it can link into other Wikimedia projects for reference? Learning resources can do with encyclopedic references, and sometimes an encyclopedic reference is better for a learning resource than a circular link into another learning resource? McCormack 17:08, 29 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've never advocated "general avoidance of WP links".....I use them widely in my Wikiversity editing. In this case, my thinking was as follows: if we like a quote so much that we put it on our main page, we can use that as a starting point for involving visitors in a Wikiversity learning project. To do otherwise would just be to miss an opportunity to enhance participation at Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 17:14, 29 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]