Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/January 2007

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

Text Align[edit]

Does any one know how to get text aligned to the right of a page?--Elatanatari 01:20, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Rayc 07:07, 1 January 2007 (UTC)-- No... wait, yes, I do.

Thank you. --Elatanatari 02:17, 3 January 2007 (UTC)


Anybody interested in the French Department?Elatanatari 01:21, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

High School Diplomas[edit]

I was rumaging through Wikibooks today, and came across this note on the Study Help Desk:

Will there be an opportunity for people to earn a high school diploma with Wiki....? I am Assistant Superintendent for the Rochester NH public schools and am interested in access to course materials, GED service and high school diploma opportunities for non traditional students. 13:15, 11 October 2006 (UTC)Kent Hemingway65.175.134.16 13:15, 11 October 2006 (UTC) 603-332-3678

Please, please would some people here interested in developing formal academic "diplomas" or "degrees" get in contact with this individual. I feel very sheepish that I didn't catch this before, as this is an incredibly generous offer, particularly as this school district is very much interested in working with Wikimedia projects to develop a high school curriculum for non-traditional students.

It is individuals like this that would go a very long ways to getting "accredited" status for some Wikiversity projects, or at least prove that the idea of Wikiversity has some very strong merit. Don't let this pass by without further comment or letting this educator know what Wikiversity has to offer. --Robert Horning 08:00, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Hello Robert,
[1] can help:
In order to earn a degree, a certain amount of credit must be earned with an accredited organization, that is, some body of experts must determine that the program and the coursework make sense in the context of the degree to be conferred.
Wikiversity will not be a degree granting institution, although the materials available at Wikiversity can definitely be used by students and instructors at accredited institutions as a basis for the partial fulfillment of examination requirements for an accredited course.
What Wikiversity is not
  • We do not run traditional courses
  • We do not grant degrees
  • We are not out to get accreditation
there are some dangers, which could happen e.g.: how can you prove, that the user is really the user and not an expert, who (s)he hired?
But, if Mr. Hemingway wants to do this on behalf of his school I think he can do this, by using material from Wikiversity and then his organization (Rochester NH public schools) can certify, when they have found a way to do this.
But Wikiversity does not give degrees. ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 10:32, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
I was not aware that this was considered a settled question, but rather something put forth for future review after Wikiversity was well established. Yes, I know that Wikiversity does not grant degrees or diplomas, but there certainly have been many Wikiversity participants over the years (yes, years) that have strongly suggested that at some point in the future that such sort of diploma or degrees might indeed be granted. I was strongly suggesting that if such a course of action were to take place, that it would be with educational institutions just as this educator has suggested.
The standards for accreditation of a High School program aren't nearly as strict as what is needed for university type accreditation as well, which is also why I brought this up at this time. For those Wikiversity participants who want to follow this line of thought and try to establish such a program, this is an opportunity to do so. Establishing a GED program would IMHO be a very good first step in that direction.
BTW, the main reason for the "No degree" clause in the Wikiversity charter is to make it clear that Wikiversity hasn't achieved anything even resembling accreditation that would be necessary in order to grant those degrees, and that the WMF isn't going to directly finance and support any such effort to gain accreditation. That is something that must come from within the Wikiversity user community first if it is ever going to happen. There has also been some very significant resistance on the part of the WMF board of trustees that the topic even be broached, but it has and it is consistant that the topic is talked about. --Robert Horning 11:34, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Hello Robert, you are fully right with, that this may get changed in the future, so I put this idea also at beta-Wikiversity on the relevant page, so in the future this idea/contact of person does not get lost. ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 12:24, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
It would be great if Wikiversity had a project to support people who are trying to pass the GED tests. See Wikihigh. --JWSchmidt 15:31, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Samething for all the other standardized tests, AP exams, and specialized licenses... hmm I wonder if I can set up a how to get a ham license course.--Rayc 01:14, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
Something that would be useful if someone could set up a page for each type of test, and then links to resources about that test.

Roadrunner 03:07, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I created a portal for test preparation Portal:Test preparation and a Study guide:GED stub. If someone can go through the portal and add every test and certification they can think of, we can then create the pages

Roadrunner 03:17, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia on opening screen[edit]

Why isn't Wikiversity on the language screen when you go to and how can we change that?

I think the thing to do is go to template and request that Wikiversity be added. --JWSchmidt 17:55, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Nomination of featured content for front page[edit]

Hi everyone it has been proposed that we start adding featured content to the front page. Please post your nominations here and your thoughts here on featured content. Mystictim 18:06, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Also, each major Wikiversity portal should have its own section of featured content for its own subject areas. --JWSchmidt 18:26, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Table of Content for Students
  • Eventually, there needs to be a table of content for completed and fully-working lessons. The current structure is good for people who are looking to write pages but the current system is not good for people who want to take lessons. These people want to quickly find the actual lessons which are finished and working. This new browser for students should be free of all stubs and empty or unfinished lessons. The new browser for students should only list what is working today. Robert Elliott 22:43, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Wikibooks has several categories on their "featured books" page, "completed", "well developed, usable" and "books of the month". They also have a system for marking the extent of development of books and indicating specific problems such as "poor organization" and "too many stubs". The Wikiversity portals need to do a good job of guiding people to existing educational content, but we also need to encourage students to participate in the creation of Wikiversity's educational content. Wikipedia is six years old the vast majority of the articles are still being developed. --JWSchmidt 23:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

So, maybe "collaboration of the week" instead of "Featured content"?--Rayc 05:04, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Hopefully featured content will attract editors. I think "collaboration of the week" is fine, but it is often a process that is not worth entering into unless there is first a list of editors willing to help edit a particular page. We could have Wikiversity:Collaboration of the week, where pages are nominated and a specified minimum number of editors must "sign-on" before the collaboration begins. --JWSchmidt 05:20, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Monobook Quiz[edit]

Anyone up for a monobook quiz? --Rayc 04:19, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Where is the link? The page address shown in the image is not working. Robert Elliott 13:09, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
    • It only works for me, since I've only edited my own monobook setings. I'm trying to figure out how to get it to work for everyone now.--Rayc 15:34, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Categorising learning activities[edit]

Hi I've started a project to categorise the pages that have learning activities for participants at Wikiversity. This will help identify the range of learning activities available at Wikiversity point learners in the direction of learning activities and give learning facilitators ideas for the learning activities they are creating. I've started working through this Alpahabetical list and got up to Institutional ethnography. If you think this is a useful endevour please help out. Mystictim 13:47, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

I would say this could by done by robot and there could be established a special page in a special wikiversity namespace. Anyway it could be usefull to add in if the page is active, in preparation, or finished (for temporal projects).--Juan 17:17, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
The page Learning activities lists progress so far. A robot would be great however it would be difficult to automate the process as their are many different types of learning activities. I like the idea of sub categories. I'll use the categories Completed learning activities for those pages with effective and complete learning materials and Popular learning activities for those pages that have been edited or visited the most over the last two weeks. This will give four arrangements
  1. Completed and Popular (In both categories)
  2. Completed and unpopular (only in Completed category)
  3. incomplete and Popular (only in Popular category)
  4. unpopular and incomplete (in neither category).
The complete and popular pages will look after themselves, Completed and unpopular pages will need improvements or publicising, the incomplete and popular pages should look after themselves as they are being developed, the final group of unpopular and incomplete learning activities will need individual attention. As the list of Learning activities is quite short it will be easy to add these subcategories to the appropriate pages. . Mystictim 19:41, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

"Yelling into a dark and empty cave?"
"Learning activities" must have certain elements otherwise they are no better than "yelling into a dark and empty cave". There must be specific goals and someone must be listening.
Therefore, to be a learning activity, a page must:
1. Ask the participant to do something. (Just reading and thinking about something is not enough.)
2. There must be someway to reach someone who will actually listen and reply. This can be:
A. A teacher or moderator who will reply.
B. A clear procedure for posting the answer for other participants to read and reply.
So far, none of the classes you have identified do this. Robert Elliott 16:10, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

I would add: C. Click the edit button and participate. --JWSchmidt 16:26, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Rather than an empty cave Wikiversity is more a slab of marble which is just beginning to be carved into the most beautiful monument to human achievement. Your right of course effective learning requires much more than just learning activities. However as our slab of marble hasn't taken shape yet I suggest that it isn't that useful to say what is and what isn't a learning activity. What would be useful is to identify the range of learning activities that people have already created. These will give other people ideas about creating and improving learning activities on Wikiverstiy. In a few years time we will be able to look at the Wikiversity and say yes these are the effective learning materials and this is how they can be created but for the time being we are all just chipping away at a huge block. Mystictim 00:02, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but in the meantime...
Yes, but in the meantime, how do we direct potential students to actual lessons (and not just to stubs or blank pages which say "Click the edit button to participate.") Robert Elliott 02:05, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
We need to make sure that Wikiversity portals efficiently direct visitors to the "actual lessons". Example of a portal at Wikipedia <-- note how most of the links are to encyclopedia articles with one small section down in the lower right for content development "wikiprojects". Since Wikiversity is so new, most of our portals emphasize links to our content development pages in the "School:" and "Topic:" namespaces. Wikiversity needs an efficient system of portal pages to connect visitors to "actual lessons". --JWSchmidt 03:01, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
And how will you find these actual lessons? You could search through all the articles on Wikiversity and categorise them accordingly. Alternatively you could help to categories all learning activities which will give you a shorter list to check for completed lessons. The advantage of this course of action is that not only will it make finding completed lessons easier but it will show where work needs to be done on incomplete lessons, provide a range of examples for people developing learning materials and act as a source of evidence to help develop an effective wiki pedagogy. One result of my categorising learning activities is that I've noticed just how few learning activities are present on Wikiversity. This suggests to me that we are in desperate need of clear guidance to contributers on how to create effective learning activities for their lessons. Mystictim 12:04, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree that we are in deep need of guidance to educators on creating content that could be of use to people. Added to this, we need guidance to potential learners on how they can get the most out of content that is here. Wikiversity is still very raw and rough - and, I suspect, only really welcoming to people who want to add content, or who are interested in the project's goals. Expecting people to click edit and participate isn't really good enough, without clear reasons and/or means for doing so. Having general guidelines for good practice (as Robert outlines above), or even developing some exemplars of good content, as well as notes to learners on how they can learn through participation, should really be a top priority at the moment, IMHO. Cormaggio talk 12:34, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I always mentally pictured Wikiversity as a sort of global student union where discussions would result in draft material, questions and answers which could be massaged wiki style into lesson plans, texts, and question sets for groups or individuals to work with at their own pace. For some reason the site is not sticky enough to attract large enough participation to create such groups or crowds around areas of interest to wikify. Perhaps we should be thinking about how to attract existing groups to serve as a nucleus of activity rather than depending on individuals of similar interests running into each other on the site. Mirwin 06:19, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
It took several years for Wikipedia to establish groups of collaborators who could start to function as distinct communities for particular topic areas. Established collaborations attract more participants, but getting them started in the first place is a problem. Recruiting existing groups to come to Wikiversity is a good idea, and I imagine that such recruiting is most likely to have success when you recruit experiences wiki editors. Most of the world's supply of experienced wiki editors are Wikipedia editors. One strategy is to start pages at Wikiversity for topics that are of interest to Wikipedia editors. For example, if Wikiversity had useful resources for finding good sources for articles at Wikipedia, then Wikipedia editors would come on over to make use of those resources. Another good option is to try to attract teachers who are looking to use a wiki in their conventional class. We now have Wikiversity:School and university projects and need to do some work to help make it easy for teachers to engage their students in editing projects at Wikiversity. We also need to feature and describe some examples of such projects. --JWSchmidt 20:14, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Textbook type content on Wikiversity[edit]

While categorising learning activities I've noticed that many contributors are providing textbook type content that would be better suited to Wikibooks or Wikisource. Do we need to encourage these contributor to move their work? and should we put in motion a system to help them migrate this content to Wikibooks and Wikisource?

We now have {{Welcome and advise}}. This template can be placed on Wikiversity pages that have some educational content, but that existing content seems like an encyclopedia article or a part of a textbook. Eventually we will need to be able to easily transfer content to other projects such as Wikibooks. I think User:SB Johnny was working on getting the ability for Wikibooks to import content from Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 15:31, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
The template should be very useful I've reworded it to make it more friendly. Mystictim 21:01, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps we should invite Wikibooks authors/teams to come to Wikiversity to create lists of keypoints, learning objectives, examples sets per chapter/subject, question/answer sets, etc. to help make the site come alive. If successful these activities could increase interest in their particular wiki textbook and even help get some of their textbook writing, editing, proofing and testing done. Perhaps we could interest some authors in giving brief week long seminars advertised on the Wikiversity front page for their subject and then regulars pitch in with an interesting question apiece to help make the weekly seminars come alive for casual dropins directed there by the page. We could also ask Wikipedia for an appropriate mechanism to advertise the seminars there. This might direct interested Wikipedians to some some live areas of activity on Wikiversity (and Wikibooks) rather than exposing them inevitably to the huge block of blank granite, the huge quiet cavern, the endless lists of empty course numbers, etc. Clearly the authors could take any resulting FDL'ed materials, polish it and insert it into their texts at Wikibooks. Perhaps there could be some previously empty chapter seminars. Participants could be encouraged to cite online sources to help get some scholarship done for the lead authors. Mirwin 06:31, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
We could certainly feature efforts at sister projects that are of interest to Wikiversity participants. Many Wikiversity pages point to Wikibooks textbooks and have a comment such as, "please help improve this Wikibook". We could also feature Wikipedia pages that need better sources....which is something that Wikiversity participants should be willing to help with. --JWSchmidt 17:04, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Anyway I think I will create text book with students via wikiversity and then when moreless finished it could be move to wikibooks. Is this a suitable way?--Juan 17:23, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

We are still exploring how best to do this. You can certainly start a page at Wikiversity that is a project for creating a textbook. The names of Wikiversity pages for content development projects should start with the "Topic:" prefix (see: Wikiversity:Namespaces). As soon as you identify a textbook module, you might as well create a page for it at Wikibooks. --JWSchmidt 17:46, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
This is already something that has miffed some people on Wikibooks, who think that Wikiversity is undermining that project's scope. My feeling on this is that if something is explicitly being developed as a textbook, it should be created on Wikibooks. Wikiversity could certainly act as the spark for the book, or contain resources to help create the book, but the book really does belong on Wikibooks more than here. Cormaggio talk 13:57, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
This idea pushes users of wikiversity to became the users of Wikibooks.--Juan 15:22, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Why not be both? Wikiversity and Wikibooks services is a very brief attempt to outline possibilities for cooperation between the two projects (for which there is great potential). But, despite the lack of information there, the main question here is what the purpose of specific pages/projects is - is it to create a textbook; is it to learn how to create a textbook; is it to learn through writing a textbook; is it to learn about something by using a textbook? In my interpretation of our relationship with Wikibooks, the only situation which would be exclusively applicable to Wikibooks would be the first option, ie. "creating a textbook". In the other cases, the work would be distributed between the two projects, according to each project's scope. Attempting to write textbooks completely on Wikiversity does undermine the scope of Wikibooks. However, there are ways of making this work genuinely complementary - in other words, it should always be possible to consolidate a textbook-writing project on Wikibooks with a learning community or bank of resources on Wikiversity. Cormaggio talk 14:22, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Glad someone pointed out this template. I've been trying to encourage people in the Languages to avoid reproducing work already at Wikibooks. The Jade Knight 08:33, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Categorizing on a subpaged wiki[edit]

I've noted that the recent categorizing project isn't taking into account the subpages. When categorizing a page that is a subpage, it's usually a good idea to list alphabetically by the subpage, rather than the parent. We've been on a major cleanup project with this on Wikibooks the last few months.

The easiest way to do it is like this:


That way the page's category won't need renaming if it is moved later. --SB_Johnny | talk 09:40, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Just in case anybody else is as clueless as me - you substitute "categoryname" for the category's real name, but leave "{{SUBPAGENAME}}" as it is. It took me a few goes to get this right. :-) Cormaggio talk 11:20, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Oops, sorry... yeah, that's what I meant :P. --SB_Johnny | talk 11:58, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Maybe we should start a "tips and tricks" page, or some kind of wikimedia "cheatsheet" with some magic codes? Just an idea. Historybuff 17:59, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Category "tricks" can go here. --JWSchmidt 18:09, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Could someone point me to an example page where this should be used.--mikeu 16:20, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
There are many subpages in Category:Japanese that I just quickly threw into Category:Japanese. --JWSchmidt 16:34, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I just made these changes to Category:Astronomy Project An article with a long name like Observational astronomy/Extrasolar planet gets sorted based on a word in the middle of the title. I'm not sure that this is an improvement. It might be more readable to supress the Observational astronomy/ and just list the subpage name. Compare to Category:Astronomy which is the standard sort. Thoughts, anyone? (note: I have left a number of articles in both catagories to make it easier to find things while we only have a limited number of pages. Later I will probably just have Observational astronomy in the Category:Astronomy and all the Observational astronomy/Subpages in Category:Astronomy Project. Does that make sense? or is it better to just leave them in both categories?)--mikeu 16:11, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

square corners or rounded corners?[edit]

Click image to enlarge. See the discussion at MediaWiki talk:Monobook.css.

Should Wikiversity use square corners or rounded corners? Join the discussion at MediaWiki talk:Monobook.css.--JWSchmidt 15:02, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Requests for page improvements[edit]

I've noticed that their are a number of templates and categories being use to request page improvements. I feel this is a good move however we need to adopt a common approach to avoid duplicating work and sending out conflicting messages. Also I feel strongly that the messages should not put of new editors and should be welcome and encourage them to keep on participating. I've started a debate on this over at talk:Welcome templates. Mystictim 16:04, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Oops! I should have read the earlier discussion about New deletion template and Page deletions first nothing like reinventing the wheel to make you look a total fool. Mystictim 17:59, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
I looked through the entire Wikiversity main namespace this week (I suspect this is the last time I will be able to do that!) and large parts of the other namespaces. It has not been unusual for multiple people to create new pages for something without their having found the previously existing page(s) that already do the same thing. We need to be better about adding pages to categories and linking related pages. We need to work on our portal pages so that they guide Wikiversity participants to existing content. Finding relevant past discussions is a serious problem. I hope Wikiversity can eventually have a full-featured (including search) system for threaded discussions (see the wish list at MediaWiki Project). Wikiversity is accumulating many templates. Maybe we should have something like Portal:Templates that would provide a user-friendly guide to all of our templates. We already have Wikiversity:Templates. --JWSchmidt 18:22, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Botany Ink Drawing[edit]

Botany Ink Drawing is a subject, which looks for participants. You can study, by the easy way, how to make a descrtiptive drawings of tissues, organs and plants. It is mostly based on the home work and then showing of your pictures and discussion upon them. You are welcome.--Juan 18:12, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Power Point like Lessons[edit]

I think that if we could organize our lessons like power point projects we could teach our lessons with a more personal approach. I was at music class last night and I played a game talking about the history of musicians. It was organized so that I could listen to the lesson, see the text down at the bottom, and see pictures that went along with the lesson. If someone could develop software for Wikiversity that was like that it would be great. The only cost to the editor would be a microphone. Some of this may seem far fetched but it could be made avaliable to the public easily with a good software programmer. We could even have someone that would say the script while the editor wrote the script. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) ) 15:06, 13 January 2007

Anything is possible, but I'm not sure what is practically doable at this point in time. We could certainly chat more about it. Also, we have to consder that different people learn in different ways, and there isn't one best way for everybody. I do think your approach is interesting, though. Historybuff 08:03, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like you're talking about developing some sort of w:Virtual learning environment software - there has certainly been interest in doing this (or, perhaps, making an existing, open-source package 'pluggable'). I'm also not sure how 'doable' or 'far-fetched' it is - perhaps if people are interested (or even experienced in some way), they could start a page like Wikiversity:Virtual learning environment? I agree - it does sound interesting. Cormaggio talk 12:11, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I've added a stub for a Learning Project at Remote_Learning_Development, actually.

I do think this should be persued, but this is a long term (strategic) goal in my mind. When I said practical, I meant in terms of the number of wikiversity developers/students that we have currently available that might be tackle this. We could always look at what is out there in the community, of course. Historybuff 17:49, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Yeah it sounds good, but lotsa work. Why not to support OpenOffice project?--Juan 19:05, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Does OpenOffice have something for realtime group collaboration? I use it, and unless I'm blind, there is nothing in the current version. Maybe in the devlopment tree somewhere? Any clues would be good. Historybuff 21:59, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
A proposal has started along these lines at Wikiversity_talk:Sandbox_Server. It wouldn't be exclusively for the learning component, but it's one thing it can be used for.
This project needs senior member sponsors! Please lend your support. Historybuff 17:02, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Update: we have had a succesful initial test. Historybuff 05:17, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Templates for tests?[edit]

I was speaking with another contributor about tests, which seem like a needed part of any learning process. They had found a javascript piece which does tests. Would it be possible with the Wikimedia software to add this to a template for inclusion (I think JS has to be in the HEAD section)? Any pointers would be appreciated. Historybuff 08:03, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

For what it's worth, adding javascript to Wikimedia projects has made many people in the community nervous, and provoked considerable hostility on this thread from Wikitech-l (scroll through the thread by clicking 'next message'). From what I can see, allowing Java to be added does seem to have more (and more profound) issues than other filetypes - though we may want to work on figuring out how/whether java could be integrated into Wikiversity. It'd be great if people knowledgeable in this area would join the discussion.
But, as for tests, Rayc has been doing great work - some of which is located (centralised?) at Test and Quiz. I suggest you have a look around there, talk to Ray, and possibly figure out how you can work together - getting your other friend involved too. :-) Cormaggio talk 11:57, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Cormaggio, you're a psychic, the contributor I was refering to was Rayc, in fact. The thread you cited from the mailing list deals with Java, not Javascript -- Javascript being the bits of code that can be written in webpages, and Java being the bits that download a bytecode-compiled program to be run in a "Virtual Machine" on your computer. Their concerns are security focused, focusing on including arbitrary Java code. If we did have to use Java (as opposed to Javascript), we would have to weigh those issues at that time. Rayc is looking to get things distributed in a larger way, and I'm trying to figure out where that bit would go. Right now, each user has to do some magic in their own files to have the tests work. For geeks, this is fine, but is unacceptable as a general solution in Wikiversity. My thought was to include something like {{template-test}}, and let the template do the heavy lifting, if that was possible/feasible. I'm not (yet) a wikimedia guru, I was hoping to get some help and feedback on this from others, if they know. Historybuff 17:28, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Psychic I may be, but once again my technical ignorance comes shining through. Glad you found Ray - I'll leave it to yourselves (and others) to work it out for the moment :-) If it's Wikimedia tech-help you need, you could join that afore-mentioned mailing list (Wikitech-l), or join the gurus in real time on IRC (freenode) channel #wikimedia-tech (or #mediawiki). Cormaggio talk 01:25, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Right now I'm still trying to absorb the basics. Thanks for the pointers, maybe poking someone on IRC will get me some of the answers that I need. These are super technical questions, someone who is familiar with the Wikimedia software should be able to say yes or no, it's just I don't know enough yet. Historybuff 02:46, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Have you tried putting the code in to your monobook? I want some other users to beta test the monobook code before I suggest putting it into the main monobook code. There is a beta test "group" somewhere on wikiversity, I just can't remember where right now. Test the code at Test and Quiz/Sandbox/Timedredirect1 (for some reason)--Rayc 06:01, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm trying to avoid that -- I want to be able to not do it through changing user settings. Ideally, it should be activated as a template, but I can't get the template to do the necessary magic by itself. It could be that I'm lacking the magic incantation, or we might need a code change. If we do need a code change, from what I was reading, it's fairly modularly written, so we might be able to add it just to Wikiversity (and turn it on conditionally in certain templates). Historybuff 07:08, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Rayc -- I poked someone on IRC, and they said that a template should work. I will fiddle a bit and see what I can come up with. Historybuff 22:07, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

User categories[edit]

Should we start categorizing our skills so other people who need help doing X can look up and ask us? Though that process was sort of shot down elsewhere.--Rayc 06:01, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Maybe this would be a good use for Wikiversity:Personals. "baffled virgin computer user seeking computer wiz for PHP and MySQL..."--JWSchmidt 06:13, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
"baffled computer wizard tries to decipher new learning experiment"? :P
I think there is few enough of us (right now) to just pick some spot. Personals? It really does sound more like a pickup page ... I'd prefer something like w:InterFaculty Colaboration, or something similar. (I know JWS doesn't like Faculty). Historybuff 07:12, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Where and why was this idea shot down before? I think that some form of this idea is a real opportunity to provide help where and when it's needed (I am currently that baffled PHP/MySQL user, as John knows!) Cormaggio talk 10:51, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
What I've heard before is categorization of users by political points of view, religion, etc. Those are the kind of things I personally would prefer not seeing here, even though it appears to be common on English Wikipedia. Categorization by actual skills, field of education, etc. could be quite useful, however. You could even come up with shiny user boxes for that purpose ;-) sebmol ? 13:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Sebmol has identified the line that must be drawn. Here is the current formula: "In a learning project like Wikiversity it is relevant to know the interests of other users. The userboxes can be a useful way to introduce yourself to the community. Please make responsible use of these templates to develop the Wikiversity community. Templates that are counter to the educational mission of Wikiversity or otherwise disrupt the community will be deleted." Here is a Jimmy Wales quote: "Wikipedia is not a place to assess the morality of a person, their beliefs or their orientation, neither is it the place to advocate for or against a political or religious point of view." I think Jimmy was thinking of things like "sexual orientation". Here at Wikiversity it is helpful to openly share "learning orientation" and education-related experiences/skills/goals. --JWSchmidt 15:18, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Comments - while user boxes are a good idea, it takes a bit of wiki know how to know that you have a User page, that you can post things that will give you userboxes. So, while we might be able to get away with them, I don't see it being a general solution. (We could help by having a tutorial, or even a guided mechanism for doing it. Anyone know how to include Javascript in wiki pages? :))
One thing I was thinking about was student clubs (in the sometime future). The fairly diverse campuses I've been to had clubs of religion, sexual orientation, politics, culture, art, etc. I think this is a good idea. However, we don't want to have these page histories public necessarily, because we dont want casual viewers to know who they are. Is there a way to diable "general" viewing of page histories, to permit this? (Maybe something to ask devs about). Comments? Historybuff 16:32, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Things like "cohort groups" and "debate clubs" were mentioned explicitly in the Wikiversity project proposal as ways to develop collaborative learning groups at Wikiversity. There have been a few attempts to have discussion groups such as War Seminar and Science as Religion but I think there is room for development of "student clubs", maybe centered at Wikiversity:Student union. --JWSchmidt 16:53, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Another thing -- we might want to try and assess what timezone participants are in. Having signatures that are all in UTC is fine, but it doesn't give a good indication of when someone might be online. (Then again, Timezone might not be great at that for some :)). Maybe an indication of normal displacement from UTC, and approximate times one might be "at" Wikiversity. (Also, is there a way to tell who is logged in?)
Might be something we want to add to the signup procedure. Just a thought. Historybuff 14:54, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
There isn't a way to tell if someone is logged in - just a look at their contributions ([[Special:Contributions/Username]]) and see if there's anything recent. Otherwise, people could be on IRC (those who use it). Looking at userboxes overall, I've made a comment at: Wikiversity_talk:Userboxes (where this discussion could move or be copied/summarised later..) Cormaggio talk 15:19, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

"There isn't a way to tell if someone is logged in..", well, someone just came up with something like that in en wikipedia, w:User:Flameviper/status-script. As for userboxes, maybe we should rename them skill boxes, certification boxes, etc?--Rayc 03:09, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Passing variables between pages & If statements[edit]

Nuvola apps edu miscellaneous.svg
Anyone know how to do this?
I want to print a sign at the top of each page of a lesson when the lesson is "UNDER CONSTRUCTION TODAY".
Therefore, I want to pass a variable (UNDERCONSTRUCTION = "true") to all the pages of the lesson and then I want an IF statement on each page to decide if it should print the message or not.
That is:
Anyone know how to do this? Robert Elliott 15:13, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Can you just edit the template and switch between two different versions of the template? --JWSchmidt 17:58, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that is possible
Yes, you can do that but I indent to do much more with variables. I just gave a very simple example. I will probably have a different variable for each lesson and the variable will effect multiple pre-defined options in the template.
I SEE that "IF" statements are possible by looking the UPLOAD template but I don't know how to pass variables. There seems to be a lot of undocumented features of Wiki that might be very useful. Robert Elliott 19:15, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I've been trying to do something like this for 4 months with the quizzes. I've been talking with someone on the Spanish wikipedia an he stuff like that is possible using monobook functions. Though messing up in editing the all user monobook file here might cause no one to be able to access wikiversity, so I've not been bold enough to test it out.

As a stop gap for your problem, this code could work to switch from "under construction" to nothing on a given day. I'm not such which day it's currently set for without having to find a calculator, though :) How about after March?

'''This page is under construction'''

--Rayc 04:10, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

There's a page m:ParserFunctions at meta. I'm practicing with these and planning to do a subpage at MediaWiki Engine. Tips and tricks welcome. CQ 01:24, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Five month report[edit]

Hi all, I've posted an analysis (of sorts) of Wikiversity at its five-month mark (yes, it's been five months!) at Wikiversity:Reports/15 January 2007. It's already spawned a blog post - please add your own comments too.. Cormaggio talk 08:46, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Technical solutions for forking wikiversity learning projects[edit]

A few months ago we had some discussions about how different learning projects on the same topic would be a good idea, for pedagogical reasons (how a subject is taught) and/or for perspectival reasons (e.g. "Marxist economics" vs. "Social-Darwinist economics", etc.).

I came upon the idea yesterday that this could be done rather elegantly using cross-project imports, which would allow complete copies of pages to be made, including the edit histories (as opposed to copy-pasting from project to project).

I've laid out proposals for this both here and on Wikibooks. We'd need a bugzilla request for all of this to happen.

--SB_Johnny | talk 13:23, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

What would be the benefit of this, rather then transclusion?
I'm guessing that it might be having two different branches from the same topic tree. I think this would be useful, but copying the entire topic (rather then moving it cross wiki, say), might mean difficulty in relating changes.
I read the forking proposal, I'm just trying to figure out what it does exactly, and possibly make some suggestions. Historybuff 16:46, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, transclusion would bind the two learning projects in a way that might not work so well... any changes made to the page would have to be agreed upon by both, rather than just allowing each approach to alter the material as they see fit. See Wikiversity:Disclosures for a little more background on how projects on the same topic might want to alter a page for different approaches (with differences in either POV, educational philosophy, or both).
So, say you wanted to alter a basic, NPOV project to become a POV project that uses an experimental teaching approach. Rather than starting from square one, you could just make a copy of the original course, and then modify it to fit the new approach. Similar things are being done on wikibooks now using wikipedia articles, where we transwiki Wikipedia articles and then change them to fit into textbooks (often with "how-to" stuff, etc., which don't fit into the Wikipedia format). This is essentially the same thing, but instead makes a copy of the pages on the same project (we need to do a cross-project move because the software doesn't currently allow copying a page within the project). --SB_Johnny | talk 12:24, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm. Well, Ideally rather then copying, we could "branch" a new copy of the new file. There should be indications of the branch, as well as automagic inclusion of refrences. (eg in Marxist Economics is would say this is a Branch of the' Economics article. See also Economics (main article) Social-Darwinist Econmics).
I'm just brainstorming here; I have no idea how hard any of this would be to actually implement. Historybuff 14:39, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Branch, fork, same thing :), though branch has a nicer sound to it. It's very easy to implement... just press three buttons. --SB_Johnny | talk 15:26, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

This brings a more general question - when to fork and when to reference. In Topic:Java there is an excellent section Introduction to Java. While much of Topic:Java is too information dense for folks who are completely new to programming, I want to either copy or reference this one section in Introduction to Programming in Java. What would be the best solution? Dmclean 16:01, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Topic:Java is a content development project like all other Wikiversity topic pages. Anything on that Topic:Java page that is actually a learning resource should be moved to a page in the main namespace such as Introduction to Programming in Java. The Topic:Java page should have links to pages such as Introduction to Programming in Java. The Topic:Java page should be "dense" in the sense that it should concern itself with meta-level discussion about how best to help people learn about JAVA. A "less dense" guide to learning resources in computer science should be constructed at Portal:Computer Science. Portals are for people who just want to quickly find and use existing learning resources (not help develop them). --JWSchmidt 17:39, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok. Topic:Java IS a learning activity, so someone should probably move it to a learning activity page. I would suggest Programming in Java since it is less of an introduction. In the meantime, there's still this page that is part of that learning activity that I want to either copy or references. What would be the best approach? Dmclean 04:48, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I re-formatted Topic:Java as a content development project and moved the learning resources to Learning JAVA (feel free to move it to Programming in Java if you want to). "page that is part of that learning activity that I want to either copy or references" <-- Feel free to copy the existing contents of a page to a new page. Just leave a link back to the original page in the edit summary. --JWSchmidt 16:50, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Motto and slogan contests: selecting amongst tied finalists[edit]

The Motto and slogan contests finalists are tied, after approximately five months of input.

The motto contest has these finalist groups and supporters:

  • "Set learning free" group: 15 in support
  • "Open/free learning community" group: 16 in support

The slogan contest has these finalist groups and votes:

  • "Set learning free" group: 14 in support
  • "Opening minds through open learning" group: 14 in support

See contest page for details.

People made very few comments over the holidays. Input has not picked up again. I don't think we should spend more time on this contest, given very little current input and the very close ties.

If we end the contests now, we need a reasonable basis for selecting a final motto and final slogan.

So, I'll dive in and propose that we select the final groups according to best fit to the purpose of the contest:

  • 1. Motto contest: Select the "Open/free learning community" group as the winner of this contest. It better serves the original descriptive purpose of the contest: selecting a descriptive phrase about Wikiversity to accompany the Wikiversity "logo" on sister projects. "Set learning free" describes all wikimedia projects - it is not very specific. But "set learning free" is a good general statement of purpose. So...
  • 2. Slogan contest: Select the best grammatical & phrasing version from amongst the "set learning free" group to use at the top of the main page under "Welcome to Wikipedia." Since "set learning free" group was tied for both the motto and slogan contest I think this group is believed by the most participants to state Wikipedia's general purpose. Further, the "set learning free" group arguably offers a very general and inclusive description of what we are doing at Wikiversity and hence fits well at the top of the main page.

So suggested finalists: "Open/free learning community" group for motto and "set learning free" group for slogan (top of main page). In round 6 of the contest, we need to discuss on the contest pages which alternate in each group to use.

Note: I don't know if rotation of tied winners at the top of the main page is a final way to go for the slogan contest. Alternation wouldn't work for the motto -- too many sister projects.

If someone sees another way to resolve the ties above, please suggest. Or, do you agree with the above? If there are no strong objections, I'll post a version of the above on the contest page in a week. (Meanwhile, I'll point to this post from the top of the contest page.) If there is disagreement, well, what to do?

Comments? --Reswik 04:41, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like a good approach. Personally, I like "open learning community" as the motto and "set learning free" as the slogan. sebmol ? 18:03, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Agreed! I also propose to use your finalists to solicit input on whether there is consensus for any final, non-rotating choice, with basic pro/contra votes. Awolf002 01:55, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Today, per the above and selecting the two most popular alternatives per finalist group, I set up the support/selection process for round 6 of the contests. See Wikiversity:Motto contest. I'll announce this sometime in the next day or so. --Reswik 19:04, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

The idea of "Unbound teaching" could be intriguing.

I'll add this to the list of alternates maintained on a previous round contest page. --Reswik 19:04, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Note - This is already on the contest round 2 page: "Wikiversity - Learning Unbound -- User:Hector G 14:40 12 December 2006" --Reswik 23:33, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Feature request -- feedback wanted.[edit]

Its VERY hard to read this page with any flow. In fact, I'm going to be bold and suggest it is awful. The page is long, and I'm following 4 different topics. I'm scrolling all over the place, it's a pain.

This same issue will crop up in any page like this -- its the nature of the beast. My suggestion is that we have something similar to the Gmail AJAX interface, where you can click on the first line to "expand" and "contract" a message in a conversation. We should be able to use some mechanism (cookies?) to mark what the viewer has "read", and what he has "pending". (If we use cookies, this indication would break if the reader moves from machine to machine, though). We could even flag messages "since last login", that might be easier.

Just a bit of brainstorming here, I have no idea on the difficulty of this right now, though. Historybuff 15:06, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

While most of the users have come from another wiki where this is normal, this is a good outside view of the system. At present, there is a system that could handle something like that on mediawiki. We could transform the Colloquium into a transclusion page like is done on AfD on wikipedia, allowing people to add subtopics to their watch lists. Or, we could go back to archiving this page more often. What do you think?--Rayc 01:11, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Hopefully in the future threaded discussions will be built into Wikiversity. See m:LiquidThreads. This is one of the needed software improvements listed at MediaWiki Project. We do have "color coding" of posts working on Wikiversity talk pages. I find that it helps readability. Maybe we should move these discussions to the talk page or figure out how to get the shades active on this page. --JWSchmidt 01:22, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
One problem is that we are now half way into Jan. but the Dec. content has not been moved to the Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives --mikeu 17:45, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Sorry - that's done now. Cormaggio talk 11:36, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Response to Mu301: Archiving will help, but it's an unending sea. Right now, about a month fits comfortably (it seems) on the page. But as Colloquium get busier, we'll be archiving more and more often. And the archives are less likely to be read by a casual browser.

As an interim measure, is there any way we can get subsections to open/close like you can by clicking on table of contents box? I will try to see if I can figure this out too, but if a wiki guru knows already, that would help. Historybuff 14:34, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

LOL, that's the thing that I used to make the tests and the thing that doesn't work when i've got the monobook code running.--Rayc 18:01, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Cascading Protection?[edit]

Cascading protection was recently implemented. I've noticed that the Main page is protected from unregistered users, but the templates containing the content are unprotected. I'm not sure if it is really necessary to turn on cascading protection, but I don't think it can hurt. What does everyone think? --digital_me 19:44, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I have been thinking about the possibility that we could include edit "buttons" for the sections of the main page as is done at Portal:Life Sciences. I have been reluctant to get serious about this idea because of the potential for vandalism. However, cascading protection might make it possible for us allow registered users to easily edit while we could still block editing of the main page content by most vandals. --JWSchmidt 20:09, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I think this depends on the policy we want to take.
As the main page protected stands now, it's relatively difficult for a random visitor to change the page. That said, it wouldn't take a determined vandal long to circumvent such protection.
I do think that the main page should be put together by consensus, as it is the "first impression" people get of the site. 4 days isn't a long time to wait for someone legit to edit the toppage, or any subpages.
However, "cascading protection" protect everything that's transcluded into the root of the protection tree, so we have to be careful about the types of things transcluded, lest they be automagically "protected" without that intention. Historybuff 20:13, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Cascading protection would be useful, if it worked with semi-protection for all the templates transcluded in it. I was told some work was done on that but it's not done yet. Since we have so few custodians and a very calm and constructive user base (just my experience so far), I don't think completely protecting main page elements is necessary. As small as we are, being bold may fit us better than forming consensus on everything. The need for the latter will certainly come as we grow. sebmol ? 09:49, 20 January 2007 (UTC)


What is Wikiversity's policy on using OpenCourseWare materials to help structure classes? My understanding is that they are all free (but I think still copyrighted) materials. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Veritas (talkcontribs) 06:08, 20 January 2007 (UTC).

MIT's OpenCourseWare is under a non-commercial license. This kind of restriction to non-commercial uses is not compatible with the GFDL. Many Wikiversity pages have links to OpenCourseWare learning resources. --JWSchmidt 14:18, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
For some more details, you might want to read this Wikipedia article. Free as in no cost isn't free enough, for us to use it it has to be free as in free speech not free beer :-) Michael Billington (talkcontribs) 01:25, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. All you really had to say was that the content needed to be open-source. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Veritas (talkcontribs) 03:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC).
Veritas, it's not that simple :). While we can't use OpenCourseWare as content here, there wouldn't be a problem with using it as a supplementary text or learning module. We're trying to build completely flexible content, but that doesn't mean at this time we can't refer to and make good use of other (offsite) content (copyrighted textbooks, OpenCourseWare's Creative Commons non-commercial licence). You just have to think a bit outside the box. Historybuff 04:19, 22 January 2007 (UTC)


Is there a way for audio to play within the browser?--Elatanatari 22:50, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Hello Elatanatari, yes. Just try it - drag and drop your media format into it. If it does not work, probably you will have to download a plugin for the browser. Probably it does not work, that is why you ask. What kind of format you want to play? ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 05:19, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Im trying to see if oggs can play in browser instead of the file having to be downloaded. Like this--Elatanatari 21:02, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Hello Elatanatari, well you have to find a plugin to do this. For Mozilla perhaps here the WMP plugin (last on that page) might do (did not try). And if ogg would not work, try converting from ogg to another format where you find a plugin for. Also, if you use this in the project/course you want, tell your participants to download the plugin. CU, ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 21:26, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
I think having a sound file play automatically in a wiki page is impossible, since it would allow that page to access another program on your computer. If that was possible, people could put virus in. Maybe there is a work around, but I can't think of it.--Rayc 02:26, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

ThanksElatanatari 16:49, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

So nothing like this:javascript:popWin('/cgi-bin/') would work? Found it on Merriam-WebsterElatanatari 16:49, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

That's a wave file, which most browsers have a plugin for already. We can suggest that they download a plugin, and then it will play by default, or provide links to off-site resources in non-OGG format. Historybuff 17:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, there seems to be a way for people to put javascript on a wiki, m:Google Ads Monobook, but there are a bunch of warnings against it.--Rayc 23:39, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

So there rnt any ogg plug-ins for this type of thing?Elatanatari 21:37, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

There is work ongoing on both Ogg audio and video - documented at m:Embed Media, and being worked on here. This question comes up quite frequently - however, I'm not sure how advanced the work is.. Cormaggio beep 00:02, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
The monobook quiz code opens another window with a push of a button. I wonder if you could get that to open a wave file.--Rayc 20:29, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Give this a look: JOrbisPlayer Beta for Wikimedia. --JWSchmidt 14:22, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

project incubator[edit]

Hi, there is a project in the German Wikiversity, where projects/courses or other things can be put in a project incubator. I think this idea is nice and needs to be distributed so it gets more attention. There is yet no English translation available, but I hope soon it will be.


----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 16:17, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

As it seems, it is better, if I translate it, will start now with this and set here the link then. ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 17:48, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
I have translated the framework now here. But I need someones help about the design. As you can see in the German page it looks nicer (I like the red tone). I will continue translating the subpages, so you could somehow work on the design please. Thx, ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 18:18, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Finished, please have a look and use it as much as possible :-) ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 19:58, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Looks good.--Juan 18:12, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi Juan, there is already a brainstorming on the way for a project global warming (project name not fix): you want to add some ideas? ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 19:04, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Scientific Research[edit]

I havent been to beta for a long. So how it is about scintific research? Can I make a scientific research personnaly right now? And how to categorize it if its possible?--Juan 18:18, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Feel free to start a research project. There is Category:Research. --JWSchmidt 18:32, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I've just set up Portal:Research/Researchers for people to list themselves as interested in doing research (of any kind). Cormaggio beep 20:11, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

wikipedia links to wikiversity[edit]

Go to the wikipedia w:astronomy page. Under w:astronomy#External links there is a box (w:Template:sisterlinks) titled "Find more information on Astronomy by searching Wikipedia's sister projects:" that includes this link to wikiversity: Special:Search/Astronomy The search engine only returns results that are in the main namespace, so this search does not return the primary astronomy page which is Topic:Astronomy. So, I added a box (w:Template:Wikiversity) under w:astronomy#See also that says "At Wikiversity you can learn about: Topic:Astronomy" We should try to coordinate better with wikipedia to provide links to the content here that we know is directly related to the wikipedia article. See also w:Wikipedia:Sister projects#Wikiversity

I'm not sure it is a good idea to direct people from Wikipedia to pages in the "Topic:" namespace. Wikiversity Topic: pages are content development projects where editors plan and develop learning resources. Links to Wikiversity from Wikipedia should go to pages in the main namespace...actual learning resources. If Wikiversity does not have a main namespace page for a topic like Astronomy, you can make one. If you have to, it can be a re-direct to another astronomy-related page. --JWSchmidt 18:21, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Originally astronomy was a school, then it got merged into the school of physics and astronomy and a seperate dept. of astronomy was created at Topic:Astronomy. Anyway, are you saying that we should not link from wikipedia to schools in wikiversity (for broad subject areas like astronomy or physics.) For instance from w:Portal:Astronomy or w:Portal:Physics to a wikiversity School: or perhaps Portal: page.--mikeu 22:35, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Originally there was b:Wikiversity:School of Physics and Astronomy which was a list of existing resources and a plan for a set of additional learning resources that would be developed. Then for a while there was a School of Astronomy that was a similar plan for learning resources about astronomy. It might be useful to have a link from the Wikipedia astronomy content development project to Topic:Astronomy. If you do not want to link w:Astronomy to an existing Wikiversity main namespace page and you do not want to make Astronomy you could make Portal:Astronomy as a page that would provide user-friendly access to all Wikiversity learning resources about astronomy. --JWSchmidt 23:17, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
BTW, the link above for the Wikipedia project should be: astronomy content development project. I'll try to get around to creating a portal page. A few weeks ago I added a few user-friendly bits to Topic:Astronomy like Topic:Astronomy/Help desk and links to the activities that I'm developing. Right now I'm working on editing the content pages which need a lot of polishing. There's really not much in the way of astronomy resources that are usable yet.--mikeu 16:59, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Developing Wikiversity through action research[edit]

Hi all, I'd like to invite anyone interested in developing Wikiversity to participate in a new project: Developing Wikiversity through action research. For me, this is two things: an opportunity to develop Wikiversity through action research, and also a PhD project-in-progress. Despite this latter point (and as I've said on User:Cormaggio/My? research and the participants page), I very much want this to be a collaborative research project. You're very welcome to take a look around and edit/comment as you see fit. I look forward to working with you all. (More details also on Developing Wikiversity through action research/About). Cheers! Cormaggio beep 23:50, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

New life[edit]

Is it just me, or have things suddenly gotten much more active around here? Must be a bunch of people found us over Christmas break.--Rayc 04:01, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

More likely that people are more active on sites like this after the holiday season is over. Mirwin 04:58, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, I certainly didn't do much here over the holiday season. :-) But looking at the traffic statistics from alexa, traffic peaked in mid-December, fell off for the second half (to correspond with the beginning of the fundraiser), and has since been more-or-less wobbling around its mean (to my eyes, at least). We are growing in size and activity though - the stats pages written by Erik Zachte are always informative (though in Wikiversity's case they are slightly distorted, as they include data from pages that were imported from other projects.) Also, the stats for December and January won't be available on those pages until the next database dump, presumably.. Cormaggio beep 10:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Spam bot page[edit]

Sorry folks, can't find the templates but needs attention anyway - Wikiversity talk:Main Page/ is a spam bot page that has arrived on at least four Wiki's at the same time. IP is now blocked on two other Wiki's (by me on Wikibooks) as no valid edits have come from that IP and it is a repeat offender of this type of page - regards --Herby talk thyme 09:50, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I've deleted the page and blocked the IP. For such situations, I recommend posting on WV:RCA. sebmol ? 10:00, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, noted --Herby talk thyme 10:50, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Lesson Plans[edit]

I've been keeping an eye on the site for the last few months, and am really excited about how it is coming along. I am a high school teacher and am wondering if there were any plans to make this a place for teachers to share and design lesson and unit plans? It seems like it would be a great addition to this site.

Thanks for your input! Ms. Landau 14:00, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

The first item in the mission statement of the Wikiversity project proposal: "Create and host a range of free-content, multilingual learning materials/resources, for all age groups in all languages". This mission includes the idea of teachers as Wikiversity editors who "share and design lesson and unit plans". So far, many Wikiversity editors have been thinking about resources for college students. We need some serious attention towards organization of editing efforts for Category:High School. --JWSchmidt 14:51, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Example of a "Lesson Plan"?
Ms. Landau, please post a lesson plan so I can see what you are talking about. I have a general idea but I need to see a specific example of a lesson plan to get a better understanding of your goal. Robert Elliott 15:43, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
There are a few examples of lesson plans in Wikiversity - eg. Lesson Plan for Hard Slab Construction and Primary ESL - The first class: Greetings - as well as a page on how to write a lesson plan on Wikiversity: Wikiversity:Creating a lesson plan (though this needs considerable work to be of real use to anyone). Overall, this is definitely something that we can and should be doing - allowing people to see how particular people see particular materials to be used, and be able to either comment on these uses, as well as add their own lesson plans for the same material to comply with their conception of how they could be used. But thanks for the comment, Ms. Landau - and it'd be great if you could help us further with making Wikiversity more relevant to high school teachers, for example.. Cormaggio beep 20:02, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Hey there, thanks for your comments. Basically, as a high school teacher I'm always looking for new an innovative ways to share the materials I use in my classroom along with borrow ideas from other teachers. There are a ton of lesson plans on the web (If you google "history lesson plans" you'll get an incredible number of hits) but many of us struggle to sort through the information for what is on the topic we are trying to teach, along with what is appropriate for a grade level and school population (for example, lessons at a private high school versus an inner city school are going to be very different due to needs of students and available resources). It seems like wikiversity would be a great place to organize and make the information accessible to high school teachers.
Basically, a lesson plan is the activity (or sometimes series of activities) one does in a classroom to teach a topic. While in the past, most lessons were taught mainly through lecturing and testing, there is a movement in the education field to make schooling more authentic rather than just a series of memorized facts. This makes designing lessons far more difficult to construct as you cannot rely on lectures to get your point across.
One example of a lesson I just did for an 8th grade class that would be considered more relevant was part of a unit on Ancient Rome. The students researched aspects of daily life in Ancient Rome, and then were required to (in groups) write a travel guide for imaginary time travelers wanting to go to Ancient Rome. This required the kids to no just memorize facts about Rome, but to compare and contrast daily life in Rome with their own lives, thus making the material more relevant. An actual lesson plan would have more written out (Usually includes at least goals, needs of student prior to lesson, objectives, method, and evaluation technique) but it would be great to have a place to share this information with other teachers.
I'd be happy to help. I'm not very computer savvy, but please let me know if I can be of assistance to this site. I think you guys are doing a great thing! Ms. Landau 03:36, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Nuvola apps edu miscellaneous.svg
Thoughts about Lesson Plans in a Wiki environment
I looked at sample lesson plans on the Internet (Example). Here are some thoughts.
  • The advantage of putting lesson plans on Wikiversity is anyone can add to the lesson plan. Hopefully, that means the lesson plans will continue to get better and better over time. But if you have watched Wikipedia, you will also see that there is a lot of arguing about what should and what should not be included. Also, eventually, there will be a requirement that all content of a lesson plan list the source.
  • Lesson plans which rely on pictures might have a problem. The only pictures allowed on Wikiversity (and Commons) is public domain pictures and illustrations. None of the illustrations in the above example can be included on Wikiversity.
Probably the best way to test this is for you to begin putting your lesson plans on Wikiversity. Let us know if you need help Robert Elliott 03:06, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely, please add lesson plans to Wikiversity! Copyright needs to be taken into consideration - but Wikiversity allows for most free licences (exception being "non-commercial" licences), not just public domain. On the content of plans - I hope we won't have similar problems to Wikipedia, by virtue of the fact that on Wikipedia, people are arguing over a single article, whereas on Wikiversity, there will be multiple resources and plans related to any given topic. Cormaggio beep 10:17, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Also note that lessons can be a part of a learning project. See Help:Contents and Template:Learning project boilerplate to see how some other pages on Wikiversity are organized. But best of all, be bold and upload some lesson plans! -kslays 21:06, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

planet search[edit]

There is a new Astronomy Project to search for extrasolar planets. We're looking for some volunteers to help sort through telescope data to find planets orbiting distant stars. Wikiversity will participate in the Systemic Project which is run by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. See Systemic Planet Hunting for an overview. Once we get a couple of people signed up I'd like to create a learning group where we can compare notes and document the search process to create an extended learning activity about exoplanets. No prior experience is needed, we'll give you step by step instructions on how to get started and answer any questions that you have. The project page is at Observational_astronomy/Extrasolar_planet and you can sign up here. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to know more.--mikeu 14:12, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Scope of Research[edit]

Wikiversity was set up in its "beta phase", with a view to reviewing its progress at the six-month mark, particularly around the working out of a scope for research within Wikiversity. These have been developed at the "beta" Wikiversity - but they still need to be worked out with some sense of clarity. Specifically, we need to answer questions like: Will Wikiversity allow for the addition of research papers? (by what process, if so?), and: Will Wikiversity allow original research to be carried out within Wikiversity? (again, by what processes?). I'm not fully confident that we can truly get this done (between all languages) by the 15th (six-month mark), but I'd be happy to be wrong! Please pitch in if you're interested. Cormaggio beep 15:55, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I think this translation process is the thing that is hamstringing the disscussion. I know that I've been able to talk to a person on the spanish wikipedia about the monobook stuff just fine using babelfish. Also, Beta seems to be not that active. What if we agreed to have non-uniform standards from wiki to wiki on research, such that each group could create it's own policy? Once all the groups have policies, then we can start compairing and seeing what works and what doesn't.
As to the matter at hand, we are already hosting Papers, Reseach projects, and other orginal research.--Rayc 20:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
If you are interested in being able to have original research as part of Wikiversity, please read this page. The Wikiversity community was asked to have one set of rules that covers research for Wikiversity websites in all languages. I think the key issues have been discussed and sorted out during the past several months. Now we just need to write a set of policies.
I think it would be a mistake to adopt separate policies for different language versions of Wikiversity. This would mean that something which would be explicitly excluded by one language might simply be translated with babelfish and be resubmitted to a different WV project which would accept it. We should come up with something workable for all, and foster a community where there is exchange and communication, so that all languages can take advantage of research, regardless of what its language of origin is. Historybuff 16:38, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Allowing original research within a WikiMedia Foundation project is a major change for the Foundation. Finding a good way to deal with this change is not the kind of thing that should be open to typical wiki-style experimentation. We want to get it right the first time. This requires a written plan that will be evaluated before original research is approved as a component of Wikiversity. Yes, we have some research projects now, but they could all be terminated if the Wikiversity community does not invent a system to deal with the potential problems that can come from allowing original research activities. --JWSchmidt 17:26, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Maybe it would be good to write the possible future problems which could spring from original research. After that we can find tools how to prevent them.--Juan 15:53, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
I started to write up some of my thoughts on the astronomy projects that I'm working on here, or planning, at Observational astronomy/Planning. Some of the ideas involve research and I would welcome any comments or feedback. I'll try to write up some more detailed descriptions of the things I'm working on.--mikeu 03:44, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
I would recomend to include research activities in a special regime for several month. During that time the policy can be developed. I would say 25 month or something like that. Than there should be written what is Wikiversity Research (not all language mutations understand this the same way like English users).--Juan 15:53, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
"write the possible future problems which could spring from original research" <-- This process started six years ago when Wikipedia started. The decision was made to not allow original research at Wikipedia because of the danger of editors trying to include bogus ideas in the encyclopedia. During the past 5 months there has been discussion[2], [3], [4], [5], [6] of the potential problems that would arise from including original research within the Wikiversity project. We now have months of experience that show the types of original research projects that are likely to be started by Wikiversity participants. I think we now know enough to write a first draft of Wikiversity policies that would govern research activities within Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 16:41, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Is it possible to write a set of policy which is slightly restrictive at first, but with enough flexibility so that there is some mechanism that wikiversity can incorporate more research activities in the future?---Hillgentleman|Talk 11:28, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

This sounds reasonable to me. --JWSchmidt 14:14, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

project status reports[edit]

I am looking for help with developing a high level dashboard report to relay technology project status to senior executives. I would like to see some example reports that report in a single page graphic form the progress of the project against the project schedule and budget. Graphs showing earned value would be a great addition. Sections for additional comments are needed as well.

Are you interested in creating this software or do you need help finding existing software? --JWSchmidt 19:46, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
"Single page graphic form the progress of the project", sounds like a project timeline. Would this be helpful? --Rayc 20:47, 26 January 2007 (UTC)


OK. I've suggested that Wikiversity joins the SchoolForge coalition and Ben Armstrong from the Debian-Jr project and others have come to Wikiversity. Cormaggio I think is going to run the idea by the Special projects committee at Meta. Other networking is going on. See and open Talk:SchoolForge if ya wanna. CQ 20:43, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Just to be clear, I wouldn't run anything by the Special Projects Committee until it is clear what's being proposed, and that the Wikiversity community supports it. If, however, it's just a case of individual people networking, this is obviously something that anyone can do. Cormaggio beep 12:56, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
And this networking can be done at our local Talk:SchoolForge page, eh? I wont open the conversation myself, but I'll keep thinking about how to expand Wikiversity:Wikiversity outreach, particularly along the lines of meshing with the much-closer wikimedia sisterprojects. Wikipedia:WikiProject WikipediaWeekly boils to the top of my kettle. I think that project's activities should be of key concern to our journalism department. • CQ 14:59, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Can't we host other learning activites on our site? If SchoolForge wants to come in and host stuff here, let them. No need to go to the Special projects committee, which will mandate concensous on Beta, before a work group can set up a en-wikiveristy policy that will need approval of the community at large before the project to coordinate the intergration of material between the two sites is set up. Just let them do it now. (Can you tell I dislike red tape?)--Rayc 21:30, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. The SchoolForge page is a low cost way for SchoolForge and Wikiversity to expand their horizons... CQ 21:36, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Doh! I just found the well-developed SchoolForge-UK chapter wiki. I put a Wikiversity page up over there with some introductory info about us. --CQ 19:25, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Testing chat and discussing the Wikiversity:Sandbox Server[edit]

After our initial success, we'd like to try and add a few more participants and do something useful with this. JWS suggested that we have a general topic of the Sandbox server. This is a live voice chat we are trying to coordinate, and if you'd like to help out or participate, please add your name at Talk:Wikio#Second_Session.

Sounds very good! Thats what wikiversity urgently need.--Juan 21:56, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Motto and slogan contests, round 6[edit]

Please help us select a final variant from each finalist group here: Motto and slogan contests, round 6.

The motto contest finalist is the "open/free learning community" group. The slogan contest finalist is the "set learning free" group.

As round 5 of the motto and slogan contests resulted in two close ties, the finalist groups were selected per discussion in this string above, Motto and slogan contests: selecting amongst tied finalists.

Thanks very much for your participation, Reswik 15:11, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

LOL "Welcome to wikiversity, where it takes us 6 months to agree on a slogan!"--Rayc 21:24, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Link to Wikiversity[edit]

Is it possible for a school management body website to have a link on its Education page to the Wikiversity website? Thank you. AnnD

I'm not sure why you are asking if another website can link to the Wikiversity website. I wonder if you are asking if this "school management body" can have a page here about itself. Part of the Wikiversity mission is to provide links to online learning resources. Wikiversity is not a platform for commercial enterprises to advertise education-related products. Wikiversity is devoted to free education. Wikiversity provides server space for public domain and copy-left learning materials. Wikiversity provides links to online learning resources that are available for free to students and teachers. Wikiversity also evaluates and links to online materials that are made available at low cost as part of the open software movement. Wikiversity has some pages about how to use some types of commercial software that might be particularly useful for creating learning resources. Wikiversity has pages about other organizations that are also devoted to the development of the free culture movement. --JWSchmidt 16:09, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
In answer to your question, yes, you may link to us.--Rayc 20:21, 30 January 2007 (UTC)


who has the most power in goverment what do different people have to do in goverment and what people have a say?

We really need to point people to Help Desk better. Answer: Depends on which government, what type of power, and what say.--Rayc 20:24, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

mediawiki Extensions folder[edit]

Does anyone know where this is and how someone could get access to it?--Rayc 20:42, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

What are you looking for? I'd guess custodians might have access. Did you want to add an extension? Historybuff 17:01, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I wanted to add the wikiquiz extension, but it requires placing things into the mediawiki extensions folder, and I have no ida where that would be located.--Rayc 01:37, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
That would need to be done by Wikimedia server admins. Has the extension been used on any other Wikimedia project? Do you know if it is stable? sebmol ? 07:00, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
It's in "Beta 4" if that helps... here is all I know about the extension: m:Wikiquiz--Rayc 18:24, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

It's in the sever it's self. Does anyone know who has access to the file system for wikiversity?--Rayc 22:03, 6 February 2007 (UTC)