Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/October 2006

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


1-7 October, 2006[edit]

Copied from Talk:Wikiversity/Modified project proposal[edit]

Wikiversity needs to also release the power of the computer to engage the learning potential of its users. Wikiversity can do this be creating a virtual private instructor, ever able to guide the student with multimedia content focused on helping the student take the next right step. To do this it will be necessary for a student's progress be retained in memory and utilized to optomize the time the student spends by finding that next most important step. That is what an actual private instructor would do, and a virtual instructor would be limited without curriculum and guidance based on progress. (source)

There is a programmer or possiblyt a team who is interested in these kinds of bots or personal assistants at Wikipedia. His/their bot reviews your accounts most recent edits and then provides a list of topics of possible particular interest to you that you may wish to read or edit. If you wish to get in contact with them I think there is a URL to the bot on my mirwin user talk page at Wikipedia. 70.110.38.247 03:41, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
I think it's called User:SuggestBot--Rayc 03:47, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

What's this thing you call "light"?[edit]

instead of answers we all know already, talking about the "bipolar" constituition of the luminosity:mass and energy,or the quantun theory, i suggest a new discussion about this old subject, from both scientiic and philosophic poits of view.

Well, "light" is certainly a rich topic of educational material - and I encourage you (and anyone else who is interested) to explore your interests from a variety of socio-historical, scientific, philosophical, and/or interdisciplinary angles. But we will also obviously need to develop materials based on what we "already know" - we will need to work through these fields from absolute introduction to science all the way to a method of inquiry that constitutes original research. Cormaggio 10:19, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure if scientists know what light really is. On a very deep level, it is still quite a fascinating thing. That reminds me, I should write Philosophies of science somewhere. --HappyCamper 04:46, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
I believe it is noted that light is NOT matter. However it is something else. We know it is produced by stars and other things, but we do not know exacly what it is. See: laser --Kirby145 07:19, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Good educational content/communities[edit]

Hi all - I've been away for some time now (practically since Wikiversity started), but I'm now 'back to business' as far as Wikiversity is concerned. However, in my absence, I've almost entirely missed out on what we've been doing here since being set up. I've no idea where all the good content is that has been in development (apart from a page on Media literacy, which I've been watching since it began). But this made me think that we need, in general, a collection of links to good content in one page - akin to the featured articles on Wikipedia. This would help newcomers see what kind of material they could aspire to creating, or at least give some indication as to what Wikiversity is about. This obviously applies to learning projects/communities as well as content. Perhaps, though, it is still very early to have developed content that we are proud of, and can display to others who are interested in this project's mission and vision. But if good content and/or learning communities exist, we should make it/them more easily visible (ie from the main page). And, I don't know - maybe a page like this already exists, but, like I said, I've been away for a while... :-) Cormaggio 13:54, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

We have Wikiversity:Featured, but it has never been developed. Maybe each of the major portals should have its own featured content and start by identifying one item to feature. We also have a content improvement project that identifies frequently visited pages and calls for their improvement. --JWSchmidt 19:38, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Ok, thanks. And slightly expanding on my point/question, I was thinking we should not only guide people to good educational material in a specific area, but also give examples of specific types of material, eg. quizzes, interactive "games", activities such as "fill-the gap", essays, research projects etc. Maybe some of this is still a bit off in the future, but it is definitely something we should be aspiring to do - not simply recreating a text-heavy Wikibooks/Wikipedia-type format (if you get my meaning). Cormaggio 11:05, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
School:Music seems to be rather healthy. --HappyCamper 04:43, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
I've set up Wikiversity:Examples, hopefully to complement Wikiversity:Featured, though maybe you will think they should be merged. Please discuss further here or on its talk page. Thanks. Cormaggio 21:39, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Useful project or are we used as a hosting service?[edit]

Did you all see the 'orphaned' page UIUC PHIL 270? Could this become a useful lesson or is WV used as a hosting service by these learners? Any idea how to decide that? If it is useful it needs to be added to a project or a department... Awolf002 19:14, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

It's absolutely relevant to Wikiversity, I think - though possibly needs modification (such as the reference to the professor in question). Still, this raises the larger issue I was going to bring up - whether/how we are going to facilitate the development of mini-communities within Wikiversity. This, after all, was always my own vision of a practical way of allowing people to develop learning materials different from other people's material, and set within a specific pedagogy, for example. Still, this then begs the question of how "autonomous" these learning communities are - they will obviously need to conform to general policy, but are they free to do whatever they want to do beyond that? My tentative answer is "yes". However, I'm not sure if I've explained myself well enough - so let's continue this diuscussion. Cormaggio 19:41, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Wikiversity needs an addition to policy for how to deal with homework. Yes, Wikiversity supports collaborative learning, but some instructors expect their students to do their own homework. Wikiversity cannot be a place that supports cheating. Students have to be discouraged from posting the answers to homework assignments that they are expected not to share. Some students run online systems for homework sharing in which they copy the work of others and submit it to their teachers as if it was their own work. Wikiversity can have no role in supporting such forms of dishonesty. I think we need a policy that says anything posted to Wikiversity that looks like a list of homework assignments for a course needs to be validated as being acceptable to the instructor for the course. This particullar course might be Philosophy of Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It should not be too difficult to find the instructor for this course and find out if they mind students working collaboratively at Wikiversity. If the instructor is open to collaborative studying for the course, then we can welcome the students with open arms. --JWSchmidt 21:20, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

(After edit conflict) I agree with your sentiment that we are here to bolster the creation of "learning communities"! So, the content of the page in question is clearly a good starting point. However, I was concerned that it seems to be "hidden away" from the rest of WV. We need to make sure that each of these communities is open for new people to join in, and do not form "secret corners" in the WV server space. Maybe, this needs to spelled out somewhere and we should find a mechanism to "tag" such orphaned pages, so other learners can help in "sorting" them into a curriculum or learning project. What do you people think? Awolf002 21:23, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

To JWSchmidt: It's interesting you bring this up, especially as it is this very reason that the UK Government today has announced that coursework (eg. essays written at home) are to be abandoned in favour of exams, in order to disallow "cheating", specifically downloading material from the internet and passing it off as their own. But I'm still not sure how students creating or developing a space on Wikiversity would constitute cheating (even without the knowledge of their teacher/lecturer).
To Awolf002: Orpaned pages are "tagged" at Special:Deadendpages (there are quite a lot of them) - but the point you make is right - that we need to promote the awareness of different groups working within different systems/methods so as (hopefully) to enrich our understanding of a subject, or simply to promote diversity. I would suggest that all such communities are linked from either a School or a Portal (whichever is the most appropriate, or whichever exists). Cormaggio 22:50, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I already orphaned some of the pages in History of Quebec and Canada/Study Guide, and put them under the history department. In this case, it look like a Canadian high school teacher or student is doing it. A bigger problem I see is how will we piggon hole people to work on other people's stuff? I mean, how can we get other people to work on UIUC PHIL 270, when they will never take that class? At least, change the name. Also, we have Topic:Film production, Wikiversity the Movie, 3DTheater.org, Collaborative play writing, which seems to be doing close to the same thing.--Rayc 23:23, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, surely, we should be encouraging people to work on "other people's stuff" - this is a wiki; but we can also provide for different communities working in different ways. Wikiversity will be different to Wikipedia - there will be many types of material on the one subject, as opposed to the one definitive account. It's the only way to encourage people to contribute on their own terms - it's not a case of "pigeon-holing" anyone - it's the exact opposite, I think. Cormaggio 00:22, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
"I'm still not sure how students creating or developing a space on Wikiversity would constitute cheating" <-- First, I doubt if there is a problem in this specific case. These look like discussion questions and I suspect that the instructor would welcome any effort by the students to explore these discussion questions in a collaborative learning environment like Wikiversity. However, some schools have strict policies about each student doing their own work. We do not want Wikiversity to show up in news reports as a website where students go to cheat on their school work. In situations where students have been told to do their own work, one student posting an answer online so that another student can copy the answer and submit it as their own work is cheating. Another potential problem is that some schools claim ownership of all their course materials. Some schools publish course notes in book format and, potentially, a school could claim ownership of their course notes including sets of homework problems - they could object to having problem sets copied to Wikiversity. I'd rather check with the instructor than just cross my fingers and hope that everything is okay. Also, this is a good opportunity for outreach. Anything we do to build contacts with educators can be good for Wikiversity in the long-term. We do not want to alienate educators in the real world by not paying attention to their interests. If we reach out and explain WIkiversity when we have a chance to do so then more and more educators will become familiar with wiki and some will start making contributions to Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 01:03, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
On another note, I'm concerned with textbook questions. I'm hesitant to provide any help regarding course materials, unless it can be shown that posting questions are okay here... --HappyCamper 11:01, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
I take John's ultimately "optimistic" word of caution above, and agree that we should respect that we have a responsibility in understanding the various contexts in which people will come to Wikiversity - but I don't think we need to get tied up in knots over the answering of a question. Having said that, however, I don't think we should be about giving answers anyway - but rather be more of guides or facilitators in helping co-construct people's learning. Wikiversity is not intended to be a compendium of answers, or a place where an easy answer may be obtained, but rather is a space for learning through questioning ourselves and others about what a given problem is and how best to solve it. It's often a good pedagogical approach to being asked a question, to firstly return the question, and ask: "well, what do you think?" and have people talk out their confusion - if directed well, it can sometimes lead to a surprising flash of light... Cormaggio 22:55, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Please keep an eye on Talk:UIUC PHIL 270. Perhaps the poster will return with the instructor. (Who can tell?) CQ 00:47, 19 October 2006 (UTC)


Many forms of knowledge are bested verified as understood with specific data reached as a result of specific procedures. If asked what the maximum safe heat transfer is in a nuclear reactor component or the torque developed by an electric motor component at a specific field strength or wave form few superiors would be impressed by paraphrasing the question and asking what they think. I agree with John that we should specify a no cheating policy and ask students to verify fuzzy activities with their instructors. The same policy can point out that Wikiversity actively seeks to contact specific instructors whose materials are being routed through our site. I am willing to spend a few hours a months contacting instructors via email. I can outline a policy and procedure to precede a list of people willing to contact instructors if there is any further interest in pursuing this in a published non threatening (most cheaters will move on once they see active discouragement and coordination with instructors) manner. In other words I would rather warn cheaters and implement procedures that encourage them to move on than to catch them or participate in entrapping them. Mirwin 04:25, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Maybe contacting instructors of "real world" courses that are mentioned in Wikiversity should be a routine part of Wikiversity outreach.
Excellent condensation. A welcome side effect might be that soon the instructors will be watching for problems while participating a bit. 71.161.12.125 09:45, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
I think Mirwin has provided something that embodies a solution to several problems:
  • What level of autonomy shall learning communities enjoy while using the Wikiversity website?
  • How can we establish and maintain a working relationship with ...specific instructors whose materials are being routed through our site.
  • In what manner will Wikiversity actively seek to contact leaders of other institutions that may desire some level of control while their students may be building recognizable counterparts to their course materials. (The instructors should surely be aware that their materials can easily find their way here.)
I think Mirwin has essentially commited to a social contract with WV to help develop a policy and procedure that can be propogated to our external academic environment (The "real-world" schools). I thus, follow up by offering to match his effort. I explicity now support all that he has set forth.
As for the autonomy of learning communities, i think a definition is in order. In the context further upthread, the isolated example – UIUC PHIL 270 well represents the various contexts in which people will come to Wikiversity and should be a good place to start the process. It is not outside of reason, that we – Wikiversity participants that live near w:Champaign, Illinois, might even arrange a face-to-face conference on that campus. For this enterprise, I cheerfully volunteer. (My GF lives up that way).
I thus recommend that we advertize (via those emails and other publications mentioned above) a statement something like:
Wikiversity is here to provide an independant open platform for education through a Free Global Internet.
Wikiversity is not interested in catching cheaters nor participating in entrapping them for disciplinary purposes. At the same time, Wikiversity shall not become a repository for materials intended to allow illicit publication of that which can be construed as resources for cheaters. Cheating is explicitly discouraged throughout this website.
Template:Warning to Cheaters |

Template:CollegeNotice | Template:CollegiateAward

The above Templates can be placed politly on pages:
  • Template:Warning to Cheaters: A demerit issued as a mild warning on orphaned articles
  • Template:CollegeNotice: A tactful notification to students, reminding them that they should inform their intructor when posting references to his or her materials here.
  • Template:CollegiateAward: A merit issued as an award for student groups that exhibit Honest Efforts toward the creation of high-quality materials written responsibly in their own words that are of value to the larger Wikiversity Community. This merit can increase in value if those students strive to establish a working relationship between the institution that they attend, its faculty and Wikiversity.
A fourth template – Template:ParticipatingCollege
{{PAGENAME}} is a learning resource provided by students of {{CollegeName|ID}} for learning about {{SomeSubject|ID}}
I hope this is helpful. E Pluribus Unix! CQ 17:14, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
A guide to Wikiversity participation for students and teachers from classes in the bricks-and-mortar world should probably be provided at Wikiversity:Learning goals and Wikiversity:Wikiversity teachers. --JWSchmidt 18:30, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

More information about the course[edit]

Hello everyone, I'm the principal poster for the UIUC PHIL 270 entry. I would have responded earlier had I read your concerns before now. I'll provide a summary of what we've been doing and let you continue on your discussion in light of these facts. First off, the relevant course is Philosophy of Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign instructed by Professor P. Maher. I requested permission from Prof. Maher to use wikiversity - not least because I don't want to jeopardize my grade in the class - and he is happy provided we understand that he doesn't guarantee the answers are correct. Class structure: in addition to a paper, we have three exams, each consists of 12-14 questions taken verbatim off 3 respective question sheets that we go through one by one in class. On this wikiversity page, you see the answers to the second set of questions. Thus, if you take good notes and have a good memory, you can do well in the exams. We're just using wikiversity as a way of making sure we have comparable notes from class, and hence not cheating, just being sensible by studying for the exams. As I see it there are two main problems with this (from the students perspective): 1. the openness of wikiversity creates the opportunity for the free-rider problem (a problem we haven't encountered yet perhaps because only a select number of people in the class are aware of it since we're just experimenting) and 2. people from outside the class can edit the material (i.e. it matters what the prof. says in class since that's what we're examined on, so any debate about the answers given isn't necessarily useful). However, I think broadly, wikiversity has been a useful tool in the context that we're using it. It seems to me that it's enhancing our learning which is what wikiversity is for. In this particular case I'm not sure if we needed to get the prof's approval, since we can share our notes outside of this environment, I just wanted to make sure. It seems to me that prof's shouldn't have to approve of wikiversity since it's the students responsibility to study as they wish and in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations in place. Perhaps pages should be removed if the professor expressly condemns the use of wikiversity for his or her class. Also I'm not sure if I see the issue relating to very autonomous pages such as this - surely wikiversity is just catering for a demand. If you have any other questions/concerns then I'll try and respond to them. (Please don't remove this page before Monday because we have an exam!) Darvo 01:57, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for keeping us informed about UIUC PHIL 270. It might be wise to have a short note at the top of the UIUC PHIL 270 page asking "outsiders" to leave their comments about the topic of the course on the Talk:UIUC PHIL 270 page (only), for the reasons you explain, above on this page. --JWSchmidt 02:07, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikia, Wales, Universities[edit]

Wikia launches semi-private university wikis
--JWSchmidt 01:22, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for this John - here's a link to the central students wikia. Cormaggio 10:58, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Self-help Courses[edit]

Is this an appropriate place to put self-help courses such as "Time Management" or "Positive Thinking?" I know this isn't exactly a copy of a university course, but would it still be acceptable here at Wikiversity? --Qwerty 23:09, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

It depends what sort of content you'd be putting on them. However, go ahead and start School:Self help if you want, all actions are reversible and if there's strong objection to it we can always delete it later. I don't see much of a problem with such a course, all that I can foresee is questions about the integrity of the content. Otherwise, its a good idea, although we really need people to work on our current schools first. --Draicone (talk) 23:48, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be a "university" course. We have high school classes, and hope to have other things outside of the secondary school system format. Anything that can be presented as a class or used in a class is (or should be) allowed.--Rayc 00:38, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
It does not need to be a "course". In my view a flamefest or lovefest chit chat can be educational and even cleaned up for alternate publishing. In engineering circles "war stories" from the water cooler are well known as ongoing educational activities. So if twenty people eventually share "time" management techniques that work for them and this encourages another forty people to chip in yes or no then clearly some learning is taking place and GPL'ed material results that can be data mined for alternate presentation or interaction formats. So .... YES! ... please add your learning experience and see if you can help it evolve into a useful experience for others here at Wikiversity or useful material for use elsewhere. My first professional boss liked his employees to maintain a daily check list and a task completed list. He reviewed these with the employees in once a month staff meetings and annual evaluations. It did seem to encourage good time managment and goal oriented task completion. Mirwin 04:37, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
If it turns out that such topics are not entirely acceptable at the Wikiversity, you might be interested in other wiki that discuss time management and positive thinking: b:Playful Organizing, b:Positive thinking, http://wiki.43folders.com/ , http://ludism.org/mentat/ , http://upliftacademy.org/wiki/ . --70.189.77.59 04:00, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

8-14 October, 2006[edit]

First impressions[edit]

I discovered the Wikiversity project just a few days ago. I'd like to offer some newbie first impressions and recommendations in the hope they might be useful. I've been in private discussion with JWSchmidt and it feels right now to go public with them.

I want to start by saying how very, very impressive are the overall goals set for the Wikiversity. However I don't find the form and current status of the Wikiversity is clear at first glance.

First impressions are very important. Although all the desired information may be present somewhere on the site, if it's presentation is cluttered or appears to be self-contradictory this can be very discouraging, even offputting.

I acknowledge this is a very young project still very much in the formative stage. Nevertheless it's far enough down the road, IMHO, to merit shaping its initial presentation to virgin visitors such as myself. Why is this important? Because to succeed the Wikiversity needs to attract dedicated volunteers.

I'm the not only person to be confused by this project. See Jmabel's posting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikiversity where he/she says, "The article really doesn't give much of a clue what this is... is so vague as to be vacuous." Definitely not a good first impression.

Let me explain in more detail. This project appears to have originated in Wikibooks, morphed over to the Wikipedia and then launched its own Wikiversity site. Along the way it's left many artifacts (clutter) behind. For instance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikiversity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikiversity http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikiversity http://www.wikiversity.org/ http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikiversity http://collaboration.wikia.com/wiki/Wikiversity

It would be helpful if some of these pages were closed completely, replaced with pointers only to the Wikiversity main page. And those left in place given text that more clearly identifies the Wikiversity as in the process of formation. "For current status, visit the Wikiversity Main Page."

The current main Wikiversity page was sufficiently unclear I went looking for further details and ended up at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikiversity where the project was as clear as mud. In fact, it felt so ill-defined and because that was all I could find I wrote a lengthy vision statement of my own as to what form a Wikiversity could take. This statement then became the basis of a dialogue with JWSchmidt.

So, my first recommendations:

1. Prepare a prominent "Welcome to new visitors" orienting statement on the main page. If this idea is welcome I'd be willing to draft some specific recommendations.
2. Close some of the redundant pages on Wikibooks and Wikipedia and/or make them primarily pointers to the Wikiversity main page. Essentially provide a minimal statement that will likely remain true for some time to come and point the user to the main page for current clarifying details. Again, if this idea is welcome I'd be willing to draft some specifics.

I'd appreciate some feedback on both these recommendations.

It became obvious in my dialogues with JWSchmidt this project has been going on for some time and that it already has a definite shape (not obvious from what I'd seen until I wrote to him).

It's also become obvious there are two schools of thought about its form. One approach appears to be towards independent study. I gather from John's discussion this is the mainstream the Wikiversity is taking.

However, I detect a different approach. I found seeds towards this alternative in the Colloquium at http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Colloquium#Useful_project_or_are_we_used_as_a_hosting_service.3F

Which leads to my third recommendation. Again I solicit comment and feedback.

3. That the Wikiversity evolve a structure that supports two kinds of students — those that are mature and quite comfortable in directing their own education independently; and those who seek a structured environment with clarity of roles, procedures and expectations.

IMHO this shouldn't be an either/or. The Wikiversity will be stronger if it can embrace both types of students. Nothing I've seen so far precludes adopting both, each in its own corner of the Wikiversity.

For more of my thoughts along this line I would direct you to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikiversity#Clarifying_the_Wikiversity_proposal.

If these ideas are useful I would welcome further discussion, perhaps by closing the discussion at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikiversity and bringing its content over here to the Colloquium.

I can be reached privately at morley at morleychalmers dot com. Unsigned comment by Morley @ 17:18 (UTC), 9 October 2006

I generally agree with the above. The Jade Knight 17:52, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Morley, and it's always good to get a newcomer's perspective (in fact, I was just today thinking of writing a page Wikiversity:Think of the newcomer, which I might get around to sometime..)
One of my main aims right now is to make Wikiversity understandable to the newcomer. What do people do when they come here by chance or through some mention in the media? Browse a subject of their interest? (Can they find it?) What do they do if/when they find that there's nothing much of substance there? Or something that they find to be ok, but reflecting someone else's educational style? More likely than not, they will walk away. This is, of course, possible in Wikipedia too, but at least Wikipedia has a very well-defined project mission. Wikiversity's is much more broad, and it is up to us, the participants to shape and define that mission and to explain it to anyone who comes to us looking around to see what this thing called Wikiversity is.
But I'd just like to say a word to Morley - the pages scattered around the Wikisphere are not all obsolete - nor should they be necessarily moved here. The Wikipedia article on Wikiversity that you cite, for example, is an article about Wikiversity, just like its article about Wikibooks, Wikisource etc. Wikipedia's article about Wikiversity needs to be improved, for sure, and its talk page could be clarified - but this does not really reflect the state of this project, now. As for other pages, those on Wikibooks may eventually be deleted (though that is up to Wikibooks' participants), and those on Meta should (I think) be kept for historical purposes.
Your final proposal for different types of students is spot on and another area we need to be clear on - for ourselves and others - and to facilitate their learning in any way we can. Some of this will be relatively static materials that people can use for their own self-study or a teacher can use in class - and another will be to design active learning projects/communities on the subject in question. We should aim to have a page that explains all of this with just a few links off it to help an interested newcomer - possibly Wikiversity:What is Wikiversity?? I look forward to feedback myself - this is really something which needs work at the moment. Cormaggio 18:15, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
P.S. I've moved Morley's comments from w:Talk:Wikiversity to User:Morley/Clarifying the Wikiversity proposal. Cormaggio 11:22, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
When I first came here, I had trouble finding the subjects of my interest; the Language and Literature School was not listed on the main ("Browse") portal, and the History School wasn't listed in either the Humanities OR the Social Sciences Portals! I've since corrected these specific problems, but Wikiversity is very confusing for newcomers.
One of the big issues is the structure: It's hardly transparent for the newcomer, and takes a little getting used to. I also came expecting to find courses, and it was weird getting used to the idea of "learning projects" (which some people are asserting should replace courses entirely). I think it would be best of Wikiversity offered both "courses" and all sorts of other projects—courses may be a good way to attract visitors, and the projects may be a good way to keep them coming, contributing, and learning. Had I come, learned that courses were discouraged here, and not found any courses at all (such as Hitler's Germany), I probably would have left Wikiversity again and not come back for several more months. I may not be the only one who feels this way, either. The Jade Knight 18:27, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
The above comments are heartening to hear. I'll take them to mean encouragement to proceed with proposals to consolidate and revise. I'll probably upload some stuff tomorrow, 10 Oct 2006.
I'm sufficiently such a new user I'm unclear how to add comments to this posting in a more elegant way than I'm currently using — manual brute force. I'm particularly unclear how signatures are added automatically and how one nests new comments. Are there pointers on this? Morley Chalmers 9 October 2006.
Yes. You use the ":" to nest comments. So, just prefix your message with one more ":" than the message you're responding to. For the signature, just add ~~~~ at the end. -- sebmol ? 21:13, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Sounds like there are two issues at hand:


How do we get users to the pages that they would like to work on?



What do we ask them to do when they get there?


Sorry for the odd format, I'm testing if these things can be used in normal conversation.--Rayc 23:29, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

How creative! Nice one, Ray - I think we could use this idea (ie format) on introductory pages :-) Cormaggio 11:22, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Very nice! I am lifting the sample html now for later reuse. Thanks Rayc! Mirwin 09:59, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

"shaping its initial presentation to virgin visitors such as myself" <-- I agree that this should be a high priority. Part of the problem is that the main page was designed by people who were interested in the shapes of buttons and selecting background colors and who actively argued against helping "virgin visitors". In my opinion, we should go back and make major changes to the main page. A prominent "Welcome to new visitors" orienting statement on the main page would be great and it needs to be built upon input from new visitors.

"third recommendation. ….. That the Wikiversity evolve a structure that supports two kinds of students — those that are mature and quite comfortable in directing their own education independently; and those who seek a structured environment with clarity of roles, procedures and expectations." <-- Based on our previous exchanges, I wonder if "those who seek a structured environment", is a reference to the traditional educational structure that has grown up around bricks-and-mortar educational institutions. In my opinion, wiki technology is not best suited to traditional educational structures and that is why the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees refused to approve the Wikiversity project until a different type of educational structure was proposed for this project. No matter what kind of structures Wikiversity can eventally support, here at the start of the project we need participants who can help create Wikiversity's educational content by editing wiki pages. Towards that goal, I think we can, "run small experiments, tests, see what works, what doesn't, and be prepared to be flexible and change, and not be too locked into stone about how things should work." We need to discover the best ways to use wiki technology to grow and support learning communities.
--JWSchmidt 04:54, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

I just want to raise a point here. People who have followed the development of the Wikiversity proposal (on Meta) will remember the board's rejection of the first proposal put forward, with the words "exclude online courses". This is what John refers to here. But, John, I do not think that this recommendation was to find new ways of working with the wiki medium to facilitate learning. On the contrary, I genuinely think that the board was nervous (at that time) about creating a space for active learning - and preferred Wikiversity to be a repository of learning materials which could be used by other people (ie teachers). This mail from Anthere [1] might clarify. However, since then, we have sculpted a proposal which supports elements of traditional pedagogy, as well as opening up an experimental avenue for what Wikiversity means in the context of providing for an educational space. I think we need, as I point out below, to be inclusive of all methods - traditional and experimental - and genuinely see what works, instead of being 'fixated by the new'. Cormaggio 12:00, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I suppose I need to add a PS here - that I think we also need to be realistic, and conscious of what we are - we are a wiki and we can never forget that. This brings challenges and opportunities (ie we are not WebCT - is this a good/bad thing?) - and it's up to us to define and respond to this context. Cormaggio 12:12, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Reading tea leaves: in an organization devoted to the idea of open collaboration and collective wisdom, it is too bad that the most important decisions are made behind closed doors with only cryptic directives emerging from the Oracle. I'm not sure how others interpret the Board's request that the Wikiversity community "clarify [the] concept of e-learning" in the Wikiversity project proposal. In my view, the original project proposal was dominated by the community's inability to think outside of the box of traditional bricks-and-mortar educational institutions. The Board had to step in and tell the community that it (the Board) would not approve a Wikiversity project based on a traditional courses/degrees/accreditation model for an online education-oriented Wikimedia project. I suspect that decision was based on the Board's experience with wiki technology and wiki communities and recognition that wiki technology and conventional educational structures are like oil and water.

The non-controversial part of the Wikiversity project has always been "a repository of learning materials", but I think it is true that if that was all of the project then Wikiversity could have stayed as a subsection of Wikibooks. However, Jimbo made the decision that Wikiversity would be a separate project. Why? "..... the idea here is to also host learning communities, so people who are actually trying to learn, actually have a place to come and interact and help each other figure out how to learn things. We're also going to be hosting and fostering research into how these kinds of things can be used more effectively" (source). The Wikiversity community has now been given the task of figuring out how to do this and our progress will be evaluated early next year to decide if Wikiversity will then become a real project or continue in beta development. If Wikiversity participants, ignore the approved Wikiversity project proposal, and instead adhere to a conventional e-learning model and use Wikiversity resources to work towards things like conventional courses, degrees and accreditation (all explicitly ruled out by the Board) I would not be surprised if the Board just decides next year to cancel the whole project.

"I think we need, as I point out below, to be inclusive of all methods - traditional and experimental - and genuinely see what works, instead of being 'fixated by the new'." <-- I'm not sure what 'fixated by the new' is supposed to mean. Does it mean that Wikiversity is 'fixated by the new' and that is bad? We are exploring how to use a new technology, wiki technology, so in that sense we are all about "the new". I think the Board has made it clear that Wikimedia is not going to have a project that tries to compete with conventional educational institutions that are using wikis to support conventional educational systems. In developing learning resources Wikiversity should be "inclusive of all methods"; it is explicitly stated in the project proposal that Wikiversity is a place for learning materials that can be used in conventional classrooms outside of Wikiversity. However, I suspect that the Board will only have a negative reaction to attempts to run conventional courses inside Wikiversity. Having said that, I suspect it is also true that the Board is willing to let Wikiversity have some slack and let Wikiversity use a Darwinian system to test what works. As far as I know, the Wikiversity community has never turned away anyone or blocked the use of any approach to online learning, even traditional courses. Am I wrong?
JWSchmidt 14:53, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

I didn't mean to suggest (with the phrase "fixated by the new") that we don't look for "new" ways of providing an educational space - but simply that we need to be open to all methods and let this Darwinian system evolve. On a "meta" level, this is about learning about what works in a wiki through our experiences of building this new environment. It may be that we come up with whole new ways of learning, or it may simply be that we have to tone down our view of how experimental we want to be. For now we are experimenting. But let's do this with open minds, and not have to speculate about what the board may or may not have meant in their, yes, cryptic comments of last year (which were never clarified, despite requests). Overall, of course, I agree with you in your conception and delineation of Wikiversity - I suppose I'm just trying to be provocative about where we're going - as well as clarifying where we've come from. Cormaggio 18:15, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

"How do we get users to the pages that they would like to work on?"
What do we ask them to do when they get there?
I agree that it is important to keep these two tracks in mind. Eventually, Wikiversity portals should quickly guide new visitors to Wikiversity main namespace educational content. Right now, when there is very little actual main namespace content, our portals mostly guide participants to the Wikiversity content development projects in the "School:" and "Topic:" namespaces. This is fine since we need to welcome new participants who recognize that there is very little real content and much work to be done creating content. We need learning projects that can allow participants to learn about topics while they participate in the creation of Wikiversity content.--JWSchmidt 05:06, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

And in the meantime, let's try not to be so confusing for everyone who's new. I say we try everything we can; even a "traditional" course in the wiki environment is fairly experimental. Let's have learning resources, such as lectures, notes, study guides, quizzes, puzzles, everything. Let's have research projects, discussion forums, planned courses with educated instructors, self-teaching lessons, everything! And then let's take a really good look at what works; not just what teaches people most effectively, but what most people are interested in—what draws them to Wikiversity (not one or the other, but both, and anything else that may be relevant). This may sound a little like Educational Darwinism, but I think it's the best way we can see what we can do with Wikiveristy. The Jade Knight 05:10, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you've got it bang on - this is what we've been trying to promote for a long long time. We need to investigate what works, pedagogically, in creating a space for learning in a wiki environment. We absolutely encourage the building of "traditional" courses (whatever you personally perceive them to be) - as well as back-up materials for teachers (ie lesson plans) who want to use them in their "traditional" classrooms. But, without actually finding out what works, we can never be fully sure if we are actually useful or not - and hopefully, through encouraging feedback from Wikiversity participants and users, this will apply to even our "traditional" materials. Cormaggio 11:22, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Maybe I'm just stubborn, but the conclusion I draw is what I started with: Try everything, whatever you want, and don't insist on any method being particularly good or bad until experience has shown it to be one way or the other consistently in context. Eventually, effective models will arise automatically, so long as there is some variation to begin with. The Jade Knight 02:27, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

I think one of the major problems with our premise is that people do not really want to publish their personal scribbles that turn into outlines and finally into coherent study notes. I am going to propose a learning project somewhere in engineering for participants to setup (and document that setup) of their own Wikimedia software on their own computer (either portable or internet accessible). The learning desktop I would like to create for myself is one where I can track my personal notes, thoughts, ideas, designs, homework, work, etc. in my own space and then click/point or use another computer to turn to appropriate locations on the net and within Wikiversity, Wikibooks, or Wikipedia. Obviously one can do this online at wikia if one defines a group Wikia's owners will setup a private space for. Perhaps Jimbo will get rich when he defines the lowest possible denominator as your personal private space. I personally do not like to help create further conflicts for the Board so I will be using my own computer. Besides I have some potentially proprietary research/study/design to get done and prefer my own assets and security. Does anyone else think this would be useful for other people or agree that the initial material formation problem results from a general shyness about leaving mere bullets, questions, or stray thoughts behind to be cleaned up and laughed at or copied and patented in a hit and miss manner by randomly arriving stangers? Mirwin 05:01, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I think all Wikiversity participants should be encouraged to use their user page and subpages of their user page to document their interests, learning goals, learning activities, frustrations, etc. There is a fundamental "catch-22" for wikis. An existing dynamic community with significant content attracts additional participants. Many people are not willing to "invest" time and effort in a wiki before the wiki has a significant amount of content. The Wikiversity main page was created by people who are familiar with wikis and targets mostly other people who are already wiki editors. It should be modified to be more helpful for people who are new to wiki and wiki editing; we need to help such people join the Wikiversity community. New participants should be invited to describe their learning goals and then they could be guided by the community towards constructive ways to participate. --JWSchmidt 02:15, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
I think it would be cool to have a program that interacts with Wikiversity, enabling you to add notes to articles, etc., that would be contained only on your computer (and that only you could see), that could assist in learning in an integrated way like that. The Jade Knight 07:50, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Good idea. I think it would be great if our wiki software had a built-in point-and-click system for getting feedback about the usefulness of wiki webpages. Such a "feedback" system could also be used for "note taking". Does anyone know how this webpage color-codes the parts of the document that have gotten many comments? --JWSchmidt 14:58, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikiversity namespace cleanup[edit]

I've just been going through the Wikiversity namespace and there's a whole lot of cleaning up to do. There are pages which clearly should be in the Main namespace (ie educational content), some of which are redirect pages. In the case of redirect pages, we need to find out what links to these pages, change the links to the new page and delete the obsolete redirect. In the case of content, which was moved from eg. Wikibooks and has kept its Wikiversity: prefix, the page should be moved to the appropriate namespace (ie "Wikiversity:School of Foo" goes to "School:Foo"), and then follow the same procedure as above. There is also quite a lot of material in the Wikiversity namespace that I personally think could be merged (for example, why do we have Wikiversity:News and Wikiversity:Announcements?) Anyone looking to bump up their edit count could get stuck in ;-) - and please either list the obsolete pages to be deleted at Wikiversity:Requests for Deletion or mark with the {{delete}} template. Cormaggio 17:45, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

At first, a bot could be programmed that deletes all redirects within the Wikiversity namespace that point to pages in other namespaces. After that, we can look at what's left and delete manually what's superfluous. I also support the idea that we keep the Wikiversity namespace somewhat clean and easy to grasp so it's easy to find the important pages. -- sebmol ? 23:37, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
I still find the namespaces unintuitive, sort of like a cloud... --HappyCamper 03:15, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Right - but at least the Wikiversity namespace is fairly straightforward - including issues that relate directly to the functioning of Wikiversity, such as policies, introductions etc. But thanks for the feedback - do you have any suggestions? Or should we develop Wikiversity:Namespaces? Cormaggio 10:58, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Hi Cormac, back online! News *incorporates* announcements, so I guess it is okay. Announcements are short, news is rather, well, news-ish. --WiseWoman 21:25, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Orphan Works[edit]

Do we have a place to list oprhan works (ie, random projects which do not appear to have a Department/School)? I just found another: Insurance and Annuities. What should we do with stuff like this? The Jade Knight 04:25, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Appears to be a subsiduary of finance department of the business school. [2] Needs a cleanup though, as it isn't too useful in its current form. Michael Billington (talkcontribs) 01:07, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
We should have a page to report these, I think. The Jade Knight 01:35, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
See Special:Lonelypages, where all those are listed. Awolf002 14:51, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Editing edit page[edit]

Already see this becoming a problem, the main edit page does not have a list of other characters and short cuts such as 'sign post'. I had to find my tilde (~) key on a new keyboard after coming over from Wikipedia RichMac 07:10, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Done. Thanks for the hint. -- sebmol ? 08:19, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

About recording interviews[edit]

I had an idea for creating content in the learning project of computational linguistics. I want to make interviews to someone who has something to say. In Wikimedia we had some interesting people for doing so. It shouldn't be a problem, but i would like to make the interviews in audio format and upload it to Commons. I think that is more attractive for some learners than just reading it.

I tried it recording a conversation in Skype with audacity but it didn't work. Some suggestion? --Javier Carro 16:03, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

One of the tricks I found while trying to convert midis to .wav format was that you could plug your audio output into your microphone input. However, this only works if you don't have to here what the other person is saying. There is some helpful hints at Podcasting, an I know that wikinews had tried something like this before.--Rayc 16:13, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I found something here. Thank you anyway :OD--Javier Carro 16:55, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for this link, Javier - did you have any success? (With what if so?) Cormaggio 12:34, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I installed Powergramo. It is free download, they say that you can record as long as you want and the audio file is automatically created in .ogg. So it seems great for us. I have recorded a conversation an it works quite well and easy. --Javier Carro 20:44, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

BOB's legal level[edit]

Take any random textbook that assigns questions with short answers. Sometimes, for even questions or odd questions, the answers will be given in the Back of the book. My quesiton is, how much do we have to change the questions and answers to avoid copyright of the book? If we have a book giving the answer to 1+1 is 2, they can't claim copyright on that since it's a known fact. However, if the problem is more complicated, like say "Find the total electrical field 5 meters away from a hollow sphere of radius 3 meters containing a surface charge of 4 C/cm", the book could possibly claim copyright over the question. Is it enough to just use a bunch of books on the same topic noting that no book's problems were used in total, or does one have to alter the wording/numbers/answers?

As a corollary, how does a teacher/tutor/prof use material on wikiversity legally without having to put: “Question 2-4, 8 and 12 are from wikiversity” on there assignments. Complying with GDLF basically would give the student the exact website to look for the answers on, which sort of defeats the purpose. --Rayc 16:09, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

I think these are relevant questions, but I unfortunately don't know the answer. We could try emailing Lawrence Lessig and see if he'd give us a response… I'm really thinking that Wikiversity is going to have to explore some legal (copyright) options that are not 100% the same as the rest of Wikimedia. Another issue: what if some people want to work together on a research paper at Wikiversity? If the paper is necessarily licensed GDLF, it will be impossible to get it published in a prestigious journal; regardless of the quality of the paper, virtually no prestigious journal will accept the terms of GDLF for their own publication. However, this is something that could be looked into. The Jade Knight 16:45, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
We may have to look into a system like what they employ at Commons, where you can specify your licence - choosing between eg GFDL, CC-BY-SA, or a combination of free licences. In response to the first question, though, I don't know - but you could try asking more widely (ie on IRC wikimedia channel, or perhaps Wikibooks discussion spaces) to see if others have come up with any solutions of their own. On a wider level, educating people about free content seems like a very practical thing Wikiversity could do - there really doesn't seem to be anywhere that has all relevant info in one place - so maybe we could carve out a very useful niche there - possibly develop a learning community on the subject... Cormaggio 12:43, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I think specific questions are pretty obviously copyrighted. Tiny errors are routinely introduced in individual problems so publishers can prove in court their copyright was violated by lifting problems or material wholesale from their published materials. Why not encourage class participants to create their own problems for each other to solve and thus create unique known solutions that known to be copylefted by Wikiversity? Granted this is of little utility other than self training for the first three or four participants. Once hit ten pariticipant, each contributing one problem or correction to one problem and solution we should be getting close to critical mass. Mirwin 05:12, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Defining the Wikiversity[edit]

I'm working on a New Visitor introduction to the Wikiversity and as such need to define the objectives.

There appear to be two schools of thought as reflected below. One emphasizes this is a place for learning materials, the other as a place to do the learning, which suggests interaction with teachers and other students as well as providing learning materials. Quite frankly I personally lean towards the latter as more inclusive. But in my research I frequently keep stumbling upon the more narrow focus on providing learn materials (presumably to be used offline and away from the Wikiversity).

For instance at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikiversity Korg asks for guidance on what slogan to use and notes all of the following in use.

  1. "Free learning materials and activities" (Wikipedia, Wikisource)
  2. "Free content learning materials" (Wikispecies)
  3. "Free learning tools" (Wiktionary, Wikinews, Wikibooks)
  4. "The limitless learning center" (Wikiquote)

Meanwhile over at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikiversity there's an excellent statement of goals for the Wikiversity, among them this statement:

An electronic institution of learning

Personally I like that one the best.

Question: What's the general view?

Morley 20:51, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Further down at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikiversity there's this fairly definitive statement which perhaps will settle the issue.
E-learning. A framework within which members of the community can actually take courses online.
There's also a link to this page http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikiversity:About which offers yet another take on Wikiversity goals and objectives. They're everywhere! Very much in need of tidying up. Morley 21:42, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
  • My advice is to start at Wikiversity project proposal. Some of the older ideas discussed at the meta-wiki and Wikibooks were explicitly ruled out by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. --JWSchmidt 22:53, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
  • I tend toward your interpretation, Morley. I see this as an online learning institution, which includes materials. I also see it as an avenue for research. The Jade Knight 23:16, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

General note: there is a lot about Wikiversity on Meta, Wikibooks and (less so) on Wikipedia that doesn't reflect the approved scope of Wikiversity. For example, m:Wikiversity (which you quote above) is an old proposal and which was rejected (though that does not imply that everything on the page is prohibited). The definitive (starting point) reference to Wikiversity should be, as John points out, the approved Wikiversity proposal. Cormaggio 12:27, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Does TeX work in Wikiversity?[edit]

Why does otimes work but boxtimes not? --Hillgentleman 09:22, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

remaining wikibooks material[edit]

There are a number of wikiversity pages on wikibooks that have not been categorized (and therefore have not been imported): listed here

Please don't categorise them (so we don't lose track of them again), but rather add one of the following two templates:

--SB_Johnny | talk 11:09, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

Will the Wikiversity have structured courses? If yes, what structure(s) are proposed? If not, why not? Are courses desirable or unnecessary?

What's to be the role of teachers at the Wikiversity? Can anyone teach at the Wikiversity? Does the fact that someone is teaching give them some (any) say about the material being taught? Once someone begins teaching can they "lock" the material being taught so it doesn't get revised in the midst of teaching? Does the fact that someone is teaching one or more people give them status as a "teacher"? If so, what are the privileges and limitations on that status?

Will there be a status of "student" at the Wikiversity? Or is everyone (those who teach and those who learn) lumped into a single status without further definition? What's the arguments for and against defining roles within the Wikiversity? What's the upside and downside to defining roles within the Wikiversity?

Will the Wikiversity facilitate group learning, in the sense of a class of defined participants and defined facilitators (instructors, teaching assistants, etc) with a set duration?

Will the Wikiversity facilitate online lectures, class discussions, seminars and conferences with instructors?

Will there be benchmarks to learning, in the sense of assessments, testing of how well a student has mastered the material being learned?

morley 16:08, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikiversity currently has structured courses, though some people feel they are undesireable. It will, under no circumstances, be limited to structured courses, however. I certainly don't think we should do away with them, however.
Teaching has no status at Wikiversity, and anyone who knows much about anything can teach here. Their role really depends on the project in question. I think that someone organizing/teaching a particular project/course should get particular say in the material of that course, though I think it would be nice if Departments had a review process whereby they could evaluate the course and determine if it needs to be changed. I think it would be frustrating to teachers to have people coming in and entirely transforming the project they're trying to create. I'm guessing that I may be a minority opinion on this matter, however.
Everyone here is a student if they are learning anything, and that should be everything. For the most part, I don't think there's any need to distinguish, except for on a class-by-class level, except that I do feel that, when it comes to establishing consensus on issues in a particular Department (such as whether or not a History course, for example, uses proper historiography), only those who have shown evidence of particular knowledge in the subject area should be considered/allowed to vote (thus departments should have some sort of way of systematically differentiating between users).
I think that "group learning" as you describe it will be one of the many ways people will learn at Wikiversity, but certainly not the only way. I think it should attempt to facilitate all of these different ways of learning.
Benchmarks to learning are not required, but it can be very helpful to students to have a way to assess their progress. The Jade Knight 16:53, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
"structured courses" <-- there are many possible kinds of courses. I doubt if anyone is going to turn away Wikiversity participants who build courses with formats that work well with the wiki user interface. As a Wikimedia Foundation project, Wikiversity has some limitations. Online courses that require things like student fees or teacher certification are going to have problems here. "teachers at the Wikiversity" <-- Wikiversity has participants. You can function as a teacher at Wikiversity by editing the website and adding useful learning resources. As a wiki, social interactions are important within the Wikiversity community. You can function as a teacher by helping other Wikiversity participants reach their learning goals. "lock the material" <-- I think Wikiversity should experiment with ways to protect educational content from further editing. Protecting high quality content is something that Wikipedia has been slowly building towards and Wikiversity should join in the search for good ways to do that. "status as a teacher..... privileges?" <-- I think Wikiversity should explore ways of supporting the participation of people who have expert knowledge. In a wiki community, special status does not mean privileges, it means added responsibilities, more intense scrutiny of your actions and extra tasks to perform in service of the community. review processes: It is important for learners to have ways of knowing that they can trust their learning environment. The Wikiversity community will develop ways to assure a high quality learning environment. The basic method is that if you see something that needs to be improved you talk about it and edit the wiki pages so as to make it better. Wikipedia has been slowly working towards increasingly formal systems for peer review of content. Wikiversity will need a sophisticated system of peer review, particularly for original research. JWSchmidt 21:29, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

15-21 October[edit]

Motto and Slogan Contest: Round 4[edit]

Please list your support for one motto and one slogan here: Wikiversity:Motto contest.

Following the lead of the Wikiversity logo contest, round 4 starts with a blank slate (with no support listed). Hence, hopefully, previous participants and anyone interested will select options in this round.

Also following the lead of the logo contest, similar alternatives remain grouped. Alternates in each group having support from at least four people are included in this round.

Please share comments on the contest page as you wish. --Reswik 21:27, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Notice: Due to feedback from several motto contest participants, tomorrow I likely will suspend round 4 of the motto contest and return to round 3 for discussion of how to proceed. Please pardon the convoluted text in the following. Here is what I plan to do: The general issue of what is the purpose of the motto contest may be resolved by the following that I plan to implement and propose as a process modification for review for 2 weeks starting tomorrow, re-initiating (and stepping back to) round 3: To deal with different purposes being served currently by the motto contest, a helpful approach seems (to me) to be to subdivide (or fork) the motto contest in this way: 1. a broad motto contest: keep all of the motto contest suggestions and re-define this contest (more broadly in the way it is partly functioning now through the kinds of alternatives that people are proposing) as seeking a motto which expresses the mission of wikiversity (possibly in an inspiring way); and, 2. a short description contest (the intended original purpose of the contest): select a subset of the motto contest options which briefly describe wikiversity in a way similar to other short wikimedia descriptions that go with wikimedia project logos. We would then have 3 contests: the motto contest (with a broad purpose of an inspiring motto proper); a short description contest (the original motto contest purpose but with fewer alternatives carried over); the slogan contest (for the main page subtitle). These would be created as a modification to the final stage 3 of this process (which has the very low bar of including options with two people supporting an option in stage 2). I'll suggest a two week review period (inviting continuing listing of support for alternatives in stage 3) before moving onto stage 4 again (perhaps also preserving the votes and format already made in stage 4). Comments? --Reswik 22:57, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
When did we get to stage 3? I vote in stage two and now all of a suddon, four! The 3 slogen mottos are all gone. :( --Rayc 00:15, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Round 3 started 9/23 and Round 4 started on 10/15. Initially, any option that had four supporters made it from round 3 to round 4. The change to the contest suggested above was not implemented. An inclusive and simpler revision was made, based on discussion points on the motto constest talk page. --Reswik 10:58, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Spanish-language Wikiversity is live[edit]

Please help developing this project if you can write in Spanish: es:Portada. guillom 10:51, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Can someone with Spanish language skills make sure that there is a page at es.wikiversity about this project: Sugar in the times of cholera? Also, it would be nice if this page linked to es.wikiversity.org. --JWSchmidt 02:50, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
It links now [3]. guillom 12:05, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
I have a Big Idea that may help. CQ 04:15, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Lookie! -> Wikiversity:Practicum CQ 05:16, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Criminology Course[edit]

Do we have a plan for a course in criminology or forensic science?

Forensicgeek 10:35, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Cheating and other malfeasance[edit]

What if highschool and college students want to abuse Wikiversity as a cheating aid. See my post here. CQ 04:10, 19 October 2006 (UTC)‎

Where Wikiversity sits[edit]

As well as defining what Wikiversity is and how it works, which has been discussed recently, I would also like to raise ideas and awareness of where Wikiversity sits in the context of the changing notions of learning. In this regard, I've just found a very interesting article by Stephen Downes (a well-known author on eLearning etc), called "eLearning 2.0", of which I've just selected a snippet of thought-provocation:

"What happens when online learning ceases to be like a medium, and becomes more like a platform? What happens when online learning software ceases to be a type of content-consumption tool, where learning is "delivered," and becomes more like a content-authoring tool, where learning is created?"

I'd encourage everyone to read it (it's not very long) and see if you can use the ideas to try to facilitate the kind of learning that Downes describes. Any comments on the article would be interesting too - here, on any of the pages related to education within Wikiversity (eg Wikiversity:Learning or Portal:Education), or anywhere you feel appropriate, really. Or, you could add here - or anywhere - some more links or references to articles/books etc which you have found thought-provoking or useful on the subject. Thanks. Cormaggio 17:36, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

What great timing! I was reading wikiversity "instead" of doing what I was suppose to be doing, which was finding an article on learning styles and constructivism. It's a good read. Apparently learning communities already exist. What would be the logical conclusion would be to somehow move a learning community to wikiversity, instead of creating them raw here.
Also:

“Educators began to notice something different happening when they began to use tools like wikis and blogs in the classroom a couple of years ago. All of a sudden, instead of discussing pre-assigned topics with their classmates, students found themselves discussing a wide range of topics with peers worldwide. Imagine the astonishment, for example, when, after writing a review of a circus she had viewed, a Grade 5 student received a response from one of the performers”

We should contact the educator's blogging network, see if they want to use wikis as well.--Rayc 20:52, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Learning communities - with 3,530,000 hits on Google for "learning community", I should think they exist! I think learning communities may well move en-masse to Wikiversity, but really, a learning Community is a ground-up kind of development. We will absolutely be building learning communities based on the people who themselves choose to come here and participate on some level in some areas - as well as (in my eyes) building a grander, more general learning community, about how Wikiversity can facilitate learning. (Also, I wrote my first Masters dissertation on "Wikipedia as a learning community" if you're interested, which you can find from my Wikipedia user page.) On general outreach - yes, there are many groups who would be great to get involved in Wikiversity - this is something anyone can do who's connected to a network of people you think might be interested. Ideas can be stored and developed at Wikiversity:Wikiversity outreach. Cormaggio 22:17, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Introducing newcomers to the Wikiversity[edit]

I'm currently working on improving the new visitor's introduction to the Wikiversity — what it's all about, how to get involved, that sort of thing.

I'm proposing the following text on http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Welcome%2C_newcomers

Proposed text[edit]

The Wikiversity is for learning, where you'll find a learning materials ready for downloading and courses ready to take. Anyone can participate, no cost, no advertising, no credentials required, no degrees awarded — just learning.

Anyone can upload new teaching materials or revise the ones already here. The Wikiversity is following the traditions of the Wikipedia.

Anyone can take a course. Anyone can teach a course. No entrance requirements. No fees. No certificate at the end. In the context of the Wikiversity, a course is an undertaking of a student to follow through a set of materials under the guidance of someone willing to teach.

Additional Thoughts[edit]

Here are my current thoughts of what would fill out the balance of the page. What am I leaving out that should be here? Would appreciate your thoughts.

Learning materials[edit]

What types of learning materials will be found here. Licensing of content. How it's protected, how freely it can be used. Fairly mature example links to explore, to give the new user a feeling for what to expect. How to download and use this material. How to give back by editing, adding. Whether and how to fork to take a set of materials in a radically different direction. How these materials are currently being protected from vandalism. How to determine the provenance of these learning materials.

The provenance of the learning materials is provided by the submittal forms. When the submittal form is found to be incorrect or incomplete the material is promptly deleted. Mirwin 05:30, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Online courses[edit]

An overview of how some current Wikiversity online courses are being conducted, with example links. Discussion of how the examples cited are structured. Discussion of our openness to other directions than these particular examples. Discussion of the policy of openness (no credentials, no degrees) and the benefits of having this policy.

Languages currently supported. How to navigate the Wikiversity. How to edit what you see. Long range goals of the Wikiversity. The history of the Wikiversity, how it came to be, its association with Wikipedia, Wikibooks, etc.


Before I start editing the current newcomer page I'd appreciate getting feedback on the above.

I would particularly appreciate specific examples of good learning materials and ongoing courses to cite. morley 21:23, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Make sure and check out Wikiversity:Learning, Wikiversity:Examples, and Wikiversity:Featured, as well as everything else. I'd also prefer it if you'd say something like "currently does not issue certificates, etc." The Jade Knight 03:33, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
My suggestion for all of this is to make a coherent set of pages, each of which has a specific purpose in explaining what Wikiversity is/does, and which all link together coherently. A lot of this information exists but it is pretty haphazardly spread for the newcomer who doesn't know that there is a certain page which explains what they are interested in. So, what I want to do is to: 1) delinetae all these pages, and 2) create a template for the top of pages within this structure so that peopel can simply click through a set of pages or jump from one to another in the order they choose. I'm wondering, though, if this structure should be broken down into subsections - kinda like Template:Introduction, Template:Pedagogy, Template:Content - or whether we just need the first one (?). Cormaggio 11:31, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
I've made a start at Template:Introduction and added it to the main introductory pages. Cormaggio 12:21, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Excellent feedback. I'll begin editing the newcomers page in the next day or two and begin following all the above and other recommendations for assembling a set of examples for newcomers with links for further exploration. morley 14:26, 20 October 2006 (UTC)


What's going on?!?[edit]

This is **most** discouraging. Certainly not a skilful way to bring new volunteers into the fold.

Over the past several weeks I've been attempting to engage an improvement to how the Wikiversity introduces itself to new users. As a new user myself I was particularly struck by the lack of clarity to statements of purpose. Indeed I encountered outright controversy, very muddy waters indeed.

In that light I attempted to engage discussion towards a redefinition of how the Wikiversity describes itself to new comers. I proposed a change in copy from the present "all over the map" vague introduction to one that makes explicit what the Wikiversity includes and what it does not.

This discussion has been posted to the Wikiversity mailing list at <wikiversity-l@wikimedia.org> and on the Colloquium. With some supportive and no negatives, I then proceeded to add the new copy to Wikiversity:Welcome,_newcomers.

Two days later I find my proposed new copy has been removed, replaced by the original.

I am **not** an old hand at Wikimedia, which is exactly the point. I'm as good a guinea pig for assembling a functional newcomer section as you are likely to find, at least in the short term.

I've attempted to be a responsible participant in a co-operative collaborative enterprise. Yanking my edit after prior consultation is not encouragement to collaborative participation.

What's going on? What do I not get?morley 18:36, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Please don't take things, too personally, and by no means allow yourself to be discouraged! I and many, perhaps even most others have had the exact experience and a similar reaction to it. You were doing exacly what Wikiversity participants are encouraged to do! You were being bold (Wikiversity:Be bold) and taking initiative. Good for you!
I haven't reviewed your edits. I'm just looking at what I've read here. I'm not on the Mailing list and I haven't yet read the talk pages to the pages you mentioned. If things were reverted or deleted, there may be a good reason. I'm not even going to look just yet. Consider what ever happened to be feedback. Here's an example of constructive critisism:
It appeares to me that you may not yet know how to make basic links to other Wikiversity pages from within Wikiversity. The link you posted just above did not work, so I fixed it. That's what we do – or are supposed to do — w:Collaboration 101.
Now back to those hurt feelings: Morley, Sometimes the seasoned ones have run so far ahead that they forgot about their experiences as newcomers. They may have just been in a hurry or rush to make things fit. I really doubt if anyone was delibreratly undermining your efforts. There is a lot going on here at the same time. People slip up – w:Humanity 101
It's that way all over, both on the Internet, inside of Wikiversity/Wikipedia/etc... and it's that way in the face-to-face world, also. I hope you get over this emotion (maybe justified; maybe not...) and just dive back in. Your edits are most likely preserved in the History of the pages you edited and can be reviewed at any time. Don't fret! Stay with us! :) CQ 00:13, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh dear. I edited the version you added, Morley - by replacing your introduction with the old one, while adding in one of your sentences. I did this because the original introduction had specific links to other pages (like Wikiversity:Learning projects) - making it easier to go to those pages if you are interested in what those words/ideas mean. I kept the rest of what you added - even though I think this too needs to be edited and made more informative. I felt that, if someone clicked on that page, they would still leave confused - even though that's exactly what you're trying to address (and I commend you for it). Morley, I really didn't want to hurt your feelings or de-motivate you - I was just being bold myself and doing what I'm used to doing - editing wiki pages, taking the best of everyone's contributions, and trying to make the page as useful as possible. I hope you'll also continue to work on it - and you can add comments on the talk page - it's on my watchlist, so I'll see whenever it's edited. Once again, though, my sincere apologies to you if this is how it's made you feel. Cormaggio 12:48, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Contributors for Pharmacogenomics Wiki wanted[edit]

Hi, I am fully not sure if here is the right place for looking for contributors or helpers for http://www.wiki.pcg-portal.com. If it is wrong, please displace this post to the right section in the wikipediversity. Fact is, that it would be great, if my team and me could find here some guys who could help us in the english version of the mentioned wiki link http://wikien.pcg-portal.com/index.php/Main_Page. Helpers have the possibility, to become admins at this wiki then. This project is supported by a german university and two german companies and several Professors. In principle we need someone, who is familiar in dealing with the wiki software itself and optimising the general structure und the administration, It is not necessary, that you bring in specific knowledge for the topic PCG. If somebody is now interested, please don not hesitate to contact me. Contact possibility can be found on the page itself. Thnaks a lot for your help, and again sorry for the topic here if it should be on the wrong place ... Waiting anxious for answers, regards MoritzE 11:57, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Yep, this probably is the right place. I was just commenting on how there were probably other wiki-based learning communitees out their. You might want to drop in on the German Wikiversity as well if the wiki is in German.--Rayc 23:56, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Organization Dewey[edit]

Using the Dewey organization might make Wikiversity integrate better into existing knowledge organzations. Making it more easily used by more people.

Library of Congress is generally considered a superior, if more complex system. Either way, Wikiversity almost certainly wont use either. However, an ambitious individual could certainly create a Portal:Dewey Decimal or something similar, and create a Dewey-based catalog of Wikiversity materials. You could even Be bold and do this yourself! The Jade Knight 22:35, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
We probably need metadata and an advanced search field somewhere prominant on the Main Page. Something like: "I need to find material on 1) The Reformation and the splitting of the christian church, 2) for use in a class of 16 year olds, 3) studying for their GCSE exams in the UK". Ultimately, I would hope that people will be able to find their materials of choice to this level of precision (providing these materials exist and someone has entered the metadata) - as well as being able to browse aimlessly, of course. Cormaggio 23:51, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Metadata of this sort could prove very useful. Are you suggesting that we also come up with Dewey Decimal numbers for all pages and include them in the metadata, and turn this into a Wiki-brary, as well as a Wiki-versity? The Jade Knight 01:06, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
I looked at m:learning object metadata a while back, even creating a page at ...er... meta (of all places). I thought maybe we could use the IEEE spec to come up with a MediaWiki-friendly implementation. I have no Earthly idea how Dewey Organization fits into the "standard" LOM spec, but it I'm sure those eggheads got it in there through the terseness of it all.
I intuit it's worthy of further dialog. As for that "short statement about how a learning object metadata might be fit into the wiki user environment" that JWSurf suggested, I shall begin something of the sort within the Computer Science arena here.CQ 16:20, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Dewey Decimal Classification divides everything into groups divisible by 10. I don't know how that integrates into computer stuff. The Jade Knight 05:20, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
One can start by asking everybody to list the Library of congress code with every reference text cited.--Hillgentleman 06:35, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

22-28 October[edit]

Journals[edit]

There was some discussion about somehow getting access to acedemic journals on the main mailing list: [4] My question, is it legal if one has access to a journal to download an article and give it to someone else? That would be a great service that wikiversity could provide, request an article and have someone else fullfill it. We could even have a request an article topic, and pick one we know would be helpfull to the reader.. if stuff like that was legal.

Also, Does anyone know where to go in all of mediawiki to get definate answers to legal questions? I feel that this project will need a hot link to that as we get off the ground, since questions like the keep croping up.--Rayc 06:46, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

The current Director of the Wikimedia Foundation is also the Foundation's former lawyer. For a specific legal question I suggest you ask on the Foundation Mailing list or send him an email direct. Mirwin 05:35, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

In the USA there are rules about making copies of journal articles for edcational purposes and there is similar information available for other countries (example: Australia). In the USA, the basic idea is that if someone claims the right to protect the economic value of something they own the copyright for (such as a published document), then other people cannot make and distribute copies of that document in a way that will diminish the worth of the document to the owner. Having stated that basic idea, it must also be said that by tradition, educators and researchers in educational institutions have generally been given some slack. For example, copies of journal articles or book chapters are often made for use in classes or for study and discussion by research groups. The reason for this kind of exception to copying and distribution restrictions is that copyright has always been intentended to promote public welfare through the promotion of science and discovery of new knowledge and everyone recognizes the value of not preventing copyrighted materials from being used in education and research. As long as an educational institution has good control over the copies they make and they can restrict the copies they make to being used by a small and defined group of their students, then there is no problem. If Wikiversity started a "service" in which participants could provide copies of articles to other wiki users then Wikiversity would have to pass tests; tests showing that we are an educational institution, that Wikiversity uses a method to mark copyrighted documents as copyrighted, that Wikiversity limits the distribution of such copies to defined groups of students for a specific purpose. I do not see how it would be possible for Wikiversity to meet these requirements. --JWSchmidt 16:53, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

One of users on the mailing list suggested that we buy an institutional license and limit it's use to users with a particular edit level. However, that wouldn't fullfill all of the requirement. Oddly enough, Google Scholar seems to hit loads of propriatory journal articles that for one reason or another are free to access by the general public. Though, they must claim ignorance of this ([5]). --Rayc 19:22, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
My experience with google scholar is that it lists the abstract or first page of many journal articles and books then you have to pay to see the rest. --JWSchmidt 19:46, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
  • There are ways to get around this difficulty, e.g. interlibrary loan, using the local university library and private communication. Reading the original paper is good, but it is usually not absolutely necessary immediately.--Hillgentleman 04:15, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

I just thought I'd also remind everyone of our page Free online peer reviewed journals - which also has a link to an open access journal directory (though I've no idea of just how comprehensive it is). There *is* good and free info out there - the better we can get at accessing and processing this information, the better resource we can continue to build. Cormaggio 20:58, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Translator's Handbook[edit]

Essay Contest! The Interlingual Beta Club is looking for an insprirational and enlightening Introduction for their new Translator's Handbook. The whole deal is based on a couple of facts: a) Wikiversity needs more translators. 2) Wikiversity can train more translators. (The Beta Club has nothing to do with earning Bs. It has to do with producing and improving Beta versions of WV!

I have been pathetically monolingual since I was in the first grade. I've been challenged to learn a different language for years, but I must admit, it's intimidating as all getout. I've been on this quest for a while,but since I joined V:, it all seems a bit more plausible now. I started with a little "multilingual worksheet" approaching the task (of translating the Pen Pal Wiki) with a "holistic" strategy hoping for some university-styled guidance. It has escalated into an all-out offensive against isolation and the feeling of utter helplessness culminating in this attempt to employ some interlingual dialog. CQ 15:30, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Essay Contests[edit]

I've refactored the Wikiversity:Essay Contest page (mentioned in previous post) and created a new category, Category:Wikiversity Essay Contests to accomodate other essay contests. I think these will help encourage participation in schools, departments and learning groups. Is this OK with everyone? CQ 16:22, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Personalized Google searching[edit]

I've come across a new Google service (introduced today) which may have some utility for the Wikiversity. Not sure exactly how, but that's my gut intuition.

It's called Personalized Google Searches. It lets you search Google in the conventional way but lets you restrict that search to your specific list of domains. You can set up a search for climate change or American politics but restrict results to sites you know will have merit, at least for you. In other words, keep the crazies out.

Google gets paid for this service by requiring the results page present its AdSense ads. However non profits, government and educational institutions can choose not to display any ads at all.

Google offers http://www.realclimate.org/ as an example. I learned about it from this article on Arstechnia where you'll find more links and a discussion: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061024-8065.html. I created my own Wikiversity search engine here: http://google.com/coop/cse?cx=013166422010123807311%3Auedzdrwl3m4. It turned out to be remarkably easy, although untested as yet.

One possible use for this at the Wikiversity. Let users put up a search engine for each major subject, linking them to Wikiversity course materials or online learning programs. The existence of such search engines (and free availability to the public) will encourage traffic to come to the Wikiversity, becoming involved. I suspect this tool might be applicable in the same way at the Wikipedia.

Of course, the downside and possible abuses need to be considered. But interesting and possibly useful. morley 20:34, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Big issues[edit]

Hi all - I've made a start on a page (in my user space - for now at least) on major issues (as I see them) that I think we need to deal with as a community. It would be nice if people could feel free to add to it - hopefully to prompt further discussion about who we are and where we are going (either on that page or here in the Colloquium). It might be a little opaque for now - please also feel free to add questions to the talk page. Cormaggio 12:57, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikimedia conflicts[edit]

Many of the pages that get stuck here on Wikiversity either seem to be aiming to be identical to a Wikibook, or a Wikipedia article. In several cases, individuals have started working on things where something on Wikibooks or Wikipedia already has covered the exact same territory. Perhaps we should have a nice template that says something like "This article looks like an encyclopedia article. Wikiversity is [blah blah blah]." Or "Wikibooks has material covering this subject which should be referred to in the developing of this project", etc. What do you think? I foresee this becoming a regular issue here at Wikiversity. The Jade Knight 08:15, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

This is very true. Wikiversity was set up to be specifically different to other Wikimedia projects - though it is meant to complement them - and vice versa. One thing Wikiversity could do is to develop material which then prompts people to work on a book on Wikibooks or article on Wikipedia as part of their learning activity. Conversely, other projects could develop projects within Wikiversity which help develop people's critical faculties, research skills etc in order to improve contributions there - and this is something that I really hope we will start working on as a wider community (ie Wikimedia). I don't think we should be too hardline here (at this stage at least) about deciding that something is too encyclopedic or book-like for Wikiversity - however, we certainly do need to start looking for and developing material which is inherently different from the other projects - to continue to define our project's identity. Cormaggio 11:57, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Wikiversity has a few Welcome templates that are intended to help guide participants towards constructive editing. It would probably be useful to have additional welcome templates such as one that mentions the goal of not duplicating efforts at other projects. --JWSchmidt 14:51, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

numbered lists[edit]

Numbered lists are not currently working. Would someone be able to set these up or let me know what needs to be done to enable them. Thanks RichMac 07:18, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

  1. I think they work.
  2. This is an example.
  3. Is there something else that needs to be done?

The Jade Knight 07:24, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

  1. They don't work
  2. Over here The Ontological Argument
  3. What am I doing wrong?

RichMac 14:58, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Had spaces between number signs, fixed now. RichMac 15:14, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

References to higher authority[edit]

The issue of credentials and authority keeps coming up. Inevitably keeps coming up. Therefore I am proposing a comprehensive statement on these topics specifically aimed at orienting newcomers.

Before I poke a stick into a hornets nest, I'm asking for feedback here. Please say whether you like what follows or not and why. Definitely post your positives (so we'll know whether we're on the right track), as well as your negatives and revisions. Let's put together something that won't embarrass before posting to the newcomers page — where it can then be further edited as much as anyone likes.

There are pointers to other pages within the text. I'd appreciate someone to supply links to the relevant live pages.


Credentials, diplomas & provenance[edit]

The Wikiversity follows in the traditions of the Wikipedia, in other words collaborative creation and editing without reference to higher authority. What does that mean in practice? {The following appears on a separate page, available by clicking the above link.}

  • Will I earn a diploma at the Wikiversity?
No, that's one thing we don't do. This is about the learning itself, by itself. You cannot earn credentials here. But you can learn here and then earn your credentials elsewhere.
  • Are there exams at the Wikiversity?
Some course leaders may post some questionnaires so you can assess your learning progress. Course leaders may also give personal feedback on their observations of your progress. But there's no passing grade, no way to achieve status by your participation here.
  • Who gets to decide what gets posted here?
You do. Go ahead and post, no permission required. This project has no set-in-stone identification of authorship. Anything can be posted by anyone and then revised by anyone at any time. Each version is preserved. You can easily step back and compare one version to any other, see who performed the edits and communicate with those editors.
If you're an expert (or, better, "have proven expertise"), you need to prove that through your actions here, and be prepared to work with others in collaboration – just as they must likewise be prepared to work with you. This encouraging of equal participation is a positive factor in building a healthy community of learning, for the sake of learning.
  • How is "inappropriate" material kept off the site?
It isn't (except for Bombmaking 101 and similar). It's you who decides what's appropriate. There's no higher bureaucracy "authorizing" publication. (Copyrighted material is immediately removed, on discovery).
There are indeed senior custodians who debate what's an abuse and take corrective measures. These individuals earn whatever status they have by their past actions. That's the limit of their power and of any hierarchy at the Wikiversity.
  • What if someone wrecks a perfectly good course?
It's you who decides (at least in your eyes). Use the History tab at the top of the page and find the older version you like. Go ahead and use that version. Or better yet, integrate what you liked about the older version into the current version. You can also "fork" a course into two equivalent and equal versions covering the same subject but in different styles. Nothing at the Wikiversity is "definitive".
  • How can I determine whether the material here is any good?
By trying it out. It's your judgement call. If you can make it better, go ahead and edit. Note that every page has a Discussion area where you can post your observations and questions. You can review the History of a page, see who wrote which version and enter into dialogue with these individuals. Together we can, and will, make the material here stronger and stronger.
  • Who's authorized to teach?
You are, no credentials required. Yes, you can set yourself up as a teacher of anything, with or without any prior experience in the subject. If your students like the process, good, they'll probably continue working with you. If not, they'll likely wander away. You'll find all kinds of individuals teaching here, retired professional academics, currently active ones, people from industry and the self-taught with no formal qualifications at all. Ask course leaders for their backgrounds, or not.
  • If I teach, will I get paid, can I charge my students?
No, not through the Wikiversity. You can ask for donations if you like, but offsite and independently. We frown on fees as against the spirit of the Wikiversity. But we can't control such a practice, do not have the resources to police it. If we discover you're requiring payment for an online course conducted within the Wikiversity website or using the Wikiversity site itself to solicit donations we most likely will take action against you. The Wikiversity is free to all.
  • Can I download materials here and use them in my own offsite classes? Can I revise the materials? Must I make attribution to the Wikiversity?
Yes, yes and no. Download and use. Check here for how our learning materials are protected {Page reference to come} And definitely revise. Better yet, post your revisions back to the Wikiversity. Also post your experiences using the materials to the page's Discussion area. Give back and make the Wikiversity better. Finally, attributions to the Wikiversity are welcome but not required.
  • Who pays for the Wikiversity?
You do, by donations. Here's how you can make a donation {link to come} (entirely voluntary). Notice there's no advertising on the Wikiversity. We're non-commercial, entirely run by volunteers, operating costs covered by donations, from people like you.

The Wikiversity is a facility for learning.

morley 20:30, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Problems:
  • Will I earn a diploma at the Wikiversity? - I'm against any language which doesn't include some sort of tentative marker, such as "yet". It's being discussed elsewhere, and many of us would like to see Wikiversity eventually reach that point.
  • Who gets to decide what gets posted here? - This doesn't mention the importance of consensus building, peer review, and (this has not yet been thoroughly explored/established by the community as) deference in project management. Either make it simpler, or more complex, but don't ignore community here.
  • How is "inappropriate" material kept off the site? - I don't know that the community has explicitly forbidden bombmaking 101. Until we have explicit (and accepted) guidelines on what is and is not appropriate on Wikiversity, we should not be telling newcomers what is and is not appropriate to post.
  • What if someone wrecks a perfectly good course? - It is not the newcomer who decides this, but consensus, giving preference to those who have established contribution records and show expertise in the field in question. Remember that "you" in this case is the new user. Also, some people object to general usage of the word "course" for "learning project".
  • How can I determine whether the material here is any good? - I really think Wikiversity could use some sort of review procedure. Nothing is formalized right now, but I'd like to work towards it, so newcomers could be directed by Departments to "better" materials if they just want to learn, or be guided to materials that need work if they're here to help.
  • Who's authorized to teach? - This makes it sound like Wikiversity intends to be a breeding ground for people who have no idea about subjects to teach it to those who know less about it. I think this needs to be reworded to include something about the concept of peer-review and internal quality checks. We don't require credentials here, but we do require meritous contributions.
  • If I teach, will I get paid, can I charge my students? - Don't include the donations thing here at all; people are likely to confuse it to mean they can ask for donations at Wikiversity. And who's this "we" you speak of? Be specific. Then again, I don't really think there's a need to spell out what will happen if someone violates this, anyways.
  • Can I download materials here and use them in my own offsite classes? Can I revise the materials? Must I make attribution to the Wikiversity? - Attribution isn't required? I wasn't aware of that.
  • Who pays for the Wikiversity? - Again, be careful of your usage of "you". It's better to say "users like you" than "you".
Well, that's my input. You really need to be careful to not claim as policy things which aren't established policy at all. That's the biggest issue I see with the list. The Jade Knight 00:01, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
(except for Bombmaking 101 and similar).
Eh... why not? Who knows, we might just discover a new nitro-gel or something :) I'm sure detectives are routinely trained in the modus operandi of criminals.
I agree with Jade Knight over this one. Wikimedia is mostly structured based on general consensus, not personal opinion. The GFDL requires source attribution. Don't make promises you can't keep. Jafet 06:25, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

  • The issue about authorities (or experts) is the same issue as the question how can I trust the content in wikiversity. In this context, an authority is one who knows something well enough and who has the trust of the public. These people serve the public by accelerating the learning process.
  • The question how can I tell a genuine expert from a fake one has a general answer: by questioning, and by striving to understand the material yourself. --Hillgentleman 14:01, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
If you pretend to be an expert, you may eventually be found out by a real expert. EOF. Jafet 06:25, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Some Ideas from New User[edit]

Hi all ... I,ve just taken a look at Wikiversity project in last few days .. as I have read somewhere Wikiversity is intended to create new creative educational methods using wiki technique ... I find that is really great but through browsing what we have currently in wikiversity ..I felt that this aim is beyond the Mediawiki capabilities ... The problem is that mediawiki is Text-oriented wikisoftware ... and by this way we won't make big difference from wikibooks or wikipedia . We need some new developed wikisoftware that enable everybody from creating new kinds of files : slideshows , flash files for educational explaination , maybe some Interface for Webdesign or even Programming Interface enable anybody to combile online C++ or basic source code .. That would be real revolution in wiki world .. I don't know if that is possible since i,m not professional in programming .. but I think the real task here should be making real and serious contact between wikiversity contributers and Mediawiki developers in order to make New Novel Wiki Software . I liked to share these Idea's with you and I really like to hear your opinions about them . Regards --Chaos 09:48, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

  • -->MediaWiki Project?--Hillgentleman 13:53, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
    • During the community discussions leading up to the start of Wikiversity many people expressed concerns about the need to extend the MediaWiki software in order to support an education-oriented project. The Wikimedia Foundation projects are now "in competition" with other projects such as digitalunivers, projects that are going to be using multimedia, not just plain wiki pages. I have been thinking about the idea of making a proposal to the Wikimedia Foundation for a dedicated server that could be used for Wikiversity experiments with types of media that are not supported by the MediaWiki software. For example, it might be useful to have podcasting of some Wikiversity learning materials and Jimmy Wales has recently expressed interest in the idea of using podcasting to help Wikimedia projects. Right now, Wikimedia projects can only use OGG video files. --JWSchmidt 17:28, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
      • We should open up a dev wishlist or something--Rayc 18:57, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
        • Seconded. The Jade Knight 19:29, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
          • I would make it, but it would quickly get losted if I didn't put it in the right place.--Rayc 20:28, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
When Wikipedia was evolving quickly the developers used to come to the general mailing list to discuss issues regarding requirements and software capabilities with general users. Eventually when the traffic got too high a developer's list was established for highly technical discussions. Hard core developers monitored both lists. This is a proven model which will probably only work if the developers have a dedicated experimental server to try things out on as JW intends to propose. Links to the lists can obviously be advertised to potential developers frequenting the computer science pages once the development server and second mailing lists are available. Mirwin 19:25, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Flash Card snippets of html or embedded java that work on the Wikimedia default (and others hopefully) settings would be nice for pages like this: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Flashcards_for_Java_keywords. Notice that the index heading is a bit visually clunky as it bounces you around.
Code for a single button/link for a Random Java Flashcard out of the indexed list would be nice.
Soon another page of flashcards will be available which inverts the term and concept. Mixing and matching from a multiple set of pages would be nice for larger sets of information. Fortunately Java has only a little over 50 keywords so there are only about a 100 cards in this total set. If we start adding design patterns or useful objects the numbers could get quite high if reviewers are not determined to keep them limited to most useful and generic. Mirwin 03:32, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Update: I've set up Wikiversity:Technical needs which could act as the aforementioned "developer wishlist". Cormaggio 20:18, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Help[edit]

Hi I have just entered my first effort and I think I have the map wrong.

  • I created a [Category:South African Law]
  • Then created a Topic:Cession in South African Law where I put the first chapter. (I think I should have put this in another page called Cession: Chapter one?)
  • I linked it to [Category: Law] where it came up
  • I linked it to [Category: South African Law] where it did not come up.

Can someone please look at it and fix if necessary. Many thanks Andrew massyn 21:56, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

It's there. Looks like you did fine. The Jade Knight 01:36, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

30-31 October[edit]

Index[edit]

Hi. I want to create an index page. Assume I wanted to link the word sillybugger and found it came up on four different pages I had created, how would I link them? In a paper index you say Sillybugger: pages 6, 21, 27 and 104. On a paperless thing I dont know what the convention is. An ideas? Andrew massyn 21:01, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand your question. You can create manual links by using the [[ ]] syntax described at m:Help:Links. If you want to know on what pages a word appears, use Google. If you want to see what pages are listed in a category, take a look at the category page or use the Query tool. If none of these solve what you're asking for, please try to rephrase your question so we can find a solution. sebmol ? 21:50, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
I think Andrew's question might instead be about creating a link to a pagename which is occupied by four different pages(?). If so, Andrew, this is impossible. Making a link either makes a link to an existing page (blue link) or to a new page (red link) - clicking a red link allows you to create that new page. Or, have I misunderstood? Cormaggio 08:04, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
No, I understand the concept of linking, it is a question of indexing. In textbooks, the index at the back usually shows a word and shows where that word is cited in the text book. *Thus the word contract may appear in a textbook on pages 21,27 and 104 and be shown in an index.
Hmm... google searchs I think are sight wide, though there might be a way of telling google to search only your topic: heirarchy. You could then include the google search link in the index page. Otherwise, you can create a page and link individually to each article, although this would be highly ineffient and the users would probably just use a google search anyways.--Rayc 06:29, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Added Boom Code[edit]

I've added information about BoomCode, the astrophysics type II supernova code which I used for my doctoral dissertation. I'm trying to get as much information about astrophysical source code on the wiki so to encourage professional astrophysicists to visit wikiversity.

I'm also in thte process of turning my user page into a virtual office.

Roadrunner 08:42, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Is this for coders to create a background algorythm a la Seti@home, or someway of searching a massive database manually via a computer based amerature astronomy?--Rayc 06:33, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
BoomCode is a professional type II supernova simulator. There are several peer reviewed papers on it, and I used it to do my doctoral dissertation. I'm releasing it under GPL and using wikiversity as a development hub for it, in the hopes of getting more professional astrophysicists on board, and to make some links with the wider community.
This is not for the faint of heart, but there are quick start instructions that will allow someone with basic system administration experience to run the code. In any event, it is useful for letting people know what real scientific code looks like.
Roadrunner 16:12, 2 November 2006 (UTC)