Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/September 2010

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Update Design?

Hi all, newbie to Wikiversity here, I recently heard about this site, and it sounds like it has great potential. I love the idea of open, free and community based education where the aim is knowledge and self betterment, over the prize of letters or a diploma.

As my job is making recommendations on how companies can improve the design of their websites, I thought it might be helpful to ply my craft here.

Having visited the website for the first time today, I was surprised to find that the design of the website seems a little dated, especially as the community seems to be aimed at establishing themselves as a serious player in the world of education, where an institution's brand is absolutely crucial.

I thought I'd make two initial suggestions, at the risk of covering ground that may already have been discussed at length elsewhere within this site.

Example of how Wikiversity might look
How Wikiversity might look?

The first suggestion is a simple but valuable fix, to upgrade the theme/skin of the site to the more modern look employed by the sister Wikimedia sites. The new design takes into account new web standards such as the placement of the search box, and provides a visual design that degrades well and looks sleek. The continuation of the older theme will probably lead to confusion and frustration to users (esp. those used to the layout of Wikipedia, which I would guess is your main draw crowd).

Example Wikiversity Logo Refresh
An example of how a refresh of the Wikiversity logo might look.

My second suggestion is an update of the logo. While I like logo. especially the idea and some parts of the execution, the overall feel comes across as a little bulky/geometric. Perhaps a logo update competition is in order?

Rather than just criticize though, I thought in the spirit of the wiki I would post my own examples of how I think improvements could pan out, and you can see them on the right.

Once I've had a proper muck around with the site and got my hands dirty, I'll be sure to contribute some more substantial advice on how things could be tweaked. In the meantime, Happy Learning!

--ThisIsMyName 15:57, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Well I think the logo is an improvement, but it is still rooted in a neo-classical aesthetic, and I am not sure how ideal that is for wikiversity, so perhaps the idea of a competition might be useful.Harrypotter 18:38, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Kind of reminds me of the U.S. Capitol Building. -- Thekohser 19:39, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
The London University as drawn by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd and published in 1827/28 (now UCL Main Building)

It definitely reminds me of w: University College London (UCL), the origin of the University of London, which otherwise than Oxbridge was:

"established on an entirely secular basis and admit students regardless of their religion, and the first to admit women on equal terms with men."

You may further note that the Internet proper was incidentally or necessarily realized by connecting UCL and Stanford transatlantic. Hence, the start of the global hypertext networking for World Brain, from 1975! Simple is the meaning of the globe of Wikiversity, if not UCL. That of the US Capitol Building is just irrelevant!

You may still further note that at UCL at that moment, the following may have taken the supertructural hypotext no less seriously than the similar sounding, infrastructural, substructural hypertext or Internet:

  • Mary Douglas (1975). Implict Meanings: Essays in Anthropology
  • Stephen E. Robertson (1975). "Explicit and Implicit Variables in Information Retrieval Systems", Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 26(4): 214-222.
A summertime view from the South-Western corner of the quadrangle towards the UCL main building on Gower Street
The UCL Main Building is the centre of the UCL campus

-- KYPark [T] 08:31, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Wow, didn't expect this building to be so contentious!

The design of the building is not based on any one existing structure and intentionally lacks any distinguishing features that would place it within any particular period of classical architecture, but rather plays homage to the spirit of classical architecture with allusions to ancient Greek and Roman architecture, which then carries through to other classical styles, such as Renaissance and Gothic, all of which were used by later societies to symbolise the blossoming of thought, philosophy and education that these periods in history became synonymous with, hence their association with universities, courts, libraries and government buildings today. The usurping of Ancient Greek architectural stylings by descendant societies has always been done in a way that emphasises their place as the ideological descendants of the Ancient Greeks, from Rome to Europe and Britain, to the Soviet Union and the New World, this ancient style of building has always been used to symbolise the art of thought, upon which modern science, philosophy and education were founded.

The liberties I took with the design was to turn the globe into a Renaissance style dome, keeping the unusually large four pillars at the entrance (symbolising the four pillars of education, which I assume the original logo design was alluding to) and the empty space behind the pillars, to symbolise the openness of the institution.

I did attempt to model the dome on that of St Paul's Cathedral, from which the designers of the US Capitol Building's drew inspiration (so well spotted there), but the dome is placed directly on top of the building in this design in an allusion to a camelot-esque idea I pilfered from the Bahai faith, where all the building entrances lead to the same round central room, symbolising the unity and equality of people regardless of where they come from.


Just a sidethought, looking at those photos, maybe I should have included an "engraving" above the entrance of the building. Anyone know the Latinised version of 'The fork is on the table'?

--ThisIsMyName 15:12, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry about the wall of text above, I'll try to be brief this time round. I just realised that the theme for the website has been updated and I'm wondering, did this occur in response to my above post, or was it a coincidence and good timing? Either way, well done!

--ThisIsMyName 15:19, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

interesting. Hillgentleman | //\\ |Talk 16:53, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
My comment: what a focus on the European institution! One of the oldest continuously operating universities in the world is w:University of Al-Karaouine, and see [1]. I've been there. --Abd 22:16, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Abd's story about his visit

The WP photo titled "Interior of the Al Karaouine Mosque and university" was taken from the street, I believe, though the main entrance, that's not the interior, it's the courtyard. I was told that the French established a law in Morocco that only Muslims could enter the mosques (because there is no such exclusion in Islam except for the two cities of Mecca and Medina). I entered, washing in the fountain you can see in the picture, walked into the masjid proper, and was looking around, trying to figure out what direction was qibla, when I was challenged to show my "papiers." I handed the man a pocket Qur'an, saying "Mes papiers." He kept insisting, "Votre papiers!" So I said the shahada (which any Muslim should know would make me a Muslim if I wasn't already), and asked him "Qibla?" And I might have quoted, in Qur'anic Arabic, the verse where we are told to face the direction of the "masjid al-haram." I.e., Mecca. I know that whole section of the Qur'an. He gave up and pointed out the direction. I did the same thing to enter the tomb (mosque) of w:Moulay Idriss, where they actually had armed guards. My wife was never questioned entering a mosque in Morocco, except when she was with me, because she was wearing hijab, but I'm an American and look like one. People would ask me, "Are you an American?" and I'd say, "Lucky guess!" Anyway, very old institution, going before 900 C.E. --Abd 21:50, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

(Looking again, that photo might have been taken from the inside, I forget what the actual entryway looked like. That's probably the entrance courtyard, but there might be another.) --Abd 21:57, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
And looking around, this photo of the "mosque entrance" shows the same view, but you can see the ornate door, which must have been fully opened for the photo in the article. --Abd 22:16, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

I like your story!

My apologies for being so Euro-centric, as I said above I was aiming for a design that steered away from any one culture or society. I am loving the way everyone is bringing their own interpretation to such a 'blank canvas' of a building, and really each interpretation is as valid as any.

I wasn't so much intentionally excluding the influences of Islam in the development of education, but rather citing architectural examples that spring to mind, which in my case are largely Western European, so my apologies about that. The use of a classical style of building, however, in no way ideologically excludes Islamic architecture. Like all long running cultures, Islamic architecture has varied greatly across time, and has shared many styles with the Western Europeans, especially during the days of the Roman Empire, albeit with their own added idiosyncratic touches. Byzantine Architecture is a descendant of the same pool of architectural design as the examples I cited above, and was a massive influence on the design of early Islamic architecture and art, particularly mosques around the time that Al-Karaouine was built (though I must admit Al-Karaouine, with it's centuries of successive additions and expansions, is truly in a class of it's own).

--ThisIsMyName 12:13, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, I feel the neoclassic aesthetic is at heart eurocentric. Here the logo's strength can also be a weakness: it depicts a strong "stone and mortar" (as opposed to redbrick) image and perhaps reflects anxiety about Wikiversity's lack of status. What I like about the wikipedia logo is that it moves away from all this mustiness with an image which is asymmetric with images from different letter systems composing an incomplete globe. Still it's better than Senate House which inspired Orwell's Ministry of Truth.Harrypotter 10:17, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation doesn't own this site?

Forgive me if this sounds odd, but do or don't the Wikimedia Foundation own this site? From what I read at, it appeared to be an essay. (sorry, logged in from shared computer here so will have to cut this short). Anyone clarify this? An editor with no account, i.e. anon. This comment added by 13:20, 2 September 2010.

Note the "A Wikimedia project" logo at the bottom right of every page on the wiki. Adrignola 13:39, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
WMF is the host of this site but not the contents. The individual contributors own their copyrights which are licenced under GFDL/CC-BY-SA. Now in principle wikimedia can go off business one day and still Wikiversity would have no problem running in another host. But without the content or community there is no wikiversity. You make your call. Hillgentleman | //\\ |Talk 16:52, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
The WMF has legal ownership and responsibility for the site, it is not merely the "host." However, in practice, the WMF delegates to the user communities the details of site operation, absent certain overriding concerns which occasionally arise. --Abd 20:57, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

-- 13:29, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikiversity at the London Meetup

Well, there was a discussion about Local History and Wikiversity. There was another discussion about wikiversity at the other end of the table, and hopefully those involved will post some feedback.Harrypotter 18:26, 12 September 2010 (UTC)


Ffdssa put a long essay here, I've moved it to User:Ffdssa/Mechation, and the user asked a question below. I suggest that responses to the essay be on Mechation, and/or User talk:Ffdssa. --Abd 21:39, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

What do you think?? Ffdssa 19:02, 12 September 2010 (UTC)Robert Franklin

I think discussion about the essay, with regard to status, improvements and/or suggestions, should be on the corresponding talk page. --Devourer09 02:10, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Employment or Job hunting learning resource

I want to create a learning resource that pertains to getting a job. I'm thinking I can make a list of ways to look for a job and way to apply for a job and what types of jobs there are etc. etc... Does anyone have tips on how I should go about doing this or any other pages on WV I should look at? I think I will also be WV:Bold and start it and then anyone interested can join in. Thanks. --Devourer09 18:28, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Class project structure

A question arose, for me, in considering Wikiversity:Requests for deletion#Free Masonic Lodge "True Harmony". This was one among a large set of individual Wikiversity pages created as part of a history class project to compile information on 18th century European scholastic societies and academies. The coordinating page, listing all of the created pages, was a User page. It was already suggested, long ago, to the teacher, that this be in mainspace. (I've now moved it, but the user could theoretically object, or someone else.) What about the individual pages? Out in mainspace, at the top level, they are rather exposed to people seeing them in isolation and not realizing that they are part of a collection. Now, there are two ways I can think of to fix this (plus variations). One is what I proposed and started to do, which is to move all those individual pages to subpages of the main resource page. This makes categorization very objection without looking at categories, and provides for a neater organization of mainspace. However, it's also possible to leave the pages where they are and add category tags to them. I prefer the former, but I'd like to know what people think. --Abd 21:46, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

I like the idea of using subpages because it shows a relationship that the subpages are directly dependent on the parent pages. Categories make sense on WP because most articles are independent of each other, meaning you don't have to read all the other articles before reading that one to understand that one, assuming you know the meaning of all the words and vocabulary used within the article, so therefore to group similar articles together categories come into play. --Devourer09 01:23, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
Subpage them, they are all part of the same thing. Geoff Plourde 18:27, 22 September 2010 (UTC)


Check GLAM-WIKI 2010. This is conference currently being organised in London and Paris.Harrypotter 18:19, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Concerns about an article

I recently came across the article airship design. The theory of airship design is a subject that I've got more than a passing knowlege of, and the article in question reads like a flight of fantasy. The airships depicted are totally impossible, and the text seems to be more a collection of futuristic-sounding technologies than an actual attempt at design. Is this sort of article within Wikiversity's scope, and if not, what is the method for getting it deleted? --Carnildo 19:29, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

You can just edit over it if you want to add in something decent. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:44, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the editor can do that, but it might be friendlier to move the existing page to a subpage, Airship design/Ideas, or something like that, that is about the fantasy or original research, thus leaving the original research on the Ideas page, and create a page above it about actual airship design, which Carnildo, we may assume, is qualified and very welcome to do. I've done the move. To answer the original question, Wikiversity covers all educational levels, and a student in a class at some level might well write something like this, which can be reviewed, criticized, expanded, or just enjoyed. Or not, as you choose. It's within scope, my opinion, which has little to do with how accurate it is, especially if it isn't at the top level. Take it as a student paper! And as an expert, then, assume that the student would welcome your comments. Remember, like any skilled educator, be nice (in addition to being clear)!
I've created a soft redirect to Airship design/Ideas from Airship design]. --Abd 20:17, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I suggest being bold and improving the quality of the lesson. An expert's input is probably much needed. --Devourer09 02:27, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for Book: namespace

Please see Wikiversity:Namespaces/Proposals_for_new_namespaces#Book: - it's a proposal to add the Book: namespace. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 00:57, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I added my 2 cents. --Devourer09 03:23, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Please can someone tell me how to create a resource with "next page" and "previous page" features? Or how to create a category? --R R Carney 17:21, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

-- 22:36, 2 October 2010 (UTC) its a group discussion between emperor and ministers that are taking sugestion to king(emperor), about any problem. prombem can be any type. as they are discussing about peoples who are facing problems.