Wikiversity:Creating a university

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Lets think this through, what do you need to create an institution which is competitive with the Ivy League schools (Harvard, Yale) yet scalable to reach hundreds of millions of people?

You need to talk money, power, and social networks. Money and power are all based on social networks, and wikis create social networks.

The basic model. The medical doctor model. Professors setting up private practice to teach with wikiversity being the social glue to make this work.

What do you need for a world class university?

  • Alumni networks. They get you the money, power, and credibility
  • Career services. They help from the alumni networks.
  • Student advising and counseling.
  • Professional interaction. Notices of conferences. Getting hooked up with co-authors.
  • Fundraising and development.

Who are the gatekeepers? Professional societies and peer-reviewed journals.

What does an independent professor need? Notices of conferences. Interaction with other people in the research community. People do handle the annoying administrative bits (recordkeeping, grants administration). Social support network (people offering sympathy at trying to balance career and family, feedback)

Note. People who are interested in academia are not looking to make huge amounts of money. If you can create a system by which an independent scholar can live a reasonable upper middle class lifestyle, you've already got a cadre of teachers. Look at the number of people who are willing to get paid peanuts as adjunct faculty at community colleges and UoP. There is a *vast* community of people at the margins of the system that can be mobilitized.

The type of information that would be useful for creating a world class research/teaching institution:

1) How do I raise money? Talk about how to prepare grants. Career advice. Networking. 2) What do I study? There is no reason for Wikiversity to reinvent the wheel. There are already a number of ways people can convert learning into accredited degrees. There just needs to be a forum for people to be able to share information on how to do this. 3) Feedback for professional academics. Pre-peer review. When is the next conference on X? What jobs are available.

What the Wikimedia Foundation can provide.

a) Grant support. WF is already going to have to have an infrastructure for getting and accounting for grants. It can "open architect" that infrastructure to allow independent academics apply for grant money with WF as custodian. b) Matchmaking services. Match co-authors. Match people to conferences

Apply the open source development model to academic research and scholarship.