Wikiversity:Developing Wikiversity through action research/Agenda

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This is a proposed agenda for the project Developing Wikiversity through action research. Please edit this page, or add ideas to the project page. It would be useful if we could form clear projects with proposed timelines - please add proposals here (these are all proposals), and if you think that a proposal is unrealistic, or should be tightened, please say so!

Clarifying Wikiversity learning model[edit]

We have Wikiversity learning model and Learning by doing - but are they useful?; realistic?; understood? This activity is about finding and using readings to enrich our understanding, and generally discussing what the model means - and developing it - in the light of different perspectives on learning. This activity is intended to build symbiotically with the next activity - "building learning communities".


I think I would like to find and discuss perhaps two readings per month (though these readings do not need to be necessarily books or even chapters, but can simply be passages). Is this realistic? Cormaggio talk 13:05, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


Daan, I want to keep an open mind regarding the learning model. I am in favour of seeing Wikiversity as a liberal society, where different institutions can be developed with completely different ways of organizing themselves and goals. These institutions shouldn't be centrally controlled. They should be allowed to develop into their own ways. Therefore, i am not much interested into developing a learning model, which should be applied to the whole of Wikiversity.--Daanschr 14:22, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks - I'm also not interested in finding something which would be applied wholesale - I would prefer to explore and clarify different modelS of learning as they relate to Wikiversity. (Though if we did just clarify the learning by doing model as it relates to Wikiversity, I think that would be a substantial achievement.) Cormaggio talk 14:27, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
There are two points that i like to express in this regard.
I find it important that those who judge an activity, also are active in it. In holland, at the moment, there is a huge discussion in the politics because managers tend to dominate the classes too much. Teachers have lost control and therefore the best teachers have left schools to do another job. A lesson to be learned is that teachers should have a say in the way classes are taught. On Wikipedia there is a similar problem. Many people who try to have a say in the decisions don't write articles. While many people who write articles don't decide what should be the policy of Wikipedia (i used to be one of those). What can be learned within Wikiversity is that people who organize something and are succesfull in organizing shouldn't be patronized by others. Learning by doing corresponds to this, don't judge as an outsider, but express your opinion when you are involved in something. This has nothing to do with politics however, it is purely about how this organization can function properly.
Another point is that many people will not be able to contribute in research or that contributions can be very vague. A good functioning institution, lets say, SB_Johnny's future radio discussions doesn't necessarily have to be part of action research. To clarify, people who listen and discuss enthusiastically about climate change with SB_Johnny, don't need to have be stimulated to discuss there activity and try to learn a lesson from it. Most people on this radio show probably wouldn't like to be confronted with it and if they do appreciate it, what would be the meaning of it?--Daanschr 14:47, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
"don't judge as an outsider, but express your opinion when you are involved in something" --> Surely, by expressing an opinion, you are getting involved in some way? I certainly wouldn't like to create a scenario where someone could say: "You are not involved, therefore I am not going to listen to you". This is what I thought you were saying about teachers getting involved in (policies behind) how classes are taught. This is how I think it should be in Wikiversity - where someone creating materials, or trying to teach will have an active say in this research agenda. And when I say research, I conceptualise it quite broadly - to me, this discussion we're having is an integral part of the research - and anyone can join in, however and as vague as they like. Cormaggio talk 15:03, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
An opinion can become meaningless if there are no acts developing from them, or if it doesn't correspond to a certain activity.
I was not referring to teachers discussing the policy behind how classes ought to be taught, but a teacher having the right to decide how is own class is to be taught.
I agree with you on the freedom of persons to develop their own activities and the right of people to join in into a discussion.--Daanschr 15:42, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
In keeping with the focus of this project, your comments about teachers deciding how their classes are to be taught remind me strongly of the work of Lawrence Stenhouse and John Elliott, who were instrumental in introducing action research as a mode of teacher (and curriculum) development in the UK. I'll add a reading to the Wikiversity learning model/Reading group. Your comment about meanings in the context of activity is interesting - would you care to elaborate on that, or point me to a reading? Are you aware of activity theory? (a school of thought following Vygotsky, Leontiev, Engestrom...) Cormaggio talk 16:28, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

I haven't read any books on learning. For me it is important that knowledge can be applied.--Daanschr 22:09, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, the whole point of these reading groups is to get us thinking and discussing, and seeing how we could apply what we're learning in the process. The whole point of an action research agenda is that is has a practical orientation. Cormaggio talk 13:05, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Cormac, I want to do something i like to do. This is a leisure activity of mine. I enjoy the Thucydides reading group, and i would like to do other things i regard as fun or exiting. Maybe Wikiversity will only work if some we regard it as television: we must develop several programs, people want to be part in. On the television you got the news, television games, films, sitcoms and several other formats. I would like to develop these kind of formats for Wikiversity, but i don't want to be part of something that i can't comprehend or understand.--Daanschr 17:24, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Daanschr, I'm absolutely not asking that you do anything that you don't feel like doing! I suppose I should ask at this point: what aspect of this research are you interested in? In terms of 'not comprehending or understanding' - I hope I could help to some extent. That's why I want to do all of this as a group effort - so we can all help each other out in understanding what we're doing. Cormaggio talk 20:23, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I would like to create something. I have twice been in the spirit of creating something and having the feeling that with the group of people that i was part of that it would really work. I like the enthusiasm of the creating process especially as a group effort. The two events in which i felt this spirit was the founding of Citizendium and the start of WikiProject Historical Atlas. Problems that arised were that there were too little people for the historical atlas and Larry Sanger, the founder of Citizendium appeared to be some kind of nazi.
What i would like to do on Wikiversity is starting something up. A bit of this spirit is to be found in the reading group on Thucydides, but the scope of that project at the moment is limited, allthough i like it very much as a leasure activity. So, the Thucydides reading group is a success.
The problems i have with action research at the moment is that it is too theoretical, there is little consideration for details, for applied knowledge. Also, we are here only the two of us, so it isn't really a group effort. So, i propose to start something up which can give rise to that spirit of creativity. Action research can be a tool for reflection, to be able to determine what we are doing and where we are heading to.--Daanschr 12:23, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I also want to create something - something that would be relevant to different people here, based in people's interests and the fact that a lot of our work is "leisure activity". But this is what action research is - creating/changing something, and then reflecting on it, improving on your creation. I clearly haven't explained it well enough if you think it's "too theoretical" or has "little consideration for details, for applied knowledge". I'll try to link to or develop materials which could clarify this - I'll add them to the Action research discussion group. Cormaggio talk 13:38, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps detail is not the right word. Otherness might be it. In order to make action research broader and larger, it needs to correspond to otherness. Something other than action research. If this otherness is not taken into acount, then action research could remain an empty shell. If you go to a library or watch television, than an enormous amount of topics are being discussed in books in prgramms. These enormous range of topics are all other than action research, so for action research to be applied broader and to become larger, you need to correspond to this otherness of other topics, methods etc.
It has little use to only take on this otherness for only a short while and to quickly return to action research, because there is the threat that the sense of otherness has not been felt, witnessed thoroughly. Also, the people who are interested in other topics, other than action research will not been lured away to action research.
Another threat is that another topic is being discussed too long and that action research dissapears from our perspective. What is needed is to establish the right balance, of spending time on other issues, and spending time on action research. Some law or tradition needs to arise to give action research a place.
So, the question is how can we leave action research and return later, and to what place and knowledge shall we go to? Ho can we invite people who are interested in this otherness and how can we get them interested in action research through this otherness?--Daanschr 15:04, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely don't want to "lure people away to action research" - I want to make a research agenda that is relevant to people here. By carrying out our activities within this broad scope we are contributing to (participating in) the research - we are not 'leaving action research, to return later'. I don't want to create any "otherness" between research and practice - I want them to be as interlinked as possible. I would like to start setting out this relevant research agenda - incorporating finding stimulating leisure learning activities - as soon as possible. Maybe we can discuss aspects of action research simultaneously to that - and simply get started? Cormaggio talk 18:24, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Okay, how do you want to start?--Daanschr 08:08, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

I think the question of "how can we build engaging learning communities?" (below) is still the key one. I've taken some comments from the recent Colloquium discussion, and placed them with some of my own comments at Wikiversity learning model/Discussion group#Viable methods. Cormaggio talk 10:36, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, i agree with that. I will respond on Wikiversity learning model/Discussion group.--Daanschr 12:23, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Building learning communities[edit]

Wikiversity strives, as well as developing free/open educational content, to also build active learning communities (sometimes called learning projects). This activity is about finding what has worked, what has not worked, what we can learn about building communities that work, and how we can then build such communities.


This is a rather large and potentially amorphous project. Perhaps it should start with identifying clear examples of what has worked and what has not worked so far. (Timeframe - one month? less?) This should provoke a discussion about why, and what we can learn. Then we could start a plan for building learning communities. It would be good for a clear plan to emerge (perhaps in the next two months?) However, I feel a lot of this will be simultaneous to eachother, and some of it has already started, of course. Cormaggio talk 13:05, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


Building up learning communities has my interest. I would like to see learning community broader and apply a vaguer term, namely institution. Every learning community can be seen as an institution, but an institution can mean other things than that.--Daanschr 14:27, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


One proposal for building learning communities is to engage in outreach projects (ie contacting other communities/organisation etc, in order to see how Wikiversity could serve their needs and/or how they could contribute to Wikiversity).



There are a number of 'extra-Wikiversity' projects listed on the project page - are all of these or any others to be contacted? More recent comments on the Colloquium centred on identifying Wikipedia editors who might benefit from a space on Wikiversity to pursue activities outside the scope (or tolerance) of Wikipedia. Specific ideas would be helpful in order to develop a scope and timeline for the project. Cormaggio talk 15:19, 8 February 2008 (UTC)