This pages covers ideas and approaches put forward over the years on the topic of how to use Wikiversity for teaching, learning and research. It could be used as a shortcut to understanding the hundreds of pages and thousands of edits devoted to this topic over the years.
A historical listing of concepts of learning for Wikiversity
There may be inaccuracies in the following account. Please correct them.
- Early influences: the University Model
- One of the earliest concepts of learning for Wikiversity was the "university model", in which it was attempted to model Wikiversity as exactly as possible on a university. This university was to have faculties (or schools), courses (with course ID's following the US system), staff members (qualified?), the ability to grant degrees, and so on. Swathes of pages were created in accordance with this concept, which was nevertheless quickly rejected by the Wikimedia Foundation. Many of these pages (confusingly) survive today, while the board's rejection of the "university model" left an unclear state-of-play as regards defining the content of Wikiversity.
- Early influences: educational egalitarianism
- The history of the resource Wikiversity:Learning shows that as early as 2005, well before Wikiversity's official launch, there was a school of thinking which promoted non-hierarchical or leaderless "learning groups". A similar approach, also stemming from 2005, can be found in User:Cormaggio's Wikiversity:Learning community. The egalitarian model contrasts with the University Model.
in order to teach we must learn. in order to learn we must teach
This section covers concepts and approaches which emerged in the 6 months or so following Wikiversity's official launch.
- Wikiversity:The original learning model
- This resource is largely based on ideas developed by User:JWSchmidt in August 2006 at Portal:Education, a couple of weeks after Wikiversity was official launched. It reacts to the board debates about Wikiversity's mission, setting out a learning by doing model in response to this. Possibly the emergence of this concept reflects the success of the "educationally egalitarianist" school of thought after the rejection of the University Model. The concept "learning project" emerged at about this time, describing a kind of leader-free collaborative learning process in which the "teacher" was the act of resource creation itself rather than any authority.
- Learning to learn a wiki way
- This intensive and large discussion was contributed to by a wide variety of users between September 2006 and December 2007. It contains little self-reference, except by implication. The project has many external resources, but otherwise does not seem to have progressed beyond a planning phase in which the participants introduced themselves and explored their motives and goals.
- Wikiversity:Wikiversity as narrative
- Wikiversity:Developing Wikiversity through action research
- Despite the technical title, this resource marks a simple turning point in Wikiversity thinking about itself, refocussing on an empirical approach to defining teaching and learning at Wikiversity. It contrasts with the prescriptive statements made around the time of the board proposals and mission formulation. Rather than asking "what form should Wikiversity learning have", the question became "what form(s) of learning are in fact being used by editors". The resource is coordinated by User:Cormaggio with editing phases in early 2007 and again in early 2008. This resource does not lay down any particular model for Wikiversity learning; instead it proposes an approach to finding a model. It spawned extensive subpages and discussions: reading group, discussion group, talk page, about the project, agenda, intended outcomes, uses of Wikiversity, participants, theories, Wikiversity identity. A better title for this resource might be "rethinking Wikiversity learning models".
- Wikiversity:Learning by doing
- Wikiversity:Content development
- Wikiversity:Pre-tertiary portal
- A discussion about more boldly extending or refocussing Wikiversity on the primary and secondary educational sectors was initiated by User:McCormack in May 2007. The discussion led to action and a redesign of Wikiversity in April 2008.
There was renewed interest in a concept of learning for Wikiversity starting at the beginning of 2008. Much of this focussed around a revival of User:Cormaggio's Wikiversity:Developing Wikiversity through action research.
- Wikiversity:Learning projects
- Originally a small supporting page for the early concept of "learning projects", this resource was reworked by User:McCormack in January 2008 into a rather general help page about creating educational resources. This is practical help rather than a learning concept.
- Wikiversity:Being educational
- This resource reacted to savage criticism of the educational vapidity of some Wikiversity learning resources. Created by User:McCormack in February/March 2008, it tries to refocus on the most basic characteristics of what makes a resource educationally valuable. Rather than adopting an empirical approach, it sets up criteria by which actual resources can be judged as educationally valuable or not.
- Wikiversity:Personal learning environment
- This page was developed by User:Cormaggio and others in early 2008 as an addition to any learning model for Wikiversity. It explores a new avenue of Wikiversity usage.
- Wikiversity:Building successful learning communities
- Started by User:Cormaggio in early 2008, this resource was developed further by User:McCormack drawing on an empirical (action research?) approach and especially on the newly catalogued list of "successful" projects listed at Wikiversity:Featured. User:McCormack produced a typology of communities, but argued that experience showed that the success of learning communities depended on their having a coordinator rather on than anything inherent in the communities themselves. The coordinator is often a teacher adopting a non-didactic managerial role.
- Help:Resource types
- Styled as a help page, this resource was created in June 2008 by User:McCormack drawing in part on an action research approach to Wikiversity and drawing in part on experiences of external projects. The resource looks at what existing editors have been creating at Wikiversity, produces a typology of resources, and presents this as a help page for future editors. Associated pages include: Help:How to write an educational resource, Help:101 things to do with your class on Wikiversity.
- Wikiversity:Wikiversity teachers
- A practical FAQ-like page with very detailed information for teachers about using Wikiversity. This is practical help rather than a learning concept.
- Wikiversity:Adding content
- This is an outdated help page for creating content. It does not contain or favour any learning concept.
- Portal:Learning Projects
- Unmaintained listing of "learning projects" from the early days of Wikiversity.
- Portal:Learning Materials
The debates over a "concept" or "model" of learning for Wikiversity have been accompanied by and closely associated with issues of technology support. It has been widely recognized that in order to provide a full learning experience, Wikiversity must provide a stronger multimedia environment and greater interaction than other Wikimedia projects.
- Teaching and Learning Online is a collection of resources on roughly the same topic as this page, with the difference that Teaching and Learning Online is not self-referential (i.e. does not directly mention Wikiversity).
- Action research explains User:Cormaggio's theoretical background and helps understand where some of his ideas about learning at Wikiversity are coming from.
- Collaborative research on Wikiversity - article by User:Cormaggio