Wikiversity:Mission/Initial development

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Red x.svg This Wikiversity page is inactive and has been retained for historical interest.
The latest statement of the mission is at Wikiversity:Wikiversity project proposal#Mission.


Refining the mission statement[edit]

This is a space in which to develop further a community Wikiversity mission statement. This can (amongst other things) help us to clarify our complex vision and help us to come up with a catchy motto that can be used with our logo on the front page of sister projects.

Current mission statements[edit]

Mission statement from Approved Wikiversity project proposal:

"Wikiversity is a centre for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. Its primary priorities and goals are to:
- Create and host a range of free-content, multilingual learning materials/resources, for all age groups in all languages
- Host scholarly/learning projects and communities that support these materials
- Complement and develop existing Wikimedia projects (eg. a project devoted to finding good sources for Wikipedia articles)"

Mission statement from top of front page (as of August 20, 2006):

"Wikiversity is a space for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. Its primary goals are to:
- Create and host free content, multimedia learning materials, resources, and curricula for all age groups in all languages
- Develop collaborative learning projects and communities around these materials
"Wikiversity supports both learning and teaching."

Mission statement/invite from top of front page (as of September 5, 2006):

"Wikiversity is a community for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. Wikiversity supports both learning and teaching. Its primary goals are to:
  • Create and host free content, multimedia learning materials, resources, and curricula for all age groups in all languages
  • Develop collaborative learning projects and communities around these materials
"Wikiversity provides various communication media and a wiki website where anyone can edit the pages. Learners and teachers are invited to join the Wikiversity community."

Mission statement/invite from top of front page (as of September 19, 2006):

"Wikiversity is a community for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. Wikiversity is a multidimensional social organization dedicated to learning, teaching, research and service. Its primary goals are to:
  • Create and host free content, multimedia learning materials, resources, and curricula for all age groups in all languages
  • Develop collaborative learning projects and communities around these materials
Learners and teachers are invited to join the Wikiversity community as editors of this wiki website where anyone can edit the pages. The community portal lists information about many aspects of Wikiversity."

Refining mission statement(s)[edit]

The current mission statement versions are longish; the second sentence of the project proposal mission has a main clause and three subclauses. Perhaps that length is necessary. Perhaps not.

Can we create a more elegant statement for general readers which inspires participation and evokes the depth, breadth and power of the innovative aspects of Wikiversity that are discussed in the proposal, such as issues relating to e-learning and research?

Using a flexible Delphi method (see discussion below) is suggested for generating alternate mission statements and arriving at a synthesis.

Step 1: Develop Mission Statement Alternates[edit]

Method tips: If edits are substantial, please create a new alternate. Please feel free to copyedit any of these (except the current statements which are for reference). Please discuss merits of alternates on talk page. Thanks.

Note: I grouped these by a simple emergent category system -- based on length. Other categorizations can and probably should be used in the synthesizing in step 2. Reswik 15:20, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Shorter mission statements[edit]

Short Alternate 1 - Focus on our piece of Wikimedia Foundation's goals.

Wikiversity develops free learning materials, processes, and knowledge to help all people access all free human knowledge.
Footnote for posterity: People = Sentient

Short Alternate 2 - Focus on key words in a short sentence

Wikiversity is a community collaboration based shared learning resource for all.

Short Alternate 3 - Focus on collaborative cyber-campus and sharing learning resources

Wikiversity is a collaborative cyber-campus commited to sharing learning resources at all levels with all people. -- Smithgrrl

Short Alternate 4

Wikiversity is an open educational environment that facilitates the integration of learners, teachers, and community builders everywhere. -- Aldenis

Short Alternate 5

Wikiversity celebrates the love of learning, sharing openly all knowledge everywhere with everyone. -- Anon.

Short Alternate 6

To boldly go where no University has gone before. -- Hillgentleman

Short Alternate 7

Wikiversity is a place where everybody can find the kind of university he likes most -- Raoul

Longer mission statements[edit]

Long Alternate 1 - Focus on collaborative learning

Wikiversity will provide the world with quality, multilingual, multimedia learning resources as well as a space for collaborative learning for all education levels to all people.
Long Alternate 2 - Focus on community and learning resources
Wikiversity is a diverse community of learners, teachers, and researchers. Wikiversity is space for creating and using free content, multimedia learning resources for all ages groups in all languages.

Long Alternate 3 - Focus on university/diversity, learning and scholarship

Wikiversity is a free university [alternately, "free diversity"] which creates quality, multilingual, multimedia learning resources and facilitates collaborative scholarship and learning for all education levels to all people. While Wikiversity fosters creating and sharing free knowledge, it does not grant degrees or titles at this time.

Long Alternate 4 - Focus on free space and network, learning and scholarship

Wikiversity is a free space and network of scholars for creating quality, multilingual, multimedia learning resources and facilitating collaborative scholarship and learning for all education levels to all people.

Long Alternate 5 - Multiple focus

Wikiversity is an open educational environment that facilitates the integration of learners, teachers, and community builders everywhere.
We learn by collaborating in the development of free instructional resources.
Everyone already involved in any wikimedia project is learning all the time. We are all learning about specific topics, but also about the general nature of collaborative knowledge production within a highly dynamic community. Wikiversity focus on education makes it the best place to explore the larger implications of this model. Our instructional materials should explicitly benefit from the fact that they were born over a network, were raised in a virtual village, and can be used by everyone. This is a new way of doing curriculum development, and we all need to learn it.
We teach new ways of implementing the collective use of these resources.
All wikimedia projects are based on an innovative model of open collaboration that results in the creation of rather conventional repositories of information. Our encyclopedias, dictionaries, databases, and archives are designed to replace and/or complement their closed, expensive, copyrighted, or plainly useless equivalent. Wikiversity is different. Producing great free content is only part of our mission. We want to deliver instructional resources in ways that promotes collaboration among users of these resources. A network of collective users would be the perfect counterpart of our network of collaborative producers.
We build a dynamic interface between virtual communities of free content creators and the pedagogical infrastructure of the physical world.
Wikiversity is a hybrid network. We create instructional materials that make use of the wealth of resources generated by all wikimedia projects. We deliver these materials in ways that encourage their collective use. We promote further collaboration by designing educational assignments geared toward the development of all wikimedia projects. Our ultimate goal is to harness the power of existing learning communities, erasing the distinction between producers and consumers of free information worldwide. Deploying wikiversity resources in every brick-and-mortar classroom is one of the best ways to bring new contributors back to wikimedia.

Step 2: Synthesize Mission Statements into New Alternates[edit]

When we have a number of alternates above (over five or ten), we can start synthesizing the best features of these into a small number of options. Then, we can discuss them (on talk page). If necessary, we can repeat the synthesis process another time.

Step 2, if repeated, could lead to whole process taking a few weeks or a month or more. Hopefully quality and broad(er) agreement will result.

Step 3: Select Mission Statement(s)[edit]

When a group of editors active here have generated what seem to be final synthesized versions then we can call the community for choosing, per some process discussed below.

Statement Development: Delphi method[edit]

One way of working with collbaratively evolving and synthesizing differing ideas or theories is known as the Delphi method.

In essence, we can develop "themed" alternates and edit existing alternates. Favored alternates can be synthesized, possibly dropping points that are most problematic or unworkable. Then, hopefully we can arrive at one or a few synthesized choice(s). There is usually a facilitator in this method, but we could just do this all together in these steps:

Step 1. We could develop "themed" alternates and edit existing alternates per the "focus" of the alternates. Step 2. We can synthesize the alternates to generate a separate smaller set of more agreeable and elegant alternates. Step 3. Iterate until we have one or a few polished alternates.

If we arrive at several distinct alternates, we can choose from amongst favored alternates to use. Or, we could have a few mission statements for the time being.

This application of the Delphi method deviates from the "traditional" method in several ways. Group facilitation is suggested, not one facilitator. There is not an explicit mention of using steps of developing a thesis, antithesis, and synthesis (though this can be implicit in developing various alternates). There is not an intention for buy in at each stage of a new synthesis (though we can repeatedly look at and edit versions or generate new versions from different points of view). Hence, this is a flexible or loose version of the Delphi method focusing on generating diverse options and interatively synthesizing and refining those.

(Note that the delphi method might be helpful in some planning contexts in Wikiversity. Perhaps it would be interesting to try working with both a formal version of the Delphi method and with the more flexible method discussed here.)

Source Documents[edit]

1. Some key passages from Wikiversity:Approved Wikiversity project proposal:

  • "Wikiversity is a centre for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. Its primary priorities and goals are to:
    • Create and host a range of free-content, multilingual learning materials/resources, for all age groups in all languages
    • Host scholarly/learning projects and communities that support these materials
    • Complement and develop existing Wikimedia projects (eg. a project devoted to finding good sources for Wikipedia articles)"
  • Regarding learning/e-learning:
"The Wikiversity e-Learning model. Existing "bricks and mortar" universities began as meeting places for scholarly individuals seeking knowledge and those with mastery of a subject who could act as teachers to guide the learning process. Wikiversity will be a virtual meeting place for masters and scholars, a wiki that hosts and promotes a flexible online learning environment.
"Conventional universities evolved to have classrooms, collections of courses, grades, fees for students, pay for teachers, the granting of degrees, the certification of teachers and accreditation of universities. That entire structure grew out of the need to concentrate expensive resources (people and facilities) at a particular location in the physical world. The Wikiversity e-Learning model abandons all aspects of conventional universities that arise from the need to focus people and facilities in one place and time. The Wikiversity e-Learning model grows out of the power of the wiki user environment to liberate learning from conventional constraints of time and place. See Wikiversity:Learning for more.
"Learning groups
"It is natural for the wiki format to develop "learning groups" (creating and maintaining learning trails; interest portals; project or task artifacts) where all participants can discuss and learn collaboratively."
  • Regarding resources:
"Resources will include teaching aids, lesson plans, curricula, links, reading lists, etc. Each subject area (or 'course', 'project'), essentially, each community, creates a web of resources that would form the basis of discussions and activities within that field of Wikiversity..."
  • Regarding research:
"In the fulfillment of its mission, other tasks and goals may be initiated and developed by participants to support learning and the creation of new content. In particular, guidelines will be developed during the beta phase of Wikiversity's development on hosting and fostering research based in part on existing resources in Wikiversity and other Wikimedia projects." ...
"Finally, research may one day take place based on materials in Wikiversity (eg. materials on sociology prompt a survey of attitudes), and also based on Wikimedia projects. Wikiversity could act as a repository of research carried out by the Wikimedia Research Network or other people involved in wiki-based research, and could also host the proceedings of Wikimania. Guidelines for what would be appropriate research will be developed during the beta phase of the project, and reviewed after six months.
Whether or not Wikiversity will ever host original research in addition to secondary research is the subject of debate (see talk page.)"

2. Keep in mind the scope of beta stage of Wikiversity.

[Sudhir, 15th January 2007]: Just a suggestion ... "Free Knowledge for Open Minds (FKOM)". I hope it gels with the mission of "WIKIVERSITY".

Choosing[edit]

When this mission statement is well-enough developed...

  • Signing: We, the community, sign the statement as a kind of act of solidarity? It might be nice to have something that we can present to the world at this stage (even if our mission has been worked on on Meta for quite some time :-)) Cormaggio 08:04, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Voting: If there is not one option, we could vote or rest with several statements for awhile.

Related projects[edit]