Wikiversity:Problems I have encountered

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This page is intended to gather feedback on what problems people (ie you!) have encountered in Wikiversity. Please help us by giving a general overview of the problem, some details of whatever materials you may have consulted (or wrote), the people who you engaged with, and also how this problem affected you and your learning. You can be as simple or as detailed as you like - you can make a separate page if you like, link to your blog, or whatever - but your stories should help create a picture of how Wikiversity has worked (or not) so far. For accounts of learning, please see Wikiversity:What I have learned.

Please note: if you would prefer to remain anonymous, you can send an email to Cormaggio, which will only be used with your permission, and as you specify.

Problems I have encountered[edit]

Pigeonholing[edit]

I would like to voice my pigenhole-ing theory. Most wiki projects there is one page on one topic and people who want to work on that topic have to work together, thus NPOV and dispute resolution. Here you don't get that effect, meaning that projects rely more on advertising and less on the notability of the topic. Also, bureaucracy is slow if people assume there should be one (extension approval committee) when in fact such a bureaucracy doesn't exist.--Rayc 20:51, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

See discussion on the talk page


My experience with the Film School[edit]

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Current Status - The Film School[edit]

1. Awkward software
I prefer a formal student/teacher relationship with a long series of attractive lessons in formal courses. In this case, the design of the wikimedia software is not ideal. I now spent at least 60% of my time is spent doing formatting and organizing.
The Wikimedia software is not designed for colorful and attractive pages (like Pagemaker, InDesign or Freehand). I must do all my coding by hand. Even the requirement that I do everything on line (with a dial up phone line), is very time consuming.
Also, because the file format is flat, now that I have more than 400 pages, it is an organizational nightmare. I cannot automatically print a well organized table of contents of my files. I cannot simply move whole sections of files to a different folder to change the order of my lessons.
The courses I am offering have never been offered before anywhere so I am inventing the content and structure as I go. Therefore, I repeatedly make mistakes in how I am designing my courses and I must go back and reorganize. The lack of file folders (a hierarchial file system) is still the greatest hinderance.


2. Student/teacher relationship
Even though the Film School is not finished (and will not be finished until the end of the year), I am getting a feeling for the students I am attracting. Most are high school students. They are highly intelligent. Yet, none are experienced at authoring even the simplest WIKI pages. None can even upload homework assignments. More importantly, none want to. (All assignments are submitted by email and I must upload the finished pages to Wikiversity.)
I do not believe that any students will ever want to author pages. Once the first draft of the school is complete and working, it will be interesting to see if any students contribute lessons. I believe that students will be too busy just trying to learn all the filmmaking software that is needed by independent filmmakers.
The wikimedia software does not work best with this kind of structure.


3. Lost in the crowd
When the Film School is complete and fully working, I will be doing my own publicity to attract students. Therefore, the other content on Wikiversity should not effect me. However, I am beginnning to get the feeling the difference between my content (with the formal student/teacher relationship with very rigid lessons) and the other content of Wikiversity is turning off some students. This is something which will concern me in the future since I want to keep students fully focused on filmmaking.


4. The big picture
Probably the most important thought that I have never heard spoken out loud is "teaching is a business". For most serious teachers, this is a business.
Repeatedly, I hear how retired educators will be eager to stop their retirement and write wonderful lessons for wikiversity. This is not happening and this is not my case. I am not doing this for the fun of it. This is a full time business.
I fully comply with the requirements of Wikiversity. All of my lessons are free and all of the content is public domain. I want people to freely use the content. I want companies to freely copy my pages.
What I need is a pool of talent who can make and edit motion pictures. The film school is the way to achieve this.
So while my business model is unusual, I am still doing this as a business for profit.
Creating an on-line school requires teachers who want to spend 8 hours a day 7 days a week writing lessons for a year or two. That requires a profit motive. Wikiversity needs to recognize this and begin to offer the support that independent teachers need to run their businesses (while still adhering to the Wikiversity model of free lessons which are public domain.)


5. The promise of Wikiversity
In three years once enough lessons and projects have been completed, we will begin to see what is needed. Currently, Wikiversity is just an experiment. Only after we know what is possible can be begin to design a system from scratch for the needs of education.
Robert Elliott 18 April 2007 (PST)
See discussion on the talk page

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