Wikiversity:Sandbox Server

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This project has been inactive since 2011.
See the second Sandbox Server proposal that has been inactive since 2013.

Wikiversity has adopted a "learn by doing" model of education, and as such Wikiversity participants need to be able to take part in collaborative learning projects that involve (for example) webpage creation/editing/development beyond the limited wiki user interface. Wikiversity participants, particularly in the Computer Science area, need access to a server that would be used for collaborative projects that foster learning.

  • A server which will function as a testing ground for several Wikiversity projects. This will be a series of case studies, to explore various methods of collaboration and learning.


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No current Wikimedia servers, including the toolserver, fill the role envisaged for this server. The Toolserver requires an application process (which would be cumbersome for students) and is probably more restrictive in what it could offer students. (The toolserver admins reasonably assume that since their audience is limited, their security doesn't have to be as stringent). It may be difficult to get various services running, and a disruption of the toolserver (for any reason) would be detrimental to Wikimedia projects in general, while a disruption of our Sandbox Server should only affect Wikiversity processes/learning projects that are using this server.

Clearly this service is inapproriate for general wiki servers or caches, which are tuned to serve wiki content in an efficient way.

Getting approval/funding

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The Special projects committee was created to help the Foundation with, "Evaluation, incubation, and development of current and proposed Wikimedia projects, events, and ideas," However, the web page for the special projects committee indicates that committee meetings ended in 2006 and the last resolution was in November 2006. Oscar van Dillen has described the special projects committee as "now dormant". Should the Sandbox Server proposal be submitted to the special projects committee or is there some other mechanism for getting the Foundation to take action on the proposal?

Expected Uses

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Audio/Video Projects

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  • Live communication/Distance learning project
    • Would allow realtime group participation on many levels.
    • The idea is to connect people who are at large distances
    • One practical idea is a collaborative Drawing program, for primary learners
  • Podcasting (lectures, videos, demonstrations, reports)
  • Wikiversity Radio
    • Journalism
    • Broadcast experience (DJ)
  • Wikiversity TV
  • Wikiversity community chat
    • While current contributors feel comfortable using IRC, it doesn't have the intuitive interface that something like MSN offers. This is an impediment to the free exchange of ideas and knowledge that should be fostered at Wikiversity. A Jabber like server could fill this role.
  • Concept is to use (IAX, Asterisk, etc.), but other protocols would be considered. (eg Skype)
    • This would be inclusive, allowing both computer users and telephone users to interact

Giving out limited access accounts to "students"

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  • So Computer Science lesson work can be done
    • Would allow students access to tools such as a compiler which wiki software doesn't allow
    • Allows lessons to be innovative, as the instruction can be geared to a known format
    • Simplifies and provides a concrete feedback for the student
    • Access can be limited for introductory lessons
    • For more complicated lessons (advanced), we could consider shell access
  • Other types of classwork.
    • Assignment server
    • Robotics programming lab
    • Web design coursework
  • Email access for all lesson participants
  • Facilitating multi-lingual communication (Native speaker to Learner interaction)
  • As a mirror of this very site, as a safety measure against disruptions. (A bot could be used to channel information and edits between these two sites).

Technical Discussion

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See Technical Details


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Potential sources of support include:

Wikimedia Foundation

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The WMF has many servers in various locations (see m:Servers). One idea is to ask the WMF if it could donate an old server (ie three years old or so), that has passed its "best before" date.


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Kennisnet host some servers for the WMF already - they are also an educational organization, and could be interested in Wikiversity.


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Wikiversity is interested in pursuing grants. This could be a vehicle for research and grant funding. See Research grant collaboration group

Contributors who support this proposal

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See also

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Additional resources

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  • 10 wishes list for 2008 by Florence Devouard. "I would like to see this year a system implemented to collect technical wishlists from each project"
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