Creating Wikiversity Courses

—From concept to courses

This step-by-step guide is provided to help educators new to Wikiversity develop their first few courses on the platform.

Wikiversity provides students with many modern learning opportunities.

Why Wikiversity? edit

Invite millions of students from around the world into your classroom, today and for many years to come!

Learning materials created on Wikiversity are freely available, enduring, available worldwide in several languages, and continuously improved.

Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university, including professional training and informal learning. We invite teachers, students, and researchers to join us in creating open educational resources and collaborative learning communities. To learn more about Wikiversity, try a guided tour, learn about adding content, or start editing now.

Wikiversity is a community devoted to collaborative learning. We build learning resources from the ground up and link to existing internet resources. Wikiversity uses wiki software, which makes collaboration easy. Wikiversity participants are continually improving the educational content of Wikiversity pages.

Following the Wikiversity policies allows the community to collaborate effectively.

The future of education is learning.[1] Let’s go!

Choose your topic. edit

To begin the course development chose a topic that you are expert in, or at least familiar with. Consider who will benefit from the course. Do your research. Write clearly and accurately addressing your target audience.

Browse Wikiversity to identify related topics. edit

Although Wikiversity is still early in its development, it now contains more than 30,000 learning resources. Browse topics related to yours to understand how your course will complement or supplement the existing materials. Consider referencing or linking to these materials to provide students easy access to these related materials. If a course stub exists for your topic, consider expanding the existing stub, or replacing it with your course.

Study the best examples of existing Wikiversity courses, such as the featured content, to help develop your own course design and style.

Ensure your contribution is new and useful.

Understand Intellectual property issues. edit

Notice the footnote at the bottom of each Wikiversity page:

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

This has two primary implications for course developers:

  1. As soon as you press “publish” the published work is irrevocably made freely available (subject to the terms of the Creative Commons license). If you don’t want to give the work away freely, don’t publish on Wikiversity.
  2. Only include materials that are original to you or are already freely available under a Creative Commons license. This includes text and images.

Consider these requirements carefully and follow them precisely.

Write your course using a word processor. edit

The course Develop and publish a course outline provides useful information for course developers. The Wikiversity courses on Instructional Design provide helpful guidance for designing courses.

Begin to create your course using a word processor program you are familiar with. Microsoft Word, Pages, and Google Docs are popular choices, but any word processing software you are familiar with is likely to be suitable. Use the spelling check, grammar checks, thesaurus, and other writing aids available from your word processor to help create a clearly written document free from spelling or grammar errors.

Format the document generally as you would like the completed course to appear. Pay attention to the heading levels. The table of contents will be generated automatically by the system based on the headings.

I recommend using the Wikitext markup command

{{TOC right | limit|limit=2}}

to automatically generate a table of contents two levels deep placed on the right side of the page. This is largely a matter of taste.

Note that fonts and various text styles will be imposed by the Wiki system, so don’t spend time fussing with these. Express your creativity elsewhere.

Choose the title. edit

Chose the title carefully. Follow these course title guidelines.  The title will become the file name and the search term used to find the resource. Ensure the title is unique within Wikiversity by searching for it.

Include Learning Objectives. edit

Wikiversity includes a variety of learning resources—materials that are useful for students wishing to learn. These include essays, lectures, courses, curricula, and other forms.

When creating a course, please include a section describing the learning objectives the course is designed to achieve.

The Wikiversity course on Learning objectives provides guidance on this topic.

Leverage Existing Wikimedia Resources. edit

The existing Wikimedia resources contain a wealth of information. Leverage these existing materials when creating your courses. For example, find existing Wikipedia articles on the various topics mentioned in your course. Link to these from your course rather than replicating existing information.

Use internal links (interwiki links) rather than external links whenever possible. The help page on interwiki linking provides useful guidance. The help page on links and wikilinks is also helpful.

Include images. edit

Skillful use of images can make Wikiversity resources attractive, and clearer. Choose existing images from the Wikimedia commons collection. Useful images may also appear in related Wikipedia articles. The “Use this file” link on the selected image page provides the code need to include the file in the Wikiversity course. Copy and paste it into your course.

If you are creating new media, such as illustrations, graphics, photographs, or original artwork, upload the materials to Wikimedia commons before linking them into your course. Follow the guidelines for contributing your own work.

Include references. edit

To provide verifiability of the materials, statements that make factual claims must be supported by reliable references. Include these references inline at the end of each such statement. The system will collect these references and automatically display them near the bottom of the page.

Prepare references as footnotes in your word processor and they are likely to be at least partially imported when the document is pasted into the visual editor.

Use a “References” (level 2) header at the end of the document to introduce this section.

Include assignments. edit

Learning happens when students are thinking. Include suitable and relevant assignments that will reinforce the learning opportunities throughout the course.

The assignment for this course is to use what you have learned to create an excellent Wikiversity course.

Include a Recommended Reading List. edit

It is helpful to include a recommended reading list near the end of each course. This helps interested student explore the topic in more detail.

Use the Cite book template to accurately identify each book listed in the recommendations.

Choose categories. edit

Wikiversity uses categories to organize learning resources and to help students find relevant learning resources. Assign each learning resource to a few well-chosen relevant categories.

If the course includes subpages, then:

  1. Add the {{CourseCat}} template to the bottom of the course page and each of its subpages.
  2. Save (publish) each page. This creates a new category with the same name as the course.
  3. Click on the (red) link to open this new category.
  4. Include a brief description of this new category and save (publish it).
  5. Notice that the course and each subpage are listed in the newly created category.

Become a Wikiversity Editor. edit

The first step in transferring the word processor form of your course into Wikiversity is to create your Wikiversity Username and associated account. Click on the link in the upper right-hand corner of the page to create your account. Then create your user page.

Be sure to log in as a user before editing Wikiversity pages.

Learn the Editors. edit

There are two editors available in Wikiversity. The original editor is now called the source editor. The newest editor is simply called the editor; however, I may refer to it as the “visual editor” for clarity. Each has strengths and limitations.

It is easiest to use the (visual) editor as often as possible and reserve the source editor for direct editing of markups, and more advances editing purposes.  The course Introduction to the editing with Visual Editor provides more detail.

The (visual) editor is selected with the “Edit” tab (shown below) and the source editor is selected using the “Edit Source” tab.

The Wikiversity toolbar

Study the editing help page to learn more about using the editors.

Import the document. edit

Follow these steps to import the document into Wikiversity:

  1. Navigate to the Wikiversity main page.
  2. Enter the exact title into the Wikiversity search field and start the search.
  3. The system will respond with “Create the page ‘Title of your new course’ on this wiki! See also the search results found.”
  4. Click on the red link to open a new page with an editing window.
  5. Select the visual editor using the pencil icon in the right upper corner of the editing window.
  6. Copy and paste the text of your course into this editing window.

The course on Adding content provides more details.

Preview the document. edit

  1. Click on the “Show preview” button at the bottom of the editing window.
  2. Carefully examine the course preview. Correct any errors. Pay particular attention to the Wikilinks to ensure they are correctly formed as interwiki links.
  3. Check the references automatically generated at the bottom of the page to ensure these are correctly linked and correctly documented.

Publish the document. edit

  1. Complete the “edit summary” by briefly describing the changes you have made. (e.g. “created a new course”)
  2. Click on the “Publish page” button to publish your page!

Establish useful links. edit

To help students find this course, establish links to it from related courses. Consider linking to those courses. Link to this course from your user page.

Relax, Reflect, and Repeat! edit

Congratulations, you have created and published a Wikiversity course for all the world to benefit from forevermore! Relax, reread the published course, reflect on any improvements that you can make to increase its usability and utility.

Click on the “View history” tab from time to time over the next few days, weeks, and months.

The Wikiversity toolbar

Monitor the change history log and revert any changes that do not improve the course.

Tell your friends about the course and encourage them to study it and consider becoming Wikiversity course developers themselves.

Notice the Discuss tab next to each page's Resource tab. This is often referred to as the talk page. It is used to receive messages from users about the course. Monitor this page to stay alert of users' suggestions.

Use the course in a variety of learning modes.

Begin thinking about the next course you will create and begin creating that new course.

Recommended Reading edit

Students who are interested in learning more about creating courses may wish to read these books:

  • Carey, Benedict (June 9, 2015). How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens  . Random House Trade Paperbacks. pp. 272. ISBN 978-0812984293. 
  • Kettler, Todd; Lamb, Kristen N.; Mullet, Dianna R. (December 1, 2018). Developing Creativity in the Classroom  . Prufrock Press. pp. 240. ISBN 978-1618218049  . 
  • Andersen, Lene Rachel (June 22, 2020). Bildung: Keep Growing  . pp. 171. ISBN 978-8793791084. 
  • Prensky, Marc (August 7, 2012). Brain Gain: Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom  . St. Martin's Press. pp. 288. ISBN 978-0230338098. 

References edit

  1. The future of education is learning, Leland Beaumont, Substack, October 19, 2022