Educational wikis/Constructive interactions

This page is for discussion about how to foster constructive interactions between education-oriented wikis and other projects involved in the development of learning resources.

Case study: Wikiversity and WikiEducator


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On December 19 the Stanford Open Source Lab had a workshop called Wikiversity, Wikipedia, and Participatory Learning at which Erik Moeller discussed Wikiversity, WikiEducator and some other projects and commented on idea that since "we all want the same thing" we should find ways to "work together without competition".

When Wikipedia launched in 2001 most people were not aware of wiki technology. The Wikipedia community showed the power of wiki for collaborative authoring of learning resources. The Wikimedia Foundation was established to support a family of wiki projects devoted to various kinds of free/libre content such as media files and textbooks. Wikiversity is the newest Wikimedia sister project and is devoted to hosting learning materials, for all age groups in all languages and learning projects and communities that support these materials. Wikiversity supports the older Wikimedia projects and does not duplicate their efforts, so, for example, textbooks are not hosted at Wikiversity, but a Wikiversity learning project might make use of a textbook from Wikibooks.

By the time Wikiversity launched in 2006, the success of Wikipedia had made wiki technology well-known. Now anyone can launch a new wiki. The list of education-oriented wikis hints at the proliferation of wikis that are concerned with creating and hosting free/libre learning resources and communities. To what extent does the large number of education-oriented wikis lead to duplication of effort? Are there ways that these wikis could cooperate to become a synergistic whole? Would it be better to merge some of these wiki projects rather than leave them separate? Do Wikiversity and WikiEducator provide a good specific example to guide or thinking and exploration of these questions?
--JWSchmidt 01:25, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Hi JWSchmidt, educational wikis like Wikiversity (WV) and WikiEducator (WE) are working towards the attainment of similar goals. Collectively we are collaborating with the free knowledge community to develop educational resources and contributing these back to the educational commons for the good of learning across our planet.
I do think that its important for us to explore opportunities for collaboration that will benifit the learners we are trying to serve. Each project has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, Wikiversity is far more progressive than WE in exploring new and exciting ways for wiki's to unleash the potential of networked learning. Consider for example Lunar Boom Town, Bloom Clock and WV's reading groups. WE has focused on how to design learning materials for asynchronous learning in the wiki environment, building capacity in the use of wikis in the developing world and co-funding technology refinements for the Mediawiki software which powers our respective projects (e.g. Liquid Threads and Wiki ==> pdf technology.)
Each project has its own history and experience and we should be comparing notes on what works and what doesn't. Perhaps the first step should be to objectively explore the strengths and weaknesses of our respective projects and how this might inform future development. Furthermore, I think we should start thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of possible collaboration. What do you think?
When I started the WE initiative -- I seriously considered joining forces with WV. You can read a little about WE's early history. As active members of the free knowledge community both projects have been open to chatting about ways to promote collaboration. Almost a year ago we started looking at some of the similarities and differences of our respective projects.
This is a very productive conversation and I'm most supportive of our initiatives to be looking at ways to achieve a better future for all. --Mackiwg 19:07, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
"ways to promote collaboration" <-- For the past few days I've been thinking about how to suggest some kind of collaboration in the section, below. I'd like to see MediaWiki Project function to link volunteer programmers into efforts to develop MediaWiki extensions. Can we lower the barriers to participation and help get Wikiversity participants who have an interest in computers involved with on-going software development? MediaWiki developers seem to crawl off into a hole and become invisible to the rest of the wiki community. Another possible collaboration would be to work at Wikibooks on a unified set of modules about open educational resources. Right now there are some scattered modules there such as one for open educational content. --JWSchmidt 20:43, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree -- it would be great to encourage focused development of MW extensions that have direct application for educational wikis. WE hosted the [Tectonic Shift Think Tank] meeting in Vancouver last year which was a start in thinking about a road map for MW development in the future. What we need is a detailed inventory/study of all the MW extensions that have potential for further development and refinement. It would be good if we could find funding to host a follow up meeting for the Tectonic Shift meeting. A MW inventory project looking at all the extensions would be an excellent starting point. --Mackiwg 01:55, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
There are currently a few WikiEducator participants registering for Teemus course on Composing free and open online educational resources which combined with the above resources and others that are in WV and WB may warrant a Portal:OERs ... and be a place where both communities could edit and participate. I'm sure that promoting Teemus course on WE would be beneficial to that community as well as there are a lot of novice editors who are interested in the philosophy and practice of creating OERs there. Countrymike 21:12, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
That's a good idea. There are already a growing number of howto resources and courses on OERs in addition to Teemu's course. For example OCLOS's work on Open Education Content on WE and David Wiley's Open Ed course etc. I'd like to see us collectively start working together on developing an international set of resources that are dual licensed under CC-BY-SA and GNU-FDL. COL would be keen to support the development of a course like this. What are the next steps? --Mackiwg 01:55, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Ways to promote cooperation


What are some possible ways for education-oriented wikis to cooperate?



When Wikipedia was launched, there were not many available options for copyleft licenses that could be used for encyclopedia content. The GFDL was selected for Wikipedia and continues to be used for modt Wikimedia projects. By the end of 2002, Creative Commons licenses were available, and some wiki projects use a Creative Commons license. Would it improve cooperation between education-oriented wikis if they used the same license? WikiEducator uses the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License. The Wikimedia Foundation is exploring the idea of migrating GFDL content to the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License.
--JWSchmidt 17:42, 2 January 2008 (UTC)