Stanford Open Source Lab

The Stanford Open Source Lab is interested in the development of free/open/libre learning and knowledge resources.

Agenda for the presentation by Sue Gardner and Erik Moeller

Wikiversity, Wikipedia, and Participatory LearningEdit

This was a workshop organized by the Stanford Open Source Lab and held 19 December, 2007.

A video of the workshop is described as available for use under the Creative Commons attribution license. The QuickTime version is about 507 MB and can be downloaded from Blip TV. Below is a summary of what is shown on the video.

Summary of the videoEdit

  • Workshop title and speakers: 0-14 seconds
  • Introduction to open licenses, open content and the Open Source Lab by Henrik Bennetsen who is Research Director for the Stanford Humanities Lab and part of the Open Source Lab. Introduction to the workshop, Wikimedia, Sue Gardner and Erik Moeller. (14 seconds to about 3 minutes)
  • Introduction to the presentation by Sue Gardner, see image to the right on this page for the agenda. Self introduction and introduction of Erik. (starts at about 3 minutes into the video and continues to about 6 minutes)
  • Introduction to Wikimedia projects. (starts about 6 minutes into the video)
  • Erik on Wikipedia as part of the "open source" movement. Use by Wikimedia projects of the GFDL and plans to switch to the corresponding Creative Commons license. (7 minutes - 8:25)
  • Question about the Wikimedia model for financial sustainability.....answered during the next ten minutes, see below (8:50)
Sue and Erik
  • Sue: Wikimedia Foundation as a small non-profit organization. Plans for growth of the paid staff. Move from Florida to California. (9:15-12:45)
  • Looking to fill new staff positions: someone to handle fund raising, a coordinator for partnerships, a chief financial officer. (12:45 - 14:00)
  • Wikimedia Fundraising; many small donors and a few large donors. (14:30 - 17:30)
  • Question about spending: staff or servers? (17:30)


Listen to an edited version of the workshop video with just the Wikiversity parts. About 15 minutes.
  • Erik talks about Wikimania and launch of Wikiversity; emphasis on participation by learners in wiki editing. (19:15 - 20:30)
  • Introduction to how wikis work. Edit button, page histories, assume contributors will do good. (20:40 - 23:00)
  • Wikiversity as a "beta project". A wiki space that allows interested participants to explore how to use wiki for learning. Examples of Wikiversity learning projects: Lunar Boom Town, Filmmaking, Bloom Clock (23:00 - 28:15)
  • Problem of letting people know what learning resources exist on the internet. (28:00)
  • partnerships? example: Encyclopedia of life. - (28:20)
  • software tools? example: quiz extension. (29:15)
  • Question about schools, topics, projects, etc. "Is it a matrix or is it a hierarchical organization?" Erik's answer, "Its a mess." The project has formed from the interests of many people. Some of the first pages were like conventional higher educational institutions with "schools" for major subject areas. Now the school pages provide links to activities in major subject areas. (30:30)
  • Erik: need for more thought about how to structure the project. WikiEducator mentioned as an example of, "a wiki that is more focused on the people who are using the material themselves.....its more structured than Wikiversity and the users who are participating there have a better idea of what they want to achieve with it." Wikibooks mentioned as another Wikimedia project along with Connexions....."how do we work together without competition; we all want the same thing." (32:00 - 35:30)
  • Question about what has been learned from Wikimedia projects like Wikiversity and how they relate to the approaches taken by other organizations like the Hewlett Foundation that have thrown money into the creation of learning resources. Answer: Wikimedia is open to all for collaborative content creation and the learning resources that are made at Wikimedia projects are free to be re-used. (35:30-39:15)
Stable version tool.

Future advancesEdit

  • Questioner mentions the Wikibooks Nanotechnology textbook, suggests that educators know that such resources exist but they do not know much about online collaboration and they are reluctant to invest time in such projects because their work can be destroyed. Answer: Erik mentions stable versions as a future direction for Wikimedia projects in which reviewed and validated versions of resources could be flagged for use, avoiding the danger of resource users being bothered by vandalism or other damage to wiki pages. Also Luca de Alfero's system for exploring which contributions are "trusted" may help to stabilize the quality of Wikimedia wiki resources. (39:15 - 45:10)
  • Wiki-to-Print utility for printing wiki pages. (45 minutes)
  • Collaborative video editing. Metavid. Kaltura. (48:15 - 51:15)


Ward Cunningham talking about collaborative video. This is an example of the current video player technology for Wikimedia projects. (source)
  • Q. How can educators who have some learning resources get involved? A. Talk to members of the Wikimedia community: Wikiversity:Colloquium, Write to the mailing list: Subscribe to Wikiversity-l and browse the archives, Wikiversity:Contact, Wikiversity:School and university projects, Wikipedia:School and university projects, Wikibooks:Guidelines for class projects. (51 minutes - 53:30)
  • Q. Can learning resources in proprietary formats ever mix into open collaborative systems? A. Ogg audio/video media file format mentioned as an open file format that is gaining in popularity; has the potential to free online learning resources from restricted proprietary formats. (53:40 - 55:30)
  • Comment on the power of video in learning resources. (55:30)
  • Discussion of Wikimedia's Ogg video player and Metavid by Michael Dale. (56 minutes - 60 minutes)
  • Q. What is your vision for getting various wiki projects to work in an integrated way? A. Erik says that he has been discussing this with Wayne Mackintosh and looking at ways to have a new beginning with a limited scope. "At Wikiversity there has been interest in really abstract discussions about the future of learning like de-schooling and things like that. I'm not sure that is the kind of thing you want as a core thing in the project. You want to limit the scope a little bit and you want to structure it a little bit." Erik mentions trying to have some kind of organizational meeting and establishing a "governance structure". (60 minutes 1:01:50)
Social challenges for Wikimedia projects discussed by Sue Gardner.

Closing commentsEdit

  • Awareness. Wikipedia is the most well known project, other projects like Wikiversity are not as well known.(1:02:00)
  • Lack of physical presence. What happens if you are having trouble collaborating with another wiki editor and it turns out that the editor is 14? (1:03:00)
  • Complexity of wiki communities; can be off-putting for new participants. (1:03:30)
  • Civility. Can we do better? Can it be made easier for a broader range of people to participate? Need for a general user survey....who gets excluded from Wikimedia projects? (1:04:30)
  • Credits. In addition to those mentioned above, Philipp Birken was mentioned in the context of stable versions. (1:07:50 - 1:08:30)

Final questionEdit

  • A question about what kinds of projects are welcome in the various wikis. Answer includes the need to have multiple wikis interact constructively so it is not as important which on a particular resource is on. (1:08:30)

Related resourcesEdit

External resourcesEdit