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This page is an historical archive of a page that originally existed at Wikibooks.
Note: This is a proposed about page. Any information on it is subject to change. Please see the talk page for discussion on the content of this page.
Wikiversity is a collection of open content learning processes that are being collaboratively developed on this website. This site is a wiki, meaning that anyone, including you, can edit any local material module right now by clicking on the edit this page link that appears in every Wikiversity module.
All of the site's content is covered by the GNU Free Documentation License. Contributions remain under the copyrights of their creators, while the copyleft licensing ensures that the content will always remain freely distributable and reproducible. See Wikibooks:Copyrights for more information.
The primary audience of Wikiversity are students. This differs from other open content learning centers such as MIT Open Courseware, whose primary audience are fellow instructors. The difference is in the type and focus of material in a course. At one of those websites, the focus is on syllabi and schedules. Wikiversity's focus is on putting out enough material to actually explain course concepts to the student. Educators are welcome to use this material under the GFDL, but facilitating this is not the project's primary goal.
The main goal of Wikiversity is not just to impart knowledge but to facilitate learning. The collaborative model of the wiki will be applied to an e-learning framework. This differs significantly from a classic university model, although it does acknowledge the growing acceptance of a social theory of learning in pedagogical and academic practice.
Wikiversity will not prohibit research, though it need not necessarily be a part of every course. In the technical training aspects of its work, its goal is not to discover new things, but to teach things which are already known to new people. At a higher level of education, there will probably have to be some scope for students to do their own research, whether a survey of the literature or of primary research, though this will have to be monitored carefully, and will be dependent on the type of course offered.
Wikiversity does not yet certify student's mastery. We currently have no way of assuring who is doing the work for a course. We have no way of ensuring that every course that would be required for a degree has enough teachers to even attempt it. We attempt to teach the same material many accredited schools do, and to teach the material as well (or better!). But we are not yet an accredited university. There is no guarantee that we will attempt to gain accreditation in the future. It is an open question with diverse opinions within the current community of participants whether accreditation and the ability to award recognized credentials will be useful or effective in the performance of our mission to facilitate free learning. It is already clear that Wikiversity will be a radically different kind of learning platform/environment/resource and its identity and scope will be continually shaped by its students and its practitioners.
Our goal, therefore, is to teach the material to whomever wants to learn it, to the best of our ability and theirs. We set out the materials needed to learn, and set up a framework for collaborative learning and teaching. It is the task of the self selected participants to work towards actual mastery of desired skills sufficient and necessary to pursue personal goals.
Differences between Wikibooks and Wikiversity
Wikibooks and Wikiversity have a lot of overlap. This section discusses the differences between them, and how to determine which you should publish at.
The major difference between the two is the difference between a participatory learning process and a book. A collaborative interactive process combines multiple methods of learning, to increase the chance of a student learning. These methods can include but are not limited to- wikiforums, lectures, homework, collaborative projects, discussions, student journals, etc. A book can be one part of a course. If all you want to do is write a long discourse on the subject matter, that is a book, and belongs on wikibooks. If you wish to do that and provide other methods of learning - that is a learning process. The book should *still* go on wikibooks, but the rest of the material and the framework for using the wikibook belongs on Wikiversity.
The other major difference is length. On Wikibooks, a how-to on a video game is acceptable material- the walkthrough of GTA:SA is fairly popular. That works as a book. It does not work as a course- there just isn't enough material in any one game to run a course.
- A rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't spend a few weeks learning it in school, possibly it isn't long enough for some participants preferences.
- Another rule of thumb is that anything someone wants to learn belongs somewhere on a university grid. The challenge becomes how to develop, deliver, and regulate the material appropriately given the diversity of the current and future participants and the divergent cultures and legal environments within which they reside and interact.
Since the phrase learning process is somewhat open to interpretation, this section of the document exists to help clarify which types of content are acceptable for this site, and which types are not.
As a general rule, any subject of sufficient length and difficulty to be taught as a course, rather than a book or encyclopedia entry, and anything else is not, but this section is further sub-divided into inclusions and exclusions.
Inclusions explicitly lists types of content which are acceptable, and Exclusions lists types which are unacceptable. Many of these exclusions exist purely for the reason that there are more appropriate Wikimedia sites on which to host this type of content.
- Levels of learning resources
So far, there has been some debate about whether there should be a cutoff point for courses, ie no courses below junior high school level. Others feel that Wikiversity should be open to all levels of learning, ie including resources for young children. In this regard, the name "Wikiversity" is problematic, since it indicates an institution of 'higher education' ('third level', 'university'), with the possibility of including secondary/high school level resources (This was the reason behind renaming the project to Wikisophia.) This debate should probably regard both issues together, and if needs be could be moved to a page such as Wikiversity:Project identity.
- How-to courses
Any course that teaches you how to do something, provided the subject matter is sufficient for a course and not a book or article. This would be equivalent to something you'd learn in a trade school, or a course you might find in a junior college. Examples are courses in typing, computer use, etc. Further examples would include trades, activities, or crafts learned from process leads, craftsmen, parents, cronies or new processes inspired by nature or divined somehow.
What Wikiversity is not
- Any content unrelated to our project
Wikiversity is not a place for users to publish content unrelated to our main objective, which is to develop open-content learning processes which can be delivered or prepared for via self study over the public internet. In particular, Wikibooks may not be used as a personal homepage or online file storage. Users who want to use the wiki technology for other collaborative efforts should use other wiki hosting services such as Wikiversity Policy:List of other wiki non-affiliated resources, or install their own wiki software. For more information on how to set up the MediaWiki software, please read our book on Wiki Science.
Wikiversity is not a vehicle for advertising and self-promotion. We don't need courses or modules on items just because a contributor is associated with them. Please note Wikiversity does not endorse any business and it does not set up affiliate programs.
Books are the realm of Wikibooks. If you want to write a book on a topic, please put it there, even if it is a book purpose-written for the course you are teaching. The purpose of Wikiversity is to create a learning process or environment. Orphan books will be hard for internet users to find and add to the inevitable complexity that a complete online self study university requires. Therefore orphan books, will be transwikied (moved) to wikibooks. Please help keep Wikiversity easy and pleasant to use by locating the book to Wikibooks and linking to it from an appropriate draft course sheet with an appropriate current status summary. We hope this will be more efficient in the use of all participants time.
- Primary research
Wikiversity might not be the place to publish primary research, such as proposing new theories and solutions, original ideas (other than ideas for online wiki learning), defining new terms, coining words, etc - although some research may be conducted as part of a course like sociology, for example. The best thing to do, however, if you have done primary research on a topic, is to publish your results in normal peer-reviewed journals, or elsewhere on the web. The Academic Publishing Wiki has a system for publishing peer-reviewed articles in a wiki environment.
Regardless of other schools' approach to protecting the intellectual property rights of their participants, in the near future the Wikiversity:School of Engineering will be undertaking efforts to allow groups of participants to effectively form virtual organizations and commercial startups to develop valuable technologies for the benefit of themselves as well as humanity as per SOP and specific R&D grants, consortium, and project charters and agreements. Participants in this critical policy discussion are desired and welcome. Feel free to start your research, a course requiring similar material or discussion, initiate the applicable policy pages, or take other initiative percieved by yourself as useful to advancing the status of this critical policy.
- Proposals or prototypes of new Wikimedia projects
Wikiversity is not the place to develop new Wikimedia Foundation sponsored projects. This is the purpose of our sister project Meta-Wiki, a centralized wiki for the coordination of all Wikimedia projects.
- Dictionary definitions
Although a dictionary is educational, it is not a course. The needs of a general-purpose dictionary is better served at our sister project, Wiktionary. Obviously courses can define needed terms to help students understand the material. It is our current draft policy that the definitions used should go beyond what a good general dictionary provides for that word. Please consider the learning potential of assisting our projects and participants synergistally by developing a course glossary which uses Wiktionary (and other online resources) by linking to them appropriately. Often this will allow better in depth treatment with a concise definition locally and an expanded version with additional applicable specialized and general background at Wiktionary or elsewhere on the internet. If the list of terms grows large enough to be considered a book itself we can consider how to best refactor it into a local shortlist with a link to the full wealth of material in a reference book on Wikibooks. An illustrative example might be lists of technical science terms, constants, equations, units, conversion factors, etc. Chemical Rubber Company puts out reference works commonly refered to as CRCs. When the initial course glossaries grow too long and too technical for adequate treatment at the Wiktionary, our committment to free education will require us to consider how best to collect, validate, verify, cross check, update, maintain and deliver this type of information for free to Wikiversity participants on demand.
- Encyclopedia articles
Wikiversity is a resource for courses, and not individual encyclopedia-formatted articles, which our sister project Wikipedia addresses. However, Wikipedia is not for tailored course notes or overly specific or technical information. Therefore, when using Wikipedia articles as a starting point for lecture or course notes be sure to copy the starting version to Wikiversity prior to tailoring the content for local course delivery. Obviously the initial draft should have a pointer to the original source URL to meet GPL attribution requirements.
- News articles
Wikiversity is not the place to publish news articles, which is covered by our sister-project Wikinews. However, in view of the low standards for casual dismissal of self investigative efforts, the School of Journalism may find it necessary to establish its own Wikiversity Herald or Electronic Crier to provide a damper or negative feedback to the inevitable local corruption influencing power brokers within our self governing student body. If you have applicable news of local interest deemed unworthy of publishing by the defensive over zealous editors at Wikinews please consider launching our local campus broadcasting (one to everyone interested) system.