Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/February 2008

Thoughts on a model of content creation, community building, outreach, and snowballs

I'm afraid I have a rather hard time understanding what Action research is about, but I've been juggling a lot of ideas around over the past several weeks and some of them might be due to some osmosis from that discussion. Specifically, a lot of thoughts have more or less come together and crystallized while experimenting with Radio Discussion. Here's what I had in mind:

1. Find a topic that interests you, and a source to use as an object for discussion: I, for example, am interested in environmental issues, and even more specifically am very interested in fuel efficient vehicles (I own 3 very large vehicles, which get from 6MPG to 17 MPG).

2. Collect further materials (especially those within the Wikimedia Foundation projects) and come up with some "feedback questions." The MPG issue was discussed in a radio program I listen to, so I went ahead and did an "annotation" for that segment.

3. Create "show of hands" questions that can define learning groups: I haven't linked everything in yet, but you can see where I used the templates here. Note especially that 2 of the questions are "rating" Wikipedia articles. We can also use DPL to make comparative interpretations like I've done here (it comparing only one user at the moment, but hopefully you get the idea)

4. Ask participants if they would like to work on further Wikiversity resources or Wikibooks textbooks related to the subject: I haven't done that yet, but it will be part of a template on the top of each feedback page.

OK, so let's pause there and see what we have thus far:

  1. A learning resource with links to various materials on a subject, which could be used as part of any learning resource on that subject (either on Wikiversity or in another institution)
  2. Some data about how people react to certain aspects of a subject
  3. A contact list for Wikipedia editors who want further input on how to improve an article
  4. A list of people who you could seek out to do a related project

That seems to me to have a lot of potential for outreach and community building:

  1. University and other instructors can come here with ideas for a lesson plan
  2. Participants and other observers can get an idea about how an issue affects other participants
  3. Wikipedians can be alerted via talk-page templates of the results, and can find readers to ask opinions of
  4. Wikiversitans and Wikibookians can have a route to find collaborators

It also seems like it may have a snowball quality: the more people participate, the more people will participate.

I am way over my head when you guys discuss education theory, but does this make sense? It can be used for any project, not just radio discussions. --SB_Johnny | talk 17:19, 3 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you so much for this SB_Johnny. :-) I'm often afraid that theory-heavy discussions are off-putting, so it's good to be reminded - and you've now motivated me to make changes to the Action research page. Put simply, Action research is 1) putting together a plan of some change, 2) implementing, and observing and reflecting on the change, and 3) using these observations/reflections to put together a renewed plan of change, which leads to further implementation/observation/reflection, etc etc. You can think of it as analogous to a running experiment, where you have trial and error, continuously feeding back into the research questions/design. So, I wouldn't really see what you've outlined above as "action research" - I would see it as a particular way of facilitating a discussion group, and using surveys for various ends. However, I could see these ideas being used in an action research approach - implementing these steps as planned changes, and then asking questions like "is setting up discussion groups in this way useful - and in what way, and for whom?", and "does generating metrics like these help people define learning groups or collaborate better?". Action research, like any research, is about testing out hunches/ideas/theories/hypotheses - it's just that it tests them out "in action". Does that make sense? (Please help me see my own blind spots!) Cormaggio talk 19:14, 3 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, so this is definitely about a meta-conversation, so maybe a better question: "by posting my ideas here on the colloquium, am I engaging in Action Research?" --SB_Johnny | talk 19:45, 3 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unfortunately, the only thing anyone could really say to that question is "possibly" :-) - and the reason I say that is because AR is a bit hard to pin down exactly. :-( Yes, testing out your ideas/theories against other people's is definitely a kind of research process - but I'd say putting everything under the label of AR slightly dilutes the core concept of AR - which is learning about something (a context/practice) by changing it. There's loads to discuss here - so I've just set up an action research discussion group. Please hop in. :-) Cormaggio talk 20:11, 3 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would like to have movies, like youtube movies, involved in the radio. I can't be involved for a while, though. Because i don't have a good computer yet and too little money to buy one.--Daanschr 18:48, 4 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Downloading Wikiversity source code

Hi, I'd like to know where I can download the Wikiversity source code package, if it's available from WikiMedia. --Santiago 13:50, 7 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do you mean downloading the software that Wikiversity runs on? It's called MediaWiki, and you can download it at this link. Cormaggio talk 15:20, 7 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New online research opportunity

I have found yet another online participation research project, [1], and this time it's not astronomy or screensaver related. It's about unconscious bias. Does anyone know what page we are putting all these thing on that normal people would be able to find? Would that be the Research portal, or something else?--Rayc 00:23, 11 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the interesting link - seems like it could fit in with our idea of disclosing our biases. However, it doesn't really seem as if that project gives an opportunity to conduct research, but rather participate in a range of surveys. So, I'm not sure about adding it to the research portal - but I do intend on refactoring that portal, in light of a discussion on wikiresearch-l mailing list, in which I've been proposing Wikiversity as a central workspace/hub for Wikimedia and wiki research... Cormaggio talk 09:13, 11 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The link is to a site of the university of Harvard and other universities. The only thing you can do is psychological tests. Psychology students and teachers will use the data for their research. So, everybody can help science out for free :-) --Daanschr 10:33, 11 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is what I'm looking for, offsite efforts that allow common people to participate in professional research. Notice how you learn about your own unconscious biases while at the same time helping with there research. Samethign with the galaxy zoo project. I'm not sure how to incorporate them on site, though. --Rayc 17:07, 11 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We could have something like Non-Wikiversity research projects (or does the title need to specify that it's online research?). The only thing is that there are so many calls for participation in research projects (and they have limited timespans), that it will need a fair bit of work in keeping up to date - and it could lend itself to spamming from, say, market researchers. Cormaggio talk 19:53, 12 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Could an Administrator erase this User talk:Terra/Archives I accidentally created it, because of copying my templates from my userpage on User:Terra on Wikipedia and forgot to change it, sorry about this. Imperial What do you want? 19:50, 24 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

done, ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 19:52, 24 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. Imperial What do you want? 19:56, 24 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Policy proposal: no commercial solicitation for survey and feedback respondents

With the survey results for Wikimedian Demographics and the feedback results for Radio Discussion in mind (but possibly other projects), I think it would be good to have a rather toothy policy banning commercial solicitations on talk pages or perhaps even through Wikiversity email. I think it would be good for people to be contacted for research purposes (for example, some surveys and radio feedback questions rate wikipedia articles, and Wikipedians might want to contact us to see how they could improve things), I don't think everyone who says their car gets bad mileage should be getting solicitations from Toyota :).

What I have in mind is something like this:

While most survey and feedback participants will be happy to answer further questions for the purpose of academic research or for the improvement of Wikimedia resources, their participation should not be interpreted as an invitation to commercial solicitations. If you engage on commercial solicitations through Wikiversity, you can expect the following consequences:

  1. Your account will be blocked.
  2. Wikiversity Checkusers will investigate your IP address, and may at their discretion block your IP or IP range.
  3. Wikiversity Checkusers may at their discretion share what they discover with the Checkusers of other Wikimedia projects, which in turn may bring about a global ban on your IP.
  4. Your website will be blacklisted on Wikiversity, meaning no links to that site will be permitted on any page.
  5. Your website will be reported to the Meta-Wiki for investigation.
  6. If the investigators on Meta-Wiki find it appropriate, your website will be blacklisted on all Wikimedia wikis, including the English Wikipedia and all projects in all languages.

In other words, do not use Wikiversity for commercial solicitation.

Does that sound OK? --SB_Johnny | talk 15:00, 3 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This strikes me as similar to the guidelines in place for original research in Wikiversity, in which we ruled out "market research". The only problem with this is always determining what exactly constitutes market or commercial research. The other thing of course is that we could not stop anyone from gleaning data from surveys and contacting people outside of Wikiversity communication channels (including Wikiversity email) - if people have given their email details on their userpages, for example. Cormaggio talk 09:02, 4 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Johnny seemed to think I might have something to offer here so maybe one or two thoughts. I do think it would be good to have something you can point to. Probably one of the tests of spammers (other than how many edits it takes them to place a link!) is just how argumentative they can be.
Maybe the points are a little lacking in any assumption of good faith - a little more delicacy might be in order. Maybe my main point would be on "reporting to Meta". In practice it is rare that Meta volunteers would have time to check on much - there are maybe four regulars there at present and we all have a fair number of other tasks. However a report there that does show cross wiki spamming will get our attention quickly (generally). Equally if blacklisted there would be quite a significant impact on the website. The global blacklist is used by more than just our 700+ m:Wikimedia Foundation wikis (Wikipedias, Wiktionaries, etc.). All 3000+ Wikia wikis plus a substantial percentage of the 25,000+ unrelated wikis that run on our MediaWiki software have chosen to incorporate this blacklist in their own spam filtering. I do think that this may be worth pointing out as a preventative measure as it may get their attention as much as any "threats"?
If I can help with other info I happily will, thanks & regards --Herby talk thyme 12:02, 4 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User solicitations?

I have a situation where I do not solicit students at all, but they're coming out of my ears. I try to help as many as I can, but it's beginning to really suck up my time. I feel obligated never to charge for anything I've done on wiki, but this is getting ridiculous. What is appropriate in this case? TWFred 17:52, 16 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure what you mean (what's coming out of your ears?)... you're talking about tutoring using WV? --SB_Johnny | talk 02:34, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Out of my ears" - Fred means he's overloaded with requests from students for help (Fred's the dynamo behind Technical writing). Fred, I don't know what's best here - you obviously need to rationalise what you can realistically do. The subject of asking for fees for tutoring work has come up quite regularly in the past - it could be a tricky issue, but it could do with some practical thought (and policy). Cormaggio talk 10:56, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What Cormaggio says is correct. It's flattering to be contacted by strangers from around the world asking me to teach them, but since it's a writing course the workload to do this online one to one is huge. I just can't do it. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with this challenge. It's a sign of our success and the impact we are making. TWFred 11:36, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe start a help desk and make it harder to be contacted and/or redirect users to the help desk in a way that is more appealing and prominent than contacting you. --Remi 11:15, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fred, did you think about engaging the students from your course also in this ? Perhaps some of them would like to take more responsibility by helping others - learning by teaching others ? ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 17:23, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For discussion. TWFred 11:41, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. Is it ethically acceptable to reply to a request from Wikiversity readers with a commercial offer?
  2. If so, can this somehow benefit Wikiversity? (A percentage of the fee?)
  3. Any sort of effort like this creates a new problem...accountability...if the teacher doesn't deliver, what is Wikiversity's liability?
Hi Fred, many infos you can find at Wikiversity:General disclaimer, following is my personal view:
1. I would not like commercial offers: this would e.g. open for just-profit-seeking-people ways to misuse WV for their own monetary profits - there are certainly x ways to disguise such attempts :-( Another viewpoint: Wikimedia does not want money from participants to use the resources here :-)
2. everyone can donate - always (see "donate" in navigation bar) - this will profit in general wikimedia projects. Other possibilities are to support special projects her at WV, e.g. like the Wikiversity:Sandbox Server, see also: Topic:Sandbox Server 0.5
3. please see the disclaimer ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 17:23, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mmm, asking for fees does open a whole new can of worms. In its set-up phase, Wikiversity was explicitly directed by the board to steer clear of credentials - I wonder if they were thinking of this (they never clarified their rather cryptic directive). And Erkan's right - Wikiversity will never expect people to pay to access materials, as this would be fundamentally opposed to our mission. Having said this, I would happily pay Fred if I was interested in this subject, and if that was the way to get his help - simply on the basis of what I see in the technical writing materials (same with Robert Elliott in Filmmaking). Perhaps a paid service would have to be managed by another organisation, which would organise how to establish people's credentials amongst other things, and which Wikimedia could benefit from financially. Or does such an avenue already exist? Cormaggio talk 21:35, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is there such a thing as a wikifraternity or wikisorority? Might be a good way to network and find others with common interests and learning goals... (The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:01, 27 February 2008)

Some might see the Wikiversity:Chat as this. If there does not exist such a page here, why don't you create one ? e.g. Wikiversity:Fraternity ? ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 17:16, 27 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikiversity:IRC meeting:New licence for Wikiversity Beta


let me invite you to the IRC meeting which will be organized March 1, 2008 upon the discussion on the change of Wikiversity Beta license from GFDL to CC (CC-BY-3.0) as it was proposed. You can visit English page with more information via: 20:54, 12 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The link is IRC meeting:New licence for Wikiversity Beta --mikeu talk 04:58, 13 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If that happened can wikipedia information still be embedded into wikiversity? Harriska2 00:17, 21 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, if you have the permission by the authors from Wikipedia (the question how easy it is to achieve this is another thing). There are also other ways instead embedding e.g. to make a link to the Wikipedia article or doing a summary or if to embed to cite in the way proposed by Wikipedia. From my POV it would be better: if Wikimedia projects are not just "copies" of each other. ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 07:37, 21 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dagnabit, the one day I'll be away from my computer. Will there be logs?--Rayc 23:35, 22 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding meeting plan there will be asked, if everyone wants the logs published, so let's just see, ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 17:40, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  Oppose. I won't be at the meeting, but I'd like to state that I strongly oppose this move. I'm a great fan of CC licences, but for a Wikimedia project to depart from Wikimedia practice on licencing issues seems to me to be a move which endangers the project as a whole, as well as opening up a whole load of compatibility problems. Wikimedia is already considering a compromise combination of CC-BY-SA and GFDL, and I think we should be patient and see what this brings. --McCormack 10:56, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The meeting is underway and is being logged. --mikeu talk 19:54, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The log is at --mikeu talk 21:35, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A user comment entitled "I hate it"

Comment copied from Category talk:Neurobiology:

I hate this joke of what could have been a very valuable learning resource. I don't know enough about Neurobiology, but I know all wikiversity really needs is people arranging information that they could've gotten from anywhere, into a format that guides them through from no understanding to a full fledged comprehending individual. Both Wikipedia and currently this fail miserably at that attempt, due to their lack of a good flowing course. it's just a mess of information that is going to turn off more people than it must. --danthemango 07:55, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think this is a comment which was nevertheless intended to apply more widely, and is one which sets us a challenge worth thinking about. It is not the first comment of its kind which has been left on WV. --McCormack 08:14, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am in favour of more structure on Wikiversity, structured cooperation. A terrible management concept is commitment, that is what is needed to make users like danthemango satisfied. Maybe a department for facilities is a solution, which can be aimed at making courses successfull. Users who are willing and commited to spend time and fulfill tasks in such a department or in a similar enterprise could contact me.--Daanschr 09:19, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What Danthemango wants is a "good flowing course" - I think there are some good examples on Wikiversity like Filmmaking, but I agree that there are not many such examples. However, I would also say there are a variety of ways of making a good flowing course - using models like self-learning, supervised learning, discussion groups, etc. I'd like Danthemango and everyone else to pitch in ideas of what a successful, flowing course is (using examples from our own experience) - or simply fork/refactor something that you're interested in to make it more likely to be productive for you. As interconnected 'meta'-pages to work on these issues, I'd suggest the following:
But, of course, the discussion can develop here too. :-) Cormaggio talk 10:39, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See Wikiversity: Learning Resources for a part of my reaction. --McCormack 11:00, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's a very useful response - and getting better all the time. :-) Thanks for this McCormack - and thanks for bringing this useful criticism into a wider light. Cormaggio talk 13:06, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I like the page that you created McCormack. And i am willing to assist with the process.--Daanschr 17:22, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Great. Thanks! --McCormack 18:20, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
thanks for responding and I'd like to apologize for my rough statements. I adore the concept of wikiversity, and I am currently involved in paraphrasing my biology 11 and biology 12 courses (I know this isn't wikihighschool but whatever, it's learning). What I thought to do is to involve the different chapters of the course into their independant pages seperate from the concept itself (eg. I created a page called molecular biology bi11 instead of linking to the already existing molecular biology), for the sake of easy flow and ensure that the page is written for the level of the reader. thanks so much for responding and I hope together this will work.-- 19:18, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your comments were on target and reflect those of others. Thanks for making us sit up and take notice! --McCormack 20:05, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a couple of issues with course and content creation at Wikiversity. First, we need to recognize that everyone learns differently, and since WV is primarily text (for now) that this constrains which learners can work with our material. It's also true that all of our material are put here by people on a volunteer basis, and that this means that the material is at different level of being complete, and may never get past the Initial idea and stub page.

That said, it is a recurring theme that people feel overwhelmed and lost, and ask about directions and organization. It's always good to recognize weak areas and work to improve them. It's also important to have this kind of feedback, so that we know what is weak.

We have "help desk" in the navigation ... would something like "ask a question" help? The nav bar follows users around the site, it might be a good spot to add something. Historybuff 20:46, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A thought struck me -- while we have multitudes of incomplete learning resources, we do have some excellent completed courses. Should we construct a "course calendar" of sorts, that somehow groups these together? I'm not sure how it would work, but if it would be useful, we can figure out the glue to make it work after. Historybuff 05:22, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whether one calls it a course calendar or anything else, the method is this: (1) we make templates with which to tag courses (e.g. by state of completion); (2) we have a massive tagging campaign; (3) we then use the DPL tag to construct lists of these tagged courses on guide pages. I'm familiar with the technical side of this from experience, but we need a community will to push this forward. --McCormack 05:32, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please try out the Bloom Clock Keys!

As the bloom clock enters its third northern spring, some new features have been added to help make it easier to use, whether you're a plant expert or a "neophyte" (please excuse the pun). For folks who know what they're looking at and what the scientific names are, the Master List is a fast-loading, text-only page listing plants by their scientific names (with links to the profiles and logs).

For those who don't know plants very well, participation is easy using the new Global Keys. If you see a flower of a certain color or type during a particular season, chances are that it will be shown on the keys (the majority of plants on the keys are common weeds and garden plants found throughout the world in temperate climates). Aside from learning the name of the plant (and being provided links to wikipedia and other wikimedia wikis that have more about them), you can also help collecting data by simple "logging" the plant: it's as simple as adding *~~~~ to the logs. Just make sure to sign up on the contributors page so we know what corner of the earth you're logging from. If you log 10 or more plants during a particular month from your region, your "prize" will be a local key, which others from your region can then use to learn what plants they saw too. --SB_Johnny | talk 14:21, 22 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ah, looks good. What if the plant isn't on the list?--Rayc 23:36, 22 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Huh, I forgot to copy that part from the old text lists. A plant can be added to the text list by using {{bcp|<scientific name>|<common name>}}, then follow the red link to the "log page" and start the page with {{subst:bcp3|<scientific name>|<common name>}}. The template provides instructions from that point on. --SB_Johnny | talk 12:43, 3 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for all this Johnny. As well as learning about plants and logging them, I want to help making this clock more user friendly - I think it's still quite hard for a wiki and/or plant beginner to just start logging. Any feedback here would be useful. Cormaggio talk 10:47, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So far we've just been using an informal "mentoring system" (which also has the advantage of helping to build a bit of community). Writing instruction manuals has unfortunately never been my strong point, but I'd certainly like to see a good set of comprehensive instructions made up. --SB_Johnny | talk 12:43, 3 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

School of Philosophy

can someone please start a school of philosophy or something like that? (The preceding unsigned comment was added by 23:57, 19 February 2008 (talkcontribs) Rigosantana3)

see User talk:Rigosantana3, ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 17:37, 20 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

can't help it! I corrected the spellings in this little section; no one's going take the call to action seriously, if we cannot even spell philosophy correctly.--Towers1209 20:46, 4 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikiversity as a Personal Learning Environment

Two people have recently expressed a desire to make Wikiversity their personal learning environment/portal. To me, answering this question is key to making Wikiversity useful - addressing the fact that we may not have material for someone, but still try to help that person achieve their learning goals. That phrase "achieving personal learning goals" is peppered throughout many Wikiversity resources, but with no real framework for how to do this. I'd like to propose a project - Making Wikiversity a personal learning space - as a key component of the general work of Wikiversity, along with the development (and structuring) of resources, and building of communities. Essentially what I'm asking is: "how can we allow people to scaffold their own learning?" Cormaggio talk 12:54, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, I think there is no need to give them a niche or show them a way. What about to say, yeah it is possible do it how you wont, and just respond and fullfill their wishes and needs. Than after some time we can analize, which way(s) is good and which was experiencing difficulties. --Juan 16:09, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How does this combine with "if you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly or redistributed by others, do not submit it" ? --McCormack 13:03, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I suppose that's part of my question. :-) I think that people should be allowed to develop resources that are clearly personal, but which people can respond to and make suggestions for improving. I think Wikiversity should allow people to at least put a sign at the top of a page saying "please don't edit this, but instead make comments on the talk page" - and that this would apply beyond the idea of a personal space to anything that clearly reflects a pedagogic or other point of view. (This tag would be challengeable - and materials can always be forked as well as edited.) And of course, there is always your 'userspace', which is traditionally left for people to do what they like with (within reason, eg civility). But really, I wouldn't frame this discussion in terms of personal versus openly editable - it's more about helping people develop a space that addresses their own interests and desires, and that could pave the way for further, more collaborative work. Cormaggio talk 13:20, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, this is a good idea. What about to create a new character "student" able to lock and unlock some pages?--Juan 16:09, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"put a sign at the top of a page" --> i.e. what we call a template, preferably marking the genre of a resource and interlinking with metadata. (Scary words italicised, because we need more of them!) --McCormack 13:23, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, exactly - that's our clunky equivalent of 'tagging' :-), with categories as our sole form of metadata. Cormaggio talk 13:32, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I think wikiversity comunity is on the high level of modesty, that noone edits your text or data, if you are not showing it is possible - to modify your data. I think it would be sufficient if people will just tell somewhere, that "here is place for your dicussion" and it well be. Than educated wikiversitians will just do typo correction of the text. Data which I dont wont to perform so much Ill place in my user namespace. In the case o data I dont want to redistribute - well, those can be here and mostly they are in the file format, which is not compatibile with formats available for wv.
Let me show you this, what I created a few weeks ago for my personal studyes:
If now, I can analyze this way, I should say that for exam preparation this system was completely useless. I was not able to fill it, because I should write and make a lot of data, which was pushing me from studiing. Even I think that for the subjects wich are e.g. in commons fully covered, we in the process of studying need something, more, which is usually present in Commons. I also promised to myself, that I will fill it by a feedback from exams - this also crashed, as I havent free time to do so (I wanted to scan all the specific pictures, I had paint within the proces of my paper studying on exams). So now I fell, that next time I need a help of other poeople. I am thinking to attract more people next time and do it collaboratively. On the other hand in personal studying of an issue, I am happy and I dont need a help. Finnally it is important to say that within both ways I was missing a community of othere students or teachers, whith whoom I could discuss my ideas and problems. Technical it was placed on on disanbugation (e.g. for the course of pond management called in Czech "Studuju rybníkářství" (means I study pond management) it was placed on disambugation page called pond managment (see via betawikiversity:Rybníkářství)--Juan 16:09, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the feedback, Juan. I still don't understand, however, why exactly it was "useless" for your exam preparation. Could you have organised your pages differently to be more useful? Your point about needing help from other people is completely understood - my aim is not to somehow create a division between a personal and collaborative learning environment - but rather to explore how we can set up spaces which will help us learn, contribute, find resources, people etc. And on setting up a role of student who would be able to lock/unlock pages - surely this could be in the hands of anyone who wants to use it, much like other soft protection mechanisms? Cormaggio talk 16:47, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was useless, because I was not able to study nothing doing it via this way.--Juan 20:15, 6 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How can I start a course based group page

Hithere. I'm a postgrad from a Swedish univeristy and we're interested in exploring how wikiversity can enhance one of our postgrad courses on communication and identitity work. What is the best way of creating a group page wheren several course participants can post texts, interact over them and pen texts together, etc. Can the space be restricted to course participatns or does it have to be accessible to anyone? Thanks. Oliver, Ö --Oliverstjohn 09:38, 6 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please see Wikiversity:Course protection policy.
As for the best way, there are probably multiple good ways. You could create a page with the course title, and/or add the university/department name in for specificity, or come up with something new. = ) --Remi 09:59, 6 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also see Wikiversity:School and university projects for more info. --mikeu talk 12:10, 27 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, you could maybe start a page like Communication and identity work at University of... and then give it header sections for texts, discussion and so forth, and interact that way. --Remi 09:55, 20 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requesting a new extension for Wikiversity (do not archive until activated)

Note: people have continued voting although the extension we are talking about now is technically the new (with a 3 at the end) which I am working on to fix everything the devs complained about in the old one. Does anyone have a problem with applying the vote to the upgraded version? --McCormack 11:14, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For my vote: yes (see below). As discussed in IRC: any code change - can have not yet known effects on Wikiversity. The extension was not yet tested with the Mediawiki version from this Wikiversity (1.12alpha). Perhaps testwikipedia could be asked to use it first ? So we could see there what kind of effects may happen.
I appreciate McCormack's work so far very much, who has given effort to improve this and help WV with it. This is just that unforeseen things may happen in relation with other (newer) software parts. ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 11:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Erkan. The responsibility for ensuring that extensions do not cause programmatic damage does not lie with the community (thank goodness) but with the MediaWiki developers. The community votes on the basis of things like features and screenshots, taking into account educational value and achievement of the mission. The developers subsequently check the code and may require modifications for safety reasons. These are not things which the community could or should be responsible for or voting about, IMHO. --McCormack 11:43, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion and voting

Going through the available MediaWiki extensions the other day, I came across this one: . This is something we really need. It automatically creates internal navigation for learning projects with subpages. The extension itself creates a simple bulleted menu in its basic version, but has lots of options attached. In actual usage, some of us would build templates around the extension, so that the end-user (teacher) would place something like {{zap}} at the top of their pages (that's seven keys to type - very lazy), and a whole dynamic navigation system would appear for the learning project. This would pretty well revolutionize Wikiversity's ability to internally organize learning projects. To the developers: how soon can we have this? To everyone else: what do you think? --McCormack 09:36, 2 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It does sound interesting - or at least I'm trusting your judgement on it. :-) I'm not sure if requesting extensions is done through bugzilla - if it hasn't been tested before on wikimedia wikis, then I'd imagine one of the devs would have to have a look at the code... Cormaggio talk 09:13, 4 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds just what I need. --Bduke 11:07, 4 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this is a good idea. --mikeu talk 14:37, 5 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 17:26, 5 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But would like to see the new version: first in use somewhere . ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 11:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Patience, patience. I'm already moving at near light speed. ;-) --McCormack 12:13, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As requested, you can now see it. Link down below. --McCormack 18:13, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  -- 22:44, 5 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds good to me. --SB_Johnny | talk 00:13, 6 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My support. Anyway as Cormaggio pointed it hasn´t been tested before on wikimedia wikis, so we might be the first to enjoy its proes and contras:-)--Juan 09:38, 6 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  Support Looks useful and prudent. --Remi 06:42, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  Oppose This does not appear to meet my needs for structured lesson pages for a course. --Robert Elliott 02:25, 4 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

All active participants in the Greek Wikiveristy have voted in favor of the activation of the extension. If the bugs/problems you are mentioning are fixed, we will be happy to have the ability to use it in el.wv. I wish I could help you with the cleanup :( . [Here is the link of our voting. -- -- (profile|chit chat|email) 12:02, 9 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Belated, but I vote my support for this extension too. I've read the developer's response. It will take some work, but I believe it would be a valuable addition to the functionality of wikiversity. TWFred 17:54, 16 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Similarly belated vote in support of implementing this extension in Wikiversity. Countrymike 01:41, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Technical requests

McCormack: is it possible (to implement) to sort the subpages after time of last edit ? ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 22:22, 11 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There will be future updates to this extension IF the initial version is approved and activated by Brion Vibber. --McCormack 06:05, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Response from the developers

The developers have initially rejected this request on the basis of the internal programming of the extension. Although the extension is listed on MediaWiki and based on a (now de-listed) extension by a MediaWiki developer, it has had some code additions which the current developers do not like. The report below suggests that this is fixable, but we would have to clean up the extension code ourselves. The rejection note is attached below. Do any programmers want to help me clean up the code? --McCormack 05:13, 7 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've done a quick review of this extension:
- Unused variables in several places, including variables that get 
 filled with data using string operations (line 547)
- The content of the subpages will be loaded even if no preview is 
 requested (lines 567ff). This costs a lot of ressources.
- Odd code: 
   if ( $this->debug || $this->debug == 1 ) {  
 (line 276). The "|| $this->debug == 1" part is superfluous.
Overall, I don't think that we should activate this code.

Current developments

I have started a new extension at mw:Extension:SubPageList3 to clean up the old code and make it acceptable. --McCormack 18:47, 16 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For those who asked, and anyone else, you can view examples of the almost finished new version at Please note that extension testing has to take place away from Wikimedia servers, which explains the external link. Comments can be left either just below or at mw:Extension:SubPageList3. --McCormack 18:12, 17 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you still need assistance, let me know. I have a little time here and there, and can help in code reviews or testing. Historybuff 06:22, 21 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update: the current state of affairs is that the extension is now sitting on SVN waiting for activation. Quite a lot of Mediawiki developers have reviewed and helped with the code, bringing it up to their standards of expectation, and the extension was also internationalised (the Greek WV will be happy about that one). However it's not certain yet - the main developers still have to OK this. --McCormack 08:30, 4 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another update: the code has now been reviewed by the main developers. Changes were requested and made. So as of today the extension is once again queued up for an "OK" or "not OK" to be issued. --McCormack 12:26, 30 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update for May: The extension was reviewed at the end of March and then OK'd (verbally) for activation and shortlisted for activation at the beginning of April. It was then forgotten, as was the review. At the end of April the extension was re-queued for review (see creation of new page at, since when no action has been taken. --McCormack 13:34, 17 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update for June 2008: I think we have now reached the stage where we can say with some certainty that the Wikimedia Foundation is absolutely incapable of supporting small sister projects reasonably as regards technical innovation. On the one hand, it was very positive just how many of the experienced developers were able to help with this very minor extension and get it completely finished within a short space of time. On the other hand, it was extraordinarily negative how, once a tiny, harmless extension was queued for activation, it just got "buried" for ever - probably for no better reason than the unimportance of Wikiversity compared to the overwhelming demands of Wikipedia. This entire activation procedure has been such a joke that I wouldn't dream of wasting my time programming any more widget extensions to help Wikiversity. --McCormack 06:07, 15 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Messages to archivebot

Wiki Campus Radio -- Reloaded

I'm launching a drive to get Wiki Campus Radio back off the ground.

My main focus right now is to get this session, or some facsimile, to happen, to kick off the party. Once this bit gets launched, I'm going to open up the airwaves, or podwaves, so that we can use this as a wider community.

I'm being bold, and I hope that I can make arrangements to deploy this wide and far, and in a robust and open manner. I don't think this is undoable. In fact, we have most of the basic pieces already working, to one degree or another. We need a spot to integrate them, and move things forward. I'm hoping we can find a home for this on the Wikiversity:Sandbox Server, either sooner or eventually.

So, what do we need? Guinea Pigs^H^H^H^H^H participants willing to try new software with an open mind. We also need sound editors, maybe someone who can program or write computer scripts? (I can do all of this, but I'd like to have more people help, so more people can help run this, and more learning goes on). Basically, anything for audio/audiobooks would help.

We _may_ have some test sessions, but the goal is to develop some content which we can feed out to the world, either for Learning Projects or as bits to tell people that Wikiversity exists. Historybuff 22:58, 24 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Historybuff. I'll state for the record that my experiences with Asterisk (the software 'on trial') have been not great so far - however, this might be down to issues with my computer and/or internet connection. I think people who are part of the test phase will have to be patient - and I think it needs to be considered a test phase - from my experience, we're not yet ready to plan a session as above and be relatively sure that we'll all be able to hear each other ok. I don't mean this feedback to be negative - au contraire - I really hope we can get this working well soon. :-) Cormaggio talk 10:43, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Histo, as I see you asked begin of February about ssh access on the sandbox server. What happened with it ? Regarding the mails apparently nothing :-(
Count me in for (test) sessions. ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 17:37, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Me too (unless it's this Saturday)--Rayc 23:13, 25 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Erkan - I haven't heard anything solid, but a brief IRC chat indicated it was possible.

Rayc, Erkan: Do you have times that would be good? Due to a computer problem, I've lost access to a Time converting tool I was working on, but I'm EST (I think that is UTC - 5). Please let me know when would be good.

Cormaggio: I don't think our recent chat is indicative of the quality that is achievable with Asterisk. Most of our testing up until now, the main issue hasn't been hearing each other, but simple things like getting it set up and lag from one particular participant. That isn't to say we won't have any further issues, or that I'm unwilling to consider using other software. I'm actually hoping to get our solution solid enough to work with "alternative" software such as Skype and others, and even the Public Telephone system.

Your point about patience is definitely on point here, though. No matter which software we try, it'll take patience from participants. This is definitely a learning project, and while the end result might be something we use as a tool at Wikiversity, we'll have to learn how to use it first. Historybuff 20:29, 29 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Do you have times that would be good?" I live in a timezone with UTC+1. Preferring times in the evening. Contact me in IRC, for faster coordination always. ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 06:49, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Erkan, UTC+1.. I think that means mid-afternoon here, which would be early eve there might work. I had some technical details to work out on this, and I think we're in good shape now. So, all we need is time, and we'll be good to go. Historybuff
Find me in IRC then, ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 16:36, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I should have some more time to focus on this after March 25. So, should we aim for March 26 for a session? :)
Right now I'm going to attack this from two sides. I'd like to develop a feedback system, where people can comment/leave a message about something. In parallel, I'll be trying to put together actual programs. This will allow people who can work on a specific schedule the ability to participate, and those who can't hold to a schedule or our chosen schedule isn't good for will also be able to participate. Historybuff 20:00, 22 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As said, I am available :-) I would say we talk again the day before.
I am also thinking to use it (once) in the reading group: Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War. Will ask what the others think, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat (try) 22:33, 22 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wow, I'm actually back. This week is a bit hectic, but I can try and schedule a session. And Erkan, I'd love to try and facilitate a session fo your reading group. I did notice one participant complained about not having sound on his computer; depending on location, we might be able to connect him by PSTN.
Anyone have a suggestion as to a date? I'm leaning towards the middle of next week (say Wed), but if people have a strong preference we can do it before that. Historybuff 17:01, 26 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well the reading group does the sessions Saturdays usually. I put it on the agenda for this week, so perhaps on 5th February ? but first we will see what the others say.
PSTN: nice ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat (try) 18:47, 26 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hey Erkan, I'm assuming you mean April 5th, unless you have the new Gmail time shifter already installed and working. :P
I think that is a good target date. I can block off an hour or so, and am fairly flexible with time. Anyone else want to join in? Historybuff 06:13, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I doubt the 5th April will work. We didn't come to talk about that - too busy with other things, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat (try) 17:01, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've tried downloading and listening to a web cast, yet it was in such poor quality that I couldn't listen to it for too long. I think a campus radio for WV is a wonderful idea, why not do it better? EugenSpierer 07:49, 23 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some of the quality issues are related to the microphone of the user who is speaking. We've also had some (recent) issues with audio transmissions and reliability of the participants in hearing everyone. I hope that we're close to working the various kinks out. Please keep the comments coming, this is all about learning, improving, and doing better. Historybuff 18:56, 18 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe the people involved in this project could help by also contributing to some lessons learned from attempts to do this. Like tips to improve audio sound quality, like what microphones have been observed to give better sound quality, what compressions should be avoided, etc. --dark lama 19:31, 18 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, Im also keen to get WCR back up and running, I think our completed session with Leigh Blackall was fairly good. Ive been doing a side project using asterisk and icecast so Im familiar with how to install and configure it, if people want to use it for testing/practise that would be fine with me. You can usually find me on irc.Chrismo 13:44, 14 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok, school assignments are done. I was also doing some things related to WMF, and was promoting WV in real life when I got a chance. I'll post a bit more about that to come.
I have some time, I want to get this going. So, I'm going to be bold and get the basic framework set up, probably this weekend. I'll schedule a session, and if no one comes, I'll sing and dance. Or, figure something out. :) And we'll schedule some more.
I'm also going to be revamping the actual wiki pages, as they are a bit long in the tooth. If anyone has some suggestions, I'd love to hear them. And as always, your participation is appreciated and asked for. I'll update progress here. Historybuff 18:22, 28 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

usable in a kick-off-meeting?

Hi Histo, this here could be another usage scenario for the WCR - what do you think ? ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat (try) PS: Tag a learning project with completion status !! 22:44, 1 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]