Wikiversity:History of Wikiversity

Wikiversity traces its roots back to the earliest collaborations between learners.

The History of Wikiversity began with initial development of the Wikiversity community within the Wikibooks sister project. The fundamental goal for Wikiversity was to broaden the scope of activities within the Wikimedia community to include additional types of learning resources in addition to textbooks. Wikiversity has existed as an independent Wikimedia Foundation project since August 2006. This page describes the history of the Wikiversity project including the very first project proposal that was not approved (2005) and the second proposal that was approved (2006). Today, Wikiversity has tens of thousands of open access and openly editable learning resources and projects.



This page describes the historical development of Wikiversity. To learn more about Wikiversity see:

Wikiversity's origins


Wikiversity started developing on Wikibooks. Wikibooks was launched in July 2003. Wikibooks is for free content digital textbooks. However, the Wikibooks' Wikiversity section was proposed for deletion in August 2005. Soon after that, there was a proposal to make Wikiversity an independent Wikimedia Foundation project. In addition to the information on the proposed projects page, the original proposal was described in a mailing list post and on the Wikiversity page of the Wikimedia meta-wiki.

In November 2005, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees rejected the first Wikiversity project proposal and instructed the Wikiversity community to modify the proposal to "exclude credentials, exclude online-courses". The Board requested that the Wikiversity community "clarify [the] concept of e-learning" that will guide Wikiversity. The modified Wikiversity project proposal that was approved by the Board calls for two major components of Wikiversity:

  1. learning resources and
  2. learning activities.

The Wikiversity model for e-learning is discussed at the Wikiversity Education Portal and related pages.

Approval by the Wikimedia Foundation


The Special projects committee (SPC) reviewed the modified Wikiversity proposal and adopted resolution 2006-39A (July 31, 2006):

"The SPC recommend the creation of a beta Wikiversity project, to be hosted at the domain, as per its scope, starting in August. The project will be dedicated to collecting free multilingual educational resources, and to supporting communities using those resources to teach and learn together. The beta stage of the project will run for six months, during which guidelines for further potential uses of the site, including collaborative research, will be developed on the beta wiki. These guidelines will be reviewed by the SPC at the end of the beta period."

"New languages can contribute content to; those with at least 10 active participants can request a separate domain for their language."

The SPC sent resolution 2006-39A to the Board of Trustees. This lead to the Wikiversity launch instructions from the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, followed by discussion on Wikibooks of the project's approval and plans for migration of Wikiversity content from Wikibooks to Wikiversity.

Wikiversity launch


The launch of Wikiversity was announced at Wikimania 2006, 5 years after the launch of Wikipedia in 2001 and 3 years after the launch of Wikibooks:

"the idea here is to also host learning communities, so people who are actually trying to learn, actually have a place to come and interact and help each other figure out how to learn things. We're also going to be hosting and fostering research into how these kinds of things can be used more effectively." (source)

The English language Wikiversity website opened on August 15, 2006.

In the early stages of development, Wikiversity had discussion relating to policies, technical issues, and establishing an initial content infrastructure and general layout. The main forum for discussions became the Colloquium - take a look there and feel free to drop a reply to anything which interests you. Your viewpoint on longer term organizational issues is also welcome at Wikiversity:Organizing Wikiversity.

Since then


The number and quality of Wikiversity resources and users has steadily increased since 2006 (31,674 learning resources as of 14/3/24). However, Wikiversity is not particularly well understood within the family of Wikimedia Foundation sister projects and it is not well-known or used by teachers, so there remains a lot of room for development.

Some examples of distinctive Wikiversity innovations are:

  • Wikidebates can help people learn a subject in general and/or how to debate
  • WikiJournals publishes a set of open-access, peer-reviewed academic journals with no publishing costs to authors

See also

Historical resources