Wikiversity:Sandbox Server

This project has been inactive since 2011.
See the second Sandbox Server proposal that has been inactive since 2013.

Wikiversity has adopted a "learn by doing" model of education, and as such Wikiversity participants need to be able to take part in collaborative learning projects that involve (for example) webpage creation/editing/development beyond the limited wiki user interface. Wikiversity participants, particularly in the Computer Science area, need access to a server that would be used for collaborative projects that foster learning.


  • A server which will function as a testing ground for several Wikiversity projects. This will be a series of case studies, to explore various methods of collaboration and learning.


No current Wikimedia servers, including the toolserver, fill the role envisaged for this server. The Toolserver requires an application process (which would be cumbersome for students) and is probably more restrictive in what it could offer students. (The toolserver admins reasonably assume that since their audience is limited, their security doesn't have to be as stringent). It may be difficult to get various services running, and a disruption of the toolserver (for any reason) would be detrimental to Wikimedia projects in general, while a disruption of our Sandbox Server should only affect Wikiversity processes/learning projects that are using this server.

Clearly this service is inapproriate for general wiki servers or caches, which are tuned to serve wiki content in an efficient way.

Getting approval/fundingEdit

The Special projects committee was created to help the Foundation with, "Evaluation, incubation, and development of current and proposed Wikimedia projects, events, and ideas," However, the web page for the special projects committee indicates that committee meetings ended in 2006 and the last resolution was in November 2006. Oscar van Dillen has described the special projects committee as "now dormant". Should the Sandbox Server proposal be submitted to the special projects committee or is there some other mechanism for getting the Foundation to take action on the proposal?

Expected UsesEdit

Audio/Video ProjectsEdit

  • Live communication/Distance learning project
    • Would allow realtime group participation on many levels.
    • The idea is to connect people who are at large distances
    • One practical idea is a collaborative Drawing program, for primary learners
  • Podcasting (lectures, videos, demonstrations, reports)
  • Wikiversity Radio
    • Journalism
    • Broadcast experience (DJ)
  • Wikiversity TV
  • Wikiversity community chat
    • While current contributors feel comfortable using IRC, it doesn't have the intuitive interface that something like MSN offers. This is an impediment to the free exchange of ideas and knowledge that should be fostered at Wikiversity. A Jabber like server could fill this role.
  • Concept is to use (IAX, Asterisk, etc.), but other protocols would be considered. (eg Skype)
    • This would be inclusive, allowing both computer users and telephone users to interact

Giving out limited access accounts to "students"Edit

  • So Computer Science lesson work can be done
    • Would allow students access to tools such as a compiler which wiki software doesn't allow
    • Allows lessons to be innovative, as the instruction can be geared to a known format
    • Simplifies and provides a concrete feedback for the student
    • Access can be limited for introductory lessons
    • For more complicated lessons (advanced), we could consider shell access
  • Other types of classwork.
    • Assignment server
    • Robotics programming lab
    • Web design coursework
  • Email access for all lesson participants
  • Facilitating multi-lingual communication (Native speaker to Learner interaction)
  • As a mirror of this very site, as a safety measure against disruptions. (A bot could be used to channel information and edits between these two sites).

Technical DiscussionEdit

See Technical Details


Potential sources of support include:

Wikimedia FoundationEdit

The WMF has many servers in various locations (see m:Servers). One idea is to ask the WMF if it could donate an old server (ie three years old or so), that has passed its "best before" date.


Kennisnet host some servers for the WMF already - they are also an educational organization, and could be interested in Wikiversity.


Wikiversity is interested in pursuing grants. This could be a vehicle for research and grant funding. See Research grant collaboration group

Contributors who support this proposalEdit

  • Historybuff 20:36, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • JWSchmidt 05:55, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
  • CQ 10:51, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
  • sebmol ? 17:10, 30 January 2007 (UTC) it's a great idea
  • guillom 17:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC) although I think I can't help, I support this project.
  • Rayc 06:13, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Xenon Sounds like somebody knows what we need. (Serversity ftw)
  • Mirwin
  • MatthewGall2005 20:47, 22 February 2007 (UTC) I Support This Project And May Be Able To Assist
  • The Jade Knight 08:43, 6 March 2007 (UTC) I think something like this would be a good idea.
  • Brent 03:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Julien1311 talk 00:32, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Cormaggio talk 15:51, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
  • AmiDaniel (talk) 01:39, 13 May 2007 (UTC) Sounds like a great idea. I'd be more than glad to assist in initial setup and administration of the server or anything else that needs doing, as I have considerable background in this area. Please leave a note on my talk page.
  • cybiko123 (talk) 14:41, 05 June 2007 (UTC) I'd be more than happy to allow use of my servers for this.
  • Greudin interested about jailed shell to allow student to perform : "cc exercice1.c -o exercice1"
  • RM77
  • Bduke 08:12, 22 June 2007 (UTC). I would like to use a web server to allow students to run simple computational chemistry exercises and get familiarity with real computer programs.
  • mikeu 18:38, 9 January 2008 (UTC) - see SkyCam for my project
  • Erkan Yilmaz, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • rrrmanion 11:54, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
  • --Simonfj 00:55, 31 January 2008 (UTC) This group has the same interests as the Communications Project Group

See alsoEdit

Additional resourcesEdit

  • 10 wishes list for 2008 by Florence Devouard. "I would like to see this year a system implemented to collect technical wishlists from each project"

External LinksEdit