FAQs

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Getting Started

What is WikiEducator?

Wikieducator is a dedicated global community of scholars, teachers and trainers who are committed to the collaborative authoring / development of open educational resources (OERs). Educators from across the globe are working together to build free OERs that can be used in a variety of teaching situations. These OERs can be re-contextualized and repackaged (outside the WikiEducator development environment) for use in their own teaching and learning situations.

What are the Values of WikiEducator?

Our community is about openly sharing and collaborating because we know that working together we will achieve more than we can by working alone. Already, we have a lot of evidence to show that our approach works - and continuously draws people into our community. (This helps us to be sustainable while building capacity.)


What is the Strategy for WikiEducator?

Please see the strategy for developing a free version of the educational curriculum by 2015. There are three phases:

Phases Theme Description Date
Phase I Establishing foundations Setting up the technologies and processes to facilitate community development for free content. May 2006 - December 2007
Phase II Scaling up free content development Scaling up the rate and quality of free content development building on Phase 1 foundations. (This includes community development activities with a focus on scalable capacity development.) Jan 2008 - Dec 2008
Phase III Sustainable implementation of free content in education Prioritising activities which implement free content into mainstream educational activities. January 2009 - 2015


Can I attract donor / research funding by developing open educational content on WikiEducator?

Yes. We already have significant examples. In the future, funders will start asking -- "Why should I fund this closed project when I can fund an open project that will achieve a greater scalability and return on investment?" (Funders are increasingly recognizing that there's a lot of duplication, and restrictions in how closed learning materials can be used, and for various devices and formats. In many cases, this mitigates their ROI.) There is an emerging wave of funders that collectively subscribe to the notions of "open philanthropy". There is also the ethical question relating to research grants from government sources --- this is public money and we should be asking whether it is ethical or not to lock down the outputs of research behind full copyright especially when funded from tax monies.

What Communities are Involved in WikiEducator?

There are many communities, stakeholders and strategic partners working towards WikiEducator's success. We are in the process of creating a more intuitive way of identifying, and connecting to them. In the meantime, please see these pages:

How can I Be More Connected to the WikiEducator Community?

Please join the WikiEducator Google Discussion Group, and make a post announcing your project, interests, and/or call for help and collaboration.

Please consider a Pilot Project - do let us know, and we'll do our best to support you!

What Roles & Opportunities are available in WikiEducator?

There are many roles and opportunities available to help us reach our goal of a free education curriculum for the world by 2015. (i.e., WikiNeighbour, editors, technical help, instructional designer). Please see the following pages for updated information: WikiEducator Roles and WikiEducator Wishlist

Who are WikiEducator Ambassadors?

Is WikiEducator a Community of Support?

Yes. WE can help you in many ways, from designing more effective lesson plans, to sourcing technical advice to finding international partners. We're here to help you, and in turn help each other - in away that is open, transparent and consistent with the values of the Freedom Culture Movement.

How can I Start a Project Page?

As the folks from Nike say, "just do it". Start a project page in WE to document your thoughts and ideas for a potential project. (Check out the full list of [Initiatives|WE Projects]].) Make a clear statement that this is an open project which subscribes to the values of the WE community. This way the community can see what you are trying to achieve. WE will help you to connect with professionals that share your ideas and want to collaborate on free content. In this way, you wont shut out your colleagues in any way because they will always be free to join at a later stage. However, at the same time you don't compromise your core values as an educator. Also, please join the WikiEducator Google Discussion Group, and make a post announcing your project, and call for help and collaboration.

How can I start a Pilot Project?

Read the info page on Pilot Projects.

I can't remember my password - can you help?

Click on the e-mail password button
If you forget your password the Mediawiki software has a feature that will automatically send you an email with your password to the e-mail account you used when registering your Username on WikiEducator. Go to the Userlogin page:

Click on the E-mail password button

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Tip: This feature will not work if you didn't register an e-mail address with your new account. Remember that registering an e-mail account was optional. Also if your e-mail address has changed since registering, your password will be sent to your old e-mail account.


How do you spell wikieducator?

There is not really any correct spelling. Usually within text we write it WikiEducator, but you will notice various spellings throughout the tutorial.

How can I Create Learning Content for WikiEducator?

An excellent place to start are the WikiEducator Newbie tutorials.

1. You can create learning content directly, be entering your lesson plan and activities onto a WikiEducator page. (This requires some knowledge of HTML coding.)

2. If you want greater control and flexibility - and want to publish learning content without becoming proficient in HTML or XML markup languages, you can use eXe; a freely-available Open Source authoring application designed to assist teachers and academics in the publishing of web content without the need to become proficient in HTML or XML markup languages.


How can I Further Develop my Wiki Learning Content Creation Skills?


What's the difference between WikiEducator and Connexions?

Connexions is an impressive project in the OER field. They are one of but a few international OER projects that use a content license (CC-BY) which meets the requirements of the free cultural works definition. As such I'm very keen to explore collaborations with Connexions, particularly in the area of re-mixing content between our respective projects.

There are minor differences in the process and design approaches used by our respective projects. WikiEducator is founded on the wiki-model of peer collaboration whereas Connexions' processes are more akin to the "producer-consumer" model of OER content development. Both approaches have their respective advantages and disadvantages in building a sustainable OER ecosystem.

What Copyright Licensing Arrangements Does WikiEducator Use?

WikiEducator subscribes to the free cultural works definition and we only permit licenses that are approved as free cultural works:

The default license is the CC-BY-SA license. Authors who choose to license their works under the Creative Commons Attribution License should make a clear statement at the onset of the project that these materials are licensed under the Attribution License. WikiEducator is currently developing a policy to guide the practical implementation of CC-BY licensing and public domain declarations in WikiEducator. More information about Creative Commons is available here on Wikipedia.

Technically WikiEducator authors who license their content as CC-BY (as in the case of Otago Polytechnic and others who choose this license) and CC-BY-SA do not give up their intellectual property rights -- a free content license does not sacrifice Intellectual Property and ownership of such IP. On the contrary, it protects the the rights of those educators who take a vocational decision to live out the core values of education -- namely to share knowledge freely. If you have any questions or concerns - please contact WikiEducator's project founder - Wayne Mackintosh - wmackintosh at col dot org

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Tip: Copyright and licensing is riddled with complexity

In short, WikiEducator uses a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license, this means that:

  1. The original author retains copyright and intellectual property rights on their contributions -- but license use of the materials in the following way:
  2. Freedom to use and distribute the materials
  3. Freedom to adapt and modify materials for local situations provided that:
  4. They attribute the original source (thus addressing concerns re plagiarism)
  5. and on condition that any modifications are released back to the community under the same rights and conditions (i.e. share-alike provision).


If you're interested in finding out how WikiEducator matches our values of sharing knowledge within the context of Open Education Resources and corresponding legal requirements feel free to read our tutorial on what we mean by free content:

http://wikieducator.org/Wikieducator_tutorial/What_is_free_content

Our preference is to see collaborative projects -- by exploring how the WikiEducator community could add value to your initiatives. For example, we can potentially add to the cutomisation of materials for local contexts -- keeping the original versions on the your site intact.

Moreover, we would welcome a specific node on the WikiEducator website to expand and support your community growth (see the Community Media space for an example). We will also be able to provide free online training for CEC volunteers in adapting and modifying wiki content derived from your project.

If you are willing to provide your materials to WikiEducator, then no signing instrument is necessary. Rather - a simple email confirming permission of the copyright holder/author to release a digital version of said resources on WikiEducator under a CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA license is all that's required.

Can I use articles and content from Wikipedia and Wikibooks

Yes. As long as you adhere to the licensing requirements of the GNU Free Documentation License clearly identifying the sections of Articles from Wikipedia and Wikibooks.


  GNU Free Documentation License
The GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL or simply GFDL) is a copyleft license for free documentation, designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU project. It is the counterpart to the GNU General Public License that gives readers the same rights to copy, redistribute and modify a work and requires all copies and derivatives to be available under the same license. Copies may also be sold commercially, but, if produced in larger quantities (greater than 100), the original document or source code must be made available to the work's recipient.


The GFDL was designed for manuals, textbooks, other reference and instructional materials, and documentation which often accompanies GNU software. However, it can be used for any text-based work, regardless of subject matter. For example, Wikipedia uses the GFDL for all of its text.

This extract is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. It uses material from the article "GNU Free Documentation License", retrieved 27 May 2008.


Users can then edit and customise the content according to their own needs and add iDevices like learning objectives, case studies and multiple choice questions based on the content from Wikipedia and Wikibooks. The template above illustrates how to attribute content from Wikipedia to ensure that the licensing requirements are met.

WikiEducator is currently a free service - will it become a commercial site in the future?

There are numerous sites on the Internet that start off as a free service. When they become popular, sometimes they are commercialised thus restricting access.

WikiEducator will not become a commercial closed service. The website is supported by the OER Foundation and we believe that education is a common good. Content provided on WikiEducator and access to the Website will always be free. We encourage you to share this resource with your friends.

Technical FAQs

Is WikiEducator a replacement for your Learning Management System (LMS)?

No. WikiEducator is not about duplicating the functionality of existing technologies, or replacing your local LMS. However, by combining the strengths of wiki software, LMSs and eXe, WikiEducator can add value to e-education, and build on the demonstrated strengths of collaborative authoring of open content This content can be packaged and re-contextualised for use within your LMS - using interoperability specifications like IMS and SCORM.

With the eXe tool it is possible to:

Is WikiEducator a Wikimedia Foundation project?

No, WikiEducator is not a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikipedia and Wikibooks are examples of Wikimedia Foundation projects. Wikieducator uses the Mediawiki software, the same software used to run Wikimedia Foundation projects.

What is the fundamental component of a WikiEducator "document"?

The foundational element of a wiki is a digital content node that is authored by a community of wiki users. For example:

In WikiEducator the foundational component is a concept which is loosely described as a content component which is inherently understandable. Concepts are the building blocks of instructional content. Concepts can be structured, for example, according to disciplines or the level of the anticipated target audience. Conceivably, an extensive collection of concepts could constitute the material for a course. However, selecting a concept as the core component of a WikiEducator document provides for the flexibility required by educators to utilise Wikieducator resources in their courses. Moreover, this facilitates a range of alternatives for educators to incorporate their own instructional elements into courses.

eXe is Free Software Tool - Specially Designed for Teachers, Educators and Publishers of Learning Content

eXe is a free, open source software application that offers additional flexibility and control for teachers, educators and publishers of learning content. You can download a free copy from the eXe project website, and install it onto your computer.

eXe enables you to create (offline) eLearning content that can be put up as a web site or imported into a Learning Management System. eXe will also allow you to easily input and configure your learning content and resources for your context, without needing HTML or XML markup skills. This differs from other learning object repositories, where it is difficult to reconfigure the resources for local contexts, and they require more technical knowledge.


Can I use eXe to author Mediawiki pages?

No. However, you can import articles from Wikipedia and Wikibooks pages using the eXe Wikipedia iDevice. There is also a dedicated Wikieducator iDevice for incorporating content from this wiki site. This enables teachers to customise and recontextualise content for local student needs. Authors using eXe can also export their eLearning packages using the IMS or SCORM export facility for delivery in the Learning Management System of your choice. We are exploring ways in which to improve seemless imports and exports between eXe and Mediawiki software, but the rate of development is determined by user demand and available funding.

Where do I get the free eXe software application?

You can download a copy of the latest version of eXe from the project website.

Download files are hosted on Eduforge.

What is the WikiEducator Wishlist?

The WikiEducator Wishlist is a page where you can go to see potential opportunities, and what we need to achieve our goal of a free education curriculum for the world by 2015. Please bookmark this page, add to it, and check it often.

Is there an API like that of media wiki? And is it available for use?

Yes. WikiEducator runs on the MediaWiki software. The API is accessible from http://WikiEducator.org/api.php

Can you access structured data through the same means as db pedia?

No. While WikiEducator encourages the use of templating to impose a bit of structure on its content, it is just a convention, and one that is not at all rigorously applied. The project has not gotten large enough that anyone has addressed pulling out structured resources.

How might we include interactive tests that could lead to a c4c internal cert type deal?

It is not currently practical. There has been some discussion of implementing quizing following the eXe scheme, and it may fall out of some upcoming work, but there is no current solution. I believe Rob Kruhlak has done some experimentation with bringing Javascript-based formative testing to WikiEducator.

What about audio and video?

There are two issues here: technical and policy. Technically either are possible. To date (March 2009), the WikiEducator community has been strongly against embedding audio/visual media within the wiki (because of the potential for conflict with the CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA copyright licensing in the wiki). At present, there is no good way to use audio beyond linking to an external container. For video, WikiEducator includes the Kaltura collaborative video editing widget. But again, no directly embedded media.

From Wayne: Video is always a challenge. My personal preference is for hosting video in free file formats on the Wikimedia commons and users can download the necessary codecs or browser plugins to play back the files.

Can I view Flash videos on my iPad?

There is a free app "Rover - the browser for education". It uses cloud based technology to play the video. -Mverhaart 04:47, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

How can I prevent some text from displaying?

If you wish to hide text while you work on content, use the following symbols - you can only see them in edit -(informed by Wayne McIntosh): <!-- comment text goes here --> --Bronwynh 05:33, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Additional Questions that Need Answers

Is there any evaluation from surveys/focus groups done with participants on the L4C workshops that you have taken on board/applied to take forward? How are learning metrics changing from traditional training, which is shown to have little impact or application?

What are the learnings from IT/technology point of view? Capacity needed- servers, skills, human resources, budgets, implementation issues, etc.

There is no requirement to install software or maintain servers. WikiEducator is hosted on its own servers. WE has a dedicated community of support to maintain the software / hardware installation.

Are there any existing case-studies of successful blended learning using WikiEducator?

Yes.

Are there any existing case-studies of productivity improvements using WikiEducator?

Yes. University of Canterbury, NZ

Can you recommend some featured Wikis that work (in addition to WikiEducator), are well developed, and have been used for blended learning? How long did it take to make them? What did it cost?

What are the cost/benefit implications of this approach? (The 'infinite scalabality' logic)

Can an institution 'buy' or 'lease' WikiEd space, or how does the contracting work? Would it need to start its own Wikis?

What is the Value Proposition for a Pilot Project with WikiEducator?

How can I Document a Case Study, for Good Practices?


Add your suggested FAQs here




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