Thoughts on quality

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Wikis are open authoring systems -- and in education circles, quality is an important consideration. We're keen to hear your views on the following three questions.
  1. Do you have any concerns about the quality of educational resources developed using an open authoring approach? If so, what are your concerns? If not, how does an open authoring approach contribute to high quality learning materials?
  2. In your opinion, should the creation of teaching materials and course development use closed or open authoring approaches? Give reasons for your view?
  3. What mechanisms can be adopted to assure quality of educational content developed in Wiki environments?


Well thats difficult to answer since the questions dont show up on this page. I think I must be too dumb for Wikieducator, or it is not user friendly...

I dont have concerns about the quality because you can make changes according to what you want. The concern that I have is about everyone editing your work and therefore your work could be lost, and not necessarily improved.

Hi Leigh -- Different technologies use different approaches for navigating the web :-). You're making sterling progress as demonstrated by your posts on the wiki - well done. A tip -- in a wiki environment when you go to edit a page in response to a question -- try opening the link in a new window or tab.  When your cursor is over the link -- use your right hand button on the mouse and click on open the link in a new window, or open the link in a new tab. This will keep the original window with the questions open and you can easily toggle between the two windows. Hope this helps. --Wayne Mackintosh 02:44, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

This does help thank you, I have always wondered how that would be useful and now I know!

I would have liked to change the colour of that font so you could see that I replied but it is not readily seeable so I will have to play to find out, I made it a heading instead.

High Leigh, not too worry about using a heading for your reply -- its the wiki way, be bold and innovate :-). It is possible to change the colour of your text but you will need to use standard wiki syntax (and not the rich text editor). If you're interested --  in the rich text editor click on the "Wikitext" button in the toolbar which will change the edit window into wikitext. If you want text to appear in green you would type: <font color=green>This is green</font> which would appear like this in the published view: This is green. But don't waste time on this just now if you find it a little confusing. As they say - -Rome wasn't built in a day. --Wayne Mackintosh 23:47, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks Wayne, I have learnt heaps already, I might try it, thanks for the quick responses!!

How about that green <nowiki>  </nowiki> Oh it shows up differently on the edit page <font colour=green>  I wonder if this works.

No need American spelling <font color=green> will this work

<font color=green>No it doesnt so do I have to highlight? </font>

Its not that EASY!

It can get a little tricky the tag was to tell the wiki to display the syntax in published view -- that is ignore the instructions to display the green text. Its the only way I can display the instructions in the published view -- otherwise it would simply display green text and you wouldn't see the syntax. I've added an example of the colour syntax on your User page -- open your User page in edit view and click on disable rich editor link and the syntax will be revealed. Be patient -- you'll get it in time. The amazing thing about wiki technology is that you can always open the edit page to see the normal wiki syntax and copy this to where you want to use it. I also have the ability to help fix any syntax where you have made a mistake -- even though I'm located in the deep South :-) Wayne Mackintosh 00:25, 24 April 2010 (UTC)


Once you have saved you go back to the original page but this is ridiculous.

Not too ridiculous when you think about how the internet works. A wiki is a web-based technology and the web-server is physically located in the US. When you are editing in the edit view, your content is being created on your local computer here in New Zealand. In order to publish your edits to the Internet -- these must be transferred over the internet to the web-server so others can access and read what you have written. The instruction to transfer and save your edits is actioned when you click the save button.  Without this step -- you will not be able to publish your thoughts to the Internet -- nor would I be able to respond to your post for the benefit of all participants on the course. Don't give up --- You're already publishing on WIkiEducator and have made an excellent start :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 02:50, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Quality should be maintained because everyone is watching what is said and can edit, but Im not sure that educational items can be specific enough at this point for your clientele. It remains to be seen.

Oh thanks Wayne, its good to know that someone, somewhere, is reading my comments, its not all in vain...
LOL -- It's not in vain --- we our serious about our community motto in helping and supporting new neighbours in our community. Don't hesitate to ask if you get stuck with anything. We are here to help. --Wayne Mackintosh 11:20, 23 April 2010 (UTC)</nowiki>


I think we duplicate effort a lot by not sharing between learning institutes and see open authoring as a good way to reduce the duplication and potentially freeing up time to do more indepth development or more specific content for a subject. Peer review of open content seems appropriate to me for ensuring quality standards, obviously with some guidelines - I take content recommendations from other teachers all the time, word of mouth is always good. I think we should make all teaching material open, you learn as a teacher by getting feedback from other teachers if you do this. Quality of content happens on wikipedia as there are so many people reviewing it and editing it, but it still takes a core team of reviewers as well. I hope we can keep making quality education resources here.


I guess I live in a blog world and am trying to adjust to the difference.  I thought I was being pretty liberal by not monitoring the comments left by my students.  Enabling them to change what I write and their peers does raise many questions.  For someone unknown to be able to do it is another thing again.  I know that Anouk, our wikitaster facilitator, assured us that there is an unwritten rule about being constructive not destructive.  The jury is still out for me.

To have feedback from other teachers is very exciting for me. I work in a small school that limits your daily input so bring it on.

Tanya 2

I agree with Tabitha about open authoring as a way to prevent re-inventing the wheel. The open authoring approach is in line with my favourite quote of Woodrow Wilson…”I will use all the brains that I possess and all that I can borrow.” It is a philosophy about teaching in general, is it not? My goal as a teacher is to SHARE knowledge…with my students AND my colleagues. There are many talented educators out there…some of them I get to meet every day at school, some at conferences and workshops and some in online communities. The ability to link with their collective knowledge in a ‘targeted focus’ environment is something too delicious (and sensible) to pass up. I think though that we must acknowledge that there will always be the ‘sacred cow’ of intellectual property rights. I don’t however see that as an enormous issue, as much work will still be published in a closed authoring environment…and rightly so (i.e. in such cases as masters and doctorate theses and others) but these can AND SHOULD always be cited appropriately in a wiki. I guess I believe that one approach should not preclude the other...2 hands working together.

I also agree that the quality of educational resources developed via open authoring is subject to the process of open scrutiny by peers. I too seek feedback from colleagues on the teaching resources that I develop…this is simply that same process but in the ether. Open authoring in fact faces a far more robust process of examination for quality than many of the closed authoring resources that one can source. How many times have we all downloaded a resource from a site, only to change it for the context of our teaching environments, students and content? Yet I rarely (if ever) give feedback to the originator of that resource, and hence the development of that resource/area is closed in more ways than one. Open authoring removes that barrier to development.

However, I agree that guidelines for quality could/should be maintained through a core team of reviewers. After all, we do this with external moderation of tasks developed by schools for NCEA assessment standards. I’m not sure how we select and support such folks though…

I also think that there is a concern about how editing of the posted resources could possibly compromise the essence or integrity of the original teaching intent in that resource. If this is the case, could it be possible to look at having edits saved as ‘reworks’, rather than permanent changes??? (That would hammer storage space I know...maybe a '7 day acceptance' facility for a 'rework'? Any 'comments' rather than 'reworks' could possibly be on a message thread linked to the resource?)

Oh good topic Wayne. Thanks for the thinking opportunity :-)


Just wondering about when a student or a colleague deletes all your stuff. Is there a way to get your "stuff" back agai?


I'm slowly ploughing through the tutorials. I also wonder about Conor's question above. If you have created a page do you have some kind of veto that enables you to undo edits and revert to an earlier form?