Talk:Wikieducator tutorial/Creating an Account/Summary and FAQs/Archive

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"join in our mission to develop a free version of the entire education curriculum." that's the first time i've seen anything resembling a mission statement on WikiEducator. Is that the mission? How do you see WikiEducator's mission differing from Wikiversity (not that wikiversity has a very concrete mission, but...)? brent 08:37, 19 December 2006 (CET)

Wayne's reflections on an important question

You're right WikiEducator lacks a clear vision statement - although I've purposefully avoided formulating a categorical mission statement on WikiEducator because I've been waiting to see how the community evolves. This is progressing well, most notably the recent FLOSS4Edu project emerging from East Africa (see: but more specifically the recent workshop report which is in the process of being uploaded.

OK - here are a few of my thoughts, taking into account that they're my own personal thoughts:

  • I'd like to see Wikieducator as a partner in the freedom culture working collaboratively on the development of a free version of the entire education curriculum by 2015. It would be foolish to think that WikiEducator alone can achieve this objective. We need to work with a range of other projects like wikipedia and wikiversity and others - as long as they use licenses which are compatible with the free content definition.

This raises an important question re the conceptual relationship between Wikiversity and WikiEducator. A few observations:

  1. I don't see WikiEducator "competing" with WikiVersity - we have a shared vision regarding free content for education, but have a few dimensions which differentiate our respective projects that add value to both our initiatives. Wikiversity is an impressive project - but it's more representive of the voice of the "North" rather than the voice of the "South"
  2. We have an unashamed commitment to the ideals of the developing world and we proactively work with developing societies in creating a voice for these communities. For example the VUSCC and FLOSS4Edu projects. While projects like Wikiversity and Wikipedia are open for the developing world - they can be intimidating for new contributors from these regions - hence for example our investment in developing tutorials designed specifically for newbies.
  3. WikiEducator is not limited to the post-teritary sector ("university" sector) - We plan to cover all levels including adult basic education, technical and vocational education, literacy and livelihoods. Stand corrected - see below.
  4. COL's core expertise lies in the pedagogy of DE - ie asynchronous learning. For example the inclusion of iDevices into WikiEducator content. Wikimedia Foundation projects are not primarily focused on education per se. Education is a subset of the Wikimedia Foundation projects. On the other hand, education is core business for WikiEducator. We are particularly interested in the refinements required for Mediawiki software in order to serve "next-generation" elearning.
  5. WikiEducator has greater flexibility to experiment with technology innovations when compared with the Wikimedia foundation projects. Of necessity they cannot risk experiments in, for example eXe-Mediawiki integration, or microformats for defining pedagogical structure. That said WikiEducator has a strong relationship with members of the Wikimedia board and technical solutions that prove themselves in the WikiEducator environment will more than likely be incorporated into the mainstream Wikimedia projects.
  6. However we are working closely with Mediawiki in finding solutions for a pdf-writer for Mediawiki pages - this will serve WikiEducator as well as all the Wikimedia projects.
  7. A final thought - you've got me thinking! WikiEducator is officially supported by an intergovernmental agency representing 50+ countries of the Commowwealth. This is not to say that we are "better" than Wikiversity - but rather a validation of the phenomenal success of the Wikimedia foundation. We would not be able to do what we are doing without the Wikipedia example. We are riding on the shoulders of a giant! That said - our need for QA mechanisms that are appropriate for education are high on our priority list. We do not question the quality that is derived from open authoring models - but are perhaps more attuned to the organisational challenges of managing the perception of quality among skeptic academics than other related projects.

In the medium term - I see greater synergies emerging between Wikiversity and WikiEducator - particulary given recent advance in the interwiki capabilities of Mediawiki software. We will learn from each other and ultimately the rip-mix-and-burn culture will see the projects diffusing into each other.

Appreciate the questions - has forced me to think more clearly about these relationships --Mackiwg 06:15, 20 December 2006 (CET)

Hi there, I'm "from" Wikiversity :-), and I'd like to respond to some of what you've written above - mainly to clarify some aspects of Wikiversity's scope and mission.
  • Firstly, you're right that there shouldn't be any "competition" between Wikieducator and wikiversity - if both projects' licences are compatible (which they are), there isn't a problem. Wikieducator has an enviable position in relation to education for the developing world, but this is also very definitely a vision of mine and many others for Wikiversity too - the only reason we are not there yet is that Wikiversity is still building a community of diverse interests and expertise. Building communities takes time. :-)
  • However, Wikiversity is not only about materials for the tertiary level - it is explicitly about materials for all levels of education - from primary to adult education. Again, our current materials only reflect the work done by our as yet small community.
  • I don't know why there would be any distinction between Wikieducator and Wikiversity/Wikimedia with regards to education itself - Wikiversity is very clearly a project which is explicitly devoted to education, and the bylaws of Wikimedia are also explicitly about educational projects. The first line of the Statement of Purpose in the bylaws states: "The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally."
  • You're perhaps right that there are slightly more limitations (or, I would say, "complications") in making changes to the technical interface of Wikiversity, but we have developed a culture of openness with regards to what can be done, and I believe we have not yet scratched the surface of the utility we could offer to the world.
Having said all this, I do think there's a value in having each project experiment within its own parameters - as long as we do, as you say, share these thoughts and experiences. These experiences are crucial to coming to an understanding of what we are doing and how to improve on all elements of our work. I'd be fascinated to develop that discussion, and so my main question(s) would be: How (and where) is this to be done? Is it worth setting up (cough cough another) mailing list perhaps? Or does it require people of both communities to relate stories and experiences to "their" respective projects (if you'll pardon the inference again of exclusive participation)? Please brainstorm - and if there's a better place to do this, please let me know. (A note on my Wikiversity talk page would also be helpful.) Thanks! Cormaggio 13:28, 16 February 2007 (CET)
IANAL, perhaps both licenses are compatible with the free cultural works definition but as far as I know the GNU FDL and CC-BY-SA are not compatible. Brent has already copied some of our work from Wikiversity, I don't think people really mind but it doesn't look good, perhaps there's a better way to collaborate? Chris 15:39, 16 February 2007 (CET)
Chris - the pages (, that I copied from Wikiversity have been cross-licensed under GFDL. They are not "content" rather template pages (so unlikely to violate the 100 copies rule of GFDL). If you still see this as a problem please let me know; i'm happy to remove. brent 05:23, 17 February 2007 (CET)

Response to Wikiversity

Greetings User:Cormaggio and User:Chris - appreciate the visit, your most welcome!

  • Thanks for the clarification of scope, namely that Wikiversity aims to cover the entire educational spectrum - thats fantastic. (See my correction above.) The vision of a free version of the entire curriculum by 2015 is not a trivial task and our respective projects will not achieve these objectives alone - however working together -- we might get this right by 2013!
  • The distinction is not an Educational one per se - both projects are committed to education as a common good. Our emphasis at WikiEducator is on the unique pedagogical design requirements associated with Distance Education - that is the pedagogy and design approaches pioneered by the Mega distance teaching universities. The pedagogy of free cultural works used to support face-to-face teaching interventions are different from the pedagogy of free cultural works designed for distance education. The difference is that the digital content in DE mediates the teaching-learning transaction through simulated interaction. To use a crude example - a text book is different from a distance teaching study guide. In a face-to-face situation the teacher/lecturer can mediate the teaching-learning transaction through face-to-face dialogue. In distance teaching - we have to do this differently. I accept that with blended learning approaches this distinction becomes diffuse.
  • For this reason - WikiEducator has a very close relationship with the eLearning XHTML editor project a free software authoring tool designed for teachers. It has defined a technical component called instructional devices (iDevices) - those sub-elements of asynchronous learning content that are characteristic of distance teaching methods. In the future we hope to see improved import/export capabilities between eXe and WikiEducator - specifically with regards to these instructional devices. Given our work in the developing world, we need a free software off line editor for teachers who do not have 24/7 connectivity. We want to make it possible for a teacher to work off line and then have the ability to go to an Internet cafe and upload and sync with WikiEducator. We're still a ways off from this ideal - but we're working in this direction.
  • With reference to Wikipedia - Jimbo is very clear that the prime purpose of the project is to develop an encyclopedia. That's a clear content focus & he is right. At WikiEducator we place a very high priority on capacity development and we believe that through this process of building capacity - free cultural works will flow as a natural consequence.
  • I should point out an important difference - one which I'm not happy about at WikiEducator, namely the fact that our wiki requires account registration. This is a restriction of freedom. While a small project has the advantage of greater flexibility with technology - we have disadvantage that our community is not sufficiently large to manage spam properly ...;-(. Hopefully in the near future we can get rid of this barrier.
  • User:Chris - we have noted your point about the content - thanks for the pointer. Philosophically the licenses are compatible - but legally, they are not until we attribute Wikiversity properly in accordance with the FDL. I'll have Brent check that this was done properely. For WikiEducator's side - we have no problems whatsoever with Wikiversity using WikEducator content - we want to share this with our neighbours. So I encourage your community to use whatever you may find useful in WikiEducator.
  • Lets get some discussion going on how we might collaborate - a few tentative ideas from my desk:
    • Collaborative work on tutorials for capacity building in Mediawiki editing skills. We've commenced development of a set of Newbie Tutorials and are currently busy with a pilot testing these materials asking the community to provide feedback on how to improve these resources. There is a 2nd pilot in eLearning format that will start on Monday 19 Feb with members from the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth. Please feel free to join and help us improve the tutorials - as free content Wikiversity can adapt these for your own purposes - for example removing the references to WikiEducator in the relevant activities. Here are a few instructions on how to [[1]].
    • The navigation of the interface between Moodle and the WikiEducator tutorials is a nighmare and am not happy with this. I urgently want to see the LQT Eloquence's draft and the current demo. Eloquence tells me that the backend is just about completed but still some work required on the front end. We estimate that this would cost about $20K to get completed. I could probably find some money, but not enough for to complete the job. Would Wikiversity be able to help with about $5K? This functionality would radically improve the learning functionality of our projects - not to mention the huge advantage for all WMF projects.
    • Comparing notes and sharing experiences on the development of Pedagogical Templates - see for example here. It would be great if we could work together in developing a requirements specification for some MW code development to enhance the educational utility of the software. For example javascript feedback buttons, or Hot Potatoes like widgets for the wiki. eXe has a few cool iDevices that would be great to see in MW.

I'm very open to the idea of having a page somewhere to brainstorm ideas. Why don't we set up a page on Wikiversity and we'll link from WikiEducator to your page?

Do you have any thoughts on potential collaborations? --Mackiwg 19:18, 16 February 2007 (CET)

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