The future of Wikieducator

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Strategies to overcome current limitations

While combining the power of Mediawiki software with the ease of refining content for eLearning using eXe is a significant development for the Open Education Resource (OER) movement, there is always room for improvement.

This page highlights ideas for the future development of both Mediawiki, eXe and Educommons for educational purposes. The advantages of a social authoring model are clearly demonstrated by the success of Wikipedia. However, there are two shortcomings of this authoring model for educational content:

  1. First the academic requirement for a robust technology that provides workflow processes for quality assurance of free content developed dynamically using social software. In other words, quality assurance for a static version of content developed in a wiki environment. Educommons provides the best fit among open source technologies for this purpose.
  2. Second, technologies that facilitate easy authoring of the microelements of educational content, for example learning objectives, case studies, interactive question types etc. These are the educational "widgets" that can be embedded in a web page. The eXe has made considerable progress with developing examples of these microelements (called instructional devices or iDevices). However, we do not have seamless import/export capabilities with technologies like Mediawiki and Educommons.

A sustainability thought

The rate of FLOSS development is proportional to the size of the community that uses these technologies. A large user base contributes to the development of a rich variety of content resources as well as informing the software developers of feature requirements for the future. The greater the demand, the easier it becomes to secure funding for ongoing development and improvement. This way we will achieve our ideals of "new" pedagogy building through the smart implementation of Web 2 technologies for learning.

The open movement is well equiped to make the future happen because they have the freedom to do so.

Ideas for the future

This is a list of initial ideas that will be expanded as the community grows:

  • To begin describing instructional devices (iDevices) as microformats
  • The ability to incorporate the microformats of iDevices in Mediawiki software
  • The ability to provide a seamless import/export between eXe and Mediawiki. This could facilitate offline authoring of Wikieducator content as well as more sophisticated imports of wiki content structures.
  • To think about the potential in e-learning for browser extensions like the Tails Firefox extension.