Uganda/L4C/Lesson Notes/Day Three

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Review of DAY 2 Lessons and Activities

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A short review of previous day's lessons goes here ...

Lab Work: Participants will work on their own contents

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Assignment goes here ...

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Requirments for effective participation in today's lessons goes here ...


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A participant will lead us is reflecting on what we "captured" in prevoius lessons - Mr Kalunga will lead us

WikiEducator Pedagogical Templates

We briefly touched on the use of templates for creating navigation aids in the previous tutorial. Now we will turn to the practice of including Pedagogical templates or iDevices into your WikiEducator content.

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In this tutorial we will:
  • Explain the concept of using "iDevices" as sub-elements of an educational resource;
  • Revisit the template syntax;
  • View examples of pedagogical templates with corresponding tips

The idea of isolating the instructional devices (or iDevices) of learning content was a primary aspect of the eXe Project. eXe was developed around the idea of iDevices which included a range of pedagogical forms e.g. objectives, case studies, reading activities, etc., which constitute the equivalent of the teacher talk in content resources designed for online learning. The notion of iDevices was derived from the practice and experience of designing instructional texts for distance education, with modifications for contemporary digital technologies. iDevices are structural elements that describe learning content and distinguish teaching content from other forms of content like text books or journal articles.

A range of iDevice templates have been developed in WikiEducator that you can use in your content. If you have been following along in these tutorials you may have noticed a couple of them already. In the following sections we will learn the basic syntax required for including these pedagogical templates inside your content and take a look at examples of the iDevice templates available to you.

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Tip: ALL templates are sorrounded by two curly brackets like this {{ }}

To use one of the iDevice templates surround the name of the template in curly braces like this: '''{{iDevice_name|Include your desired text here!}}'''

List of some iDevices available on WE (You Can help develop more)

  • {{Activity}}
  • {{Activity2}}
  • {{Assessment}}
  • {{Assignment}}
  • {{Case_study}}
  • {{Competencies}}
  • {{Definition}}
  • {{Discussion}}
  • {{Key_points
  • {{Media}}
  • {{Objectives}}
  • {{Outcomes}}
  • {{Preknowledge}}
  • {{Reading}}
  • {{Summary}}
  • {{Tell_us_a_story}}
  • {{Web_Resources}}
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Tip: If you notice a page that looks like it may include a template that you might like to use, click on the top edit link then look below the Save page buttons for a list of the templates that have been used in that page. Clicking on a Template link will take you to the templates page. Often the template page will include some instructions on its Talk page on how to incorporate the template into your own content.

Thinking About Wiki Structures

The structure of a wiki is best described as a network. Similar to railway networks each page in a wiki is a node in the overall network, and can possibly link to, or be linked from, any other page in this network (or any other node in the greater network of the World Wide Web). Clearly marking this network to prevent users from getting (unnecessarily) lost is quintessential in obtaining an effective content.

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In this tutorial we will:
  • Explain the parent - child relationship for creating structured content;
  • introduce templates as a mechanism for navigation; and
  • use categories to assist with structuring and finding educational content.

It may often be desirable though for educational content to appear more structured, and it will be useful to link pages to each other while maintaining a reference to their logical structures and relationships with other pages.

Fortunately the Mediawiki software we are using is very powerful and there are easy ways to link pages according to their logical and structural relationships with other pages. This kind of structuring may also be thought of as creating Subpages. There are other ways in which you can provide visual or navigational clues to reflect the structure of your content. Creating Navigational templates and using Categories can also provide an overview of your contents' structure and help users to navigate through the network.

If you look at the title of this page you will notice that it is called: eL4CF2F_Zambia is a subpage (or call it child page) of the parent page called Zambia. While Zambia_F2F_tutorials is also a child of the subpage called eL4CF2F_Zambia

Making a new link that begins with a / (slash) is the common way to start a subpage. The page to which this link points is considered "subordinate" to its host page, and is titled and linked as [[Parentpage/Subpage]]. It is possible to create a subpage of a subpage (or a sub-subpage). At the top of each subpage or sub-subpage, you can find a backlink (aka breadcrumb) to the higher levels of the page.

Creating Templates
To create a template you need to create a page with "Template:" as the first part of the name. The usual way we have been creating new pages in the wiki up to now has been to create a link in some content to a page that doesn't exist yet, then follow that link to edit the new page ... but templates are a little different because we are not really creating a link to the template itself, just including it in the page.

The easiest way to create a new template is to manually enter the name of the template into the URL bar of our browser after the '''''' part, then either hit enter or the Go button. Like this:

then click on the edit this page link to create your template.

Your template is just like any other wiki page and can contain any wiki markup or HTML code. If you wanted, for example, to create a simple navigation template you could include something like this:

'''[[Home]] | [[Section 1]] | [[Section 2]] | [[Section 3]]'''

then, to include this template on your projects pages you would add this to the top of each page: {{New_project_nav}}and it would appear something like this:

Home | Section1 | Section 2 | Section 3

A Category is a kind of grouping of related pages. This page, for example, belongs to "Category: Wikieducator Tutorials". When a page belongs to one or more categories this information generally appears as a link at the bottom of the page. Clicking on this link will display all the pages on the wiki that are associated with that category.

Putting a page in a category A page can be put in a category by adding a category tag to the page (by convention, at the end of the page), e.g.: This lists the page on the appropriate category page automatically and also provides a link at the bottom of the page to the category page. Pages can be included in more than one category by adding multiple category tags. To see a list of all the currently available categories in this wiki see the page, Special:Categories for a list of all the categories in this wiki.

Creating a Category
If you have checked the Special:Categories page and there is not an already existing category that might apply to content you are working on, you can create a new category by adding the syntax [[Category:Category name]] to your page. After saving your page you should follow the link that has been created for your new category and place some instructions on that page to let other users know how to use the new category. Follow the category link at the bottom of this page to see how a category page looks and what type of instructions to add to the page.

(Comment.gif: NOTE: It is important to give some thought to the structure of your content before embarking on authoring in the wiki. While often linking from one page to another may be enough for small resources, for large quantities of content it may be beneficial to create some kind of heirarchical approach and use the subpages functionality discussed in this tutorial to provide structure or narrative. Using navigational templates can also help in assisting users to know where they are in relation to the content as a whole. As WikiEducator grows it may also be useful to supply categories to specific content to facilitate browsing of the different types of content that will become available.)

What is Free Content

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Have you ever wondered about the following issues:
  • Sharing content for educational purposes is a good idea, but how can I protect my work against commercial exploitation?
  • There are so many "free" licenses -- what do all these licenses mean? and which one should I choose for an open education resource (OER) project?
  • What content resources can I legally use in WikiEducator?

These are examples of the kinds of questions we receive at WikiEducator on a regular basis. While there are no simple answers to all these questions, this tutorial will shed some light on these issues from the perspective of the values which underpin our community.

Moderated discussions

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In your view, what does the "free" mean in the concept "free content"?
  • Go to and search for the meaning of "free"
  • Do the same search at AskOxford

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When thinking about the free in free content, many people associate this with the idea of content without cost. However, the alternative meaning of free refers to personal liberty -- the ability to act without restriction.
The Wikieducator community believe that education is a common good, and that all educators should have the freedom to teach with the technologies and contents of their choice. Consequently, for Wikieducators - free refers to the liberty to adapt, modify and use content without restriction. The fact that no royalties or licensing costs are associated with use of Wikieducator materials, is an incidental advantage and not the reason for our existence.
Distinguishing between free and non-free content is riddled with complexity and often leads to passionate and emotive debate. In this tutorial we will unpack what free content means for this community.

Way Forward/Declaration

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Self Assessment

In your view, how many teachers would we need, for example, to develop a Maths course for Grade 8?

Your answer illustrates the scalability of free content - relatively small numbers of committed educators can have a huge impact on the rate at which free content is developed. All it requires is a personal commitment, every content contribution adds to the intellectual commons, and will be available for use and modification indefinitely

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But what are the challenges of open formats?

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Converting closed formats into open formats
  1. For office productivity software (documents, slide show presentations and spreadsheet files) you should download a copy of Open Office on your machine. This is available for GNU/Linux, Microsoft and Mac OS X operating systems.
  2. Open one of your closed document files in Open Office by clicking on: File > Open
  3. Then click on File > Save As and select the file type, in this case the OpenDocument Text format (.odt)
  4. Try creating a pdf from this file by clicking on File > Export as pdf

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Tip: Open Office should cover most of your needs regarding open file formats. If you are looking for a more comprehensive listing, UNESCO's Free and Open Source Software Portal is a good place to start.