User talk:Jesse Groppi

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I'd like to do three, maybe four things

This could take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months. Right now I'm working one job, looking for another, solidifying university arrangements, and trying to find funding for education costs, dog quarantine, and travel.

This is not an exhaustive list of what I have to contribute to this wiki, not by far. These three things are what I can do now, and they will help me get very familiar with WE, allowing me to really see where my ideas fit in, if they are needed.

I will warn you that I'm going to be very bold, and most of the time, I will not talk about what I'm going to do before I do it. If anyone has a problem with something I've done, that's the best time to talk about it and a compromise can be arranged.

I'd also like to know if I have permission to be totally honest, as that's the way I like to work. I'm a very direct person, and that can sometimes be intimidating to others, but I hope no one will feel that way. I live for discussion and team effort; my philosophy is that anything but directness and openness inhibit efficiency and success. And if you ever have a problem with something I've done or said, I prefer that you let me know in a direct manner. I think you'll appreciate how open to criticism I am. (I'm a writer, I have to be!)

1. Implement temporarily uncolourful article management tags to fill any gaps in the current selection that I feel I will need

I prefer to do this involving templates transcluded in templates and external CSS calls because of ease of use for other (and less experienced) users. However, in the interest of time, I'm just going to make them boxes with text in them:


Later, if it's necessary, I can show you how the whole system I use normally works, so that you can approve it before implementing it.

Please link me the templates you find useful, because I'd really rather not spend a lot of time trying to find them.

2. Organise all categories into an easily navigable structure

This will involve the creation of a number of categories, and I strongly suggest CategoryTree be activated/installed so that navigation via categories is even simpler to use and understand.

I will likely make a flow chart of sorts to describe the way categories look now, before restructuring them.

If they do not already exist, this will also include the creation of a branch of categories used for organising admin and user tasks, as well as a branch of categories for wiki administration (including policies, templates, portals, user categories, etc.)

3. Categorise every page, category, and file

This will involve the creation of a lot of categories, as well as many pages, categories, and files being marked for deletion.

4. Draft a style guide

Whilst it is still incomplete, I will have it as a user subpage. Once I've finished what I have to input, I will put it in the WikiEducator namespace and mark it for proposal and discussion. Comments and suggestions during the drafting process are welcome in the draft's talk page.

Famliarising myself with WE

Hello Jesse and welcome to Wikieducator. I would like to thank you for contacting me and inquiring about the wiki. How about practicing some "global collaboration project based in wiki technology" right here? Can you please add your questions here?

Thank you. --Nellie Deutsch 20:33, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

These are the questions I asked because I am interested in getting involved in what Wiki Educator does.

Your wiki runs a bit differently than I am used to seeing, and it's causing me some trouble in trying to familiarise myself with the site. So I've put together some questions I hope you'll be able to answer:

Jesse Groppi 15:20, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
This is really weird - both my almost adult children are serious WOW participants. As an educator, I am really envious of the time on task that WOW commands preferentially to their on-campus (boring) education. #1-son realized he had a WOW problem and was able to back off WOW and complete required school work and graduated - BS Mechanical Engineering, has a great day job and now participates in WOW on weekends for fun. #2-son ?? needs to spend more energy on school - upper division transfer student to California State University BS Mechanical Engineering. No question that WikiEducator can learn a lot from you and the other folks at (The preceding unsigned comment was added by vtaylor (talkcontribs) .)
I don't know if it's because MMOs are a newer media, or because everyone needs to go through it to learn the lesson, but I think everyone does, at some point, run into issues with his or her online gaming. I can recall one very bad and confusing year in my life where all the time I could have spent trying to sort things out was instead spent playing, and in fact the game was part of the reason things were so confusing. But since then, and now having the experience to learn from, I have a greater deal of respect for the influence MMOs have on us. However, I also now have a drive for things in my daily life that I didn't have then, and I'm sure that contributes to my gaming "sanity".
Unless your son has an addictive personality, I wouldn't worry too much about him. At some point he will realise, or his friends will realise. It's not so unfamiliar a phenomenon. Though, the longer it takes, the more I pity him for the opportunities he loses by not putting as much energy into school as he is capable. If he starts doing poorly in school, as opposed to "not great", I'd personally be more worried about what it is about his studies that causes it to be so low in his priorities. That's the general advice I give to parents and family members on that sort of thing.
And, of course, there's the other end of the spectrum. I learned quite a bit from online gaming, about myself, social skills, teamwork, leadership. In fact, the year I volunteered for the company whose game I played, that was the year I found out I wanted to be a teacher. I don't regret any of the time I've spent playing. It has made me a better person (and a faster typer :P) Jesse Groppi 02:19, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
John Seeley Brown - formerly of Xerox Parc has good things to say about WOW learning. Law enforcement officers are learning teamwork through online games. Massive Multi-participant Learning is really interesting - CCK08 last Fall with 1000+ participants was a wonderful learning experience so we learn to deal with these. --Valerie Taylor 03:33, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

What are the wiki's general opinions on style guides and boilerplates? Have I missed them?

WikiEducator encourages the use of pedagogical templates to provide structure within pages. There are also a variety of other templates for adding metadata to pages and images. Jim 01:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

So you don't have whole page templates, or guides that explain how the general style of WE should be applied to formatting article contents as a whole (See Wikipedia's manual of style and Layout guide, and Wowwiki's manual of style)? Jesse Groppi 02:45, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

There are a few style guides in use on WikiEducator; each is specific to a particular project/collection of content. Because OER content is quite varied in form, full courses, smaller learning modules, textbooks, handouts, articles and research, glossaries, etc., it doesn't make sense to have one global style guide. Here's one that I created: style guide for the open computing project. Of course it's a work in progress ;-). Personally, I like the idea of a style guide to help create consistency in structure, language, design, formatting.... --Alison Snieckus 02:53, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I completely agree on the use of style guides, especially on an international setting. I've seen users change from an article from one spelling to another, only because they weren't aware a word might be spelled another way. Other editors were able to point that editor to the wiki's style guide in response.
Other issues I see stemming from not having style guides are:
  1. readers would have to "relearn" every time they looked at a new lesson plan in order to understand it
  2. a resource designer may have wonderful ideas, but not be very good at structuring their materials in a way readers easily understand
Having uniform style throughout the wiki also helps make the site a friendly, familiar place to be, and gives comfort to less literate users
I would suggest, as an example of how wonderful style guides and boilerplates can be, that anyone visit and hit the random page link at least 10 times. I know the subject isn't everyone's cup of tea, but a lot of work was put into uniformity last year by myself, the admin team, and a number of interested users. Scroll down to the bottom of one of the pages, and click on one of the categories that has the word "zone", "item", "mobs", or "spell" in it. If you click on any random set of pages in that category, you'll see the pages all follow a preset design in which a lot of effort was put to make look pleasant, be useful, and be easy to read. --Jesse Groppi 03:38, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

What is the theory behind using subpages to structure the site, rather than categories, and what is the general guideline for connecting one project to all the others?

WikiEducator uses both subpages and categories to structure the site. Many of the educational resources are multi-page in nature, and subpages provide an organizational metaphor that many computer users are familiar with. The Collection extension allows each user to bundle groups of pages into larger groups. Categories provide a higher level of organization. Jim 01:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Hrmm... it's my understanding that categories and subpages use the same organisational metaphor, but subpaging allows for the same "address" or naming conventions. Do you have any information on what exactly Collection does, where is reports its data, and how to use it? I'm not finding anything :( And on categories, I'm finding thousands of uncategorised pages, and I can't trace a single category to the root of the wiki, let along find the root category. Hopefully the Collection extension provides me with some insight on how everything joins together. Jesse Groppi 02:45, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
The collection extension allows each user to build his own collections of pages (see the left sidebar below the search box). These collections can be saved, shared with others, printed as PDFs, or turned into packages for learning management systems. It is not related to categories which are globally applied to pages by members of the community. Jim 04:29, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Version says you're running 1.14. Why go with an alpha release instead of a stable one?

It was what was available at the time of the last update. (And WikiEducator has been fortunate to have one of the MediaWiki authors do much of the system administration.) We are planning to move to a new pair of servers soon, and will use that transition to update much of the software on the system including MediaWiki. Jim 01:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

What happened to the category trees?

That extension has not been installed here. Jim 01:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Interesting; CategoryTree was integrated into the software in 1.12. I actually didn't know you could elect out of it! It's quite wonderful for making categories even easier to browse, and understand as an organisational metaphor. It's like looking at one's computer files in Windows Explorer. I would certainly suggest it as a future installation. Jesse Groppi 02:45, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Categories is a powerful feature that has been left to users to use whatever way they want. There are a few specific Categories that are used consistently, though most are not. Because of all the junk and abandoned categories, this is essentially useless at this time. This needs work... --Valerie Taylor 15:16, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Are students welcomed to the site for eLearning purposes? How do you take an educational body's online resource policies into consideration?

The above are more technical/organisational questions, but the ones below are about getting into the WE "brain"

While the main producers and consummers on WikiEducator have been educators, there are a number of students involved as well. The Biology in elementary schools project is one that has involved students directly in using the wiki. Jim 01:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Jess and Jim, actually over 97 , of my high school students from Ort Gutman in Netanya, Israel, studied English as a foreign language using Wikieducator during the current school year. Some of the projects were on the Holocaust, Book Sharing, Writing, & Oral Bagrut Project for the final Israeli Matriculation. Two of the students also presented their experiences face-to-face to visitors who came to the school from the Ministry of Education, and to supervisors and officials from Ort and the Municipality of Netanya . --Nellie Deutsch 07:30, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I was talking about young students in the elementary and secondary stages of learning. Perhaps in the U.S. especially, the software and eLearning/online materials students interface with directly have to go through an approval process. Americans are very protective of what their children are exposed to, and that's putting it mildly. I don't know what the situations are in other countries, but I would expect that if you want children to be welcome here, steps must be taken to ensure the site is acceptable to education administration. I thought of this because I got the impression that contributors were welcome to create such online learning materials. Jesse Groppi 02:45, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

What is the theory behind discussing talk pages near the end of the tutorial series instead of at the beginning?

No theory underpins the discussion of talk pages towards the end of the tutorial series. As independent study resources -- we hope that new users will choose their own path through the materials. That said -- having trained more than 3000 newbies from the formal education sector, this has worked well for us -- but we're always open to ideas for improvement :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 02:26, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Okay, so the tutorials are not an example of how your wiki skills courses are organised?
In the tutorial I've designed, the use of discussion pages is near the front of the tutorial for two reasons: 1. Discussion is usually one of the first edits a reader will make in the transition from reader to editor, and 2. Being that a wiki is so highly collaborative and social and that these things are, in many views, what causes the phenomenon to thrive, it is essential to encourage this skill on a higher priority. Teaching the skill early also allows for a pedagogical use of redundancy to train users to always sign their discussion. ;) --Jesse Groppi 03:41, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

What is the theory behind showing new users how to create a template before showing them how to use one inline?

Not sure I've got your question right --- we introduce using templates inline under Pedagogical templates -- Tutorial 9 and then proceed to helping educators create a "nested" template without exposing educators to the complexities of coding actual templates in the tutorial covering Navigation templates. These are two generic templates that are commonly used in WikiEducator. Our approach focuses on application and implementation, rather than the mechanics of template syntax. Still lots of room for improving our training support -- its work in progress. --Wayne Mackintosh 02:26, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I've skimmed through the tutorials again, and it appears I was mistaken. My apologies, I don't know how I got that impression! Jesse Groppi 03:07, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
There should be more templates for "bigger" OERs. The existing templates address the needs of the current content creators. I'm particularly interested in adoption, reuse and remix of OERs. A different set of templates is needed if we are encouraging wholesale adoption of courses or units. To date, the OERs are being created for the users, not for sharing so this isn't an issue yet. However, when creators within WikiEducator are activity creating and publishing for reuse, the appropriate templates will be available. We are working on some - to encourage community service learning and collaborative development, but they are works in progress so far. --Valerie Taylor 01:26, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Why do I continue to be told I have "new messages" and get taken to a special page that links to nothing? What is this extension, and what is it trying to do?

It's really aggravating me :P I accidently removed some edits from my watchlist, not knowing that's what the button did! --Jesse Groppi 03:51, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Jesse, do you mean a talk page like this?
Yup, such is the evil. Jesse Groppi 14:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
This is an ongoing problem with WikiEducator and Media Wiki - how/where to have discussions about stuff like this. It is important to have discussions and records of those discussions, but the Talk function is less than idea. I'm open to suggestions. --Valerie Taylor 01:29, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Similar questions114:38, 5 July 2009

Similar questions

Hi Jesse - I had/have some similar questions: User:Jtneill/WikiEducator/Questions and comments - meantime, I seem to have settled for now putting content over at Wikiversity. Sincerely, James. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 16:05, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Jtneill (talk)05:05, 5 July 2009

I tried Wikiversity and Wikibooks before coming to WikiEducator. I also looked into Connexions at Rice but for me and my students, WikiEducator works. I would like to see more structure, and generally accepted suggested guidelines for style, categories and templates. I like that these are not mandated but some formality that can be followed or not, is important. This will come in time. I'm prepared to be of the process because I think that WikiEducator is the appropriate solution in the long term. --Valerie Taylor 01:38, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Vtaylor (talk)14:38, 5 July 2009