Campaign Page for Steve Foerster

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Thank you for visiting my campaign page for the first elected WikiEducator Council. Although it was an honour to be appointed to the Interim Advisory Board, it is gratifying to see that we have reached the next step and that from this point our governance will truly be community driven. I've been active with WikiEducator since 2006, when a similar but much smaller project that I'd co-founded folded its content into WikiEducator to avoid duplication. Since then I have travelled to present on WikiEducator; written about WikiEducator in other media, most recently for India's ICT4D magazine; and last month, with Minhaaj ur Rehman, started the User Page Expo to celebrate excellent user pages, a fun way to build community spirit. Please see the links above for more information about me and my involvement with WikiEducator.


There are a number of efforts I'd like to see WikiEducator make in the next two years. I understand that we can only do what our budget allows, and it may be that these are goals we cannot entirely reach within that span of time, but I believe progress can be made toward all of them.

Improve Multiple Language Support

WikiEducator already has editions for French, Spanish, and Portuguese. I believe this is an important aspect to WikiEducator and that it has great potential to lead to an exchange of resources and ideas. The question has been raised recently about adding Chinese language support. I am in favour of this, and believe it represents an exciting opportunity for us to broaden support for the open education movement as a whole.

There's some question about whether COL would be interested in supporting languages other than English. I realise that the working language of the Commonwealth is English, however there are millions of Commonwealth citizens whose native language is something else and I believe it is our prerogative to support those languages as well. When I was at the 2007 iSummit, I met many educators who work in other languages who were critical of what they saw as English language dominance over the open education movement and feared that if all of the open educational resources available were in English that it would lead to a loss of cultural diversity. I believe that it is appropriate for WikiEducator to provide a platform wherein those who feel that way have the opportunity to develop alternative resources in their own languages.

Finalise Licensing Policy

Those who know me know that even by the standards of the open education movement I am sceptical when it comes to copyright. As yet WikiEducator does not have a finalised Licensing Policy, and I believe that one of the first tasks of the elected Council should be to complete this. Furthermore, I believe that this policy should have the following attributes:

  • It should reiterate that the Declaration of Free Cultural Works is the founding principle of our community, and permanently forbid the use of licenses that do not adhere to it on WikiEducator.
  • It should explicitly allow means by which users can license their contributions under a more permissive license than the default (including dedicating them to the public domain), and should allow means by which pages can be started that use a more permissive license than the default, regardless of who contributes to them.

I also believe we should endorse cooperation between Creative Commons and the Free Software Foundation to find a way in which the Attribution-ShareAlike license and Free Document License are considered equivalent, so that the material on WikiEducator and that on Wikimedia Foundation sites like Wikipedia can be used interchangeably. (Note that I do not believe that Wikipedia and WikiEducator should extensively mirror each other's content, only that these materials should no longer be incompatible).

Increase Ease of Use

WikiEducators have spent a great deal of effort on training programmes that help those new to the project learn wiki code so that they can create and revise documents. This is worthwhile, and those efforts have reaped great reward. However, I believe that we can open WikiEducator up to a great deal more participation if we can find a way to add a word processor style editor to WikiEducator. For example, an editor called FCK exists that makes adding material to wiki pages as easy as writing a document in a word processor:

I recall during prior discussion about this issue that there are technical reasons why it might be more difficult for WikiEducator to use FCK than it might be for other wikis. Nevertheless, I would like to see us find a way to do so, because I believe this will reduce the technical skills required to participate such that we will enjoy a marked increase in participation.

Further Information

I hope this has given you a sense of in what direction I'd like to see WikiEducator go over the next two years. If you'd like more information about me or what positions I would support as a Council member, please feel free to contact me, either through my Talk page or by email to

Alternatively, if you have any questions you'd like me to answer here, please feel free to edit this section to insert it, and I'll respond in kind.

Update from 3 September: Leutha asked some questions of all candidates and I answered on the specified page.

Confirmation of Nomination