Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Top 10 Things Wikiversity Should Change

I am always being inspired by what I read. Some web pages inspired me to take a closure look at what 10 things I would change about Wikiversity, if I could.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Learning about content management systems

A content management system is a system that allows people to contribute to and share information. A good content management system should make communicate and collaboration easy for contributors.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Learning about Copyright in Open Academia

The first workshop on how to apply the open academic model in practice was hosted Monday March 29, 2010. In this workshop they explored copyright options and how to find, use and contribute free media resources. On their open academia blog you can watch the recorded workshop and read "how did the workshop go?" I think the workshop helped people from the look of it. What do you think?

The same day as the workshop took place I had an idea myself about how open academia could be applied in practice. At the time I did not know a workshop was to take place the same day. The idea centered around whether a non-profit organization to provide an open education standard with the intent to be listed as a recognized accredited agency by United States Department of Education could feasibly be started.

I mentioned my idea to some people as part of a discussion we were having. One person suggested that if I could somehow pull that off, people would likely be lining up at my doorstep wanting to hire me. I think this idea might be worth exploring further as part of some open academia project, even if only as a theoretical idea or thought experiment. Perhaps this is one way open management of open academic resources might be achieved?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Learning about educational collaboration

Have you ever wondered what educational institutes have collaborated with Wikiversity to create learning resources? Recently Beta Wikiversity began compiling such a list. I think this list has the potential to inspire and encourage other educational institutes to use Wikiversity for their collaborative learning goals.

English Wikibooks has had a list of class projects for 4 years now. Their list also includes the book that the class is collaborating to write, and the teacher or moderator that is responsible for the class project as a point of contact should any problems arise that need addressing. English Wikibooks also has a class project guide for teachers to address some common issues that have come up both for teachers and Wikibooks.

One teacher that has asked their students to collaborate in writing a book for one than one semester or year has created a separate edition of the book each time. Books hosted by Wikibooks do not normally have editions. Recently there has been an effort to address this by merging existing editions of the book.

Wikibooks' approach to class projects seems to work for the most part even when issues arise. However class collaboration often leads to the exclusion of collaboration by anyone else that would like to help. For now such collaborations are likely impossible, and people that want to do it are likely out of luck. To me this means when it comes to Wikibooks, true educational collaboration does not yet exist.

Wikiversity lacks a guide to help teachers that want to coordinate a class project, but that hasn't gotten in the way of teachers or class projects. Collaboration on Wikiversity has usually been inclusive of collaboration by anyone and tends to encourage it. To me this is the true meaning of educational collaboration.

What can Wikiversity learn from Wikibooks? What can Wikibooks learn from Wikiversity? I think Wikiversity could learn a thing or two from Wikibooks' experience and helpful attention to class projects. I think Wikibooks could learn a thing or two from the more friendly, upbeat, and inclusive nature of teachers and class projects that happen at Wikiversity.

Maybe some kind of project exchange program that allows Wikiversity and Wikibooks to learn from the cultural differences of the two projects could help facilitate a positive change for both projects.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Learning about Open Academia

Is using an open academic model the answer that Universities need to have a competitive edge in the battle to get students to willingly pay for the honor of attending their classes? I think Universities can succeed with this model if they can embrace a combination of green technologies to reduce or eliminate energy costs, learning materials designed around an open curriculum standard that is released under a copyleft license to reduce or eliminate curriculum costs, a system whereby students teach students after the first year or semester to reduce or eliminate teaching costs, and businesses help by both giving students on the job experience and by reducing or eliminating remaining costs.

I think a copyleft curriculum could be easier for Universities to change and adapt for their specific needs, and be of a higher quality to boot, whereas a closed curriculum and curriculum standard is designed by committee.

Ads on tv are always promising a great deal for the low low payment of $19.95 a month for x months. Could the future be Universities where the cost of attending is as low as $19.95 USD a month for 4 years? I think Universities can do it, but at $957.60 for 4 years per student that would be a great reduction in cost which might take a lot of persuasion to pull off. I wonder which leads to bankruptcy faster today health care or an education.

A University embracing open academia is also supposed to have open management . I will surely blog about that someday once I understand the concept and how it would work.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Learning about Wikipedia

Two weeks ago a learning project about why people edit Wikipedia was deleted from Wikiversity out of fear that it would undermine Wikipedia's credibility as a reliable source of information. Why does this matter? Wikipedia has managed to drown out Wikiversity's side of the story, and in some cases even ignored it completely.

  • Wikiversity was in the midst of reviewing the work when it was deleted out from underneath everyone.
  • When a fresh review was started asking the community to examine whether the work was within scope and whether Wikipedia Co-founder Jimmy Wales had acted appropriately by deleting the work, Jimmy Wales responded by writing that he was discussing the possability of closing Wikiversity with the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Luckily the Trustees quickly agreed that closing Wikiversity was unnecessary.
  • Mr. Wales called on the Wikiversity community to create a process for reviewing works which Wikiversity already has in abundance, and in fact Mr. Wales had interrupted.
  • Mr. Wales called on the Wikiversity community to stand up against trolls. Anytime the word "troll" is mentioned any hope for a mature and reasonable conversation usually goes out the door. A troll is someone that deliberately and intentionally attempts to disrupt. Instead of a mature and reasonable conversation to understand how and why Mr. Wales thinks the work is deliberately and intentionally disruptive, the Wikiversity community had to play 20 questions to get any answers.
  • Mr. Wales and some users of Wikipedia seem to think that restoring a controversial work and allowing people a chance to view and change the work as it is being discussed is inappropriate. Without a means for Wikiversity to accurately and constructively make a decision about a unknown work this leaves Wikiversity in a bind.
  • The Wikiversity community thinks the work is within scope and just needs to be heavily edited. This was the direction the first review was headed in before it was interrupted and is the conclusion that was drawn after the fresh review.
  • The Wikiversity community thinks that Mr. Wales created more drama than was necessary by interrupting the first review through deletion of the work, and by using the ugly troll word.
  • Mr. Wales is insistent that the work remain deleted rather than heavily edited, and that the author of the work avoid writing anything like it again.
  • The Wikiversity community believes the work was about understanding why people edit Wikipedia and what motivates them to disrupt Wikipedia.
  • The Wikiversity community agrees that running experiments on websites without permission from the owner is unethical and should not be hosted on Wikiversity. Unfortunately some users of Wikipedia have concluded that by Wikiversity disagreeing with the nature of the deleted work Wikiversity supports undermining Wikipedia and as a result have mislead other users into believing that this is true. Where will this lead and when will it end? Your guess is as good as mine.
  • To Mr. Wales credit he does believe that Wikipedia is in general an acceptable topic to learn about. Is Wikipedia of the same mind as Mr. Wales though?
How will Wikiversity deal with the cards it has been dealt? Well so far Wikiversity is seeking to have the global founder group removed from Mr. Wales so he cannot cause Wikiversity problems again for a 3rd time, some users of Wikiversity are writing an open letter asking for clarification in what role the Wikimedia Foundation plans to take in daily management of Wikiversity, some users have left Wikiversity, some users have moved on to doing other things on Wikiversity, and some users have began work to try to clarify Wikiversity policy in hopes of avoiding a return visit from Mr. Wales.

If Mr. Wales last visit to Wikiversity is any indication of what to expect, Wikiversity will need a year or more to recover from Mr. Wales' visit and Wikiversity policy will not have changed much or at all. I hope that Wikiversity will see more learning projects about Wikipedia in the future that do not end up in the trash bin.