Wikiversity

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Wikiversity is a community for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities.


URL = http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page


Definition

"Wikiversity is a multidimensional social organization dedicated to learning, teaching, research and service. Its primary goals are to:


  • Create and host free content, multimedia learning materials, resources, and curricula for all age groups in all languages


  • Develop collaborative learning projects and communities around these materials."


Description

Tere Vaden et al:

"Wikiversity is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. The project was launched in June 2006 after an extensive online discussion with xxx on the mission, vision and objectives of the project. According to the approved project proposal

Wikiversity is a network of communities - some local, some global. It is their repository of free, multilingual materials. Wikiversity is an effort to improve on tools which help groups of remote collaborators and their interested communities to create and share an understanding about a subject or event. Wikiversity aims to support them in sharing their learning with their outside worlds. It is an effort to encourage new routines, which, by using new ICT tools, may be more inclusive of a global audience - one that wishes to participate, to some degree.

The construction and remix (link) of materials is led by people who may be experts or learners. Furthermore the Wikiversity community defines Wikiversity to be "a sustainable centre for the creation, use and reuse, and dissemination of free learning materials and events". It's goals are:

To Collaborate in the creation and hosting of a range of free, multilingual learning materials; for all age groups, in all languages. To Host learning communities whose projects share an understanding about these materials,and To Complement and develop existing Wikimedia projects in partnership with universities globally.

Wikimedia Foundation is most well known from the Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia online - project. The mission of the Foundation is:

- "To empower and engage people around the world in collecting and developing unbiased educational content under a free content license or in the public domain, and to share it immediately and globally. In collaboration with a network of chapters, the Foundation works to provide for an infrastructure and an organizational philosophy that will support and assist to develop global, multilingual and multidisciplinary projects.

The Foundation will make and keep the educational content from its projects available on the Internet free of charge, in perpetuity. (http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mission&oldid=573270)

The vision of the Foundation is formulated as follows:

- "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment." (http://wikimediafoundation.org)

In practice Wikimedia Foundation works for to develop and to promote globally available, free - as in freedom, as well as price - resources to everyone in their own language. However, according to the mission statement the focus is on "neutral educational content". In this sense all the projects of the Wikimedia Foundation are also educational projects.

Wikipedia and Wikiversity are just two projects sponsored by the Foundation. For instance, Wiktionary is a project to create free dictionaries and thesauri in every language. Wikibooks aims to build a collection of free e-book resources, including textbooks, manuals, language courses, and public domain books. Wikispecies is an open, wiki-based project to gather central database of all the species of the world; and Wikinews is providing a free alternative news service. (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Our_projects). Each of the projects are, in their own way, working on to realize the Foundations dream: offer everyone an access and means to share knowledge and to increase the accessibility of educational content for all.

Wiki-projects are such that they take their form over a time. Wiki-projects are, first of all, communities that are responsible in building their own culture and way of operating. When a wiki-project is started it is hard to know what it finally will become. Wiki-projects do not develop independently, but progress in a social context which is invariably defined by language. Because of the free nature - anyone may join - the context of every wiki-project is always changing, depending on the socio-cultural-demographic of the community members.

In the time of writing this Wikiversity is still taking its form. It looks like communities are not yet exactly sure what architecture and routines offer the greatest utility. Some parts of the Wikiversity are already becoming real online learning communities, one kind of educational entity. One may even see some promising signs of it's routines becoming institutionalized; each article is basically a peer reviewed document by peers without (known) credentials. The slogans used within the Wikiversity project promises a lot: "Universities Working Together" and "set learning free".

There is a chance that Wikiversity will become an important part of an online education institution - one which offers an introduction to free Lifelong learning. This philosophy of Lifelong education is shared between all members of all projects of the Wikimedia Foundation. It is the foundation stone of Wikiversity." (http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Free_education_and_free_school%3F)


2.

David Staley:

"A significant move toward this new platform university has come with the development of Wikiversity (http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page), an initiative from the Wikimedia Foundation, the stewards of Wikipedia. Like MIT’s OCW, Wikiversity is a collection of learning materials; the difference is that these learning materials are produced by Wikiversity participants, who are, like their counterparts in Wikipedia, motivated volunteers. In addition, the Wikiversity course materials, unlike those made available by MIT, are editable by users. The materials are organized into “portals” or “faculties” (at present, the terms are being used interchangeably)—what we might call “colleges” in a traditional university. Each of the various portals might include any number of “schools,” and each school might have “departments.” “Courses” are thus organized in this very traditional fashion, with the difference being that all of the courses and learning materials are created by Wikiversity participants. There are no admissions criteria; there are no “professors” (although there are “course leaders”). Just as with an article in Wikipedia, anyone can contribute course materials, anyone can create a faculty or a school, anyone can lead a course.7 Wikiversity is still quite young (it began as an independent project in August 2006) and is still evolving. Indeed, we have yet to realize the full potential of the platform in a wiki-ized university." (http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/ManagingthePlatformHigher/47934)


Discussion

  1. Essay 1: Wikiversity for Free Education and Free School.
  2. Essay 2: Learning in and with an open wiki project: Wikiversity’s potential in global capacity building. By Teemu Leinonen, Tere Vadén, Juha Suoranta

More Information

  1. Three Metaphors of Learning.
  2. For a look inside a Wikiversity class, see Norm Friesen and Janet Hopkins, “Wikiversity; or, Education Meets the Free Culture Movement: An Ethnographic Investigation,” First Monday, vol. 13 no. 10 (October 6, 2008), <http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2234/2031>.

Also:

  1. Speculations on the Wiki-ized University, by David Staley.