Wikimania 2008: Collaborative research on Wikiversity with Cormac Lawler

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Collaborative research on Wikiversity by Cormac Lawler (user Cormaggio on Wikimedia projects) at the University of Manchester.  Wikiversity is a relatively young project in the Wikimedia umbrella, but I think it is a natural development and a great space to realize the potential of all the educators currently on Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, and all the other projects.

Wikiversity does not limit to a university style education – primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. It also does not offer degrees, no certificates, no titles.

Launched in August 2006. Scope: learning materials, activities, and communities. Major questions still to be addressed: What is learning the wiki way? How is it distinguished from other WMF projects?

Aspects of Wikiversity different from Wikipedia: It includes original research, and that is what I will be talking about. We have flexibility in NPOV. We setup Wikiversity to work out what it means to learn in the Wiki way. We want to say something to the wider world of education.

What is research in the wiki way? Several challenges: editing data – should this be allowed? Should Wikversity host any kind of research, like Nazism? Creationism? We all have our own worldviews, epistemologies, philosophies and Wikiversity challenges them.

Current research: Bloom Clock – Distributed data about what is currently in flower. People add logs to individual plants pages. Also provides a learning community on identifying plants.

Action research based on understanding a context through changing it. Usually collaborative and iterative. This project is about defining and developing Wikiversity. However, it is problematic to define as distinct from what happens anyway on Wikiversity. A Review Board might be in order, but it is possibly in tension with community processes.