On 6/13/06, Erik Moeller <eloquence(a)gmail.com>
The desire to provide a clear focus for Wikibooks
on textbooks --
we're discussing this on a mailing list called textbook-l -- is
I'd like to add that one question opened up by this is how specialized
the project should be. Textbooks are useful as materials complementing
regular education in schools and universities, but they are of limited
value in distance learning (using eLearning software or not).
Similarly, there are many other educational resources, such as
audio-based education or interactive education, which are not
If we do end up creating Wikiversity, it would be somewhat awkward if
all educational resources but one (textbooks) were created there. I
think we should have one wiki dedicated to developing resources that
directly target an educational context, not multiple ones.
This, to me, indicates that this whole question needs much more
discussion at a higher level, rather than just some statements of
policy from the top.
Regarding Wikiversity .... there are still some of us advocating that
Wikiversity be a standalone project for developing and delivering
educational materials of all kinds. When a textbook is ready for
Wikibooks or a multimedia animation is ready for wikicommons then the
participants at Wikiversity can be trusted to migrate the materials if
it is appropriate.
It should not be dictated by outsiders to Wikiversity participants what
materials they can control in their own project space for maximun
The typical argument concerns duplication of data on hard drives and
duplication of effort. Regarding the first I hope we can ignore it
given Moore's law, the current price of hard drives and the liklihood
that Wikiversity will be approved in two or three decades. Regarding
the second, writing, studying and wikis are all about duplicated efforts
and integration/separation of the same.
It will be a serious damper on Wikiversity's community to routinely have
groups showing up insisting local materials be relocated and deleted
locally only to find out that the other projects have inappropriately
modified the material or otherwise damaged their easy utility by
newcomers to Wikiversity.
Personally I think that the anticipated Wikiversity participants can be
trusted to work with other projects to locate mature materials
effectively. There should be no inflexible mandate built into the
project ground rules. To establish an effective pleasant learning
environment (the only kind that will prosper) the participants need
maximum freedom with minimal effective core guidelines.