I was interested to see Cormac ask us what we thought
of the latest Wikiversity proposal.
I confess I still, after all this time, am unsure what it is: the name suggests that it is
to be for wiki-based university-level learning, but I don't think that's right.
And if it's not
right, at the very least a new name would be advisable.
I would also like to question the relationship between Wikiversity and Wikibooks, as it
is time for the separate Wikiversity project to leave Wikibooks module namespace behind -
I believe that would leave Wikibooks with the Wikiversity textbooks, which it would then
be able to integrate into its own systems and categorisations. Any Wikiversity project
pages could be moved to the Wikibooks namespace - although MetaWiki or the incubator
would seem to be better places.
I think this move is important. As some of you will be aware, I see the future of
as having a strong core set of textbooks suitable for school exams surrounded by many
other good textbooks for other types of studying. I am splitting these up into the
(and bear in mind that a textbook may fall within none or more than one of these):
Wikijunior (for textbooks for 8 to 12 year olds)
Wikistudy (for textbooks for exams typically first sat at ages 15 to 19)
Wikiversity (or Wikiuniversity) (for university-level learning)
Wikiprofessional (for textbooks for professionals)
Wikilearn (for textbooks for adult learning)
Wikids (if we ever have books for under 8s)
These categorisations would, of course, sit alongside the current "by subject"
Constructive comments would, as ever, be welcome.
One of the suggestions I have made is that when the time comes for
Wikiversity to be "seperated" from Wikibooks, that Wikiversity simply
duplicate the Wikibooks database and let the editors on Wikiversity have
a fun time culling the Wikibooks-only content, with of course moving the
"Wikiversity" page to "Main Page" and some other minor housecleaning
items. It might even be worth while to simply copy the user database as
well in this situation, and have a steward simply desysop and sysop the
new admins/bureaucrats for Wikibooks.
This also shows some of the problem in trying to understand the
relationship between Wikiversity and Wikibooks, as the content between
the two projects has been intertwined so deep between the two projects
that it is very difficult to establish just what is the relationship
between the two at the moment. This is something that both the
Wikiversity and Wikibooks communities need to come to an understanding.
Also, as this post by Jon suggests, Wikiversity is many things to many
people. In reviewing the comments made during the voting period for
Wikiversity, I have come to a conclusion that almost every person who
participated, including both those who supported as well as those who
opposed Wikiversity, have a very different opinion as to what
Wikiversity really is or ought to be. And I'm not alone, nor is Jon
obviously without opinion on this as well. I have a very different view
as to what Wikiversity can be, and this is something very non-textbook
or even non-book. The current proposal for Wikiversity is indeed that,
where Wikiversity would be primarily syllibi, non-textbook teaching
materials, educational standards, and link to some on-line "courses",
including guided learning exercises as well as IRC chatrooms for some
direct interaction between "students" and "teachers" of the subject.
Doing this blows the above Wikiversity proposal completely out of the
water, as it could not possibly be a major organizational subdivision of
Wikibooks. It also goes far outside of even being just textbooks, and
even encourages in some regards "original research" that would not
normally be considered acceptable on Wikibooks. I would be strongly
opposed to moving Wikiversity "projects" to Meta for many reasons (Meta
doesn't want them to start with), and there is no point in adding them
to the current incubator wiki as it doesn't even seem as if
non-Wikipedia content is going to be permitted there right now.
As far as a classification of Wikibooks content that is more age related
as opposed to topical, I have no problem with that as a general
alternative classification system that would be equal to the bookshelves
system or things like Dewey Decimal classification. This is just
another way to try and find a book that you might want to read.
There are some important differences, however, between books written
intentionally for 8 year olds and a sort of style that has been
developed with Wikijunior. I don't think the straightjacket of what has
become Wikijunior and what somebody could do for a younger audience. A
straightjacket in this case isn't the worst thing in the world, as it
does give structure and consistancy for a set of topics, and an
organizational standard. Also, Wikijunior also faces some additional
legal issues as there is grant money (supposedly) for doing publishing
of Wikijunior content that is not generally available for the rest of
Wikibooks. Indeed, Wikijunior has been largely operating as an
independent Wikimedia sister project anyway for some time, with its own
page on Meta, and even links on some Wikimedia pages indicating
Wikijunior to be a full sister project. To "demote" Wikijunior as
merely another bookshelf is not really understanding what is going on
with Wikijunior, and ignoring the substantial body of discussion about
what it has been and what it could be. Try out
to see that this is not completely without
merit that Wikijunior is considered a sister project.
Robert Scott Horning