Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project that supports learning communities, their learning materials, and resulting activities. It differs from more structured projects such as Wikipedia in that it instead offers a series of tutorials, or courses, for the fostering of learning, rather than formal content.
The idea of Wikiversity began with the initial development of the Wikiversity community within the Wikibooks project, however when it was nominated for deletion from Wikibooks, soon there was a proposal to make Wikiversity an independent Wikimedia project, with the fundamental goal to broaden the scope of activities within the Wikimedia community to include additional types of learning resources in addition to textbooks.
Two proposals were made. The first project proposal was not approved (2005) and the second, modified proposal, was approved (2006).
The launch of Wikiversity was announced at Wikimania 2006 as an idea to:
host learning communities, so people who are actually trying to learn, actually have a place to come and interact and help each other figure out how to learn things. We're also going to be hosting and fostering research into how these kinds of things can be used more effectively.— Wikimania, 2006
Wikiversity is a center for the creation of and use of free learning materials, and the provision of learning activities. Wikiversity is one of many wikis used in educational contexts, as well as many initiatives that are creating free and open educational resources.
The primary priorities and goals for Wikiversity are to:
The Wikiversity e-Learning model places emphasis on "learning groups" and "learning by doing". Wikiversity's motto and slogan is "set learning free", indicating that groups/communities of Wikiversity participants will engage in learning projects. Learning is facilitated through collaboration on projects that are detailed, outlined, summarized or results reported by editing Wikiversity pages. Wikiversity learning projects include collections of wiki webpages concerned with the exploration of a particular topic. Wikiversity participants are encouraged to express their learning goals, and the Wikiversity community collaborates to develop learning activities and projects to accommodate those goals. The Wikiversity e-Learning activities give learners the opportunity to build knowledge. Students have to be language aware in order to be able to correct their classmates. By doing this, students develop their reflection skills. Secondly, they enable students to be autonomous deciding what to write or edit, also when and how to do it. Students are able to free resort to any mean of support. At the same time, it fosters the Cognitive development engaging students to collaborate between them. However, as the project is still in its early stages, its learning model is still in development.
Learning resources are developed by an individual or groups, either on their own initiative, or as part of a learning project. Wikiversity resources include teaching aids, lesson plans, curricula, links to off-site resources, course notes, example and problem sets, computer simulations, reading lists, and other as devised by participants – but do not include final polished textbooks. Texts useful to others are hosted at Wikibooks for update and maintenance. Learning groups with interests in each subject area create a web of resources that form the basis of discussions and activities at Wikiversity. Learning resources can be used by educators outside of Wikiversity for their own purposes, under the terms of the GFDL and a Creative Commons license (like Wikipedia).
Wikiversity also allows original research (in contrast to which does not). Such research content may lack any peer review. WikiJournal is a project that provides quality control by having expert peer review of all included content. This activity started with WikiJournal of Medicine in 2014. WikiJournal of Medicine can also peer review and publish content, making it easier for scholars to cite it in external works.
There are currently fifteen different Wikiversities - Arabic, Czech, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish; Wikiversity projects in other languages are being developed at the "beta" multilingual hub.
For newly established specific language Wikiversities to move out of the initial exploratory "beta" phase, the new Wikiversity community must establish policies governing research activities. Wikiversity may act as a repository of research carried out by the Wikimedia Research Network, or others who are involved in wiki-based, or other research. Wikiversity hosts original research in addition to secondary research, unless a specific language group decides upon no research. It is expected that researchers will respect and update guidelines for appropriate research through a community consensus process. Currently the English Wikiversity hosts more than 376 research pages.
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