What do people want to know about Wikiversity?
People usually find the idea (even the name) of Wikiversity interesting on some level - but they also find it confusing. Here are a few basic issues and questions that people will have, and that any presentation on Wikiversity should address (or at least which the presenter should be prepared to answer):
- What does Wikiversity do / What is it for?: The presentation should give an overview of the scope of Wikiversity - that it covers both educational materials and activities, and that it allows for research.
- How is Wikiversity different from other educational wikis/repositories/resources?: This covers a lot of territory, but is usually specified by an example. The scope might help, and that Wikiversity is a wiki (and, more specifically, an openly editable wiki) will also distinguish it from some other sites. Specific distinctions are useful, but highlighting scope for collaboration between initiatives can be another useful way to deal with this question. In a Wikimedia context, this question inevitably is brought up in relation to Wikiversity and Wikibooks.
- How can you develop educational material in an openly editable environment?: This raises the questions about wikis and validity of knowledge which are ever-present when discussing wikis, and for which there are different arguments and opinions. In fact, this question needs some context in how wikis work - community (many eyes), recent changes/watchlists, history, talk pages, etc. However, it's a very complex question - and one that the Wikiversity community is openly trying to address.
- If I was to contribute content to Wikiversity, how do I know that some idiot won't mess it up? This is a persistent (and understandable) worry that people have about wikis and other people directly editing "their" content. It is useful here to point out that there are not just technical solutions to this (ie protecting pages, forking content), but also social solutions (simply asking people not to edit your own material, but fork it instead to make a derivative work). However, this also needs pointing out that technical solutions often need to be mediated by the social norms of the community (you can't just protect any page willy-nilly on Wikiversity), and that these norms are themselves contestable.