Wikiversity:Being educational


A comment from a Wikiversity user about the quality of Wikiversity

I hate this joke of what could have been a very valuable learning resource. I don't know enough about Neurobiology, but I know all wikiversity really needs is people arranging information that they could've gotten from anywhere, into a format that guides them through from no understanding to a full fledged comprehending individual. Both Wikipedia and currently this fail miserably at that attempt, due to their lack of a good flowing course. it's just a mess of information that is going to turn off more people than it must. --danthemango 07:55, 29 February 2008 (UTC) Originally posted at Category talk:Neurobiology.

The above comment, left by a registered user whose user page described himself as an 18-year-old highschooler, embodies in a succinct fashion both negative and positive criticisms of learning at Wikiversity which could be applied to a much wider range of resources. The comment targets in particular the lack of use of simple formal structuring of learning resources in order to make them valuable as learning resources. The comment correctly identifies a problem which has plagued many minor contributions to Wikiversity, and which Wikiversity is having a problem coping with.

This article attempts to address this problem.

Intent and audience of this article

A challenge which Wikiversity faces in coming to terms with its educational mission is that many of those (very motivated, very valuable) people who have pushed Wikiversity forward and maintain it as a website are information technology specialists of various kinds, and not necessarily educators and educationalists. An issue, to which the above user reacted, and which we all face, is that Wikiversity is constantly used for posting materials whose defining characteristic is not that they are educational in any sense, but that their author couldn't (or didn't know how to) put them anywhere else on Wikimedia projects. Wikiversity is, of course, not a dumping ground for the rest of Wikimedia, and it has a specifically educational mission, which requires sorting out educational from non-educational content.

Therefore, there is a need to define what educational content is - as distinct from non-educational content, and/or content on other Wikimedia projects. This article has the purpose of a simple how-to or FAQ for recognizing educational content and, as a side-effect of this, distinguishing Wikiversity content very clearly from the content of other Wikimedia projects.

The article is for helping contributors recognize the basic distinctions and features of learning resources. It is not an article which defines education or educational value. It simply attempts to state some superficial and helpful criteria by which one can recognize articles and pages where the educational value is or is not in doubt and which might therefore be worth tagging for further inspection by experts.

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