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Featured ArticleEdit

Hi John, your article is coming along very nicely. It's inspired me to start a 'Featured Article' section on the main page with your article as the first. Please feel free to add whatever you like in that space - I've left it pretty sparse figuring that your content may still be shifting a bit. Wonderful work! Mark Elliott 13:25, 9 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Thanks. Will do. --JWSchmidt 19:54, 9 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Citations/References link formatEdit

I am going to try editing the MediaWiki:Monobook.css so that the {{Template:Ref}} and {{Template:Note}} display citations as internal links rather than external links as discussed here. --JWSchmidt 19:54, 9 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Someone with administrative privilages at this wiki will have to do it; the MediaWiki:Monobook.css page is protected. Just add the code that is here (Cut the code from the edit window; start with <pre> and end with </pre>) --JWSchmidt 20:04, 9 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Done! --Mark Elliott 21:32, 9 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Thoughts from some random guy Edit

Hi; My name is Lion Kimbro, and I work on a few wiki. (For the most part, CommunityWiki.)

This page is interesting, and I'd like to respond to some of the things it says.

The first major thing that occurs to me, is the focus on wiki. That, to me, is a tragic mistake.

The reason we're thinking almost exclusively in terms of wiki, is because we're caught in this age of community-tied-to-one-technology. What that means, in a nutshell, is that people interacting via computers tend to associate their interaction online predominantly by one technology/medium. In this case, it would be wiki. And everything that happens is seen through the lense of wiki. "Oh, it must be wiki. Wiki is great. Wiki is the greatest." You know: There are "wiki communities," "blog communities," "IRC people," and the teenagers with their IM-BB (bulletin board) kingdoms. Communities more or less define themselves by a particular technology, or set of technologies.

The reason we focus on wiki in these types of communities, is because it's the only medium that is document based. And our work is the collaborative construction of documents. By document, I mean as in "documents vs. messages-" documents are things that are made to be referred back to over and over again, messages are things that we send once, and then archive away, or whatever. Just because messages are automatically archived, it doesn't make them documents. A movie is a document. Your conversation with your friend is not. It can become a document, if it becomes famous like the speech between Shakespeare's characters, but that's not the default. Whereas in wiki, everything is document by default.

So to bring it back: What's happened is that we view everything in terms of wiki and documents.

What would be a healthier view? It is actually critical that we understand that we are people that are performing a thing. We're making a university, we are making a new model, we are making an encyclopedia. And so, thinking from this angle, we think: "Oh, we need calendaring to be automated, so that we can meet to talk in real-time by voice/video systems; We need to come up with a system for arranging meetings, we need..." ...and all these things that aren't really wiki.

I'm not saying that wiki machinery is forcing our minds into a state where we don't see these other (important) needs. People very clearly do. They IM, they Skype, they arrange physical meedings, they do all these things.

I am saying that we should avoid thinking in terms of "wiki culture." There shouldn't be a wiki culture; The term would ideally be something like "paper culture." It doesn't make sense to talk about paper culture, after all- no? Because paper's just something that everybody uses. There's no particular culture of paper people. There are authors and readers, to be sure, but not a "paper culture." The reason we have a "wiki culture" is because of the community-tied-to-one-technology. It's because standards do not exist for the seamless crossover between multiple mediums, and because computers are presently installed with some technologies but not others. The web is a nice equalizer, but it can't do voice and video, or make physical cameras appear.

Many of these limitations will fall, and relatively shortly. (Say, 10 years.) The 3-D game world environments may well outpace what people think of as more traditional social software / collaborative works, and I think we should expect a sort of "pressure" exuding off from those worlds: "If they can do it so well in World of Warcraft 2010, why can't we do it out here at work?" This may lead to some sort of Developer's Virtual World, a virtual world that is (in more respectable terms) a smoothly transitioning multi-medium for reading and collaborating.

A side-note: Presently, we segregate "reading" from "collaborating," however: In real-life, those distinctions are not so clear cut. For instance, if I am in the buss reading Marshall McLuhan, and then someone sees me reading it, they may think to spark a conversation. Now we (may) start collaborating. Taking it back online,..: If you could somehow see a person's attention- if you could see that they were browsing a page along-side of you, and it's a fairly arcane subject, you may suddenly be inspired: "Hey, do you know this area well? Can you answer this problem I have?" ...which can easily lead to even more collaboration.

Once again, our culprit is technology; We do not have the ability to see the person standing next to us, reading the same web page, and: Even if we could, it's not clear that we could even slip so much as a note to the person, much less speak in voice: "Say, could you help me with this problem?"

However, we have, I think, every reason to believe that we will develop technologies like that. People are of course terrified about their privacy. Then again, I'm not sure if they are more terrified about privacy on the Internet, or their children's conscious decision to publicly expose themselves on the Internet. (That is: I am emphasising that people are making conscious choices to relinquish privacy on the Internet.)

But now, stepping back a few:

This serves to hammer in that we should not be thinking of collaboration and wiki in terms of today's technology. I hope these stories are making clearer what I mean by the "community tied to one technology" problem, the sorts of alternatives that we can imagine, (and will almost certainly make,) and the sort of way I think we should think about our social institutions. Social institutions that are made possible by technology, granted, but social nonetheless.

Another side-note: I think people have an easier time, psychologically, in their head, going, "Oh, wow, I can get excited about this wiki thing. What a cool technology! Wow! An encyclopedia, thanks to wiki!" And, there is some truth to it. But how many people would get excited if we said the following? "Wow! An encyclopedia, thanks to the people on the Internet! I love supporting the People. Boy, that sounds like something I want to join." Suddenly, we're part of a social movement, and then we're a "joiner," all things that the USA was supposed to have left behind in the 1960's, or something like that.

My feeling is that people have an easier time with saying, "It's not my fault; The machine made me do it," rather than saying, "I am supporting a social movement that's building an encyclopedia." They are both true, probably, but I think that, in politer parlance, and in the sanctity of people's own mind, they feel safer with the 1st. The 2nd- 'them's fighting words. (Rambling side note ends.) People fear groups of people.

Ah;... Going through the page again, here, I see what triggered my response: "In wiki culture, there are many people who succeed by being narrow specialists. There are people who are always in a rush to narrow the focus of existing wikis and sterilize them to remove everything that does not fit a narrow definition of the purpose of the wiki."

And, see- here's what I'm thinking: Okay, this is [c2.com/cgi/wiki?OnAndOffTopic C2:OnAndOffTopic.] But, this is written in terms of wiki. But this is actually a general social phenomenon, that happens in many places. Just think of a corporate work environment. "The boss is back! Shh! Switch topics!" It's the same thing.] That is, there are mind-guards in just about all communities making sure that the central dogma is maintained.

(Note that, while most people would consider this to be a bad thing, ("what do you mean, there are things I'm not allowed to say here?!"), I am not saying such. It's clearly a necessary thing. The ability to hold a perspective is as necessary to the passages of perspective as the ability to transition between perspectives. It is not surprising that communities hold their perspective, and only carefully change it.)

Back to wiki-books:

I did not like wikibooks, when I first saw it. I thought that they should have made lots of wikis, instead. Later, they made WikiCities, and I thought: "Oh, good, they did it."

I used to joke: "Ah, wikibooks. Well, at least they don't have page numbers." That is, when you scroll down through a wikibook on the web page, at least they didn't bother to put little page numbers in between chunks of text, so that you know what page you are on. More deeply: I felt that people were creating the old world in the new world, inappropriately.

It's like, you've got jets, and you're using them to construct something like a horse and buggy. "Hmm, well, if we gut out the interior, we could sort of use it like a carriage, and then,..."

Similarly, if I may venture my opinion: I think that trying to make textbooks, period, written by skilled textbook writers, may be the wrong way to look at things.

I cannot be sure, of course: Who can know? But I've been sketching out some ideas that I call "Wiki-as-you-Learn." And "beginners reworking."

The idea is that people who are less knowledgable about a subject very much should be a primary actor in the authoring of the text. Not the sole actor- you need experienced people to perform correction, offer up alternative explanations, to make sure that it's not wrong. But I think that beginners have unique advantages in teaching other beginners. Reasons: They understand their own misunderstandings. They have strong empathy with other learners, because they are at the same place, or just a single step beyond. The beginner is motivated by the need to make their understanding more concrete. (As different than the bored expert, (this is not a criticism, just noting a fact,) who has already covered the subject material a million times over.) It is conceivable that a vast lattice or network of beginners can, if properly made to understand what they are doing and why and how, and that there are people who will correct them if they mis-state a thing, that they could make far better artifacts for teaching, than the teachers themselves.

One example I like to point people to is the "Hippo Family Club" series of books, including the amazing "Who is Fourier?" (Read the reviews!) The book teaches Fourier, from the beginning, assuming only that the reader knows what a triangle is. It's a fantastic book, people swear by it, and it's written by students who were learning Fourier. Lots of diagrams, lots of plain language explanations, etc., etc.,.; By-beginners, for-beginners, supervised by experts. No doubt the kids made mistakes as they were learning & authoring, and they were corrected by experts, to keep the text in course.

The idea is that a text by beginners, for beginners, can be far better than a conventional textbook written by an expert, even a hypertext written by an expert, and can conceivably even be perpetually developing and growing stronger, as readers who climb the way up take responsibility for smoothing the path behind them.

Can it happen? Is it real? Is it pragmatic? We'll find out, I suppose.

Let's think about textbooks and university framing for a moment. And then lets contrast it with how a programmer learns bash programming on the job.

In a school, there's something that it is to "learn Linear Algebra." There is a certain set of ideas, and when you learn those ideas, you've "learned Linear Algebra." Let's note a few things about this: The learning is divorced from application. We're now learning in an abstract. The goal is to pass a test, which demonstrates a sort of functionality.

Now what's that do to your textbook design? It linearizes it. Because there's a certain interface you're writing to: the test. And there's an optimal path to getting to meeting that interface. (Or, a limited number of optimal paths. Something like that.) So, your text is written to meet that.

Now, let's contrast with the programmer learning bash. Nobody learns bash getting a CS degree; You learn Scheme, or Java, or something a bit more "elegant." I picked bash, because it's something that people tend to learn on the job.

And what's your interface? Well, it's whatever needs to get done. You can discard 93% of the stuff that's out there, since it simply doesn't matter to you. Of course, with repeated dips into "the pool" (the pool of knowledge available on the Internet about Bash,) you learn more and more. And what's more-- it sticks. Because something you learn in earnest need- that's something that's going to stick around with you for a long time. This isn't some phoney baloney test- this is an actual machine that you are constructing, and putting together, and it's going to be doing real work for people.

Now what's this do to the "text?" Well, it fragments it. Since you aren't walking a golden road to anywhere, you are instead reading very selectively. You're only reading what you have to read. If determinants (back to Linear) have nothing to do with the problem you're solving (say, rotations,) then you simply do not read a section on that. And where's that put us? Hypertext.

And what's the significance here?

Modularity. That is, you do not need to have a grand chapter-based arrangment of concepts. Instead, the reading of the text becomes interactive by student evaluation of material and deciding what to read next. Two people coming in with two different needs come out with two different (but likely overlapping) experiences. This modularity means that you don't need to have big large integrated texts. Instead, we can now have lots of authors writing over lots of pieces.

There is still a role here for a supervisor and an expert. If the emerging ontology is getting crazy, or if things are getting just plain disorganized, they can step in and correct it.

This turns a lot of university-ideas on their heads. No longer do we have "you need so many units of this, and so many units of that." We don't have "you have to cover these topics."

Let's imagine that there is an Internet focus on "Chemistry." I'm avoiding the word "wiki," because I want to reinforce: This isn't about wiki. So, instead, there's a group of people who focus on Chemistry, and the learning-paths around Chemistry.

Now, why do people need to learn about Chemistry? Well, maybe they are going to be a lab assistant. Okay, so let's start with the lab assistant. The lab assistant needs to understand how a titration works. They're going to need to know a bunch of concepts, about molecules, about chemical recombinations, about solutions, and what not. But it's a finite amount of concepts that they need to learn. So, they can go to the Chemistry wiki, look up titration, and start reading. They can attach questions, they can talk with people who are also there. If something was explained poorly, they can fix it up a bit. This shows dedication to the established Chemists, and it establishes a reputation among those who are learning, too. The person is making connections with people. The person runs simulated titrations on the computer. Now the person is skilled enough to perform and understand a titration.

Now, a person in a company requires agility on the part of employees. Employees can't go consulting a manual every time something comes up. But I'm going to suggest that there's more of a middle ground here than people may think there is. I'm going to suggest that Chemists probably "consult the manual" more than we imagine they do.

I'd bet that the super-skilled Chemists have wisdom of core concepts, general ideas, and then they know where the right manuals and tables are. They keep abreast of what particular communities are doing, and what the phone numbers and email addresses of the people in those communities are. I'll bet they know how to access the journals, search them, and learn more in depth about the particular thing they're working on.

I think what I'm trying to say is: There's a way that traditional universities, home-schooling groups, research collaboratives, and (today non-existant, outside of Wikipedia itself:) public institutions of collective education, can work together.

When aspiring Chemists start work on a wiki, it should not be their own college's class wiki. That class wiki begins at the start of the semester, and ends at the end of the semester. Instead, they should hook into the publicly maintained Internet Chemistry educational cooperative. And it's a lifelong commitment. And it hooks you in with your learning, it hooks you in with fellow practicioners, and you start contributing from day 1, to making it better. When you are looking for a job, they know that they can hire you, because, look: You wrote the section on how to perform matrix-assisted laser spectroscopy. Your resume is your history of public works.

So, I guess what I'm saying is: I think the future of this isn't wikibooks, or wikiversity, but rather: WikiCities. I'm not attached to the MediaWiki foundation; It can be any sort of wiki engine, where the text is collected.

Little thoughts:

  • the phenomenon of wiki created from old ones is old; here are some references: CommunityWiki:WikiBudding, Science of Wiki:Budding Effect, MeatballWiki:WikiFractality; It's a general reflection of thought itself. I hope you'll link that part with references to these pages!
  • "In Piaget's theory of cognitive development, the capacity for abstract thinking and drawing conclusions from collections of information does not usually develop until after age 12. According to Erikson, children learn to interact constructively with peer groups during the period from age 12 to 18." Hm: Well, obviously, Piaget & Erikson hasn't sit in on 10 year old boys talking about how to beat the various bosses in MegaMan, or how to find the dot in Adventure, or how to get 255 lives in Mario Brothers. Kids collaborate, and they have abstract thoughts. My 4 year old figured out a very peculiar & non-obvious way to Animal Crossing, how to use the post office as a warehouse; Though, she only figured out how to do it after her mom showed her that she could store objects as presents within mail. That is, there was a fruitful collaboration (that surprised me- I didn't know either technique!) and abstract reasoning.
  • the "sensory depravation" of online communities is (for sure) real, but only temporarily so; let's give it another 10-20 years, and then re-evaluate..! It is reasonable to believe (though surprising) that within 5 years, our cell phones will be video enabled, and that instead of hopping into IRC, we just hop into live multi-participant video-conferencing. We will still be sensory deprived, but, ... That said, the material world will be changing as well; People will be meeting in person far more often, because calendaring, presence, and positioning will be solved problems. (see also: Organized Culture.)
  • I've seen with my own eyes a strange alternative school of some sort, where the students made their own curriculums collaboratively with the teachers. I was surprised to see 5th graders learning Logic and 7th graders engaged in conversation about feminist theory and daily gender, and that it was the topic of their own choosing.
  • The intelligence community has a phrase that they've been using for a looong that is comparable to "literature research." (As opposed to "original research.") For the IC, "original research" is stuff like IMINT (image intelligence, taking photos from satellites,) or SIGINT ("signal intelligence.") But they also have a phrase for research that involves looking through publicly available documents. In fact, this "literature research" has been growing in importance, the last few decades. What's it's clasification called? What have they been calling this kind of intelligence, for ages? "OSINT": "Open Source Intelligence!"
  • I fully agree with you about Wikiversity and research.
  • "With respect to "original research" such as that conducted in expensive research laboratories (example: human genome project) or in the field (example:space exploration) there is no reason why Wikiversity could not host a wiki "virtual research space" that would hold information about every research project that exists in the world." Please read: Project Space Network. We've even got a nice picture attached to it.
  • Constructivists & Constructionists are of course right. Pretty much everyone who studies education accepts this as basic fact. The evidence is indesputable, and it just makes plain sense, and agrees so strongly with common understanding.
  • "...the Wikiversity main page could have a section called "The role of the student" which instructs potential students to look over the listings of "courses", but also to take an active role in creating the conditions that they need for learning." -- right on. I've discovered that most people do not readily take to WikiAsYouLearn, that they don't very quickly see the "big picture." That it needs to be explicitly explained to people. So, I support this notion.
  • I'm not so sure that we need "courses," or that "courses" are appropriate. Perhaps trails of recommended reading, for learning particular sub-topics. Students & experts can make tests via simulations and games, for people to interact with.

Looking at the "future of collaboration" is a pretty wild ride.

Well, there you have it; A big jumble of thoughts that came to me as I was reading. I hope it's tolerable!

LionKimbro


Reply to Lion Kimbro-

"the focus on wiki. ….. is a tragic mistake"
If your goal was to create an online university that would replicate a bricks-and-mortar university, then you would be foolish to restrict yourself to just wiki technology. Personally, I am not interested in replicating a bricks-and-mortar university. In my view, Wikiversity is an attempt to apply wiki technology to the goal of creating distributed learning communities. This does not mean that members of the community will in any way be restricted from using other technology. Currently, I have to juggle mailing lists, blogs, chat engines, conventional websites, wikis and discussion forums. I suspect that in the future there will be unified communications systems that will seamlessly provide and link all of these tools and more. Conventional universities grew up around printed documents and Wikiversity will be built on wiki-format documents.

"There shouldn't be a wiki culture"
I think we have had a few hundred years of "print document culture" and I am ready to move on to "wiki document culture". Print culture did not mean that we had print documents independent of other forms of communication and wiki culture does not wall us off from using other technolgies. A serious case can be made for printing as being the most influential technology of the past few centuries, a key technology upon which the rest of our culture was built. I'm very interested to see just how far we can go with wiki technology as a new foundation technology.

"The web is a nice equalizer, but it can't do voice and video, or make physical cameras appear…. these limitations will fall, and relatively shortly "
I do iChat from my computer and the next computer I buy will have built-in video conferencing ability.

"if I am in the bus reading ….. and then someone sees me reading it, they may think to spark a conversation."
We already have chat channels and discussion forums that show who is present and allow for conversations to start up. Wiki software could easily show who is reading an article. There could easily be several ways provided for readers and editors of wiki pages to communicate, including email and live chat. I've been thinking of Wikiversity as a way to provide research and learning services to Wikipedia users. Anyone at a Wikipedia page who has a question could be linked into a related Wikiversity research space and connected to experts and tools for finding answers.

"I am supporting a social movement that's building an encyclopedia."…[but] … People fear groups of people.
I think people have an innate desire to explore and learn about the world. People are social learners. We learn efficiently by interacting with other people. I agree that people also have an innate ability to divide the world into "who I trust" and "who I fear", but the survival strategy of fearing strangers does not over-ride our sense of play and our need to explore the world. We just need to learn how to use our electronic communication technologies in ways that allow distributed communities to grow.

many people who succeed by being narrow specialists. "It's clearly a necessary thing."
In terms of memetics, I would say that it is a natural thing. The alternative would be for more emphasis to be put on broad knowledge and the ability to put seemingly unrelated ideas together so as to create new non-obvious solutions. In practical terms, when working in the wiki world this ends up having to be done by finding ways to link together all of the specialized wikis into functional units. Biology metaphor: some people will always be satisfied to exist in an isolated and specialized wiki, like a bacteriaum, some of us will link a group of specialized "cells" (wikis) together into functioning communities that can do more complex jobs than any individual specialized wiki.

>wikibooks….. creating the old world in the new world, inappropriately.
Wikiversity is facing this problem right now.

>"Wiki-as-you-Learn." And "beginners reworking."
I think that the ONLY real way to judge a Wikiversity "student" (I think it best if we not use the term "student", but people get disoriented if we just say "user") should be in terms of the edits they make to wiki pages. Wiki-as-you-Learn. I agree entirely that good textbooks and learning resources are created by collaboration between new learners of a subject and "experts". There needs to be feedback between learners and experts so as to map out the conceptual rough spots in any learning task. I think there are ways of changing the wiki user interface so as to make such learner-expert collaboration automatic (see Semantic Prosthetic).


>you do not need to have a grand chapter-based arrangement of concepts. Instead, the reading of the text becomes interactive by student evaluation of material and deciding what to read next.
I agree. The real power of Wikiversity will be to harness distributed networking to bring us closer to the ideal of individualized learning.

"This turns a lot of university-ideas on their heads."
I agree, but it is hard to break people out of thinking that Wikiversity should just replicate a bricks-and-mortar university.

>they can go to the Chemistry wiki, look up titration, and start reading. They can attach questions, they can talk with people who are also there. If something was explained poorly, they can fix it up a bit. This shows dedication to the established Chemists, and it establishes a reputation among those who are learning, too. The person is making connections with people. The person runs simulated titrations on the computer. Now the person is skilled enough to perform and understand a titration.
I like the idea of Wikiversity being organized around "learning portals" that can point learners towards what they should be doing in order to reach their personal goals. Learners should be doing, not just reading. Learners should join a community that is oriented around sharing and exploring a body of knowledge.

>There's a way that traditional universities, home-schooling groups, research collaboratives, and (today non-existant, outside of Wikipedia itself:) public institutions of collective education, can work together.
> publicly maintained Internet Chemistry educational cooperative. And it's a lifelong commitment. And it hooks you in with your learning, it hooks you in with fellow practicioners, and you start contributing from day 1, to making it better. When you are looking for a job, they know that they can hire you, because, look: You wrote the section on how to perform matrix-assisted laser spectroscopy. Your resume is your history of public works.
I agree. The Wikimedia board is waiting for a coherent description of what "e-learning" will look like in Wikiversity. These (above) are key points that need to be communicated to the Board. (see Wikiversity proposal modifications)

>the future of this isn't wikibooks, or wikiversity, but rather: WikiCities. I'm not attached to the MediaWiki foundation; It can be any sort of wiki engine, where the text is collected.
I agree in general, but there is a big advantage to bootstrapping off of the largest wiki in the world.

>I hope you'll link that part with references to these pages!
Please do.

>10 year old boys….collaborate, and they have abstract thoughts.
I would be interested in seeing a good research study done of the ages of wiki editors. Again, my bias is that a Wikiversity student must be an editor, not just a reader. I have seen some kids try to be Wikipedia editors and usually it just does not work out well from the perspective of social interactions. My guess is maybe 10% of 10 year olds can do it. Maybe 50% of 14 year olds. I see no need to set age limits for Wikiversity. Some kids just are not going to be cognitively ready to constructively participate in a wiki-format collaborative learning environment. Some will. I agree that things will get slightly better as video conferencing becomes common.

>I've discovered that most people do not readily take to WikiAsYouLearn, that they don't very quickly see the "big picture." That it needs to be explicitly explained to people. So, I support this notion.
I agree. In particular, right NOW it needs to be explained to the Wikimedia Board.

>trails of recommended reading, for learning particular sub-topics. Students & experts can make tests via simulations and games, for people to interact with.
I do like the idea of simulations. I wish there were a way of getting programmers who waste so much effort on stupid shoot'em-up games to devote their energy to useful tasks like simulations for learners.

>A big jumble of thoughts that came to me as I was reading. I hope it's tolerable!
Thanks for your ideas and all the links. JWSchmidt 05:43, 5 Dec 2005 (UTC)

responses Edit

Documents & University

I did not imply that documents should not be a major focus of a university. I said that we're making a mistake by focusing exclusively on document based medium.

I never said that wiki community stops people from using other technologies. I am saying that wiki technology, as it is, does not afford interactions by other, more appropriate media.

This problem applies to most of our hypertext technology right now, though.

Handcuffs don't come flying out of your keyboard, when you use a wiki, to prevent you from using IM, mailing lists, etc.,. But it doesn't make it casual, easy, common, basic, afforded. That's all I'm pointing out there.

We should not be "juggling" all these things, and that the need to juggle is a limitation. We should not be thinking of ourselves as "wiki" people.

We should seamlessly transition from medium to medium to medium. This is the vision I am trying to bring to people's attention. And I am saying that we should be cautious before applying a sort of "wiki nationalism" - you know; "We're wiki people," and all.

Web, voice, and video

When I said that "the web...can't do voice and video," I was talking specificly about the web. I was contrasting the web with other mediums, such as 3D game environments, and such as teleconferencing software.

So, it is no undercut, to say that you can use iChat: Because it does not operate over the web.

Conversations sparked by co-reading

We've already implemented the ability to see others, on CommunityWiki. We know that what is technically doable is possible.

There are, however, no chat channels that are connected with any wiki engine that I know of. We've talked about it a few times, but have never seen it, out in the wild.

This should not apply to just wiki, though; It should apply the whole web over.

Abstract thinking in kids?

Oh, I didn't mean to say 4 year olds should collaborate on Wikipedia! I just meant to be critical of the idea that 4-10 year olds don't collaborate about abstract ideas. I think they do. (But my 4 year old can't even read yet, much less write!)

I'd just say: "Whoever's interested, have at it. If you can hold your own, you can hold your own." But I have no strong opinions here, and can see a case for age limits.

-- finally:

I'm sorry, I came off as confrontational, and I didn't mean it to be like that. I was just writing as fast as I could..!

I'll come back another time; I need to go ASAP right now.

Thanks for your response and time, I hope to talk again with you.

Take care, Lion Kimbro

Wikiversity update? Edit

It would be great to get an update here in Meta Collab regarding the state of Wikiversity. Some great discussions taking place on this page! Mark Elliott 11:21, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

I'll start doing just that in Current events. CQ 13:47, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Research Edit

I'm Evan Bacon, a biology/ compsci College student. I dont think anyone expects wikiversity to replace universities any time soon, but we do expect it to achieve significant goals. one such goal is education, and that is being adequately covered by the creation of learning materials. the other goal is to contribute to original research. I think a software structure should be set up to facilitate research projects being done by people in different locations. a plan for a research projcect could evolve through discussion, then those with the proper tools could do the parts of the project they can do, with documentation, and log their results. then the discussion and peer review could take place at the site. wikis offer a great way for people with limited facilities to experiment, if they collaborate and document effectively. This could be a major asset to the wikiversity

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