Talk:Main Page/MainPageHeaderBox

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We're turning the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks. We hope you can help us.

Welcome to Wikieducator

free eLearning content that anyone can edit and use

Designed for use with eXe and
your favourite Learning Management System

New Draft

We're turning the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks. We hope you can help us.

Welcome to WikiEducator

This is currently up-to-date with what is on the Main page at the moment. brent 04:40, 18 May 2007 (CEST)

Thoughts and Rationale for changes

I find the current "box" to be a bit of a grab-bag of items. I've tried to minimize what is in here to try to direct users (both new and returning) towards the primary functions of Wikieducator. This is almost the first set of links that users to the site will encounter. Please add and sign your comments below. If we can reach consensus I'd like to make some of these changes asap. brent 03:41, 28 March 2007 (CEST)

Agreed - the current box is a grab-bag and in need of improvement! I think the new draft covers all the primary functions of WikiEducator - .--Mackiwg 04:57, 28 March 2007 (CEST)
Yep agreed - It helps to clean up the page and begins to assist people to go down certain 'user paths'. If people are interested in "Using WikiEducator" then they should be able to fork off to information for either
  1. Consumers - people who want to use resources (and they will need a consice How the materials can be used) Or...
  2. Contributors - people who want to contribute resources (and they will need access to:
  • Newbie tutorials
  • LD reference resources
  • Pedagogical templates and "boilerplate templates"/progress indicators
  • eXe
I don't think the tutorials and other 'how to' reference materials should only exist on the Help page as it's not that intuitive. They get too buried there when they are essential to the wiki development process. They need to exist as part of a logical 'path' through the information on the wiki. This is what we talking about the other day Brent...--Fiona 02:45, 4 May 2007 (CEST)


Needs revision to bring up to date. A lot has changed in what WikiEducator is and is moving towards since this was first authored. Part of Wikieducator: namespace. Have grouped About with 2 other areas to assist completely new users: a new section called How You Can Help and FAQs.

The about section certainly needs updating. There has been much discussion in different places about the vision of WikiEducator - and I see a vision subsection on the about page. When I get a chance this week, I'll bring together the various drafts WikiEducator's vision and encourage discussion from the community to help refine this. --Mackiwg 04:57, 28 March 2007 (CEST)
The phrase "free eLearning content that anyone can edit and use" annoys me, because if I see that, I want the words to be hyperlinked to pages which tell (i) exactly what the content consists of, (ii) exactly how I can edit and use it. (BTW, I suggest you drop the "free" and be unambiguous with your adjectives). McCormack 08:26, 28 March 2007 (CEST)
The phrase "free eLearning content that anyone can edit and use" suggests that the material developed is strictly for online use. That's not so, since there's to be a PDF feature that renders documents conducive to offline learning. Perhaps just drop the e in eLearning, or call it "free educational content"? And James (McCormack), it is free in the sense of costless, and mostly free in the sense of encumbrance, so I don't see a problem with the adjective. --SteveFoerster 03:53, 29 March 2007 (CEST)
I'm going to make a suggestion that we actually drop the line all-together. WikiEducator is actually about more than just Free/Open content and I anticipate that more planning and networking may emerge on the site. Focusing solely on "content" may alienate some of the potential audience out there that is interested in new pedagogies and networked learning that doesn't privilege content as a central thesis. Plus i'm sick of the free/open/libre debate -- get over it! brent 10:56, 29 March 2007 (CEST)
Brent - I think that this is a good suggestion. WikiEducator certainly is growing in the planning and networking aspects and this is a differentiating feature of the project. So I would go with dropping the "eLearning content that anyone can edit and use" - its not an accurate representation of how the community is evolving. However - I hope that we will keep the strap line "We're turning the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks. We hope you can help us." This is a tweak from a keynote address delivered by Sir John Daniel and has become a "brand" logo of the project appearing in promotional literature and other keynotes.
"Plus i'm sick of the free/open/libre debate -- get over it!" - me too. But I'd like the main page to say what the site is really about. If the site is confined to special meanings, this needs to be clear to the first-time visitor. I'm not a first-time visitor at all, and I still don't know if this is a strictly "libre-only" site (and if it is, it should say so). McCormack 18:59, 29 March 2007 (CEST)
Why does what the site is "about" need to be captured in a single sentence? I'm not sure it can be. I don't think that most users really care if the site is Free, Libre or Open. If this needs to be expounded on, which I'm sure it will, it can go in the FAQs section or in the About section. brent 01:40, 30 March 2007 (CEST)
Brent, my vote goes with free as an adjective. It is the adjective used in the English language to describe what we mean and we are not introducing subverse meanings. We endorse the Free Cultural Works definition, and we're not in bad company since the largest encyclopedia in the history of humankind has adopted the Free Cultural Works definition. The "libre-only" categorization is a warped meaning and contradiction in terms. I support your recommendation to provide links/explanations in the about section for those who want to find out more about the community's understanding of free content. There are also a clear statement about what the site endorses by the license used. --Mackiwg 03:41, 30 March 2007 (CEST)


In my new proposed box i've replaced Initiatives with the label Projects. The Projects page should then be further organized into different heading like: Content (OERs), Tutorials, Planning, etc. Projects would actually be a page under the Wikieducator: namespace and would list all the projects that are currently going on in Wikieducator. It's possible that this page could also be used for the new navigation link "Browse".

In the IGO world and Results Based Management - were not allowed to use the word "project" <smile>. However, in this context it makes much more sense and am glad that we have suggestions for a more meaningful alternative ..;-) --Mackiwg 04:57, 28 March 2007 (CEST)
Adopt the same terminology as Wikiversity at points where you think they have similar definitions. It may be that their emerging concept of "learning projects" is indeed the fundamental atom of what WikiEducator consists. McCormack 08:22, 28 March 2007 (CEST)

Free Content

dropped the OER acronym for now. Not so good to use as a label. Free Content should be listed on it's own but is also really a subset of Projects as well.

Personally - I've not been comfortable with this acronym. The problem is not all OERs are "open". Free content is my preferred concept. There will be folk who would want to put a case for the use of "Libre" content as opposed to "Free" content to avoid the problems with the free cost versus liberty confusion. The concept of "Free Content" carries my vote (as it subsumes the notion of not cost). --Mackiwg 04:57, 28 March 2007 (CEST)
Wayne: OERs are, of course, all open (Open Educational Resources)! I think what you mean is that "open" is not always understood as "free", and "free" is not always understood according to your particular school of thought. If you want to impose a particular school of thought and abandon the OER movement, why not? But say what you mean and don't get tied up in ambiguities. "Libre content" would, surely, be the most honest thing. "Free content" is ambiguous and therefore bad. "Open content" would take the moral high-ground of rainbow inclusivity and bring people like me more fully on board. McCormack 08:19, 28 March 2007 (CEST)
James, this is not a productive debate. WikiEducator has always been open about its views on freedom, they are widely published on the site, in the blogsphere and keynote addresses. The OER concept was something coined up at a UNESCO meeting - without adequate consultation. This community does not support the NC restriction, the use of closed formats that cannot be edited etc which is accepted under the OER banner. So its better for us to drop the OER concept. Look upon us as a subset of the OER movement. We have a moral obligation to the developing world which we serve, and have a commitment to the MDGs as the major funder of this project. We will not renegade on the trust we have earned over many years with 53 countries across the Commonwealth. You can search the range of dictionary meanings of free as an adjective and you will see that what we mean by free is accepted use of the English language. Yes- one alternative meaning is "without charge" and our resources are available without charge - so I see no problem with our use of free. The problem with your interpretation of free is that you restrict essential freedoms without necessarily communicating this to the user. All we ask is that you respect our choices as exercised under our freedom of speech. --Mackiwg 04:09, 30 March 2007 (CEST)

I've also seen the acronym FORE for Free and Open Resources in Education. Any interest in that? --SteveFoerster 03:56, 29 March 2007 (CEST)
Yup - seen it too. Really confusing, because it adds the ambiguity of "and" as well! I think the important thing is to use words in their ordinary meaning - especially on the front page of a website. Terms-of-art confuse newcomers. And terms-of-art that masquerade as ordinary words are even worse - they deceive rather than confuse. McCormack 18:49, 29 March 2007 (CEST)

In the end I opted for the "less-is-more" option, deciding that the purpose of this label was not ideological, but architectural. brent 04:48, 18 May 2007 (CEST)


Is an initiative/project. Removed from this section and will be part of Projects namespace?

Yes - VUSSC is a project among many others on WikiEducator. In the early days - VUSSC was the first and only project! So we need to move this to the projects namespace. --Mackiwg 04:57, 28 March 2007 (CEST)

Funding Proposals

In the original the name changes to a page called Metawikieducator...? totally confusing. Funding proposals are still a part of Wikieducator and could warrant

Metawikieducator is major confusing - While networking on free content funding proposals (developed as free content) is a primary function of WikiEducator - I don't think it makes sense to list this as a main link. Perhaps this is one of the Projects?

Educational Approach

Speculative, emergent, sounds a bit prescriptive really. Have removed from here but could be kept as a link from the Wikieducator: namespace.

Agreed this is better placed as a rationale or motivation for the software refinements required for Mediawiki / eXe import/export capability. It's certainly not a prescribed educational approach - and we don't entertain pedagogical prescription ;-).

Community Networks

Wondered if this was still needed? There is very little activity or use so far and the existing content seems a bit contrived, or forced, and not really inline with the wiki way(?). Also seems quite heirarchical and a bit beuracratic. I do like the idea of Community Networks though and see the recent activity around FLNW, etc ... as a space where interests that range across activities, projects, content, etc can use to gather ideas and momentum. Have kept the label and might suggest that it is perhaps a namespace on it's own right and that we encourage it to develop in a slightly different direction than it is currently.

I agree that this would seem to be redundant with "Projects". One questions, shouldn't projects use a page in the WikiEducator namespace for use it as a sort of home base? In other words, WikiEducator:VUSSC instead of VUSSC? I ask because those are specifically labeled "project page". --SteveFoerster 01:18, 15 April 2007 (CEST)

Future of WikiEducator

Seems out of place here and could be moved to the About section.

Planning of Events

Currently this page has a COL emphasis; should be part of an event itself, but can also be part of a revamped Current Events page.


Totally hate this category/label but it always comes up! makes no sense.

How to contribute and use content

Move to Help section, but have created a new link/page called How You Can Help that could catch some of this.


Kept; should be part of Help namespace.

Inductive versus deductive planning

When making a header box, I'd suggest that first you categorise all the pages on WikiEducator to see what you've actually got. Then you look and see what the largest categories are, how a category tree might work, and then structure the header box to reflect the top levels of this. i.e. work inductively. McCormack 08:10, 28 March 2007 (CEST)

McCormack, the process of categorisation i'd prefer to leave for the Open Content / Free Content page; I see the namespace functionality as being able to create sort of mini-portals, similar I suppose to how it is setup on Wikiversity. On this box I just really want to allow people to enter into the wiki without too much fuss, too many decisions. Once inside a space more condusive to browsing we'll let the categories go wild. Athough in this environment i'd prefer to allow a folksonomy approach to emerge rather than prescribing a certain taxonomy, at this point i don't see much of a way around it. Perhaps more education on how to use the categories function of the system would allow another layer akin to tagging to emerge. brent 09:08, 28 March 2007 (CEST)
I thought about your namespace idea for my own MediaWiki, but then realised that the default search doesn't cover additional namespaces. That would be a severe navigation limitation. In addition, when inexperienced people create pages, they don't know how to assign them to a namespace, so pretty well anything that ordinary people might want to edit has to go in the main namespace. Or have I missed something? McCormack 19:06, 29 March 2007 (CEST)
I was chatting with the guys from Wikiversity about this the other day. In their opinion namespaces are used for portal like pages and content that is about a particular section or about Wikiversity -- kind of metacontent, but any content that is an 'article' in a sense (although they don't really have articles) goes in the Main namespace. In their opinion not having portals etc show up in searches is a good thing. I'm not sure about other namespaces not showing up though. I tried it on thier site and namespaces did seem to show up. brent 21:20, 31 March 2007 (CEST)
Brent - I'm inclined to go with the Namespace solution for "metacontent". Separating "administration" from "operations" makes good sense. --Mackiwg 21:46, 31 March 2007 (CEST)
I agree. For example, let's say I want to start a project within WikiEducator called "XXI Texts" with the goal of taking old textbooks that have entered the public domain and revising them to be useful for today's students. Let's also say the first textbook to be entered is Principles of Economics by Alfred Marshall.
The main page about the project should be WikiEducator:XXI_Texts. The main page for the first text should be Economics_Marshall (i.e., in the main namespace). Chapters of the book should be subpages, e.g., Economics_Marshall/0.
In addition, each of the textbook tables of contents would be Category:Textbook and they and the project page would be Category:XXI_Texts. The individual chapter pages would not be categorized like this, because it would clutter the category pages.
Now, different projects within WikiEducator might produce textbooks. In the short term the category page would be useful, but as things grew it would be an opportunity for a Portal:Textbooks page, or even portal pages by discipline, e.g., Portal:Economics.
Does this sound right? --SteveFoerster 01:32, 15 April 2007 (CEST)
I hope so, because in the absence of immediate opposition I went ahead and started turning this hypothetical example into reality. :-) It will take me a little while to wikify the whole book. though. --SteveFoerster 06:55, 16 April 2007 (CEST)
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