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Appropedia:Course materials

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This is a proposed Appropedia policy. You can edit it, or discuss it on the talk page or at the Appropedia policy discussion page.
For now, this should be considered an essay by one or more Appropedians, and not as a policy or guideline.


Appropedia includes course material content - a form of Open Educational Resources.

There are other wiki sites which develop course materials. The purpose of this policy is to lay out:

  • how Appropedia relates to those sites,
  • how to avoid duplication
  • when content should go here, and when on a different site

You may make suggestions below or discuss on the talk page.

Other wikis

WikibooksW has textbooks and WikiversityW and WikiEducator[1] have courses. Wikiversity also has "learning groups" and "learning by doing,"[1][2] where the "doing" refers to scholarly learning, in particular editing Wikiversity pages. P2PU[2] (Peer to Peer University) takes this further, focusing on the peer learning groups.

Unfortunately there is little at this stage on either site that is of relevance to appropriate technology, sustainability, or international development.

Develop on Appropedia, or other sites?

Note that whatever policy is chosen, Appropedia intends to drive the development of material for sustainable education in Wikibooks and Wikiversity. All material developed here is under GFDL and so can be used by other wiki sites.

Possible policies:

  • All course development could be directed elsewhere. Appropedia would have a portal, or a bunch of resource pages, as a guide to educational resources online (and offline, i.e. books, programs)
  • Encourage open wiki development of material at Wikibooks and Wikiversity, but allow more closely monitored development on Appropedia, when desired. Appropedia has an editing community which is focused on these areas of knowledge (sustainability and development), and we have a policy of rigor.
  • Allow posting of course material on Appropedia as an alternative to OpenCourseWare - is this of value? (E.g. if a small institution or course wants to release their material are they likely to find it difficult to do it through OCW?) Or should we look into OCW, and facilitating the sharing of materials?
    • Note: OCW may not exist for some members of the academic community. A list of OCW Members is shown, so what about other universities?
  • Appropedia could focus on Service Learning, applied and experiential learning. (On the other hand, Wikibooks and Wikiversity don't exclude this kind of material, do they? If not, it's an artificial distinction.)
  • Appropedia, focusing on sustainability, appropriate technology, poverty reduction and service learning, can integrate the course material laid out for students with the site. Course materials can help lead students to edit and create pages at Appropedia as part of their coursework. E.g. A course teaching about safe drinking water, can include assignments where students edit water-based pages at Appropedia (the instructor checks their user-contributions to assess a grade) and can include a project where students create a project-based page that is reviewed by the instructor. This integrates the site that their course materials are published on, with their actual coursework.

A model of collaborative learning for Appropedia

Wikibooks, Wikiversity and WikiEducator have not yet taken off in the way that Wikipedia has, and it's not clear whether they will be anything like as successful. Although the aims are fantastic, the model may not be exactly right. (Note, this is speculation by me, Chriswaterguy · talk.)

Can Appropedia develop a working model of collaborative learning, using its academic contacts and community of contributors and readers?

Issues are:

  • Getting a community of learners together on the site can be difficult, when people are coming individually. This may be better addressed at Appropedia through:
  • Academic partners setting Appropedia-based tasks as part of coursework. This could be done on Wikiversity, but can work better on Appropedia for reasons laid out under the section titled Advantages of developing course materials here, below.
  • The pre-existing community on Appropedia which shares many common interests, some of whom are likely to sign up to online groups which they find interesting.

Question: To what extent should we encourage or discourage class-based projects from involving people from outside the class? The cross-fertilization could be very valuable; however if performing a certain task or answering a question is part of what an instructor wants their class to do, then it may not be desirable for someone with 3 PhDs to answer the question immediately, nor for a a hobbyist to describe, the next day, how they performed the task and what they built in their garage overnight. How can we be as inclusive as possible and make the most of the energy that a class brings, while catering to the needs of the class in terms of making their own progress?

Advantages of developing course materials here

  • Natural integration between course materials, coursework and related content, especially development of additional content by students as part of their projects.
  • Working across two or more sites makes things harder to use, (remember what content is where, searching and linking in the right place, checking two sites for discussions and policies as well as content) especially for less web savvy people. Getting people to use one particular site is often hard enough.
  • Coursework and other types of content show up together in searches on Appropedia. A particular piece of info on a topic may be in course material, and not in the other content (yet), so this could be useful even for people not looking specifically for course material.
  • This site has a growing community of people who are passionate about sustainability, development etc, and it has loads of content specifically on this issue.
  • Our policy on rigor and team of admins and other active contributors with strong science and engineering backgrounds will help content contributors feel more comfortable.
  • Developing course material on Appropedia or other related sites helps students who are enrolled in online universities to earn online degrees

Disadvantages of developing course materials here (and potential solutions)

  • Wikibooks and Wikiversity already include these materials, on any topic, in their scope. However we can transwiki the material later (with attribution), or link to here from there, if it's clear that the pages will still be better maintained and developed on Appropedia.

Comments

Personally, I'm a fan of developing it "here", where here means either the same domain or a subdomain of Appropedia. If within the wiki itself (and I'm fine with that), then I would argue we want a portal for Coursework (seems obvious). By the way, Coursework seems like equivalent to all the other areas (how-to, project, etc), and thus belongs at the same level, which is, I think, Fundamental for now. I can imagine a category:area, but I think that's been discussed without much action. With the expansion of Appropedia toward all things sustainable, I expect Fundamental to begin to get a bit crowded, so we might want to reconsider the Category:Area option. --CurtB 15:59, 22 April 2007 (PDT)

Portal: definitely.
Categories: should we have it only in Category:Fundamental, and use See also sections to link between this and the other categories (esp Internet resources and Education)?--Chriswaterguy · talk 20:57, 22 April 2007 (PDT)

Using Wikis for Teaching

  • Wikis in University Teaching and Learning - Richard Buckland FULT UNSW

Wikis in University Teaching and Learning - Richard Buckland FULT UNSW

Notes

  1. Wikiversity:Learning, Wikiversity
  2. wikiversity:Portal:Education/Wikiversity_model Wikiversity learning model, Wikiversity