Since my last post on contributing to Wikipedia (and I worry that no-one has yet had a go at fixing ‘Open Learning‘), matters Wiki have again crossed my path. In fact it’s hard to ignore the Wiki explosion, with Wikiquote (Who wrote “The hotel shop only had two decent books, and I’d written both of them.”?), Wikispecies (Did you know you are a heterotroph?), Wikinews (yes, it’s been proved that there are six degrees of separation), Wikibooks (contributors are known as Wikibookians),Wikiversity (where the picture of the day was a comparison of cricket and baseball), Wiktionary (where, worryingly, the word of the day was worrywart), Wikisource (where a click on Random page turned up पञ्चसप्ततितमः सर्गः, so I’ve no idea what Wikisource is) and so on. Not surprisingly, the explosion has left information in unexpected places – ‘Elvis has left the building’ is not found (yet) in Wikiquotes, but there is a page devoted to it in Wikipedia. And Wikiversity, notwithstanding the odd gem, has yet to surpass some of the alternative pathways to learning resources.
But the one I’m leading up to introducing is WikiEducator, created by the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) in 2006, and rapidly becoming something of a hive of activity (and lauded by Stephen Downes). Not surprisingly, CoL used WikiEducator to underpin its recent conference (the Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, PCF5), probably the leading international distance education event of the year. Sadly, I didn’t make it to the event, hosted by the University of London, but those I’ve spoken to who attended were fullsome in their praise, so I went searching for some gems.
Naturally, my first searches of the site were for papers by ODLAA members. The first link I found took me to a paper presented by our Journal Editor Som Naidu for a colleague, Jyoti Bawane, with whom he worked on a project concerning technology and teacher development in India. My second attempt found our ODLAA Treasurer Belinda Tynan, and led me to her fascinating joint paper with Helen Ware on ‘The Use of Wiki in Teaching/Learning Peace Studies‘. Any other ODLAAians in there?
But you should do your own browsing of the site, not follow my meanderings. As with most conferences, you’ll find the keynotes, but a nice added touch is a collection of session reports. It is also noted that “All contributions to PCF5 are accepted on the understanding that you agree to licence your published work for others to share, disseminate and adapt, under Creative Commons ‘share alike by attribution’licence terms.”
Finally, let it be known that WikiEducator is much more than a conference proceedings repository. It is much more, and if you’d like to know how a particular organisation has applied WikiEducator to advance open learning, check the Featured Institution.