Today I had the honor of presenting to faculty at the University of Sydney, as part of Dr. Robert Cummings’ “Wikipedia in Higher Education” symposium. Here are my notes.
An effort is underway for Wikimedia to codify a principle that has been a cornerstone of my Wikipedia training and consulting practice, Wiki Strategies, since our launch in 2009: essentially, that certain conflicts of interest must be publicly disclosed.
Focused community consideration of this principle is long overdue, and I applaud this effort. Undisclosed conflicts of interest pose a significant threat to Wikipedia. Action is needed. Why? Because of things like this: Continue reading
As announced by my colleague Sara Frank Bristow on the Creative Commons blog, registration is now open for the free, online course “Writing Wikipedia Articles: The basics and beyond.” This is the fourth time we’re offering the course, which runs for six weeks and focuses on open educational resources and related concepts.
Earlier this month I attended the launch event for Open Educational Resources university, a consortium that is tying together the best of formal and informal education. I’m really excited about what this means for the future of higher ed, and I think that Wikipedia can be used as a teaching tool in ways that unlock great opportunities. I explain why in this 5 minute video from the event:
To add to what I said in the video, which focuses on the open, online Wikipedia class I will be teaching at the University of Mississippi in the spring, I remain very optimistic about the benefits of using Wikipedia as a teaching tool. Having students use Wikipedia can promote a variety of worthwhile learning outcomes, including:
- Building competence in collaborating in an online peer production community, an increasingly valuable skill in many fields;
- Developing literacy in online media; learning to evaluate the quality and appropriate use of a given online resource; Continue reading
Wiki Strategies just submitted the following grant application. Please vote for us here! (Fair warning: you will have to connect a Facebook account in order to vote.) In addition, I hope this concise overview of the current status of Wiki Strategies and our future plans will be of interest to our readers!
Tell us about your business. What inspired you to start your business? How is your business successful? What makes it unique?
Wiki Strategies advises corporations, non-profits, and universities in effective and ethical engagement with Wikipedia, the only top 5 web site that invites anyone in the world to directly write and edit its articles. Pete Forsyth, a 7 year veteran Wikipedia contributor with 20 years’ experience in traditional media, offers expert advice on the site’s rules, social norms, and technical challenges. Clients, including many highly respected organizations, build capacity in new media engagement.
How is your business involved with the community you serve?
Wiki Strategies is deeply rooted in the global community of 100,000+ Wikipedia volunteers. We are inspired by the community’s accomplishments, and are honored Continue reading
Last month, my colleague Sara Frank Bristow and I finished our first run of the free online course, Writing Wikipedia Articles: The basics and beyond. This course is part part Communicate OER, a project to improve the coverage of open educational resources on Wikipedia. We introduced it as part of the launch of Peer to Peer University’s School of Open in March.
The course was designed to help those new to Wikipedia learn to write, edit, and improve articles, in the context of the site’s history and philosophical underpinnings. Of the 100 students who signed up initially, 25 went on to add themselves to the course roster on Wikipedia. During class sessions and optional lab sessions, we guided them through both technical and cultural challenges, and emphasized that the best way to learn about Wikipedia is to “be bold” and start trying things out.
Our students took on a variety of tasks, including: Continue reading
The Cato Institute, a think tank and policy research outfit based in Washington, DC, is designing a system for organizing and indexing bills going through the U.S. Congress using XML. And they have invited Wikipedians to the party. I will be joining them next month in hosting a meeting to explore how a project of theirs can best serve Wikipedia, among other web services.
Cato Institute is not known as a neutral organization; indeed, their mission statement mentions limited government, individual liberty, and free markets. Their political positions often differ from my own, and maybe from yours.
So, skepticism is certainly called for. What can Cato and Wikipedia to do together, without either entity compromising its principles? It may not be immediately apparent; but I’d encourage you to take a closer look. Continue reading
Why did Wikipedia move from GFDL to Creative Commons?
A core piece of what makes Wikipedia and similar broadly collaborative projects work is the concept of a free content license: an explicit agreement by every contributor to forego many of their rights as copyright holders, and permit widespread reuse with few requirements beyond simple attribution.
When Wikipedia was established, the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) was the only applicable and widespread free license. The GFDL was initially designed specifically for software manuals, and in some ways was not ideal or practical for a project like Wikipedia, which hadn’t been envisioned when it was created. Continue reading
The following question was asked (anonymously in October 2012) on the web site Quora:
Can I use Wikimedia Commons to host images, audio, and video for my blog or business?
How does WC handle external usage of their public resources? If their work is CC licensed, could someone effectively use WC as a free media host?
Excellent question. The Wikimedia community is delighted to have freely licensed, educational material uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, and if it also happens to serve your business interests, so much the better. However, you should make sure you carefully consider the pros and cons before doing so.
In brief, to be stored on Commons, a file needs to be: Continue reading
Last week, I had the honor of talking on Brian Lehrer TV along with Seb Chan of the Cooper Hewitt Museum. We were asked about efforts among museums and cultural institutions to be more open and engaging in their practices, and how the topic relates to the legacy of Aaron Swartz.