Wikiversity was originally started at Wikibooks in 2003. In 2005, a formal proposal to start Wikiversity as an independent project was voted on. The Wikiversity project was discussed at the November 2005 Wikimedia Board meeting. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees requested that some changes be made before the project would start at its own website. The Modified project proposal was approved by the Board. By the time it was approved, 17 language portals had been developed on Wikibooks.
Wikiversity is a community for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. Wikiversity is a multidimensional social organization dedicated to learning, teaching, research and service. Its primary goals are to:
* Create and host free content, multimedia learning materials, resources, and curricula for all age groups in all languages * Develop collaborative learning projects and communities around these materials
Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation beta project, devoted to learning materials and activities, located at www.wikiversity.org. Wikiversity's beta phase officially began on August 15th, 2006 with the English language Wikiversity. There are currently four language Wikiversities - English, French, German, and Spanish - and new language Wikiversity projects in other languages are in development at the "beta" multilingual hub.
* Create and host a range of free-content, multilingual learning materials/resources, for all age groups in all languages * Host scholarly/learning projects and communities that support these materials
The Wikiversity e-Learning model places emphasis on "learning groups" and "learning by doing". The idea is that these groups/communities of Wikiversity participants engage in scholarly learning projects, and that learning is through collaboration on projects that involve editing Wikiversity pages. Wikiversity learning projects consist of collections of wiki webpages concerned with the scholarly exploration of a particular topic. Wikiversity participants can (and do) express their learning goals and the Wikiversity community collaborates to develop learning activities and projects to accommodate those goals.
Q: Web pages and learning activities about what?
A: Whatever people are interested in....the participants learn while they participate...."learn by doing" is the general approach. Much of the "doing" is organized around "learning projects". One such project is currently protoyping a Voice over internet protocol (voip) system to allow conferencing, seminars, distributed jamming and other distributed voice communications activities.
Q: "What is the end product it's trying to make?"
A: Our sister projects make encyclopedia articles and textbooks, at Wikiversity we work to make a fun and productive learning environment that supports the learning goals of our participants. Learning comes first at Wikiversity.
Learning resources are developed by individuals or groups, either on their own initiative, or as part of a learning project. Wikiversity resources include teaching aids, lesson plans, curricula, links to off-site resources, and reading lists - but do not include textbooks, which are developed at Wikibooks. Learning groups with interests in each subject area create a web of resources that form the basis of discussions and activities at Wikiversity. Learning resources can be used by educators outside of Wikiversity for their own purposes, under the terms of the GFDL (like Wikipedia).
In order to move out of its "beta" phase, a goal for the Wikiversity community during the six month beta phase is the creation of policies governing research activities. Wikiversity may act as a repository of research carried out by the Wikimedia Research Network, or others who are involved in wiki-based, or other research. Whether or not Wikiversity will ever host original research in addition to secondary research is the subject of debate, and guidelines for what would be appropriate research will be developed during the beta phase of the project through a community consensus process.