Submissions/Introducing the new Massive Open Online Course platform on Wikiversity

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2015 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this July.

Submission no.
Title of the submission

Introducing the new Massive Open Online Course platform on Wikiversity

Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)

presentation / tutorial

Author of the submission

Renepick (talk) 11:05, 28 February 2015 (UTC) , Sebastian Schlicht, Steffen Staab[reply]

E-mail address


Renepick (talk) 11:05, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)

University of Koblenz (Institute for Web Science and Technologies)

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

With the example of our Massive Open online Course on Web Science that was created on wikiversity with our in the summer of 2014 released MOOC Module we will demonstrate that learners as well as content creators are now able to quickly and easily interact with the Mediawiki software making Wikiversity an compelling and interesting alternative to proprietary solutions to host massive open online courses.

Encyclopedic content has been opened up and become free for every one with an internet connection which mainly happened due to the large success of Wikipedia. But what about educational resources? The Wikimedia Foundation has the clear goal to support the creation, curation and distribution free education [1][2]. In order to do so wikibooks and wikiversity - a digital learning platform - have been created. On Wikiversity teachers and tutors can collaboratively create courses as open educational resources [3][4]. Doing a reality check one realizes that proprietary Platforms like Udacity and Coursera that host Massive open online courses (MOOC) or even on Youtube play a much more important role for learning on the web. Unfortunately these platforms do not support the movement of open educational resources in the sense of the sense of the UNESCO declaration or that of the Hewlett Foundation. In fact a lot of the courses on these platforms are nowadays not even free of charge. Also the content on these services is often only available in a certain time frame. Comparing the user interface of the Mediawiki (great for collaboratively building and encyclopedia) which is used on Wikiversity with the user interfaces of successful MOOC platforms one quickly realizes that those platforms have a much more convenient interface for learners and also for content creators. This might be a main reason why they attract more users and content in comparison to the Wikiversity.

A modern and interactive MOOC Module was created on Wikiversity by making use of Lua, common.js and common.css. The Module was used to create the first MOOC on Wikiversity with the topic of Web Science. We use a single page called the MoocIndex to store various kind of metadata about the Massive Open Online Course and its lessons and units. This page is parsed by our Lua component to dynamically render a certain lesson or unit of the MOOC to the user. This page also consists of a clearly communicated navigation so that the user always knows where she is within her learning process and what topics will come next.

Though the dynamically created Wikipage has all the content and everything that one needs for learning it is not really interactive if one relies solely on Lua. Asking a question is only possible by using the discussion pages - which new students will not be familiar with. Also editing a mistake will be very hard for inexperienced users since they would have to read the lua code in order to know where the content that is displayed is stored before it is being transcluded. With the help of common.js and commons.css the user experience of a modern learning site has been adopted and allows the learner and teacher to easily interact with the content and with other participants of the course.

In the talk we will give some examples of why creating open educational resources with the help of the MOOC Module on Wikiversity is highly convenient. E.g. one can make use of a lot of free content from the Wikimedia ecosystem and students will help with quality control. We will also point out some pitfalls especially with Wikimedia commons and licensing issues (e.g. educational materials frequently have a fair use model which contradicts the creative commons licenses) Also a lot of high quality educational content on the web that has a creative commons license also uses the NC tag which is not welcome on Wikimedia projects.

At the end of the talk you will hopefully see that the improved (free) Wikiversity yields an exciting alternative for popular (proprietary) platforms for massive open online courses like Coursera and Udacity. Also I hope to gather feedback for needs of other teachers and students during Wikimania and maybe I can even meet some people during hackathons so that our development and quest can continue.

  • Education Outreach (but it could also fit in Technology, Interface & Infrastructure)
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
I'll try
Slides or further information (optional)

I held a similar - differently structured due to another audience - talk on the open educational resources conference in 2014. Feel free to have a look at the slides: 2014MoocOnWikiversity

Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 12:32, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. AKoval (WMF) (talk) 18:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Saintfevrier (talk) 20:37, 29 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Trizek (talk) 22:21, 27 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Add your username here.