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This is the Discussion Page for the Archive:Eduzendium

I propose that we allow one or two weeks comment period for this proposal. Comments? --Larry Sanger 19:00, 20 April 2007 (CDT)

By Stephen Ewen

As an educator I think this is an excellent teaching tool and very much hope something like this can be approved. I do have a few concerns/questions about this proposal in its present form:

  • "...the ultimate vetting right is given to the professor who is also an editor ... At the end of the allocated period of time the professor or the class can look over the final product and decide if they would like to vet the product and make it into an "approved" Citizendium article." - Well, this would seem to violate current approval policy. "Editors working individually may approve articles if they have not contributed significantly to the article." If the editor has contributed to it significantly--and I cannot see how we can say the professor in this case did not--then another editor must approve it under Individual Approval. (Group approval seems to really apply when three editors have each worked on the article). Don't you think it would be more real-world to students if approval were out of their professor's control?
    • I think that if we want to attract professors in this game we need to give the a lot of control over the process. As the ones who are ultimately responsible for the educational and evaluation process in their classes they would probably not want to be interferred with during the preparatory process. This being said, we can change the wording to say that the article will be turned in at the end of the semester to Citizendium to do whatever they want with it. In this case it would make sense not not make the professor an automatic editor. This would comply with the current policy. However, this will also decrease the likelihood that the professors would want to hang out with us at the end of the semester.--Sorin Adam Matei 14:17, 24 April 2007 (CDT)
      • I now agree with Sorin here. I initially had the same reaction as Steve, but I studied the proposal more carefully, and I agree that, to attract professors to the program, we need to give them considerable latitude, and the payoff of an approved article could be very attractive. Note two things, however. First, other editors can object to the approval of an article. Second, we might specify as a rule that professors should not edit their students' articles if they wish to approve them; they should, instead, offer feedback on the talk page, let the students make the changes, and then approve. Moreover, Sorin, I did agree with your concession--I've actually edited the proposal to remove the part about professors being permanent editors of articles. They should have to re-register if they wish to take an article back over; otherwise, the article goes back into common control. --Larry Sanger 12:56, 30 May 2007 (CDT)
The approvals process says that the approvals editor cannot have contributed as an AUTHOR. Editing is just fine. editing is not only just fine, but expected from the approving or nominating editor. Nancy Sculerati 19:45, 16 June 2007 (CDT)
  • "The instructors and their students have privileged access to specific pages during the semester and they can decide if a final product can be vetted and released for public consumption or not. ... the topic pages are editable only by the members of the seminar. Citizendium will ensure, using appropriate user rights safeguards, that only specific users are allowed to edit the chosen pages for the specified period of time". This could clearly be problematic if this includes article pages that already exist and that are active. I cannot at this time see a clear way to us kicking off the general public from already existing articles that are active.
    • Good point, with the proviso that what I am trying to do here is to make it as appealing to the professors as possible. How about we create an Eduzendium sandbox, where all articles are created and then released to the world by CZ editors...--Sorin Adam Matei 14:17, 24 April 2007 (CDT)
    • I would say the simpler solution to this problem is one that I wrote into the proposal: simply say that a topic is off-limits (or can be declared off-limits) if it is undergoing active development. But the proportion of CZ articles that will be undergoing active development in any given semester is likely to be small enough that it's all right for professors and their seminars to "take them over" for a while. --Larry Sanger 12:56, 30 May 2007 (CDT)
Just as in the real off-line world Graduate students need to pick subjects for their theses that are original, only a dire lack of imagination strands in the way of a professor picking a title or helping the authors pick a title that does not conflict head on with another article on the wiki. There are always slants to do that. At least I have never been stumped yet, and I -personally-could certainly come up with such. We already have Abraham Lincoln, but not The cchildhood of Abraham Lincoln, the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, A psychological analysis of Abraham Lincoln, The effect of Abraham Lincoln in his time, The historivccl view of Abraham Lincoln- and not only could anybody actually interested do this all day-coming up with hundreds of non-conflicting titles, but every one of those artcles is worthwhile, not to mention the fact that -offhand -we do not have a single article on any other president, or any number of Kings and Queens, so what's the problem? We could even have an "Abraham Lincoln-eduzendium Version 2", so why would anybody have to be stopped from working on an article? Nancy Sculerati 19:50, 16 June 2007 (CDT)
  • "The articles can then be offered for further editing to the public, the professor or one or more of his graduate students becoming the official "editors" of that topic." Again, this breaks current policy. For graduate students to become editors, they would already have to qualify, generally, for tenure within the field of the article. If supervised grad students can be editors, then certainly if I am supervised I can be one, too, right (rhetorical question only)? And it should be completely against policy for Person X (grad student) to post on the wiki with the account of Person Y (his or her prof's).
    • Good point, I was not aware of the limitations imposed on graduate students... This needs to be scrapped...--Sorin Adam Matei 14:17, 24 April 2007 (CDT)
    • Looks like this has already been fixed. --Larry Sanger 12:56, 30 May 2007 (CDT)
  • "'rolling' editorship". This is the most troubling aspect, to me. It effectively rolls the general public off of the article as new seminars of students come and go. In come students, off goes everyone else—off goes students, in comes everyone else—and so on. This may work to be not an addition to Citizendium, but simply a trade-off between one set of writers (students) for another (public citizens). I really do not think the general public, particularly if articles they are working on are active and moving toward approval, will at all take kindly to having pages locked but to only a new seminar group!
    • This does not need to be included in the project, it was just an idea to keep the ball rolling and to create a critical mass of future editors that would linger...--Sorin Adam Matei 14:17, 24 April 2007 (CDT)
    • I can't tell whether Steve is objecting to the fact that articles would change hands from seminar to seminar, or to the fact that they would be assigned to any particular group of people at all. As to the latter, while I agree that this is a bit troubling, it is a small price to pay for a lot of new, high-quality content and participants. As to the former, though, I've edited the proposal so as to remove the idea that "seminar" articles would always henceforth be in the hands of professors and their students. I think we also need to add something to the effect that a workgroup can declare certain articles "off-limits"--but I think that ought to be clear even without saying it. --Larry Sanger 12:56, 30 May 2007 (CDT)

Overall, I like this proposal's general idea. In fact, I think the core of it is just great for student learning outcomes. But in my mind, there are some issues that need addressing, first.

Question for Dr. Matei: You mentioned that professors "can decide the amount of work allocated to contributing the entries to Wikipedia". I am assuming that, there, students will have no special privileges whatsoever. Is there a way you can tailor this program to allow students to achieve the same basic learning outcomes, but at the improved environment of Citizendium, without requiring they be given as many special privileges? See below--Sorin Adam Matei 14:17, 24 April 2007 (CDT)

Stephen Ewen 23:56, 20 April 2007 (CDT) (Who read Wenger & Snyder in his own grad program) ;-)

I have edited "can decide the amount of work allocated to contributing the entries to Wikipedia" simply to replace "Wikipedia" with "the Citizendium"--I simply assumed that that's what Sorin meant. --Larry Sanger 12:56, 30 May 2007 (CDT)

The undergirding philosophy of this proposal is that ultimately the ones we want to attract are the professors and that everything we do should benefit the education process. I think that we need to convince them that Eduzendium is something that benefits their students and the educational processes first and foremost. If we ask them to do anything that benefits Eduzendium first, if we ask them to work for us, not with us, we will not have much success in academia.

On the other hand, the proposal has tried to be sensitive to the fact that Citizendium has a specific editorial process, one that balances openness with editorial stewardship. Yet, from what I hear from Steve the limited tenancy process proposed here seems to be to encroaching too much upon the CZ's freeholding system. How about we create an Eduzendium sandbox (Eduzendium labs?) where academics can work on all sorts of articles, including duplicates, with total impunity and absolute autonomy, the only requirment being that whatever they produce should be released to the world under Citizendium's copyright requirements (GDFL?)? The vetting and approval sysem will be taken care by the CZ editors, who will weigh and consdier the value, completness and timeliness of all existing in Eduzendium?--Sorin Adam Matei 14:26, 24 April 2007 (CDT)

I think we need to put it to the community and to the Editorial Council whether we want to allow seminars to "set aside" certain topics for their exclusive work. I think that this is a small price to pay for their work and (later) potential involvement as a part of the community. If a professor and 15 Purdue graduate students wanted to put in hundreds of hours of work creating 15 really high-quality articles, and they "squat" on those topics for only three months, what really is the downside? Bear in mind that they can work with us, if that's what the professor wants.

The idea of an Eduzendium sandbox is a bad one. A large part of the attraction of the assignment is that the results become part of CZ. If Eduzendium participants are relegated to a sandbox, there's no guarantee that their work will be appended to CZ--which completely removes the main incentive.

It's important that professors be able to restrict access, however, because then some students might get help from the CZ community when other students don't; and then Citizens might interfere with the educational process in various undesirable ways. If you want the benefit of instructor involvement, in this way, you've got to give professors some (temporary) authority over some topics. This I think we can do... --Larry Sanger 12:56, 30 May 2007 (CDT)

Why limit the work to graduate students?

Why be so narrow in the use of student products? Not every topic (e.g. elephants) is so sophisticated as to require a graduate student to write the prose.

Why not have undergraduate students in expository writing courses write or expand CZ articles on a specific topics? Likewise, why not have students in a variety of courses write articles relevant to their particular course. Either set of students could work collectively or individually? With course instructors acting as a screening mechanism one should be able to ensure that the products are of sufficiently high quality. With a little organizational creativity one could have an army of undergraduates fleshing out CZ.

Perhaps this "wider net" would best be handled as a parallel project from Eduzendium.

Dan Nachbar 11:07, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

I offer that there is an expectation of what subjects that students of certain educational levels would produce. Example: it is doubtful that a high school student would produce an article on quantum properties of light, unless there was an exceptional student. For undergrads, would there be an expectation that they might produce a physics-related article? Possibly. Would they produce an article based on statistic theory or geology? --Robert W King 11:19, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Please, continue the discussion here. --Larry Sanger 11:49, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Why limit the work to academia?

Seth Wolley posted a comment somewhere (and I cannot find it now) saying that in discussing the possibilities of this project we should think outside the box.

As a non-academic lifelong autodidact I also wonder if it is wise to restrict contributions from academia only. Citizenship is a universal concept. Ensuring that the citizenry is properly educated to fulfil their responsibilities as citizens is also a general concern. Academic institutions are subject to control by the prevailing power structure and are not necessarily able to explore the full spectrum of educational needs of a changing society.

If the general readership could also request contributions on the kinds of issues that may be outside the remits of a conventional academic interest, a balance could be struck between quality and range of contributions. -- Janos Abel 06:53, 16 June 2007 (CDT)

Janos said, ''Academic institutions are subject to control by the prevailing power structure and are not necessarily able to explore the full spectrum of educational needs of a changing society." While there are certainly pockets where this is true, I very strongly disagree with this as a sweeping generalization. Read some works by Michael Apple or Ira Shor sometime. As for limiting it to academia, how about instead experimenting with something like this? Stephen Ewen 19:28, 16 June 2007 (CDT)
Who am I to argue with someone with direct experience of academic life? Just a concerned citizen interested in the "immune mechanism" the status quo has of protecting itsef from serious criticism. Below is the hint of the current version of "control by the prevailing power structure".
Among the issues addressed by Apple are the advances of the New Right and the forms by which the conservative movements have been articulating themselves politically to impose their views about textbooks, national curriculum, and teacher education.
Has not this kind of problem always existed in education--higher education especially? There are "taboo" areas in academic courses mainly enforced by funding policies. Several examples come to mind from teaching economics. Entering areas like history of economic thought, monetary reform, land value taxation, are discouraged; organisers of a conference at Harvard University last year tried to exclude a paper critical of mainstream Islamic Finance; Professor Robert Ashford cannot teach Binary Economics at his university (Syracuse University):
Robert has taught several classes in binary economics in the face of tremendous opposition from top university officials. He no longer is allowed to teach the subject...
Robert Ashford has been, in fact, reduced to seeking funds himself to establish a university chair for the teaching of binary economics.
So I am surprised at Stephen's emphatic rejection of my suggestion. Both authors he names are raising their voices because of the prevailing tendency of established authorities to control the range of subjects that can be pursued throughout academe.
Noam Chomsky documents clearly how the intelligentsia functions as gatekeepers to protect the status quo. Sometimes token dissenting voices are allowed merely to maintain a semblance of academic freedom. -- Janos Abel 14:58, 24 June 2007 (CDT)
And Apple, Chomsky, Shor, etc, are writing and teaching from where? ---Stephen Ewen 15:07, 24 June 2007 (CDT)
OK, you win. There is no problem with academic freedom. But I am still confused: Why are these people saying what they are saying if academic freedom is not a hostage to the wishes of those who provide the funding? Maybe they are the tolerable token dissenters? -- Janos Abel 17:10, 24 June 2007 (CDT)

Discussion of this is under way in the forums

For now, please use this board for discussion of the proposal. We'd like to keep discussion in one place. --Larry Sanger 23:39, 16 June 2007 (CDT)


Hi All, Kennesaw State University has started a project here on Diffusion of innovations. It has already been subjected to two speedydelete attempts and a general misunderstanding of KSU's purpose. I suggest that we create a seperate workgroup for these projects; maybe Eduzendium workgroup or a more specific Kennesaw State University workgroup to allow them to organize their articles and also let citizens know that this is a class project. Thoughts? --Matt Innis (Talk) 10:57, 21 June 2007 (CDT)

Yes, absolutely. I suggest creation of the Eduzendium Workgroup be expedited to avoid any further "unwelcome mats". Stephen Ewen 12:14, 21 June 2007 (CDT)

Discussion thread on the CZ forum

Eduzendium proposal discussion

Eduzendium pages - name trouble ahead

I foresee problems with Eduzendium articles like Assuming that the Eduz. project takes off, we may end up with hundreds of Econ_101:Introduction to Economics, and perhaps repetition within a school when three professors teaching the same class (think freshman chemistry) decide to join in. With this in mind, we should consider placing the University/School name in front and include the lecturer and perhaps semester/quarter, like this:

Duke University:Biol 201:Peterson:Spring2008

But of course we might want to be able to search the class first, so Biol 201:Duke University:Peterson:Spring2008 could be used just as well. We should discuss this, and make a naming convention before the project expands too much. Any thoughts anyone? David E. Volk 18:47, 21 February 2008 (CST)

Glad someone thought of this. ;-) This ought be acted on ASAP. Stephen Ewen 10:36, 2 March 2008 (CST)

EZ notice at Eduzendium articles - warmer/fuzzier, please

Can you folks give some thought to editing the template you're currently using to making the language less offputting?

Instead of:

This article is currently being developed as part of a student project involving an Anthropology course at University of Colorado at Boulder. If you are not involved with this project, please refrain from further developing this article until otherwise noted. Thank you.

How about

Eduzendium - a Citizendium initiative (at the top in a nice font/colour)

This article is currently being developed as part of the Eduzendium initiative. It is a student project involving an Anthropology course at University of Colorado at Boulder. As such, it is closed to outside editing for the duration of the course.

The anticipated date of course completion is 1st June 2008. At the end of the project period, this notice will be removed and the article reopened to general editing.

Thank you.

(And thank you for listening--reading!)

Aleta Curry 23:16, 1 March 2008 (CST) Superscript text

Its not yet used but on one page that I undeleted. Otherwise, it's a wiki for a reason. :-) Stephen Ewen 03:22, 2 March 2008 (CST)

Yes, Aleta, nice rewording. Ro Thorpe 08:33, 2 March 2008 (CST) What's the superscript text about, though?

Yes, have at it! --Larry Sanger 09:02, 2 March 2008 (CST)

Ro, I think Stephen is indicating that he's got a superscript link to the Eduzendium page.
Well, thanks fellas, but it's got Template:Something something and I don't know where that lives, so I can't edit it.
Right into the 'too hard' basket--I got places to go, people to see, etc.
Aleta Curry 17:12, 2 March 2008 (CST)
'I don't know where that lives, so I can't edit it.' Same here. Stephen? Ro Thorpe 17:45, 2 March 2008 (CST)

I poked around and here you can see that it's not a template at all, though obviously it should be. This search should generate most of the places where you'd want to replace the text. Someone (Aleta? :-) ) will have to do it by hand if you want it fixed...

This isn't a matter for Steve to administer, though he can do so as much as anyone else can. It's a matter for anyone to propose and handle, and for the EZ guys (Sorin Matei and Lee Berger) to oversee. I would tell them to have a look at this discussion in an e-mail...OK, I will.  :-) --Larry Sanger 22:01, 2 March 2008 (CST)

I created a simple template, Template:EZnotice which you can just put in enddate, subject, and school and it will spit out a box with those adjustments. Should be easier than creating (a forseeable) million different one-use templates. --Robert W King 11:52, 3 March 2008 (CST)

Looks very useful, Robert. Sorin and Lee should review the template and, if necessary, edit it.

It needs to be stressed, in any case, that not all EZ articles are "hands-off" type articles. Some professors actually want their students to work with the larger CZ community. I think that {{EZnotice}} must be written, or renamed, so as to take this important policy detail into account. Perhaps it should be called {{EZnotice-restricted}}.

Also, Robert, the template should have a width not in pixels but percentages; it shouldn't have a set width, or it will force windows wide. --Larry Sanger 12:04, 3 March 2008 (CST)

Fixed. As far as "not-all", that can go into the wording or something, or the template name can be changed, or whatever the corrective action should be. I have no concern over those matters, just the technical ones. --Robert W King 12:11, 3 March 2008 (CST)
Well, if you don't fix it, I'm not sure anyone else will, Robert. Please take a stab yourself. I doubt that it can be corrected by a simple rewording the template. Robert, with respect, you must have concern about policy matters if you want to write these sorts of templates, because what you call mere "technical" matters actually enforce and direct policy. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. --Larry Sanger 12:17, 3 March 2008 (CST)
Can we KISS it and make it better? Just move to EZnotice-restricted, as you originally said, Larry. Aleta Curry 19:24, 3 March 2008 (CST)
I created {{EZarticle-closed}} some weeks ago to try to stave off problems that were developing and did in fact develop. Stephen Ewen 10:00, 4 March 2008 (CST)