The UBC Wiki is organized into a couple of different namespaces. Two of the major ones are the root space (found at wiki.ubc.ca) and the Course space (wiki.ubc.ca/Course). The purpose of these spaces is to help organize the wiki by differentiating between the purposes of pages at a high level. The root level space is an open area that can be used for any academic or UBC-related activities and is generally thought to be a good place for general knowledge articles about UBC (the wikipedia of UBC if you will). In contrast, the Course space is the area where pages regarding specific course based activity or content should go. If a faculty member wishes to have a class wiki and their students edit and create content based around that class, rather than having random and vaguely named pages in the main part of wiki, it would make to sense have them instead organized into a course structure.
And here is the conundrum: organizing course material into the Course space is slightly more complex than just adding content to the wiki and people are tending not to do it. Indeed, much of the content currently being added to the wiki is related to specific courses and this content does not make sense when viewed in isolation from the other course content.
One of the major tasks of this wiki gardening project is to understand how best to organize course content, but even more importantly, is how to best create processes, structures, or systems to have the wiki self organize. Rather than have a wiki administrator force top down organization (i.e. someone like me reviewing and moving/renaming pages so they follow prescribed wiki space nomenclature), a goal of the wiki gardening project is to figure out a way to create a framework so users can easily organize their own content and make the wiki more useful.
Specifically, over the next week or two, I’ll be looking at how to make it easy for people to add course material in a way that is organized and makes sense both to people in the class (for example, how do I create a student page that is related to an assignment page) and to general users (for example, why is the page on apples discussing a particular horticulture assignment).
Specific things I want to focus on include:
- the current namespace / naming structure (i.e. does the naming protocol wiki.ubc.ca/Course:abcd123 make sense and will people use it?)
- looking at how categories and templates can be used to better organize course work
- creating more complete help pages
- creating tutorials (i.e. Want to use the wiki for course work, here’s how to do it)
- providing better guidelines
- creating a discussion around wiki policies
- moving pages, creating categories, cleaning up
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