Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
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Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence involving knowledge creation and flow. Pooled brainpower emerges from the collaboration and learning actions of a community of connected individuals empowered by social media, participatory tools, and mobile platforms.
Curated by Huey O'Brien
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Wikipedia expects to offer SMS-based access within months

Wikipedia expects to offer SMS-based access within months | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Wikipedia has long been pushing for access to its communal knowledge among those who can't afford the latest technology, going so far as to strike deals with carriers to deliver free mobile web viewing.


It's set to expand that reach to those for whom any advanced cellphone is out of the question. In part through the help of a Knight News Challenge grant and South Africa's Praekelt Foundation, the non-profit's Wikipedia Zero effort will offer its content through SMS and USSD messages in the next few months. Curious users will just have to send a text message to get an article in response, with no web required at all.


It's a big step forward for democratizing online information for those who may not even have access to a smartphone, although we're curious as to how it will handle large articles; we can only imagine the volume of messages when trying to look up the known universe.

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Wikimedia Foundation launches travel site 'Wikivoyage'

Wikimedia Foundation launches travel site 'Wikivoyage' | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Want to know more about the German spa city called Baden Baden, or "Bathing Bathing?" Or how to get to Khajuraho -- an Indian town known for its ancient erotic rock carvings? All this and more will be in the Wikimedia Foundation's new travel site, called Wikivoyage.


A bare-bones version of the site has already been up and running since September, but the official launch of the filled-out site is tentatively scheduled for January 15.  Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales appeared on The Colbert Report yesterday and confirmed that the site would be launching "soon." Wales told the show's host that the site does not have a business model and will not have any advertising -- as is the case for all sites run by the Wikimedia Foundation.


The goal of Wikivoyage is to provide users with information on travel destinations and recommendations on restaurants, hotels, nightlife, and more. The site's content is filled out with the open source wiki tool that lets users create, update, and edit any article on the site.


"Wikivoyage is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable world-wide travel guide," the site says. "Whenever travellers meet each other on the road, they swap info about the places they came from and ask questions about places they're going. We want to make it easy to share that knowledge and let others share it."

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Wikipedia’s for-profit cousin Wikia unveils its new Lightbox video player and a slew of syndication deals

Wikipedia’s for-profit cousin Wikia unveils its new Lightbox video player and a slew of syndication deals | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

One week after Wikipedia launched its HTML5 video player, its for-profit counterpart Wikia has released its very own new multimedia streaming player, and a slew of content syndication deals.


Just to recap, while Wikipedia is the non-profit, crowdsourced encyclopedia; Wikia is his Web-hosting service for crowdsourced wikis, free for readers and editors, but funded by advertising to make money.


Now, Wikia is unveiling a new Lightbox multimedia player for the site’s 50-million-plus monthly global visitors. The new Wikia player will feature nearly 100,000 videos and 14 million photos, including content from its new syndication partners AnyClip, IDG, IGN, RealGravity, and ScreenPlay. This will give users access to 5,000 hours of premium content.




Wikia’s strategic launch is consistent with the general trend across the online media sphere, with video playing a far more prominent role. “The new video library, and Lightbox player will amplify Wikia’s naturally strong community creation and curation activities by enabling the assembly and packaging of user created and premium photo and video content in one place,” says Wikia CEO, Craig Palmer. “This also gives us the opportunity to bring our users the best professional video content available on the Web. Like the recent redesign of our Home Page and Hubs, these efforts will make it easier to showcase the passionate pursuit of knowledge through collaborative storytelling.”


Through the new Lightbox player, Wikia users can stream trailers, previews, clips and studio videos at up to 1080p (HD) quality. They can also curate professional, licensed content for integration with original wiki content.  During its beta phase, the Lightbox player offered multimedia collections on wikis such as Shrek, Mortal Kombat, Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings. It’s now available to all 250,000+ Wikia communities across its video game, entertainment and lifestyle categories.


The interactive  player can be triggered from any photo or video thumbnail, or users can navigate directly to the collection of videos on a given wiki by selecting the standalone video collection page in the navigation bar. Interestingly, users will soon be able to embed these videos on their own websites, which will be a huge development given the network effect this will help create.


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Driven by developing countries, Wikipedia passes 3bn monthly mobile page views, aims for 4bn by June

Driven by developing countries, Wikipedia passes 3bn monthly mobile page views, aims for 4bn by June | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

For better or worse, Wikipedia has become one of the top go-to Web destinations for those looking for information on, well, just about anything. And it almost certainly had a part to play in the demise of the printed version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica too.


So it probably will come as little surprise that Wikipedia is seeing a significant rise in mobile visitors – indeed, it has just surpassed three billion mobile page views for the first time ever in a single month


To put this in context, this means that 14.5% of all Wikipedia page views now are via mobile, an increase of 4.6% on the same period last year, according to Wikipedia. And if you go back even further, you can see that a mere two years ago, only 500 million arrived at Wikipedia via mobile.

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Wikimedia Foundation raises $25 million

Wikimedia Foundation raises $25 million | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

The Wikimedia Foundation, the steward organisation behind the Wikipedia project, has concluded its annual fund-raiser with the announcement that $25 million have been raised from 145,573 donors to keep the online encyclopaedia advertising-free. The money raised will pay for improvements to the MediaWiki software that runs the site, server infrastructure and projects to increase the number of Wikipedia editors globally.


This year's fundraising campaign ran on the English version of Wikipedia in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for nine days, which constitutes the shortest fund-raising campaign initiated by the Foundation to date. Last year, a similar campaign raised $20 million in 46 days.

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Wiki Inventor Sticks a Fork in His Baby

Wiki Inventor Sticks a Fork in His Baby | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Ward Cunningham, the creator of the wiki, is proud of his invention.


Ward Cunningham, the creator of the wiki, is proud of his invention. “We changed the world together,” he says of those who contributed to his software development site C2, which spawned the online collaboration software that underpins Wikipedia and countless other services across the net.


But there is one thing about the wiki that he regrets. “I always felt bad that I owned all those pages,” he says. The central idea of a wiki — whether it’s driving Wikipedia or C2 — is that anyone can add or edit a page, but those pages all live on servers that someone else owns and controls. Cunningham now believes that no one should have that sort of central control, so he has built something called the federated wiki.

This new creation taps into the communal ethos fostered by GitHub, a place where software developers can not only collaborate on software projects but also instantly “fork” these projects, spawning entirely new collaborations.


Over the years, developers have written over 35,000 pages of content on C2, all of which reside on Cunningham’s server instead of on servers controlled by the author. When you contribute to someone else’s wiki, you risk losing all your changes if that site goes down. It also means you have to play by someone else’s edit rules.


There’s nothing stopping you from copying and pasting your contributions from a wiki, or starting your wiki if you don’t like someone else’s edits. But it can be hard to attract an audience. Cunningham says that in the early days of the wiki, many other people tried to start software development wikis but most of them didn’t get much traction. People wanted to contribute to C2, because that’s where the readers were.

The federated wiki is an attempt to solve these problems. As a starting point, he has built a new piece of software — dubbed The Smallest Federated Wiki — to demonstrate the concept. The radical idea of the wiki was to put an edit button on every page. The radical idea of the federated wiki is to put a “fork” button on every page.


Cunningham’s vision is that you will have your own wiki, perhaps several wikis. When you see a page on someone else’s federated wiki that you want to edit, you can click “fork,” and the page is copied into your own wiki where you can edit it. The owner of the original wiki can then decide whether to merge your changes into the original page.


Readers can still find a list of forks, so even if your changes aren’t accepted readers can still find your version of a page. The federated wiki concept does more than just help editors own their own data, Max Ogden, a Code for America fellow who has advised Cunningham, tells Wired. It enables dissent.


“Wikipedia forces you to give up your own perspective,” Ogden says. There are issues that no one will agree on, but with the federated wiki model, everyone can have their own version of controversial pages. “And they’re all linked together, so you can still explore them like a wiki.”


The similarities between the federated wiki and GitHub are not coincidental. “The radical code sharing that’s implicit to GitHub was an inspiration,” Cunningham says.

But is it too nerdy to catch on? To run The Simplest Federated Wiki, you’ll need your own web server, which Cunningham thinks is an important part of the project. Cunningham credits this philosophy to Network Startup Resource Center founder Randy Bush, who helped Cunningham set up the server that C2 ran on when it first launched in 1994.


When Cunningham met him in 1994, Bush was helping universities in developing nations set up web servers and connect them to the internet. It was Bush who first introduced Cunningham to the idea that everyone should have their own web server. Cunningham doesn’t think you necessarily need to have your own physical server under your desk anymore, but thinks it makes sense for people to control their own servers.


“If people don’t control their own infrastructure, they get needy,” he says. They’re at the mercy of service providers who can disappear, impose rules that constrain creativity and/or make it difficult to backup content that you’ve created. “It’s good to simplify things, but they shouldn’t be simplified in such a way as to make the user helpless.”


To make Federated Wiki easier to adopt, there’s a one-click installer to deploy a server to Amazon Web Services. But today, with even many of most tech savvy of operators choosing to post their content to walled gardens like Facebook, Tumblr, and Google+, Federated Wiki may be facing an uphill battle. But Cunningham is undaunted.


“The assumption is that we won’t be creative, but Facebook proves that everyone wants to have their own page, their own stream,” Cunningham says.

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