Wikisoba project/Initial proposal

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Draft using Template:Technology Project Proposal

Wikisoba is a working title for a project to create a "lite" version of Moodle. For the current state of play, see subpages:

and the Discussion section below. It is intended to have a demo version showing where the project is heading at Wikimania 2014.


A course management system that is free software and better adapted to small and medium-sized institutions involved in education and training. To be more specific, where Moodle is not suitable for applications when £40 a week seems like serious money, the idea is to develop a course management system that can mediate between a syllabus and accreditation by a badge system, via enrolment in lessons of mixed text, media and quizzes, and that can be hosted successfully in 1 GB. In line with Wikimedia values, collaborative development of text content, and social interaction, must be supported. Time scale 18 months to 2 years for initial development, of which 6 to 9 months would be prototyping, and 12 months+ would be coding, to a schematic worked out in advance.


A fork of Moodle that reverses its tendency to feature creep, and integrates features available in MediaWiki.


At least one year of developer time/£100K. Would require strategic alliances or outside grant funding to cover a high proportion of the cost.


Avoid trademark infringement.


Reduced hosting and maintenance costs for the VLE. Enable WMUK to offer hosting of courses for other chapters or thematic organisations, at annual costs in three figures.


Inadequate management of software development. Lack of a way forward to develop the software further.


The project has been moved forward by a tool developed by Magnus Manske, implemented on Wikimedia Labs:

The input consists of:

  1. A declaration of a base MediaWiki site, by domain name; and
  2. the title of a page on the wiki, which should have content written in an expanded dialect of GIFT syntax.

The tool runs at a URL on Labs that basically concatenates the wiki URL and the page title, and renders the syntax as a series of pages, either pulled in from the wiki in a plain skin (sections are possible, when numbered, where the heading level is ignored), or question pages. NB that the URL can therefore be placed on any page of HTML.

Here is a demo, based on this wiki. Here is another, based on Wikipedia, because the images seem to work there, and not here, at present.

Way forward to develop a "quiz repository", a possible WMUK-hosted educational site based on user-generated content:

  • Expand the GIFT syntax to have sections, each of which declares a base wiki;
  • Set up an account system, and private pages where account holders can write the GIFT syntax, for as many quizzes as they want;
  • Give the tool "admin" access to all those pages;
  • Make a front end that allows anyone online to access the quizzes, and categorises them usefully.