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Wikimedia Diversity Conference 2013 in Berlin
The topic of diversity and the challenges arising from its lack have repeatedly been addressed in the Wikimedia universe. Despite the number of people participating in Wikimedia projects and albeit both, amount and quality of content being produced increasing, many social groups, cultures and languages remain under-represented. Amongst other things, this under-representation is reflected in the type of knowledge we access through Wikipedia and its sister projects.
In order to tackle the issue of diversity, about 80 Wikipedians and Wikimedians from all over the world gathered in Berlin last weekend to join the first Wikimedia Diversity Conference. The conference was hosted by Wikimedia Deutschland, Wikimedia Nederland, Wikimedia UK and the Wikimedia Foundation. It gave us the unique chance to share our knowledge and understanding of diversity topics. We engaged in discussions about our work in the field of gender diversity and geographic diversity.
In 26 sessions, presentations as well as workshops, the participants discussed different strategies and approaches that aim to foster more diversity, exchanged best practices and created new ideas for future projects together. The different aspects of diversity that were discussed during the conference ranged from gender-related issues, such as the inadequate proportion of women or LGBT groups, over more technical questions like “how can we reduce barriers and make the Wikimedia projects more welcoming and friendly to new editors in order to prevent scaring them away?”, to geographical aspects, such as the low representation of languages and editors from the so-called “global south”.
You can find an extensive documentation of the conference including etherpads and presentations for all sessions, Photos and Video-Interviews (coming soon) with all speakers at the documentation page.
EduWiki Conference 2013 convenes in Cardiff
by Stevie Benton
Educators and Wikimedians from around the world met this weekend in Cardiff for Wikimedia UK’s second annual EduWiki Conference.
The conference addressed issues that concern both the education sector and the Wikimedia movement. These include: how we promote digital literacy, how we discourage plagiarism, how we assess learner contributions, and how we can use the data about users and their behaviour (“learning analytics”) that online tools give us.
The two day conference brought together academics, students, librarians, and support staff-as well as contributors to Wikipedia, Wikiversity and Wikinews-for talks, presentations and workshops including three keynotes. Gareth Morlais, Digital Media Specialist at the Welsh Government, spoke about the difficulty of getting minority languages recognised by the web’s big names such as Google. The size of Welsh Wicipedia is one marker of the importance of the language, and this is one way Wicipedia creates opportunities for Welsh speakers. Gareth delivered his presentation in Welsh, with live translation through headsets.
David White from Oxford University used his keynote to report on interviews with students about their use of Wikipedia. He contrasted the official disapproval that many schools and universities show for Wikipedia against the success learners find in using online tools to efficiently answer homework questions. The resulting “learning black market” discourages learners from being honest with their lecturers or teachers about their use of Wikipedia. White challenged universities to rediscover their original ethos of educating for leadership rather than for retrieval and synthesis of facts.
Day two’s keynote came from Rodney Dunican, the Director of Global Education at the Wikimedia Foundation. He reported that there are now sixty countries with a Wikipedia Education Program, including dozens of different universities and colleges in the US and Canada. He highlighted the great motivation that students can get from writing for Wikipedia’s global audience.
Dr Toni Sant, Education Organiser for Wikimedia UK, said: ”I feel privileged to have been entrusted with the opportunity to convene the second annual gathering of the main Wikimedia operators in the UK’s education sector. We’re also blessed with the presence of similar collaborators from various other countries around Europe, Australia, and North America. We are now well placed to extend the international reach at Wikimania 2014 in London next August, where the future of education will be among the main themes.”
The presentations were filmed and will be shared over the coming few days on Wikimedia Commons and YouTube once editing is complete. If you have media files from the conference, such as photographs or video, why not upload those to Wikimedia Commons, too? You can also read reactions on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #eduwiki.
"Students Write Wikipedia" in the Czech Republic again
The Students Write Wikipedia program in the Czech Republic continues in this winter term again, after 26 successful projects accomplished during the last two years. We plan 4 projects at the Faculty of Science, Charles University, and 4 other projects both in Prague and in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic.
Our know-how in leading the program, using only volunteer force, enables us to execute many projects each year and it does not take so much time. We also decided to improve the guidelines on Czech Wikipedia, translating the English Wikipedia's Training developed by Sage Ross. At the same time, we are experimenting with the Education program extension - see an example of a project that is set to run on this extension this year. Czech Wikipedia is one of the very first Wikipedias who adopted this extension.
Notes from Tec de Monterrey-Mexico City Campus
While there is no “big” news this month, there have been a number of developments to share. The most important is that Wikimedia activities have been recognized on campus as a student group under the name of “Wiki Borregos”  (rams, the school mascot). Efforts are ongoing to have this recognized by the Foundation as a Wikimedia User Group.
In October, campus librarian Lourdes Epstein traveled to Monterrey, Mexico to present about Wikipedia and the campus’s involvement at the Festival International del Libro (International Book Festival). She reports that the presentation was well-received by the librarians in attendance with several asking how to get started themselves. This presentation has also led to plans to have an official training session in December for Tec de Monterrey professors.
Photos have started coming in for the Day of the Dead Wiki Style photo contest sponsored by the campus library , with quality of both photos and descriptions noticeably improved over last year . Students continue with the project to record pronunciations of Wikipedia article titles related to Mexico and have included a version of the traditional song “Las mañanitas” as well.
More than 50 gather to celebrate third Egypt term
On October 3, more than 50 professors and students gathered at Ain Shams University to celebrate the success of the third term of the Wikipedia Education Program Egypt. Students in Egypt have been some of the most active contributors in the education program globally, contributing more than 12 million bytes of content last term alone. Professors from each university as well as student faculty leaders shared their experiences with the group, encouraging them to continue to participate in the program in the future. Professors, students, and volunteer Wikipedia Ambassadors were recognized for their contributions with certificates. Check out pictures from the event on Commons!
Plagiarism study results released
One complaint we've heard from many English Wikipedia experts is that students in the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada often plagiarized in the articles they created or expanded for Wikipedia as part of their class assignments. While plagiarism is certainly a widespread problem throughout academia worldwide, we had heard anecdotally from several professors that the Wikipedia assignment led to less plagiarism than they were used to in their classes. So we investigated by doing a larger plagiarism study comparing our students' work to that of other new editors and experienced editors. While caveats apply, we found that students plagiarize less than other new editors, but more than experienced editors. See the results.
In light of the plagiarism research reported last month, we've updated the guidance we offer students during the online training with a new video. Many students struggle to understand how close is too close when it comes to paraphrasing, or fail to understand how important it is to properly attribute quotations to appropriate sources. This video clearly explains what plagiarism is, why it's bad for Wikipedia, and what happens when editors get caught plagiarizing. Watch the video.
Feedback sought on new Welcome to Wikipedia draft
As part of the revamp of the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure, feedback is being sought on a new draft. The complete overhaul of the brochure focuses the new text on what brand new contributors really need to know before adding content to Wikipedia. See the draft and offer your feedback.
Articles of interest in other publications (this goes last)
Every day, users of French Wikipedia might be reading and referencing entries created by the 7th grade students in Gabriel Thullen’s computer science class at the College des Colombieres in Versoix, Switzerland.
Thullen’s students have created 78 Wikipedia articles—mostly in French—and contributed to hundreds of others. The student-written contributions cover a wide range of subjects—from entries on the clothing brand Aeropostale, to the Israeli singer Asaf Avidan, to the ice cream snack Dippin’ Dots, to the rap album Planete Trappes Vol. 2, to Amazonian parrots. Read rest of article here 
A new course offered at Tel Aviv University seeks to teach medical students a skill that may be of use outside the clinic: writing and editing entries for Wikipedia.
The one-credit elective, called “Wiki-medicine: The Wonderful World of Wiki and Free Medical Information in Hebrew Wikipedia,” is the first of its kind in Israel. Participants will meet with writers who regularly contribute to Wikipedia in both Hebrew and English to learn how to produce reliable entries and about intellectual property rights. Read rest of article here 
The University of Mississippi’s Spring 2014 course “Open Educational Resources and Practices” will include the module “Writing Wikipedia Articles” (aka WIKISOO), which I developed and taught through the School of Open; as well as “Open Content Licensing for Educators,” developed and taught by Wayne Mackintosh as part of the OER university consortium. The new graduate level course (Edhe 670), taught by Dr. Robert Cummings, will invite learners from around the world to take these two course modules alongside graduate students, free of charge. This is the first time a university has adopted a School of Open course as part of a formal university course. Read rest of article here 
Later this month, the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada will officially move from being directed by the Wikimedia Foundation to being directed by a new nonprofit, the Wiki Education Foundation. The Wiki Education Foundation is run by volunteer academics and Wikipedians. Jami Mathewson will continue as program manager for the United States and Canada, but as an employee of the Wiki Education Foundation now. For more on the transition, see a blog post from Wiki Education Foundation board member Mike Christie.
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