Education/Archive/Education Program Short Guide

From Outreach Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This document was prepared initially by Luisina Ferrante (WMAR) and Vahid Masrour (WMF) and is open for discussion and improvement. If you have suggestions to make, links to add, and questions to ask, feel free to modify this page or to use the talk page.



This document is based on a wealth of experiences from around the world, and tries to identify shared patterns for classroom projects that use commonly used Wikimedia-based activities. It does not cover every single use-case of the Wikimedia platform, rather it tries to identify the typical “itineraries” for common project types, and it is expected that other documents will identify paths that are specific to projects such as Wikisource, Wikidata, Wikiversity, and others.

There is a great variety of approaches to the Wikimedia platform and its educational uses, and this document proposes one approach that has been validated around the world: “content creation”. This applies mainly to Wikipedia, but can also be transferred to other Wikimedia projects, such as Wikibooks, Commons, and Wiktionary. This type of classroom project is most commonly used in high school and higher education contexts.

The overlap between the education sphere and Wikimedia, though it has been iterating for over 10 years remains mostly experimental: There is room for exploration, testing out approaches and measuring effectiveness. This overlap requires both a specific attention from the Wikimedia community and openness from educators and their managers. Experience shows that impact in students’ learning is high, and sometimes can be transformational.

The purpose of creating this overlap goal is the development of its participants:

  • Development of the students’ capabilities
  • Development of the open knowledge made available on the Wikimedia platform

Even as this is the purpose of Wikimedia classroom projects, they will also impact in the Educators’ capabilities (in terms of use of Information Technologies, notably), and on the Program Leaders involved in their development. In that sense, like any open education project, they will require a mutual effort: both communities of practice will have to find ways to sustain a shared narrative that will derive in shared actions. This guide intends to provide a wireframe on which actors of the education sphere and Wikimedia volunteers can graft their own experiences.

The required support from the Wikimedia community


While mostly invisible to people that don’t participate in it, the Wikimedia community has a direct influence on what can and cannot be done on the Wikimedia platform. Like any other community, it has developed norms and a culture of its own over the years.

In practical terms, this means that a classroom project needs to find some support from within the community. In some cases, the educator herself might already be knowledgeable about how Wikipedia and its community works. More often, a Wikipedian should participate in the activity, especially where the community norms are presented, and to provide feedback before the publication of contents to the Wikimedia platform. It has been observed that such support increases the likelihood of success in this type of projects.

How can this support be found and provided? Usually through connecting with the relevant Affiliate (Chapter or User Group), who can then facilitate getting in touch with an experienced user. This step should be taken at the beginning of the project (rather than, say, when it’s time to publish).

Proposed short guide for classroom education projects



  1. Define a proposal around the topics that are relevant to the educator and that can do with improvement. This is especially relevant for educators in high school and higher education.
  2. Set up the topics, based on the agreements reached with the educators, based on how that aligns with their syllabuses, and on the previous research made on Wikipedia.

The output of the preparations should lead to:

  • Creation of a list of articles that need to be created/improved, be it in terms of references, and content updating.
    • This is how the Basque Country generates initial lists of articles
    • In some cases the program leaders have more freedom to define what the priorities are in terms of content:
      • This is how WMAR works: They request suggestions from users, librarians in seeking articles that need improvements.
Setting up the Programs & Events Dashboard

Providing teacher training

  • Discuss:
    • Learning objectives
    • Possible activities
    • Evaluation methods
  • Provide an initial training (face-to-face or online) so that educators are familiar with basic edition tools.
  • Share the list of proposed articles that are in need of improvements, and follow-up on questions that may arise
  • Select an initial list of articles (to be created or to improve) that will be worked on. That list should be displayed on the Dashboard (and be updated if need be)
    • In the case of articles to be created, it is important to keep track of the students’ work
Providing tutorials multimedia materials

Wikimedia Argentina has prepared a series of video materials that are frequently used during the sandbox phase of the students’ work, especially in what refers to finding sources:

Training students

Discussion topics:
  • How prepared are students to start editing Wikipedia?
    • (this could be measured in a pre- survey)
  • Wikipedia and its norms
  • Making good use of their “digital footprint”
  • Good quality contents vs. poor quality contents
Content creation
  1. User account creation (preferably from their homes/different locations in order to avoid account creation limitations from a single IP)
  2. Content creation by the participants
    1. Use of classroom time
    2. Work in extra-curricular spaces if needed
  3. Preparation of the draft version (in Sandbox)
  4. Follow-up with content drafts before publication in classroom time
    1. providing feedback on the drafts
  5. Close collaboration with educator (and a Wikipedian) at the time of publishing new contents
Assessment and preparation for publication

As much as possible, the goal for participants should be “mastery learning”: Feedback is provided with the intention of assisting the student to develop her capabilities, rather than just “grading”. The participant’s skills in writing, source searching, and information literacy are the most valuable aspect of her participation.

The “triple filter” method
  1. Peer assessment (can be done among groups)
    1. Using a rubric is recommended in order to give focus to the feedback. Examples:
      1. Rubric 1
      2. Rubric 2
    2. It can be useful to compare the proposed changes to existing similar articles
  2. Teacher feedback
    1. Focus on checking sources and information quality
    2. check for plagiarism
  3. Wikimedia community feedback
    1. experienced wikipedians check contributions on the sandbox and give feedback before publication, especially regarding wikification.

After publication follow-up

  • Don’t forget to check Page view statistics together with educators and participants (through the Dashboard and Watchlist monitoring)
  • Monitor improvements that are made after the publication of contents
  • Assess learning and achievements of participants:
    • Post survey:
      • What did the students learn? (regarding the topic of their contents, information literacy, using Wikipedia, ...)
    • Write a class blog post regarding the experience
  • Extracting learning from the program
    • What was valuable for the educator?
      • Is the educator interested in replicating the experience? How much experience and autonomy did she acquire through the process?
    • What was the impact of the project in the Wikimedia community?
    • What are the lessons learned for the program leader?
  • Sharing back to the community

Other support materials