Education/Extension

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The Education Program Extension for MediaWiki adds features to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects that support classes of students editing articles.

It includes structured Institution and Course pages and feeds of recent activity by students.

Please see also the help page on English Wikipedia and the learning pattern on Meta.






About[edit]

The Education Program Extension facilitates educational programs by adding features for teachers and students that are improving Wikimedia projects as part of the Wikipedia Education Program.

Those features include various interfaces to manage courses, students, institutions, mentors, etc., as well as improving workflow for everyone involved (enrollment, seeing changes made by other students, article and reviewer association, and providing several analysis/statistics interfaces).

This page documents the features and usage of the extension.

It explains how to download, install, and configure it on a your own Mediawiki installation.

It also links to information on using the ListStudents API to get from the extension usernames or user IDs for the students in one or more courses, which can then be uploaded as a cohort to Wikimetrics.

These slides were presented at the 2015 Wikimedia Conference (WMCON15), They give an overview of the extension.

They cover: what it is, what it does, how it works, and why it helps. These slides also provide a SWOT analysis and examine the extension's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

This page documents the extension's impacts on Wikimedia projects.

Features[edit]

The Education Program Extension allows teachers and volunteers to register a course on a Wikimedia project.

A registered course gets a page of its own, called a course page. You can add a description of the course. You can register students in the course with their usernames.

And you can view the students' work collectively, chronologically, in a format called an activity feed, which acts like a news feed of students' edits.

It also creates a list of volunteers who are supporting courses and a list of professors that are running courses. Volunteers can create a user profile about themselves. Currently, professors cannot. Those are the most important features.

Functionality[edit]

The Education Program Extension provides functionality specially developed for the Wikipedia Education Program.

Course management

Without the extension, the process of creating courses and managing data linked to them is ad-hoc. The extension provides interfaces for creating and managing courses and linked data.

Signup and tracking of students

Without the extension, the process of signing up and tracking students is manual. The extension automatically aggregates students' usernames on their course page.

Course monitoring and reporting of student contributions

Several groups need to be able to either monitor the course activity and access the student data or summaries of this data. The extension allows for easier course activity monitoring and reporting of students' contributions.

  • Teachers want to be able to track their students' progress so that they can appropriately guide and grade.
  • Students want to be able to see their own progress.
  • Ambassadors and other veteran contributors want to see what students are working on, to provide support/guidance where needed.
  • Several parties, including the WEP itself, want to be able to get to all data and summaries, to analyze the success of the program and find trends.

Benefits[edit]

These slides presented at WMCON15 give an overview of the extension.

There are many benefits of using the extension. It solves several problems.

  • Automation. Automates program management. More accurate than manual tracking.
  • Simplification. Improves evaluation and reporting for program leaders. Less administrative work for instructors.
  • Transparency. Aggregates contributions. Reduces potential conflict with the community.

Additionally:

  • It helps you see your progress.
  • It helps you see your growth.
  • It helps you measure your impact.
  • It helps you identify troublesome spots that may need more attention.
  • It helps you identify failures faster so you can stop investing energy there.
  • It helps you tell a better story: a great anecdote backed up by great data!
  • It helps the movement recognize your good work! ❤

Impacts[edit]

This page documents the impacts of the Education Program Extension on the Wikimedia projects.

Preview the extension[edit]

If you wish to see how the extension looks, visit any of the projects where it is deployed. There is a list here.

In the search box, type: Special:Institutions or Special:Courses or Special:OnlineVolunteers or Special:CampusVolunteers or Special:Students or Special:StudentActivity.

Those are some of the interfaces that any user can see when the extension is deployed on a project. To view the full list of interfaces available to users through the extension, go to Special:SpecialPages and search on the page for "Education" (in English).

For demonstration and testing purposes, we have created a fictional example institution called Foo University and a fictional example course page called Wikis and Wiki Technologies.

And here are examples of real course pages at real universities on English Wikipedia:

On English Wikipedia, courses at universities in the United States and Canada that are supported by the Wiki Education Foundation use a different template. The background color is purple.

And the connect box in the header directs questions to contact﹫wikiedu.org. All other courses are supported by the on-wiki community, local education programs, and the global education program team at the WMF.

On those course pages, the background color is blue. And the connect box in the header directs questions to the education noticeboard.

Here are examples of English Wikipedia course pages that are supported by Wiki Ed:

Enabling the extension[edit]

The Education Program Extension can be installed on any Wikimedia project, though it was mostly geared toward the Wikipedia use case.

To determine whether or not the education extension is already installed on your project, go to the Special:Version page on your project. For example, on English Wikipedia, that page is here: en:Special:Version.

Or go to Special:SpecialPages. For example, on English Wikipedia, that page is here: en:Special:SpecialPages). Search on the page for the word "Education" (in English). If you see a section called "Education", then the extension is installed. If you do not see a section called "Education", the extension is not installed.

Current installations[edit]

Currently, this extension is being used on 20 Wikimedia projects: on 5 sister projects in 18 languages.

Please check the Wikimedia-Extension-setup workboard on Phabricator for requests to deploy / enable / install the extension on new Wikimedia projects.

Project Language Code Status Original Proposal / Community Discussion / RfC Phabricator Request Newsletter Announcement Special:Institutions
Wikipedia Albanian SQ Possible
Arabic AR YesY Done T59729 Link
Belarusian BE Possible
Bulgarian BG Doing... Plans
Catalan CA YesY Done Portal Discussió:Educació Link Link
Chinese ZH Doing...
Czech CS YesY Done Link
Dutch NL YesY Done Link Link
English EN YesY Done RfC Link
French FR Possible Talk page discussion
Greek EL YesY Done Link
Hebrew HE YesY Done Link
Latvian LV YesY Done Link Link
Macedonian MK YesY Done Link T50262 Link
Persian FA YesY Done Link Link
Portuguese PT YesY Done Link
Russian RU YesY Done Link Link
Serbian SR YesY Done Proposal
Vote
T110619 Link
Slovak SK Doing... Proposal
Spanish ES YesY Done Wikipedia:Café Link
Swedish SV YesY Done Link
Ukrainian UK YesY Done Вікіпедія:Кнайпа Link Link
Wikiversity German DE YesY Done Link
English EN Doing... Wikiversity:Colloquium
Wikiversity:Education extension
T111630
Wikinews English EN YesY Done Link
Wikisource French FR YesY Done Wikisource:Scriptorium T105853 Link
Wiktionary Hebrew HE YesY Done T89393 Link

Requesting new installations[edit]

If the education extension is not yet installed on your Wikimedia project but you would like it to be, please contact Tighe Flanagan for more information and to discuss how this is done. If you would like to use this extension on another language Wikimedia project, please follow these steps:

1. Translate the extension for your language, if it is not already.
2. Establish consensus to enable it on your wiki, typically by holding a Request for Comment. Although a simple Village Pump/Community Portal discussion and a "yes/no" decision may be sufficient for the default configuration. There are several examples linked in the table above.
3. Submit a request on Phabricator to enable the Education Program Extension (pointing to the on-wiki consensus) and/or ask Anna Koval (WMF) to do so for you. There are several examples linked in the table above.
4. Assign the extension user rights as needed for instructors and for the editors coordinating the use of course pages. Or, ask a project administrator to do so.
5. (OPTIONAL) Translate or adapt the training modules to use in conjunction with the extension.
6. (OPTIONAL) Announce the deployment in the education newsletter.  There are several examples linked in the table above. The education team can help you.

If you have your own installation of MediaWiki and would like to enable the this extension on it, please follow these steps.

Using the extension[edit]

To get started using the extension after it is installed on your project, please follow these steps:

  1. Get the appropriate course user right
  2. Add your institution(s)
  3. Add your course(s)
  4. Enroll your students
Getting course user rights

This extension introduces four new user groups to control the functions of the extension and identify users associated with particular course roles.

The four course roles are "course coordinator", "course instructor", "online volunteer", and "campus volunteer".

These rights only work within the "Education Program" namespace on the project. By default, these rights are all assignable by administrators, and administrators inherit all associated user group rights.

The technical rights and the community context for which they are intended are explained here.

After the extension is installed on a wiki, administrators (or sysops) can grant (optionally) course user group rights to users who support education program activity on the wiki.

The course coordinator user group rights give full access to all course page features, including creating and deleting courses and granting the other course rights to other users.

The course coordinator user right should be granted to education program managers/leaders/coordinators and anyone else who will be managing the use of the extension's functions (if they are not already administrators or sysops on the project).

Administrators and course coordinators can grant (optionally) the "course instructor" user group rights to instructors, and the "online volunteer" or "campus volunteer" user group rights to online/campus volunteers.

Some communities also grant the online volunteer role to the regional education program manager for additional support and oversight.

Adding institutions

An institution page in the "Education Program" namespaces shows courses offered at a specific institution.

An institution page shows:

  • Institution name
  • Institution location
  • All Wikipedia Education Program courses (past, present, and planned) at that institution

Project administrators, as well as users in the course user groups (course coordinator, course instructor, course online volunteer, course campus volunteer), may create, edit, or delete an institution page.

Adding courses

A course page using the "Education Program" namespace organizes information related to a course.

A course page shows:

  • Course name
  • Term
  • Start and end dates
  • Number of students
  • Status (current, planned, ended)
  • Description of the course (often including or linking to a syllabus)
  • Instructors
  • Volunteers
  • Students
  • Articles that students are assigned to create or improve
  • Articles that students are assigned to review

To create a course page, you must have a user account on the project as well as the rights to do so (either admin rights or any of the "course" rights -- course coordinator, course instructor, course online volunteer, course campus volunteer).

You can request the appropriate rights on the project's Village Pump or Community Portal or on some other locally designated page, for example, on English Wikipedia, course user rights are requested on the Education Noticeboard.

1. Check to see whether your institution (e.g., your college or university) is already in the course page system by going to Special:Institutions.

If not, add it. (If you are logged in and have the proper rights, you should see an “Add a new institution” section above the list of institutions already in the system.)

2. Go to your institution page, then start your course page. In the “Add a course” section, select your institution from the pulldown menu, enter the course name and the term (e.g., 2013 Q1), and click “Add course.”

3. Fill in the details for your course including an “enrollment token” that your students will use as the code to allow them to enroll on the course page, the start and end dates, and a description of the course in general and what students will be trying to do on Wikipedia in particular—and then press “Submit” to create the course page.

4. You can then use the Special:MyCourses page (linked from the top of the page near your username, called "Courses") to see recent activity from your students after they are enrolled in the course.

Enrolling students

1. First you must add your institution, add your course, and set up your course page -- see steps above.

2. After your course page has been created, you can send your students the URL of your course page along with the enrollment token.

3. All students must have previously created created their Wikipedia accounts. Logged in users can enroll themselves as students in the course -- see screenshots below. Alternatively, course coordinators, course instructors, and course volunteers can enroll students as well.

4. Students can then use the Special:MyCourses page (linked from the top of the page near your username, called "Courses") to see recent activity from in the course.

;Additional features
  • Preferences - The extension introduces a new preference for displaying a conveneient link to Special:MyCourses in the personal tools links at top right corner of every page. Instructions to enable this preference can be found here.
  • Special pages - The extension creates a set of related special pages for presenting information about classes and student activity.
  • Interface messages - Some optional interface messages can be used to customize the appearance of course pages and their default content.
Getting student usernames for Wikimetrics
  • ListStudents API - An API can be used to get a list of usernames or user IDs for the students in one or more courses, which can then be uploaded as a cohort to Wikimetrics.
Deleting duplicate courses or institutions
  • Remove duplicate courses - In some cases, the same course or org may be listed twice in the courses list, because it has two different course IDs. To clean this up, users can delete courses by ID number through the API.

Training on using the extension[edit]

Options for course pages[edit]

This learning pattern explains the value of creating a program portal on your local wiki.

This learning pattern explains the value of using course pages to organize your assignments on your local wiki.

This list tracks current courses on English Wikipedia, so that people can see what the extension is like in actual practice.

This course page uses plain wikitext.

This course page uses the {{course page}} wizard template.

This course page uses custom tab-based layout.

This course page (in Arabic) uses complex styling.

Roadmap, plans, and updates[edit]

Information about the project's current roadmap, future plans, and status updates is posted here on MediaWiki.

See also[edit]