Education/News/January 2020/Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse – Highlights from the second unit of the online course
Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse – Highlights from the second unit of the online course
Author: MGuadalupe (WMF)
Summary: How do I know if my community will really benefit from the project I want to implement? What is a logic model? Where can I find funding to bring my project idea to life? These are just a few of the questions addressed during the second unit of the Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse online course.
The second unit of the online course was launched on September 30, 2019. In the following 10 weeks, our participants worked through 5 different modules to develop their project management skills as applied to Wikimedia education initiatives. They selected a project idea they want to develop (or have developed in the past) and worked through a series of assignments to build a final project proposal. Project management skills can be key for Wikimedians who want to find better resources and allies to bring to their projects. Having these knowledge and skills helps them to effectively organize and present their project ideas into high impact initiatives that will benefit not only Wikimedia communities and projects, but also their local education contexts.
What exactly did this unit cover?
Participants discussed the importance of collecting data and assessing the problems, gaps, and needs in the scope of their projects. Identifying and understanding these needs (via surveys, interviews, observation, etc.) will be the first step to framing an impactful project. We did a mini-needs assessment ourselves and learned that by the end of this module, half of the participants who had declared that they were not sure/didn’t know what “needs assessment” meant ended up creating a Problem Tree for their project as a needs assessment exercise.
After identifying the problems (along with their causes and effects) that our participants wanted to address through their projects, it was time to start thinking of an action plan. Logic models allow us to create a visual display of the activities we will develop in our project and how they connect to the intended outcomes and long-term impact we expect to achieve by logical cause-and-effect relationships. It illustrates how the project is intended to work. This proved to be a great new challenge to try for our participants!
Stakeholders are any individual, group, or institution that have an interest or involvement in a project or are affected by it. They also could have the power or influence to affect a project (negatively or positively). Participants used a power-interest matrix to understand their internal and external stakeholders, and identify potential new partnerships for their projects. This in turn helps them identify how to best manage their time, energy, and communications strategy with the different stakeholders involved.
Budgets are another important step in your planning process. By creating a budget you decide how you are going to use your resources in the different stages of your project, you can understand your restrictions, and this organized financial data can help you to manage uncertainty. Participants explored different approaches to planning, managing, and reporting a budget for the project idea they’re developing.
Grant writing is the process in which you complete an application or proposal to gain access to a funding opportunity for your project. This can help you secure financial resources needed to achieve the project goals. But it goes beyond that! Through a series of exercises and discussions, participants reflected on the elements that make a grant proposal successful and they shared their experiences in grant applications.
What did participants think about this unit?
Florencia Claes from Spain told us:
Agu Zanotti from Argentina told us he learned that:
Amber Berson from Canada shared her experience as well:
Additionally, at the end of this unit we conducted a quick anonymous survey to see how our participants were using this online course and the aspects they have found more helpful so far. Below you can see some of their thoughts:
Thank you all for your feedback! We are also taking note of your suggestions to replicate the course in other languages, to invite more education specialists to record a video lesson, and to facilitate easier access to more case studies and research from and about the Wikimedia education community.
What is next?
Unit 3 of this online course is now open! Participants are expanding their project proposal by incorporating monitoring and evaluation plans, and exploring advocacy skills for Wikimedia education projects. Are you interested in joining? The course is open until March 31st! Register here. If you're curious about the project ideas developed by participants of this online course, keep an eye out for the features coming up in February in our social media channels!
We would like to express our gratitude to the awesome professionals who supported the development of this unit by providing insightful consultations to our team and leading virtual lessons for our participants. Thank you, Dana McCurdy, Jorge Vargas, James Baldwin, Woubzena Jifar, and Krishna Chaitanya!
About the Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse:
The Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse is a pilot project being developed by the Education team at the Wikimedia Foundation during 2019/2020. It uses a startup incubator model alongside a rigorous online course in Wikimedia & Education project management to equip Wikimedians with the skills, knowledge and support they need to bring their ideas to life and scale them into high-impact education initiatives in their communities. It supports project leaders to structure their activities on the idea of knowledge equity, considering the challenges and opportunities of their Wikimedia community and their local education contexts.
Did you miss the highlights article from Unit 1? You can find it here.
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