Education/Newsletter/August 2014/Single

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By the Wikipedia Education Collaborative

Education was a major topic at Wikimania 2014 with a number of lively events, some filled to overflowing! The sharing of experiences and advice began with pre-conference workshops, panels, and trainings on August 6 and 7. This event mainly targeted educators and others who are not yet using Wikipedia in educational settings, but who are curious about it. Workshops included those to introduce basic editing skills and brainstorming ideas. There was training for Ambassadors, too.

Several education sessions were held on August 8. Topics were Wikipedia and medicine, including a review of the Wikipedia course for medical students at Tel-Aviv University, efforts with the One Laptop per Child program, the challenges of introducing wiki-style work in traditional education situations, the introduction of the Wikipedia Education Collaborative, a Q&A for the Wiki Education Foundation, and a review of some of the major challenges that the Wikipedia Education Program faced in the past.

A final education block was presented on the last day of the conference, August 10, with the results of a study using offline Wiki Readers with students in India, South Africa and Mexico, as well as a session on the use of metrics to evaluate and develop education initiatives. The metrics session involved a panel of program leaders from the Arab World, Israel, Mexico, United Kingdom, and United States & Canada discussing how they use numerical data to evaluate their programmatic efforts.

All recorded sessions were archived on Livestream.

Media Coverage


Photo Gallery

By Jami Mathewson (Wiki Education Foundation) and LiAnna Davis (Wiki Education Foundation)

The Wiki Education Foundation (Wiki Ed) has completed its first full term of supporting the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada and seeks to expand our reach to more universities and more student editors. We will spend the next several months expanding our support infrastructure so we can maintain our positive impact on Wikipedia and on student learning outcomes once we bring more student editors into the program. Jami will work to expand partnerships and train campus professionals, and LiAnna will oversee our planning and evaluation to measure our impact. We have also posted two new part-time jobs for Wikipedia Content Experts in the humanities and sciences, so we can provide better oversight for the contributions to Wikipedia.

Wiki Ed has published its statistics and information about student editors' contributions to the English Wikipedia in the Spring 2014 term from the United States and Canada program, which can be seen in this blog post. Student editors in 65 courses added the equivalent of 7,300 printed pages to the English Wikipedia, and a lot of the content improved Wikipedia's depth of coverage for underrepresented topics. Wiki Ed prioritizes impact and outcomes, and we are extremely happy that the articles improved by our student editors have already been viewed by 96 million readers who seek this knowledge.

After seeing such positive outcomes from this previous term, we look forward to the work from student editors as the program grows to more instructors and universities in United States and Canada!

Wikimedia Taiwan's "Wiki Seed Of Taiwan Knowledge" program banner.

By Liang-Chih Shang Kuan, Chinese Wikipedia

Wikimedia Taiwan and Taiwanese Wikipedians are looking to make a connection with someone in the Taiwanese college system -- professors, staff members, or students -- and provide them tools to use Wikipedia. This is part of a new program from Wikimedia Taiwan called Wiki Seed Of Taiwan Knowledge. The purpose of this project is to: improve the quality of Chinese Wikipedia entries and to increase the number of Taiwanese volunteers on Chinese Wikipedia to promote universal knowledge-sharing culture, and to promote open interaction between the Wikipedia community, civic groups and educational institutions and to inspire social change. If you know of any Taiwanese higher education contacts, if you are are interested in attending monthly meetups, or if you would like to get involved with this project in some other way, please contact Liang-Chih Shang Kuan, Reke Wang, or Supaplex.

WikiCamp Vanadzor 2014

By Lilit Tarkhanyan (Wikimedia Armenia)

Wiki Camp 2014 Part Two has started, with Armenian wiki-community again in Vanadzor. Almost 75 students from different high schools around Armenia have gathered here to create and edit hundreds of articles in the Armenian Wikipedia. There are also Syrian Armenians among the participants, who create and edit articles in Western Armenian, which has been declared an endangered language by UNESCO.

Every day the best editor, the best group and the best article are chosen. During the workshops, campers master wiki tools and improve their editing skills. Workshops are paused by music breaks, sports, intellectual games, dances, etc.

After two weeks, the wiki campers will have added about 2500 articles to Armenian Wikipedia. Besides quantity, they also aim to create quality.

After improving Armenian Wikipedia's position on an international chart on August 14th, the student editors continued contributing with much more enthusiasm. It was Edmond Khachatryan's edits to the Nissan GT-R article that helped Armenian Wikipedia to improve its place. For this, he will get the Armenian Wikipedia Cup especially designed for the event.

Some of the campers are from wiki clubs from different cities of Armenia. At the end of the wiki camp, Wikimedia Armenia is going to open new wiki clubs to support active Wikipedians.

During the first WikiCamp, campers created and improved about 2000 articles. During the second wiki camp, the students are eager to improve those results.

Please watch this video about the first ever Wiki Camp.

By Ad Huikeshoven (Wikimedia Nederland)

Wikimedia Nederlands contracted researchers Peter van Eijk and Bart Nieuwenhuis of PBF Innovation in Utrecht to plan three pilot projects in education in 2014 and 2015. The researchers worked with WM NL board members Ad Huikeshoven and Jan Anton Brouwer, director Sandra Rientjes and WMF Senior Global Education Program Manager Floor Koudijs, holding interviews with educators at universities and other institutions to create a report which is the basis of these projects. The researchers' report can be seen here (in Dutch).

Initial illustration of pedagigical tasks in designing a Wikipedia assignment (in Swedish).

By Sara Mörtsell (Wikimedia Sweden)

In order to recognise the efforts and achievements of teachers and students, Wikimedia Sverige is in the process of designing an Open Badge system for local activities of the Education Program in Sweden. These badges will be used both in online and offline training with teachers to map out the learning and the various tasks. Teachers can display the recognition of their skills in places that matter to them. Issuing badges for students is likewise a way of motivating participation and high quality contributions and a tool for showing students how to accomplish this.

Download as a pdf file (424 KB)

By Christopher Schwarzkopf (Wikimedia Deutschland)

Charting Diversity: Paper on diversity in Wikipedia released


Last year Wikimedia Deutschland cooperated with Beuth University of Applied Science concerning diversity in Wikipedia. Now we published the key conclusions and recommendations and translated them into English, so that you and other interested people can also take a closer look at our work concerning diversity and maybe get some input for your own work. The English title of the paper is “Charting Diversity - Working together towards diversity in Wikipedia” and it starts off with a review of the current situation in the (German) Wikipedia. Furthermore, it offers different concepts and possibilities how to improve diversity in Wikipedia. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on the paper and hope you find it helpful. You can download the pdf-version of the paper by clicking on the image to the right, if you would like to get a printed copy of it, just contact us as we have lots of hard copies in our office and are happy to supply you with as many as you need.

Open Educational Resources conference 2014: Program and partners


In early July we officially published the program of the Open Educational Ressources Conference 2014. We are looking forward to a lot of interesting talks and international speakers like Michał Woźniak from the Free and Open Source Software Foundation and Per Brahm, founder of an OER-platform called Learnify that is funded by the Swedish government. We also managed to win a lot of partners and supporters for the conference, for example the German Commission for UNESCO, the Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg, the Technologiestiftung Berlin and the Deutsche Bildungsserver. More Partners and supporters are Lehrer Online, Open Education Europa, Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien im Internet e.V., Creative Commons, the Open Knowledge Foundation, Co:llaboratory, L3T, rpi virtuell, segu,, Serlo and iRights Lab.

Other activities

  • We created a short video for the first event of our event-project “digital competencies” that shows some impressions of the evening as well as interviews with the speakers and Prof. Jürgen Friedrich of the board of Wikimedia Deutschland. The video can be found here.
  • Last month's HIVE Berlin meetup took place under the heading “HIVE Berlin meets OK Festival 2014”. Because of the Open Knowledge Festival that took place in Berlin at the same time, there were a couple of international guests present and talked about their projects and work, for example Matt Hanninan from HIVE Pittsburgh. He told us a lot about the learning network there which was pretty helpful and interesting for us. Besides that, the School of Open, the Open Coalition and HacKidemia presented their work.

If you have any questions regarding out activities, please contact us!

By James Forrester (WMF) and Sherry Snyder (WMF)

VisualEditor was recently enabled as a Beta Feature on Outreach Wiki, so we wanted to tell you a little bit about it. VisualEditor is a newer, simpler way to write and edit Wikipedia articles. It is easier to use for most new editors, because it works more like a familiar word processing system. For basic editing, like writing sentences, adding links to other pages, inserting images, and adding citations to reliable sources, VisualEditor does not require that you or your students know any of the complex, old-fashioned "wikitext" markup language. One major advantage of this system is that students can focus on writing content instead of focusing on getting the right number of brackets, apostrophes, slashes, pipes, and equals signs into the page.

On 158 language editions of Wikipedia, VisualEditor is available to all users by default. However, on Outreach wiki as well as four of the largest Wikipedias—Dutch, English, German, and Spanish—and on many of the smaller ones with complex language systems, you need to specifically enable it by going to Beta Features in Special:Preferences and choosing the "⧼visualeditor-preference-core-label⧽" item. When it is available, you will see two tabs for editing each page: One that says "Edit" (for VisualEditor) and one that says "Edit source" (for the old wikitext editor).

Simple tools

The link tool
How to make a link to another Wikipedia page

VisualEditor helps your students "do the right thing" more swiftly and easily, guiding them with prominent, simple tools. A visual interface is both more intuitive—helping users find out how they can do things they already want to do, like add a link—and more discoverable—letting users find out that they can do things, like make the page a redirect to another.

Most people doing normal article-writing will find that VisualEditor is easy to use and easy to get the results that they want. It is good for writing, copyediting, adding new citations of reliable sources, finding and inserting images, and many other everyday tasks. It also has some special features, such as easy access to a formula editor that accepts LaTeX code for complex mathematical formulas.

The citation tool
How to choose a citation template

The biggest advantage of using VisualEditor is that it is quick and easy to see what changes you have made and what their effects will be, with the page whilst you edit it looking almost exactly like it will once you have saved.

The most prominent tools in VisualEditor are the two that editors use most often: adding links and citations.

  • To add a link, you select some text and click the link button () to choose the page that you want to link to. The same tool accepts URLs to make links to external websites. To change the label on the link, just click on it and start typing. To change the link but not the label, open the link tool and change the link.
  • To add a citation, click the menu ("⧼visualeditor-toolbar-cite-label⧽ ") and pick which kind of citation you want to insert. Some wikis have specified special templates for making advanced citations, which formats citations based on a form that you fill out. At all wikis, you can create manual references by choosing "⧼visualeditor-dialogbutton-reference-tooltip⧽" from the end of the "⧼visualeditor-toolbar-cite-label⧽ " menu. Then you can type in the citation just like any other text, adding italics, links, or other formatting exactly as if you were typing it in the main document.

Words of caution

An instructor at Singapore Management University shows VisualEditor to students in a computer-equipped classroom.

You and your students will still need to use wikitext markup sometimes. VisualEditor isn't available on talk pages. You can't make new tables or change the number of rows and columns in existing tables (yet). Sometimes, VisualEditor will be unable to do what you want or will cause problems that can be corrected quickly by editing the wikitext. The Editing Team at the Wikimedia Foundation is still working on fixing bugs and adding features for this new editing environment. Please tell them about the problems you find or suggestions you have by leaving a message at VisualEditor/Feedback.

VisualEditor provides limited support for some complex languages requiring the use of IMEs (input method editors) or large numbers of special characters, such as Chinese and Welsh. For these languages, VisualEditor isn't turned on by default (status list here). At Wikipedias where it's not automatically offered to everyone, you can try it out by going to Beta Features in Special:Preferences and choosing the "⧼visualeditor-preference-core-label⧽" item. If you write with more than one language on the same page (for example, providing an Arabic word and an English translation), then you will want to go to Beta Features and turn on the "⧼visualeditor-preference-language-label⧽".

VisualEditor currently is not compatible with Internet Explorer or some other older browsers. It can be very slow for people using older computers or slow Internet connections. This list shows the support goals for browser versions. The VisualEditor team is currently trying to solve problems with Internet Explorer, and support for at least one version of IE may be available within a couple of months.

VisualEditor has bugs, but do not be afraid of them! VisualEditor is very complicated software that is still under active development. Only through using VisualEditor in practice can we find all the problems with the software that need fixed to make VisualEditor the easiest and most seamless editing experience possible for Wikipedia. If you or one of your students find a problem while using VisualEditor, please take a moment to report it. With your help we can make Wikipedia truly accessible for everyone to edit.



We believe that most education projects will benefit from considering VisualEditor as a writing tool. For more information about how to use VisualEditor, please see the multi-lingual user guide.

Happy editing!

Wikimania: student medics get credit for webside manner


The Times Higher Education profiles the Wikipedians, medics and academics who shared their work on Wikipedia in the field of medicine at the annual conference Wikimania. The article also addresses the benefits of building Wikipedia into higher education teaching and learning and interviews Wikipedia Education Collaborative member Shani Evenstein, who works at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University on Wiki-Med: the first academic Wikipedia course in Israel. Read the article here.

The joys of being a Wikipedian


The New Indian Times profiles 3 Indian contributors to the Wikimedia movement: an engineer, a developer, and a university student. The article also lists easy ways to get involved and rules every new Wikipedian should know. Read the full article here.

VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian meets participants of Wiki Youth Camps

Wiki Camp 2014 Vanadzor

VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian met with the high schools students participating Wikimedia Armenia's Wiki Youth Camp in Vanadzor, Armenia. One of the objectives of the camp is to engage Western Armenian-speaking youth in Wikipedia content development. The Western Armenian language has been declared an endangered language by UNESCO. Read the full article here.

Wikimania: Ukrainian college student named Wikipedian of the Year

Jimmy Wales announces Ihor Kostenko as the Wikipedian of the Year

The Kyiv Post profiles Ihor Kostenko, who was named the Wikipedian of the Year by Jimmy Wales at the closing ceremony of Wikimania 2014 in London, UK. Kostenko was a 22-year old geography student, journalist, and EuroMaidan activist who was one of the Heavenly Hundred, a group of 100+ protesters killed during public protests in Ukraine. During his two-and-half-years of writing for Ukrainian Wikipedia under the username Ig2000, he wrote 280 articles and edited more than 1,600 articles on a wide range of topics (sports, geography, economics, and the history of the Ukrainian military). He also popularized Ukrainian Wikipedia on social networks. Read the full article here.

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