Haifa University students write Wikipedia articles for academic credit
In September 2011, Wikimedia Israel and the University of Haifa launched a new project to write Wikipedia articles for academic credit in the university on the subject of humanities. The project started with a faculty conference. Professor Reuben Snir, the dean of the humanities faculty, opened the conference. Professor Snir talked about the positive impression he got from Wikipedia when an editor wrote an article about him. He praised the seriousness and thoroughness of the article. Seven active Wikipedians participated in the conference in order to provide support and show their presence.
The project has been active for three years, in twenty courses across five departments: general history, archaeology, Hebrew literature, Middle Eastern history and Israeli and Jewish history. In addition, articles have been written as part of the master's degree program for women and gender studies. As of 10 July 2014, 167 articles were written and approved for the article namespace and another 16 are still in sandboxes. Fifteen additional articles are in the draft namespace, and are still being worked on. Some of the articles reached featured status. Articles were also written outside of the aforementioned courses, by students with previous editing experience who asked their instructors to write articles for academic credit.
In the project, I visit a participating course and conduct a two-hour lecture and workshop on the subject of editing Wikipedia. The students come to class after having already registered a user account. The instruction is practical and I demonstrate editing step-by-step on a draft article, and the students practice each step before advancing to the next one. The students are also required to add their name to the project page on Wikipedia. After this, I help them on the site itself, and leave comments about their edits on their respective talk pages. The comments are usually technical—about the editing process itself, such as syntax—but I also provide content peer review if I read passages that require improvement. The approval process for uploading the articles to the main namespace consists of the relevant professor's approval of the content, and my approval of the Wikipedia style.
One of the most interesting things in the project is the large amount of Arabic-speaking students, especially women, in the women and gender studies courses. They write articles about major figures in the feminist movement and make breakthroughs in the Arab world. They are able to utilize Arabic-language sources and make the information available to Hebrew speakers too.
For the 2013–14 academic year, I initiated a meeting with the dean in order to expand the collaboration to other departments in the faculty. The department heads participated in the meeting, as well as Dr. Ory Amitay and Prof. Guy Bar-Oz, the two project leaders in the university. In the meeting I presented the project in front of all of the participants, with the aim of attracting more collaborations in the following year. I offered each department head to meet with the entire staff of their department and present the project. There were a number of such meeting requests, and a number of departments that showed interest.
In order make the process of editing Wikipedia easier for the students, a helpdesk with the option of personal training will be opened in the university library for those who register in advance. I will staff the helpdesk. The goal is to reserve a permanent weekly two-hour slot, with permanent hours and a permanent room. If the demand will be great, I will be able to increase the training hours.
I hope that these efforts will bear fruit, and in the next year we will see additional departments writing articles on Wikipedia. It should be noted that the faculty is very proud of this project, and publish it in the university spokesperson's official press releases.
One of the students wrote to me after having her article pass the criteria and go to the article namespace. She wrote about SEWA, the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India, and I thanked her for the interesting article when it passed. Her comment read: “Thank you, Hana. It was an exciting and challenging process for me. I hope to write additional articles in the fields that interests me.”
Macedonian internet marketing students learn about Wikipedia and suggest ways to improve its fundraising
The Wikipedians of Macedonia, organized by the NGO Shared Knowledge, for the very first time (to our recollection) have done two Wikipedia-related workshops as part of the tutorials in a subject taught at the Faculty of Economics at Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. The two workshops were held on 4 and 11 April as part of the tutorials for the subject Internet Marketing.
The first workshop was a presentation of a case study on the outlook of peer-produced versus price-incentivised websites in near future. The title was: “The future of the most influential websites” (in Macedonian: „Иднината на највлијателните страници на Интернет“). It’s about the Carr-Benkler wager. After the presentation, students who attended debated on who should win the wager.
The second workshop was a presentation of a case study on the Wikimedia Foundation and its fundraising. The title was: “How to raise $20 million without sales?” (in Macedonian: „Како без приходи од продажба до 20 милиони долари?“). The students were given a task to do a discussion during the presentation and after it, asking for details and sharing their opinions on the way of fundraising. They all had a homework with a deadline of 1 week which demanded from them to think of ways to improve the current fundraising methods. We heard and read a lot of interesting ideas worth sharing:
- Simona Misheva
- “Starting a cooperation with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the regional projects whose aim is to lower poverty and increase the educated population. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is specifically interested for the Africa region, but also other parts of the world in which education is for the privileged. Taking into consideration the fact that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a lot of funds, it would be a great success if some of those funds would be repurposed to improve Wikipedia in the local languages of the regions mentioned above.”
- “A banner on the Wikipedia home page with famous people from different areas saying that they have donated to Wikipedia while asking for everyone to donate too.”
- Daniel Kiteski
- “Put a banner on the Wikipedia.org home page with photos of ordinary people saying: ‘Each contribution matters’.”
- “Have a form with basic personal data (Name, city, country etc.) which everybody that donates could fill in. The form should not be mandatory. At the end of the campaign, or a few times during the campaign, publish a list of people who donated and to whom Wikimedia is grateful.”
- “You could use the form previously mentioned (with the option for the people to fill in their email contact) to send personal thank you notes via email to everybody who donates.”
- “An idea for rephrasing the slogan: Wikipedia is cost-free, but not costless”
- Antonio Velinov, Mihail Vasilevski, Mersim Memedi, Marko Josimovski
- “Put QR codes on public places that lead to different random Wikipedia articles. After reading (or during) a message shows up saying: Donate to Wikipedia.”
- “The QR codes could be put on places near important sites and lead to Wikipedia articles about the sites. The message that shows up could then say: You read this article free. If you liked it/ found it useful, donate so we can keep it up.“
- Elena Zikova
- “When there is a book fair, or a similar event, publishers donate to Wikipedia and articles about some of the books that are published by them are promoted by Wikipedia for the duration of the event.”
This was a pilot project done with no resources, supported by the teaching assistant on the subject. Individual projects like this one are accepted among the teaching staff of the University (which means that they are willing to cooperate) as long as they are closely connected to the subject they are teaching. About 20-25 students attended each of the workshops. (The Internet Marketing class had 30 students that year.)
Editing about Literary Theory in UNAM
PhD Mónica Quijano, professor in the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature (Facultad de Filosofía y Letras) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), has incorporated in the last three years an writing test about Literary Theory in Spanish Wikipedia, at the end of a busy semester. In this last months, the students of this optative subject in the Hispanic Literature major, edited about topics as Metaphor, Sociology of reading and Marxist literary criticism, among others.
"As universitarios (UNAM students), we have a social responsibility, which may result in different actions. One is help acquired knowledge to circulate freely. What better way to contribute with the capital from students of the Hispanic Literature major than Wikipedia?", said teacher Quijano, who received the support from Wikimedia Mexico Chapter to review the students' work.
Quijano explains about the use of Wikipedia in her classroom: "During this semester we approach our work from different perspectives: the first part of the course conducted theoretical readings related to the production of encyclopedic discourse and its transformations in recent decades with the popularity of the "wiki" and the internet. The second part was devoted to learning by developing entries in Wikipedia: structure, editorial style, content development and functions from the specific issues that the students decided to work. The seminar served as a workshop where each student presented his proposal, which was discussed and enriched by the rest of the group."
Professor training continues as part of the Wiki Learning program
The Wiki Learning Project of Tec de Monterrey in Mexico continues this month with teacher and staff training in the basics of editing Wikipedia and brainstorming ideas for projects. There were two sessions of 14 hours each on June 19/20 and again on July 3/4 with a total of 28 participants. One major help for these sessions was the participation of students currently working with Wikipedia as part of community service, who acted as tutors as the participants created user pages and new text in Wikipedia. Along with the creation and translation of text into Spanish Wikipedia, ideas from participants at the end of the workshop include the creation and improvement of mathematical graphs, having foreign students work with Wikivoyage and using MediaWiki to allow for real-time collaboration among faculty and students among Tec de Monterrey's 31 campuses in various parts of Mexico.
Czech education program presented at BarCamp, a free conference of Czech language
The Czech Wikipedia Education Program (Students Write Wikipedia/Studenti Píší Wikipedii) was presented and discussed at BarCamp in Sobotka, Czech Republic, on 28 June 2014. The talk was delivered by Vojtěch Veselý, a volunteer, member of WMCZ team and a student of history at Charles University. BarCamp is a "free" conference whose aim is to cancel the borders between the speaker and attendees. The topic of the conference was the new unified final exam at Czech public high schools and its future. The presentation, which was meant to show ways of redefining education, was echoed throughout the subsequent speeches, being positively referenced by Tomáš Feřtek (EDUin) and Eva Lehečková (Faculty of Arts, Charles University). Jakub Fiala, a blogger specializing in language culture, has stressed the lasting effect of writing on Wikipedia as compared to ordinary school essays.
Wikimedia Deutschland: Summary of activities in June 2014
More than 35 Wikipedians participated in the project "Wiki Dialog" (“Wiki Dialogue”) in order to work together on the on the subject of “quality in Wikipedia”. More information can be found on the discussion page of the first Wiki Dialogue (in German only). If you have further questions related to the project please contact Julia Kloppenburg or Dirk Franke.
In June we had another meetup for the HIVE Berlin Learning Network where three initiatives presented their work: The Geek Girls Carrots Berlin, the School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe and the Science Hack Day. In the discussion that followed the presentations, the participants exchanged their ideas and thoughts about potential target groups, possibilities and expectations. With regard to the inclusion of schools into the learning network, the view of a teacher from Berlin was very helpful for a better understanding of our target group. In addition we had the first project under the umbrella of the HIVE Network: On 21 June the Geek Girls Carrots Berlin organized the workshop “Introduction to Scrum” in the Wikimedia Deutschland office that was well attended by around 19 participants.
On 23 June we officially started our project “Digitale Kompetenzen” (digital competencies) with the first event that focused on the subject of data security awareness. The speakers were Dr. Imke Sommer, data protection commissioner for the federal state of Bremen, Martin Müsgens who works in media education and Prof. Dr. Karsten Weber who teaches technical science at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus–Senftenberg. Around 50 people, most of them with educational background, attended the event and the feedback was very positive. Videos of the event can be found on Vimeo and Youtube (both in German), photos on Wikimedia Commons. The next event will focus on the term “Digital Natives” and will take place on 1 September.
Our call for participation in the Open Educational Resources Conference 2014 that will take place on 12 and 13 September in Berlin ended on 17 June. We received a total of 49 submissions, which is more or less the same amount as in 2013. Our program team selected a total of 31 submissions. The program can be found here.
On 13 and 14 June, Wikimedia Deutschland, Wissenschaft im Dialog (science in dialogue) and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society hosted a barcamp on the topic of “society 2.0”. For two days 50 participants discussed different aspects of the digital society. Open knowledge, online-participation and crowdsourcing: what are the current developments that determine our future?
6th International Integrity and Plagiarism Conference
From the 16th to the 18th of June 2014, I attended the 6th International Conference on Integrity and Plagiarism at the Sage Gateshead, just across the Tyne River from Newcastle in England. The main reason for attending this conference was to deliver a keynote address on the second day of this event, entitled Student online research and critical thinking: Wikipedia in education.
I'd like to thank the conference organizers for inviting me to speak at this conference, as well as fellow Wikimedians LiAnna Davis from the Wiki Education Foundation for recommending me as a keynote speaker, and Jake Orlowitz who provided me with CC-BY-SA slides from a similar presentation he gave at the Plagiarism Education Week last April.
VLE content reuse at Wikimania
There will be a "VLE content reuse" introduction at the Wikimania Education Pre-Conference this year, on 7 August. This is a new direction for those interested in the Wikimedia/education interface. At the Future of Education workshop 21–22 June in London's Barbican Centre, which will host Wikimania, I was able to give an unscheduled talk on "Wikimedia Curricula", and that opportunity led on to this development.
It wasn't actually the time or place to go for any firm conclusions on the whole topic, of matching what one teaches about Wikimedia to audience on the bigger scales. But I drew on a number of sources: How Wikipedia Works, training materials I use in workshops, and the Moodle site put up by Wikimedia UK. The Moodle—more formally the WMUK Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)—has been in development now since 2012, and this was the first time I had spoken about it in public.
During the rest of the workshop, we were working towards the program for the Wikimania Education Pre-Conference. Wikimania will be an opportunity for the community in general to get involved in the reuse of the VLE content. I went on to do some curriculum work on the VLE, now posted on the Wikimedia UK wiki. The text of the VLE has been dumped into a dedicated wiki so that anyone can find it, without a VLE account; and that content is CC-by-SA licensed. But the VLE has further content: a set of around 400 quiz questions, for example, that could be re-used via a new tool I demonstrated, authored by Magnus Manske. There are also ample resource sections, giving access to helpful Wikipedia pages on the VLE topics.
I'm hoping to explain more, throughout Wikimania, at the WikiLounge drop-in training sessions.
Editor's Note: VLE is the acronym for Virtual Learning Environment, a type of online learning platform.
The WMF's Learning & Evaluation team (L&E) focuses on developing valuable resources for Wikimedia program leaders all over the world to evaluate their efforts. We work to understand what activities within the movement work and to replicate initiatives that are appropriate for each context. To this goal, every month we host virtual or face-to-face events, to share new resources to evaluate programs, do research and more.
With the newsletter, that will be issued quarterly, we aim to capture the highlights of the L&E team and share those with the community, in an outlet that brings stories to users' inboxes, and to encourage participation. Sign up here to get the first issue delivered to your talk page.
Find out who is evaluating what and how, good practices, resources for your programs and more! Add the Program Evaluation & Design portal to your watchlist and stay up to date with the latest news.
The Wikipedia Library
As a part of our core mission of The Wikipedia Library of getting Wikipedians access to high quality source materials, increasingly we have begun conversations with partners in the library world to increase the access and impact of research collections on Wikipedia. We are expanding our outreach and discussions with a number of different libraries in the academic world through several different elements of The Wikipedia Library’s outreach tools. Here are some updates on a few of our education-related experiences.
- One of our early supporters in our efforts was OCLC. OCLC is supporting our conversations with academic libraries by helping build relationships. Moreover, they are actively developing software tools that help connect Wikipedia users and readers with larger library collections.
- We have developed two new models of activity with university libraries beyond the more traditional Wikipedian in Residence model of affiliation:
- First, several Wikipedians are participating in our Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program which allows Wikipedians to become research affiliates with the partnering institution. We are always looking for interested in libraries to help sponsor further, if you know anyone who might be interested, please let us know!
- Refining a model found in multiple published case studies, we created a resource page and education program course page for library interns editing Wikipedia to connect their collections with researchers. We plan to help supervise the interns with online ambassadors, through the education extension. We are currently in the process of recruiting the first set of libraries to sponsor interns, any recommendations are appreciated!
- We attended the American Library Association’s annual conference this year, sharing a table with OCLC. This networking opportunity allowed us to connect with university libraries and publishers. Expect to hear more soon!
Want to find out more about our outreach to university libraries, access to academic databases or other library-related outreach? Get our newsletter “Books and Bytes” at en:Wikipedia:TWL/Newsletter.
Updates from Wikipedia Education Program and the Education Collaborative
Wikipedia Education Program
Rod Dunican, former director of the Wikipedia Education Program, announced last month his departure from the Wikimedia Foundation. Rod had worked with the Wikimedia Foundation since February 2010, both as a contractor and an employee, as the Director of Global Education/Wikipedia Education Program. We wish him well.
Floor Koudijs is the new Senior Manager of the team.
As the team goes forward to develop a road map for the future with our community members, Floor Koudijs will be the interim Senior Manager for the Education Program. Initially the team has been assigned different parts of the world in order to create a baseline of educational programs and activities, with Floor responsible for North America, Latin America and Western Europe, Tighe for the Arab region and Africa, and Anna for Asia and Eastern Europe.
Wikipedia Education Collaborative
The Wikipedia Education Collaborative (formerly called the Cooperative) met in teleconference on 11 July 2014. One result of this meeting is an information page about the Collaborative and its purpose. This description will serve as the basis for the discussion panel that will take place next month in London at Wikimania 2014.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Education Program team with any questions.
Articles of interest in other publications
Professor inova ao utilizar Wikipédia como avaliação
Political science teacher John Alexander Peschanski has students at Faculdade Cásper Líbero in São Paulo create articles related to Brazil's recent history, especially in memory of victims of political persecution as part of Wikipédia na Universidade. Read the article here (in Portuguese).
Spreading Awareness about the Wikipedia Education Program and Wikipedia Zero in South Africa
The SchoolNet SA blog featured several posts about Wikipedia Zero and the Wikipedia Education Program, increasing awareness of the zero-rated access that is currently available in South Africa as well as encouraging educators to check out the Wikipedia Education Program's resources and get involved! Check out the posts on their blog below:
- The Sinenjonga students in South Africa make a plea to cell phone providers…and the result
- Have you heard how the Wikipedia Zero project is spreading through Africa? Get involved...
- Take a look at the Wikipedia Resources available on the Wikipedia Education Program website
Colleges Identify Wikipedia's Educational Value
U.S. News & World Report looks at the emerging trend of having higher education students contributing to Wikipedia and the surrounding controversy. Read the article here.
Academics Continue Flirting With a Former Foe: Wikipedia
In their Wired Campus series, the Chronicle of Higher Education looks at how once skeptical and hostile academics are now embracing Wikipedia. Read the article here.
Wikimedia Global Education Program Series in The Signpost
The Signpost is publishing a series of articles presenting a snapshot of the Wikimedia Global Education Program as it exists in 2014. We interviewed participants and facilitators from the United States and Canada, Serbia, Israel, the Arab World, and Mexico, in addition to the Wikimedia Foundation. The first article features Wikimedia Education in the United States and Canada. Read the article here.