Education/Newsletter/June 2015/New video tutorial for Commons created by students

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By Leigh Thelmadatter (Wiki Learning)

Animation group of the servicio social group (Wikiservicio) Summer 2015
Cómo subir multimedia a Wikimedia Commons

Snippet: Wiki Learning- Tec de Monterrey students create a video tutorial for uploading into Commons

In June 2015, a group of seven students from the Tec de Monterrey (Wiki Learning) created a short tutorial in Spanish for uploading files to Wikimedia Commons. All students study digital art and animation and two of them have experience in sound recording and editing. There are two interrelated purposes of the video: to teach students (and professors) the basics of uploading photographs when there is no Wikimedian and to help review the steps, when these may be forgotten. Storyboarding, animation and visual editing was done by Ana Belinda Guerrero, Ana Cecilia Escamilla and Naomi Iwadare. Sound editing and recording was done by Juan Erostique and Ingrid Hernandez. Narration was by Francisco Velasco. In total, these students contributed almost 300 hours to the project.

The basic idea was provided by the author, as to what was needed from the video. The students then took this outline and created a script (done by Alfredo Ponce) for narration. The script was reviewed by the other members of the group and a storyboard for animation was created. It was decided to divide the video into two parts, one to explain what Commons is and what can and cannot be done (based on the cartoon strip that appears for newbies in Commons) and then the basic steps for uploading. The first part of the video uses motion graphics with elements (called props) mostly drawn by Ana Belinda and Naomi. The second part relied on screen grabs from Wikimedia Commons as an example photo was uploaded and categorized.

In an interview for this article, the students reflected on the experience, the process of creation, what they learned and what they hope this project might promote in the future. All the students agreed that one of the best parts of the project was the opportunity to work as a team (one referred to the group as “family”) and learning from each other. For example, Ana Belina taught the other members of the group how to work with the program After Effects, and Ingrid learned the basics of sound recording and editing. Several students noted that the opportunity to give back to Wikipedia, a source they have used so frequently, was gratifying. Naomi noted that a number of the elements/props in the animation refer to Mexico, out of pride that this innovative video was produced in their country.

One motivator for the group is the lack of quality animation and video in Wikimedia Commons when there is need for motion illustration in so many Wikipedia articles. Knowing that the video can be adapted/reworked in the future, they hope that others use this video as a template to produce the same material in different languages.

The group also found the project useful to develop their skills for future careers. Unlike most classroom assignments and projects, they are creating a real video for a real world purpose, and real world impact. They found it to be a wonderful opportunity to put together many of the skills they have learned in class into practice in a holistic way. Without having to worry about grades or teacher approval, they found more freedom to experiment and make mistakes. When they ran into problems, they were able to develop their own ways to solve them. Several stated that they think that they have done a better job with this project than they have done with their school assignments! Lastly, as they are friends and chose to work in this way, the teamwork aspect was optimal. Each one knew with the others could do and could trust each other to work for the overall benefit of the project.

As a teacher myself, this project embodies all the promise of project-based learning and teamwork building that we try to create in the classroom setting, but all-too-often do not achieve. Working with servicio social students, outside of the traditional grading framework, allows greater flexibility and the opportunity to work on more “meaty” projects. It also shows the importance of giving students as much flexibility in what they do, and the freedom to fail and learn from those failures. However, I should emphasize that ALL of the success of this project came from the students themselves, from their internal motivation to do something meaningful and well-done.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program at Tec de Monterrey here.