Education/Newsletter/March 2017/Overview on Wikipedia Education Program 2016 in Taiwan

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Time is youth -- How do we deal with the challenges in our Education Program? A brief summary of Wikipedia Education Program in Taiwan 2016.[edit]

Author: Liang-chih ShangKuan, FireFeather, Koala0090, KOKUYO



Educational institutions in Taiwan have been asking students to write Wikipedia as one way to learn and make a contribution to society. In 2016 there were high growth of institutions working on Chinese Wikipedia. Here are 3 online interviews with Wikipedians that worked with those institutions. In the mean time of excitement, they also share what they learned from outreach setback.

National Taiwan University[edit]

The month of March is the blossom time of Azelea flowers in Taiwan, which is also the perfect time for visiting the "Azelea Festival" in National Taiwan University(NTU). During the weekend of 11 and 12 March, the university administration hosts department and club expositions, so high school students can come to the university to get a better picture of how their college life could be in the future. also got a booth in the two day club exposition. It is a very good opportunity for the club to make acquaintances with potential members. As an alumni of the university, I also went to the booth to help out. I met a couple of students, some already started to work on contributing wiki related projects. It is inspiring that one of the high school students shared his impression on the observation of the quality improvement in the Chinese Wikipedia for the past year. Part of the thanks belongs to the current club working with the physical department of such as gravitational wave, Boltzmann distribution, and Magnon.

We took this opportunity to speak with the student leaders at NTU and to introduce 3 cases of the Wikipedia Education Program in 2016. Here are their thoughts of the excitement and challenges from the experience:

Background of WEP at the National Taiwan University[edit]

There is a long history of connections between educational institutions and Wikipedia, even since back to the time of 2006 when the Wikipedia club was established. Various courses implemented the WEP in collaboration with student clubs and professors from multiple fields. But it quickly became inactive since the club founders' graduation. In 2013 there were 2 years that alumni of the university worked with professors to edit Wikipedia, but it didn't continue. In 2016 a group of new students were able to regain the vividness of interest in Wikipedia.

After the club back to life, the momentum gained at an amazing speed: in only 5 months from August to December 2016 the club has hosted 8 lectures, 1 full-day edit-a-thon, and 3 different courses with collaboration with professors. There were a total of 58 articles created or improved

Thoughts from a core member at NTU[edit]

FireFeather is one of the core members of the club. She was gracious enough to share her experience on practicing Wikipedia Education Program:

Q: During the process of planning, executing, or evaluation the Wikipedia Education Program, what is the single most challenge you need to point out?
A: The project I am involved in is to help students who had no experience of editing Wikipedia finish their final reports, which are articles. We had introduced how to edit, gave them some reminders and the sources of self-learning before they started. However, it is still difficult for them to absorb it in a short time, so we have many one-on-one Q&A online. Sometimes we even had to edit their articles directly. For students who start their homework just before the deadline, we have to answer their questions as soon as possible.
Q: How do you overcome the challenge?
A: Spent three or two days on Wikipedia and Facebook after MY final exam (Thank God their deadline was after final exam).
Q: What resource did you use during the process?
A: Wiki Page for the education project before(i.e., school wifi, facebook fan page(Q&A platform)
Q: Apart from the resource above, are there any resources that you think you should use, but didn’t use while doing the program?
A: We should list some notices so that we could invite other Wikipidians to help us check students' articles.
Q: Is there any additional thing you want to address?
A: In fact, we gave students more help then what we had to, but we are glad we did so.

Tzuchi University: Medical students work with Literature department[edit]

If the National Taiwan University is a major spotlight of the Wikipedia Education Program with abounding resources and people, then the Wikipedia Education Program of the Tzuchi University, located in the less populated area in Eastern Taiwan, is rather the outcome of the dedication of only a few Wikipedian’s efforts. Three years ago, Koala0090 graduated from high school and entered the medical college of, and he also brought his passion of editing Wikipedia, which was started while in junior high, into this campus.

He was trying to invite his classmates to edit contents on Wikipedia, but did not get much momentum until one day in 2014 when he bravely wrote an email to the school administrative to suggest using Wikipedia in the curriculum. The idea brought the attention of Professor Chou Chong-tien (周中天) of the English literature department. He was then invited to plan the course so the students in the literature department can translate the course. The collaboration between them has already been going for 3 semesters and this will be the fourth in a row in 2017. The outcome is in high quality - two students Hsu Chiau-ling(徐巧靈) and Tsai Zhuan-mei(蔡顓鎂) translated the article "世貿中心七號大樓" and it then became a featured article in Chinese Wikipedia. These result above make the case of that the education program in eastern Taiwan is unique in its own way.

Here are the thoughts of him regarding challenges he encountered:

Q: During the process of planning, executing, or evaluation the Wikipedia Education Program, what is the single most challenge if you need to point out?
A: People who are familiar with editing Wikipedia is rather limited, and it’s difficult to apply the program for longterm execution.
Q: How do you overcome the challenge?
A: Have not overcome yet. I am still worrying how the program may go after I go to internship in the hospital.
Q: What resource did you use during the process?
A: I don’t use any fund in the aspect of money, and the professor is willing to pay me part-time grant so I can assist him for integration and upload of the students’ works. The main resource I use in the labor power. The director of English department set up the curriculum, students edits, and I use my time to integrate and upload them.
Q: Apart from the resource above, are there any resources that you think you should use, but didn’t use while doing the program?
A: All resources in Eastern Taiwan is limited, there is no resource to reside now, so the issue is not the case (laugh).
Q: Is there any additional thing you want to address?
A: I hope the community can develop a set of program modules so the local communities can build up from that step by step, and also receive reasonable resource. In that case, we don’t need the power of a "lone wolf". After all one single individual has only limited capacity, it’s hard to fight alone and become success. The case in Hsinchu is a special case though.

A collaboration between Wikimedia Taiwan, Hsin-Chu Education University, and the Technology Department of Taiwan[edit]

The last program in this summary is the Photonic Program started in 2015. The initiative grew from the idea of Dr. Yang Chia-hei (楊嘉會) of the Physics department at Hsin-Chu Education University. He then discussed it with Reke, the secretary general of Wikimedia Taiwan. In 2015, the program was officially funded by the Technology Department of Taiwan, and the chapter hired a Wikimedia active volunteer, Kokuyo, as the program manager who was studying art at Hsin-chu Education University (新竹教育大學).

During one school year, Kokuyo collaborated with 逢甲大學、交大電機系學生會、科技部、維基台灣分會, and 新竹社群. As the result, there are about 20 students and a few other partners that joined. There were 90 articles was created or expanded, and there are also contributions of over 60 multimedia files. This program is the first case that so many institutions collaborate together. Here is his experience shared—

Q: During the process of planning, executing, or evaluation the Wikipedia Education Program, what is the single most challenge if you need to point out?
A: How to make students be involved in Wikipedia article editing is really difficult, especially considering the top-bottom nature of this program. (top- teacher and the chapter, bottom- students). Even though a prize is provided that can incentivize students to work on their articles, it does not mean that students will be involve in editing Wikipedia passionately and instantly.
Q: How do you overcome the challenge?
A: It is still depends on the teacher to lead and motivate the students. The effect of in person meet up is irreplaceable. Through the regular in-person meet up in the campus, students successfully created a few articles. But it is still far from make the students actively edit and even create articles from their own will.
Q: What resource did you use during the process?
A: We provide the How to edit Wikipedia brochure that Wikimedia Foundation created. We also rearrange the online teaching materials from English Wikipedia, and we also created a Facebook group for this program.
Q: Apart from the resource above, are there any resources that you think you should use, but didn’t use while doing the program?
A: About the instruction part of in-person meet up (To hand in hand instruct students plays an important role to make the outcomes), maybe we can ask the help from the volunteers of the local community or support from the chapter, so we can make the ambiance of "actively editing". I also think even it’s in the college stage, if we want to build up long-term relationships with the students, we still need to use some activity of interactive games to increase the centripetal force.
Q: Is there any additional thing you want to address?
A: When talking about outreach in campus, mostly we need to bring out the passion of the students, barely passable articles can be created only if we rely on prizes.

Summary: Make the program a team effort[edit]

From above, we can see each of the Wikipedia ambassadors shared their own perspective of the challenges regarding outreach. Part of the concern is regarding the motivation and unbalance of work time or work load. Through the interview we can see that all the program leaders need the support of other Wikipedia savvies. They all agree on if there are more ways to work together, such as teaching the new comer students how community and interface works, or help uploading and integrating student’s work, then they could have better outcome and also stop them from burn out. We can see the chapter really focus on providing those kind of help — we are trying to make the volunteers who likes contributing in Wikipedia to get to know each other if they are in the same city or in the same school so they can partake the workload, but there are still a big space of improvement for this.

We are trying to encourage sharing and organizing workflow to solve the issue of time limit, but it can only work for the short term. We are still facing the issue of who to hand down the program in the long run. Right now the Wikipedians who are actively involve in the education programs will be graduated someday, and even the most resourceful club in Taiwan, the core team are still has only a few people who actively participate. We still need to keep finding the way to solve the issue if we want the programs to be sustainable in Taiwan.