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Memorandum of Understanding
The Wikipedia Education Program in the Arab world seeks to add quality content in Arabic to the online encyclopedia. The program promotes the use of Wikipedia as an education tool that allows professors to achieve their learning objectives for their particular subjects and at the same time provides an innovative platform for student work to reach and benefit a global audience. Students make contributions to the Arabic Wikipedia by writing articles or translating good quality articles from other language Wikipedias into Arabic.
The impact on Wikipedia is seen primarily through student contributions in the context of the semester under the supervision and guidance of a professor or teacher. The program aims to create an effective learning environment for students, while also strengthening the content and community of Wikipedia.
At the beginning of the Wikipedia Education Program pilot in Qatar, a group of interested professors at Qatar University will be identified to the Wikimedia Foundation staff and QCRI. These professors will be provided with materials that explain the basic principles behind the education program and Wikipedia. A semester plan will be drafted that clarifies mutual expectations and the expected impact on Wikipedia.
Professors will have the authority to make final decisions regarding course plans.
QCRI will provide advice and feedback based on their knowledge of Wikipedia and familiarity with how Wikipedia assignments have worked in the past. Wikipedia Ambassadors will be identified locally in the student body if possible. Online Ambassadors will be conencted to courses and student activity through the course pages on-wiki and optionally through social media (Facebook, Twitter) or email.
Students and professors will all create individual accounts on Wikipedia for the purpose of editing in the program. If any participant already has a Wikipedia account, he or she can continue to use their previous accounts. The education team at the Wikimedia Foundation will track contributions based on these usernames.
Support provided by the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation will provide a variety of resources about the Wikipedia Education Program to help professors effectively use Wikipedia as a teaching tool and to help students learn about Wikipedia. This support will come in various forms, including coordinating with Wikipedia Ambassadors and online and printed materials. The Wikimedia Foundation can also provide high-quality resources and tips on assignment design, based on over two years of experience working with various professors on using Wikipedia as a teaching tool.
WMF, with the support of QCRI, will be responsible for training Wikipedia Ambassadors to support instructors and their classes.
Support provided by the Qatar Computer Research Institute
The Qatar Computer Research Institute (QCRI) will support the Wikipedia Education Program in Qatar through technical and program management support. This will include an introductory workshop for professors and students on editing Wikipedia, with the option of using the Ethraa content translation tool developed by QCRI.
Support provided by Qatar University
Qatar University will select a group of engaged professors to participate in the Qatar Pilot of the education program. These instructors will guide student contributions in terms of content and will ultimately be responsible for evaluating the quality of contributions and attributing any grades to the student work.
Qatar University and QCRI will be responsible for providing facilities for trainings and for any celebrations or conferences at the end of the terms and academic years.
QCRI and interested Qatar University professors will share experiences and learnings with other members of the Wikipedia Education Program in the Arab World.
QCRI and Qatar University will ensure that student contributions can be tracked through course page registration.
The Arab World Education Program Manager will solicit updates on a monthly basis either through QCRI or directly from the participating professors at Qatar University.
Courses participating in the Wikipedia Education Program will assign students to make significant Wikipedia contributions. The assignment will be planned out and described on the course page (see below), before the course begins. The sample syllabus and assignment design resources provided by the Wikimedia Foundation can be adapted to form the basis of the assignment, but need not be.
Designing the Wikipedia assignment and making final calls about the assignment is the responsibility of the instructor, although involving Wikipedia Ambassadors and QCRI in the process of assignment design is strongly recommended.
Each Wikipedia Ambassador must set up a course page on Wikipedia; the course page will include a brief description of the course, an overview of the Wikipedia assignment(s) in the course, and a detailed timeline indicating the milestones and due dates for the Wikipedia assignment(s), provided by the instructor.
The instructor will ensure that each student adds his/her Wikipedia username to the course page at the beginning of the semester. S/he must also ensure that students list the articles that they are working on. The course page is the Wikipedia hub for the class; students will use its discussion page to ask Wikipedia-related questions, and relevant resources and tools will be listed there.
The design of the assignment is ultimately the decision of the instructor, as is evaluation/grading of student work. The Wikipedia Ambassadors' role is to advise the instructor during the design and implementation process. Other responsibilities of the Ambassadors include:
- Wikipedia Ambassadors / QCRI:
- Teach the basics of editing Wikipedia to the class(es) they are supporting.
- Explain the norms of Wikipedia community culture and present cultural best practices to students.
- Support students as they contribute to Wikipedia articles, and answer students' Wikipedia-related questions, in-person and/or virtually.
By signing this document, you recognize that members of the Qatar pilot will work as a team to achieve the same goals. All program members recognize that class structure, assignment design, and grading are ultimately the instructor's responsibility and decision. All participants will treat each other, students, and other members of the Wikipedia community with respect.
Qatar Computer Research Institute
- Tighe Flanagan, Arab World Education Program Manager