MENA Wikipedia Education Program FAQ's
The purpose of this page is to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Wikipedia Education Program in general and the Campus Ambassador program specifically. The role description page might also answer some of your questions. If you have other inquiries that remain unanswered, please contact Annie Lin (Wikimedia's Campus Team Coordinator): alinwikimedia.org.
Wikipedia Education Program
Why do a Wikipedia Education Program at all?
University students around the world have much potential to bring in new contributors of knowledge who are educated, teachable, and diverse. Students are immersed in a culture of learning, so sharing that knowledge with the world is a logical next step deserving of facilitation and elicitation. As the literate and engaged representatives of a country, culture, and population at large, university students and faculty are certainly well-positioned to contribute their knowledge to the rest of the world.
Why should my class get involved?
If the altruistic rationale listed above isn't enough for you, see this broader list of incentives.
In which countries are you planning on starting university programs?
Ideally, the incorporation of Wikipedia-editing into classrooms will happen globally! But for now (2011/12), we're focusing on a few countries based on a long set of criteria outlined here: US, Canada, Germany, UK, Brazil, India and the Middle East and North Africa Region.
What if my country / town / school isn't on the list? Is there a way I can get involved?
Yes, please do! There are several opportunities for involvement now, as well as some potential ways to get involved in the future.
- University/College Staff:
What is “success” for a university program? How do you know the initiative in the US was “successful”?
So far, we consider the program in the US has been incredibly successful in terms of both the amount of information added to the English Wikipedia as well as quality of information (estimated 60 percent increase in quality on edited articles). Moreover, classes involved more than doubled in the second semester, indicating a high likelihood of further scalability.
For more information on the 2010-11 US program, see Public Policy Initiative Evaluation and Research.
For more information on the factors for success going forward, see Wikipedia Education Program – Success.
University program in the MENA Region
Why was the MENA Region/Egypt chosen as the pilot location for the Wikipedia campus program?
Egypt has one of the largest number of colleges and universities in the MENA region and the largest population in geographic vicinity. Cairo's student community comes from all over the country. In addition, the largest part of the success of any Wikimedia program is the community of volunteers. and there is a relatively sizable and active community in Cairo which will provide support to incoming editors. In 2008, Egypt was also the host of Wikimania (in Alexandria).
Which universities in Cairo are in the cards for being a part of this initiative?
We are currently laying out the basic groundwork to plan this and other details. In general, we are looking at colleges and universities with a strong academic record and a tradition of innovative teaching. The option for participation is open to any interested professors and institutions in Cairo; we are simply trying to identify that interest.
When will the pilot program in Egypt start?
We are currently laying out the basic groundwork to plan this and other details. It is likely to coincide with the start of the next academic year - which tends to vary by college /university / subject area (Spring 2012).
Which subject areas will be considered?
We are open to classes in any subject area! There is vast opportunity for contribution to Wikipedia across all subject areas, and we want to encourage everyone to edit, regardless of topic. This way, as the program grows, professors from any subject area will have the opportunity to augment their curriculum with a tool to teach their students to contribute information. We will begin with pilot of about 3-4 classes and reiterate depending on the outcome of the courses and content developed.
Why is the Wikipedia campus program in Egypt not being launched in more cities right now?
The Cairo project is a pilot program we’re using to experiment and learn from before any roll-out of a large-scale program throughout Egypt. We do think the campus program has great potential, but we also want to make sure to start the effort in a manageable way in order to ensure proof-of-principle and to iron out details. A more controlled program on the outset will help ensure that supports are properly established and will also help provide opportunities for program evaluation. Having said that, we have high ambitions for Egypt itself, and we are looking at covering a wide range and number of colleges and universities.
Will the Wikipedia campus program be expanded to other parts of Egypt?
Yes! Hopefully! Ideally, a successful semester in Cairo will result in demand in other regions, which will also have Campus Ambassadors interested to help.
Which other MENA region cities will be part of the expansion of the pilot program?
To be determined. We are currently looking at Amman, Jordan and Doha, Qatar. We want the adoption of Wikipedia-editing in the classroom to be as viral as possible, so ideally wherever there is classroom interest, there could be a program. If certain colleges, professors, and/or students in other locations are interested, they are encouraged to sign up on the Wikipedia:Campus Ambassador page.
Applying to be a Campus Ambassador
May I apply if I have had no prior experience or limited prior experience contributing to Wikipedia?
Yes. Prior Wikipedia-editing experience is not required for the Campus Ambassador role - the training for this role will include Wikipedia-editing lessons. Prior experience in this regard, however, would enhance the applicant's chance of getting accepted into the Campus Ambassador program.
May I apply to be a Campus Ambassador if I'm not officially affiliated with a college/university?
Yes. The Campus Ambassador role is open to anyone with convenient transportation access to a college/university - you do not have to be officially affiliated with a school to apply. In the past, Campus Ambassadors have come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including undergraduate students, graduate students, university staff members, faculty members, and also local residents who are not currently part of a college/university community.
Does my college/university need to be on board this program before I can apply to be a Campus Ambassador?
No. You can apply to be a Campus Ambassador even if the college/university you would like to work at has not yet come on board the Wikipedia campus program. Part of the responsibilities of the Campus Ambassadors is to reach out to campus community members and try to get (more) people at colleges/universities on board the program.
(Egypt-specific) May I apply to be a Campus Ambassador now even though I don't live in Cairo?
Yes, we are taking applications from people who live outside of Cairo as well, and we will select some people from outside Cairo for the Campus Ambassador role. However, at this point we are not sure how many Campus Ambassadors we will accept from outside Cairo.
(Egypt-specific) May I apply to be a Campus Ambassador if I'll only be in Cairo for a short period?
To be a Campus Ambassador in Cairo, you must be in Cairo for most of the academic term. Campus Ambassadors will generally start supporting professors a couple of weeks before an academic term starts, and will continue to support professors and students throughout the entire term. If you will spend most of an academic term at a city other than Cairo, please do not apply to be a Campus Ambassador for Cairo (see the previous question regarding applying to be a Campus Ambassador for another city).
(Egypt-specific) Is there a way for me to help out without being physically in Cairo?
Most likely! We will likely need qualified individuals to provide virtual (online) support, and we might select a few Ambassadors in cities other than Cairo as well to help with Wikipedia outreach activities. We are still discussing this, so stay tuned!
(Egypt-specific) When is the application deadline for being a Campus Ambassador in Egypt?
We're accepting applications on a rolling basis (i.e. as they come in) - the exact deadline remains to be determined but will most likely be sometime in the summer. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
Campus Ambassador activities/duties
What is the time commitment for the Campus Ambassador role?
The time commitment is approximately 3–5 hours a week, but some weeks in the academic term will require more hours while other weeks will require less time. The busiest periods usually are: the beginning of the academic term, and right before major assignment deadlines.
What is the timeline/term for the Campus Ambassador role? (When do Campus Ambassadors start and stop work?)
Campus Ambassadors generally commence work about a month before classes begin. The initial responsibilities generally are: going through training, and meeting with participating professors and partnered Ambassadors to discuss expectations and class plans. From that point Campus Ambassadors are expected to support professors and students on Wikipedia-editing - as well as do Wikipedia outreach on campus - until the end of the academic term (the end of classes). Throughout the academic term, Campus Ambassadors are also expected to send periodic updates about how their work is going, share what they think is working well and what could be improved, and participate in email/call check-in's.
Is there an entry fee for this program?
Campus Ambassador training
Is the training mandatory for Campus Ambassadors?
Yes, training is required for all Campus Ambassadors. Campus Ambassadors will be asked to participate in the in-person training that will take place in Cairo, but in some cases we may be able to arrange alternative training arrangements.
What will be covered in the training?
We're discussing this now, so stay tuned!
May I attend the Campus Ambassador training even if I don't become a Campus Ambassador?
To be decided.