Talk:Education/Archive/Wikipedia Education Collaborative/Goals

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Collab membership criteria discussion[edit]

Dear Collab members,

Based on yesterday’s conversation on the Collab call, and on the growing experience that we (the Collab and the Education Team) are having, it seems like it is time to move to the next stage in the Collab’s evolution. We all appreciate how the dedicated services the Collab selflessly offer to the Movement, and its the education goals in particular, are valuable and indeed bring a highly specialized focus to key aspects of its growth.

As the group decided in its in-person meeting in March 2016, the Collab has three key focus areas:

  • Dashboard implementation
  • Mentoring
  • Comms support + Resources

These areas may change over time, as the movement and its needs progress, but are representative of the current stage of the movement’s activities. As we all know, participation in the Collab is completely voluntary, and the time each member dedicates to it is even more valuable because of that.

As the Collab’s specialized service to the Movement evolves, it becomes somewhat natural to make the framework for its work more explicit, and having open conversations around the expectations we have for it also become necessary.

We would therefore like to propose continuing this conversation we started this month. Participation is welcome on the Collab mailing list, here, or privately through direct email (vmasrour ﹫ wikimedia dot org). We also want to make sure that other stakeholders in the movement can join in the conversation (our list and wikis are public and open, and some affiliates are already giving direct feedback to the Education Team). We expect the outcome to be a frank and constructive conversation that will update the membership criteria, and clarify for everyone (including non-Collab members) what the Collab is and does. We would like this conversation to happen over the months of December and January.

Our team sees a need for robust conversations around education that are not limited to the Collab spaces (our mailing list, virtual meetings, and in-person meetings). Considering the specific work of the Collab, it doesn’t make sense for Collab conversations to take the place of discussions on the Education list, for example. For starters, the Education Team intends to dedicate more of our efforts to general education spaces, not just the Collab spaces. We appreciate Collab members who have helped in these areas (like on Facebook, Twitter, Education-l, and the Newsletter).

We believe in a multi-pronged approach to making the Collab and the general education spaces in the Movement productive and meaningful. Ideas welcome :) --VMasrour (WMF) (talk) 17:57, 17 November 2016 (UTC)Reply

Membership criteria[edit]

Hi all, I do agree that including more people is good in general. I used to think that this might not be a good idea becasue the Collab itself was still quite unclear. However, things changed and now there is a more well-defined scope. We probably still need to work on how to maximise the use of the amazing group of WEP experts we have here. I also understand the need to separate joining the collab as a type of wiki activity WEP volunteers can do and a country representation issue. Separating these two would be a good step to decrease the possible inflation of the number of members. Maybe a good step towards clarifying this is to put it in the membership criteria section that representing your country should not be the sole reason for you to be a collab member. Just my initial thoughts on the matter :)--Reem Al-Kashif (talk) 09:12, 18 November 2016 (UTC)Reply

One membership criterion rules them all[edit]

Hi all, I'd like to repeat what I said during the last Collab hangout (and what I heard from Esh77 and Dungodung, please correct me if I am incorrect): the only criterion should be willingness to devote time to working towards common goals of the Collab. If there is a 'pledge' to work together on specific goals, I think we should give everyone reasonably involved with Wikimedia Education an opportunity to work with us.

Personally, I strongly feel that member admission should be reopened as soon as possible because prolonged isolation of our team from the rest of the Wikimedia world means that we lose many opportunities. --Vojtěch Dostál (talk) 15:30, 20 November 2016 (UTC)Reply

I would also be in favour of making membership as open as possible. If there is a surge of people wanting to join which might make the group difficult to manage, then it would be appropriate to consider other conditions. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 15:45, 29 November 2016 (UTC)Reply
A this point, I'm wondering if even thinking of it as "membership" is viable to what we want to achieve with education on Wikipedia. I'd love to hear arguments about why we need a member-based Collaborative. If we've mostly moved away from setting a former structure that needs all members to get on the same page and are really creating a mentorship based community of volunteers, do we need membership? Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 19:28, 1 December 2016 (UTC)Reply
Quite possibly not. One of the benefits of membership is that it allows you to set out some expectations of members. So when I was thinking about joining it was clear that the Collab wanted its members to be active. You could still articulate that expectation without a formal membership. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:54, 2 December 2016 (UTC)Reply
That's an interesting notion: the Collab has morphed from its original self to something that doesn't really require membership at all, but something more like "subscription". I think I can get behind that. But more generally, I support opening up the Collab in one way or another. --Dungodung (talk) 11:20, 4 December 2016 (UTC)Reply


What I'd rather discuss here is related to support, or rather how we as a Collab can work together to achieve our goals, but with the help of some structure, resources etc. For instance, we have Mentorship as one of our great goals, but there are no mechanisms set in place. The most we can do is everyone working for themselves and having small results here and there. But if we have a system in place that can guide us through the process, that can effectively connect mentors with mentees and minimise the overhead time, then we can achieve greater impact with this, IMHO. --Dungodung (talk) 11:20, 4 December 2016 (UTC)Reply

I wish I hadn't miss the last collab call because it looks like a lot of interesting stuff were covered. I'm also interested in the Mentorship goal. From the Stockholm meeting in March 2016, I remember there was talk about a mentorship road map, maybe someone from that group can remind us about it. Is working for ourselves with mentorship helping the Collab reach the short term goals (Bank of experts, Determining mentoring process, Clarifying process for connecting mentor and mentees, Communication channels)? I think of a shared practice on mentorship as one of the best ways for the Collab to have meaning and impact. What kind of support can help us achieve that do you think? --Sara Mörtsell (WMSE) (talk) 19:41, 6 December 2016 (UTC)Reply

Maybe we need to think outside of the box of "collab" (as in "collaboration" on various practical initiatives) and realize that the Wikimedia Education is possibly the largest outreach group within the Wikimedia movement and we should have a much stronger voice that we currently do. We are the people who come into contact with new editors and we should voice needs of these newbies as well as our technical/logistical/financial needs as Wikipedia educators. The Collab is uniquely positioned to help shape the goals of Wikipedia Education team at WMF as well as goals of various Tech teams at WMF. --Vojtěch Dostál (talk) 21:43, 24 January 2017 (UTC)Reply

Well put Vojtěch. --Sara Mörtsell (WMSE) (talk) 22:00, 24 January 2017 (UTC)Reply
+1 --Dungodung (talk) 22:38, 24 January 2017 (UTC)Reply

The next points in reflecting on Collab membership[edit]

It's quite clear that the idea of an "open membership" is a favorite, and it is inherently coherent with the spirit of the movement. "Open membership" seems to mean that anyone could become a Collab member, offering time and capacity to serve the need of the Education Program in general, and its self-appointed goals specifically.

In order to explore the concept of "open membership", i think the following ideas could be useful, and definitely want to hear your ideas on what makes sense, what doesn't, and what is missing.

Perhaps, the question is: What does "being an active Collab member" mean? the following examples come to mind:

  • Dedication to the goals of the Collab. Those goals will evolve over time, but represent the current consensus on the Collab's activities.
  • Dedication to the Wikipedia Education Program ie. carrying out education activities. The activities each member carry out are necessarily diverse, as they work with different levels of education, and different types of education (extracurricular as well as within formal education settings).
  • Participation in Collab meetings and discussions, including sharing information about our activities as Collab members.

Can you think of other ways we can determine that a person is "an active Collab member"? Please share them!

The next question that comes to mind is How do we track progress on those activities as a group?

  • Phabricator is one of the tools that has been is , and there is an actual track record of its use (and usefulness to the Wikipedia Education Program).
  • Self-reporting during the online meeting is another means to track our progress. While less formal than Phabricator, it allows for a more lively interchange of experiences.

Are there other ways to track our activities? Please share them!

Finally, what kind of process do we need to acknowledge Collab membership? It could be as simple as adding your name to the Collab wiki and adding yourself to the Collab mailing list, or it could include an interview by Collab members.

What do you think would be the most appropriate ways to acknowledge new Collab members? Please share them!

As for membership criteria, all three outlined criteria are good and not necessarily in collision, so they could all be considered (I think that most of the currently active Collab members are already doing that, so this could just be statement of the obvious). As for tracking progress, I prefer the latter for more general and broader work we do, and the former for more focused and specific tasks at hand. They are both valuable venues for their own purposes. Of course, social media, newsletter, blogs and other forms of media come to mind as looser albeit quite important ways of tracking progress. As for the approval process, I believe getting consensus is quite important (as with most processes in the Wikimedia world), so to me it seems good if the current members could get consensus for all the new applicants (and they could self-nominate at will), not necessarily through voting, but through offering opinions and arguments. In the end, thanks Vahid for making the next step towards creating a better Collab. --Dungodung (talk) 16:09, 28 January 2017 (UTC)Reply

Membership description, 2017 edition[edit]

The Education Collab is a relatively new structure within the Wikimedia Movement. As such, it is evolving and adapting to its context and the opportunities that arise around it. Since October, and up to now, there’s been a discussion around the evolution of one aspect of the Collab: membership. Based on discussions over email, video and on wiki, there seems to be a consensus on the following ideas:

Open membership[edit]

The Education Collab needs to move to an open membership model, where anyone interested in contributing to the goals of the Collab is welcome to join and participate. Contributing to those goals is in no way exclusive to the Collab: anyone is welcome to help reach them. Collab members happen to focus a significant part of their volunteering time to them, and use the Collab as a mechanism to facilitate collaboration around those goals.

In practical terms, as in most Wikiprojects, membership means signing on the Wiki page, thus indicating your willing participation and dedication of time and energy to pursuing those goals.

The expectation linked to membership is thus focused on your contribution to achieving those goals. The goals are set by consensus, and support the larger Wikipedia Education Program goals.

Monitoring contributions from the Collab members[edit]

In order for the Collab members to learn from each other and from each others’ contributions, the following means of sharing the achievements are considered:

  • Use of Phabricator: This is the main tool to register your contributions to the Collab goals. Activities, reports, and any relevant contribution to the Collab goals should be represented here. There is a dedicated Phabricator project for the Education Collab at
  • Sharing activities and results through additional communication channels:
    • Attendance at Collab meetings, while not a requirement, helps the Collab as a whole to hear your voice, and helps you benefit from input from the Collab
    • Sharing to the Collab mailing list is also beneficial, be it to share activities, successes, challenges or asking questions to your Collab colleagues.
    • Other communication channels may emerge, depending on the needs of the Collab. Participation in them accelerates the achievements of the Collab as a whole.

These means of monitoring the Collab’s activities will help the Collab assess its value and contributions to the Education Program and the Wikimedia Movement. VMasrour (WMF) (talk) 17:38, 13 February 2017 (UTC)Reply