User:Ldavis (WMF)/Starting an education program
- Final location: Wikimedia:Starting an education program
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This training contains four modules filled with the best practices, learning, and knowledge amassed from four years of Wikipedia Education Program history and discussions with people running programs in countries on nearly every continent.
In modules one and two, we will walk you through the actual creation of a program plan for your pilot. Before you begin this training, please add your country name to the box below and click "Create program plan" to start your page. Throughout the first two modules, we'll have you explicitly fill in a section of your plan anywhere you see the orange pencil icon. While you're going through this training, you should have two tabs open: the training content and your program plan.
The final two modules will walk you through what you can expect as you enact the plan you created in the first two modules, and how you can think about expanding your program once your pilot has been completed. When you finish the training — or even if you just get partway through and decide it doesn't meet your needs — please leave feedback. We want to know how the training can be improved. (And of course, feel free to make edits yourself if you wish.)
Want to see what others have done? Check out our library of program plans.
Have you created your program plan template? Open it up in another tab, and let's get started.
Module 1: Define your goals
Slide 1: Getting started
Congratulations! You're joining hundreds of educators and Wikimedians who believe a positive relationship between Wikipedia and education is possible. There are nearly as many ideas of how to combine Wikipedia and education as there are people involved in the Wikipedia Education Program, so if you're overwhelmed by the amount of options, don't be! Wikipedia in education is pretty big.
The Wikipedia Education Program's goal is to add diverse, high-quality content to Wikipedia by asking students to contribute content as part of their coursework.
This training will help you figure out how to start a branch of the Wikipedia Education Program in your location. You have many options — you can work with universities or high schools; you can work through formal partnerships with governments or institutions or with individual teachers; you can have students write original content, translate articles from a language they're studying, or contribute media files to illustrate articles.
The first step you'll need to take is to answer the question:
Slide 2: It's not about editor retention
The Wikipedia Education Program's focus is on content, not editor retention, and we don't believe general outreach like the Wikipedia Education Program can have an impact on editor retention.
- Our theory of change
We believe that you can teach someone the skills required to contribute to Wikipedia, but can't teach someone to become a Wikipedian — if you think contributing to Wikipedia is fun, then exposure to Wikipedia editing as part of a class assignment will encourage you to transition from reader to editor. But we believe that if you're not already likely to edit, you will never become a long-term contributor.
Instead, we focus on generating significant, high-quality content from student editors each term. A small fraction of these students will continue to edit, but recruiting them to become long-term Wikipedians is not the focus of our program. Instead, we wish to recruit the instructors to be long-term users of Wikipedia as a teaching tool. If we recruit and retain one instructor, that instructor will bring 20–30 students to Wikipedia up to two times each year and teach them how to edit Wikipedia. A small fraction of those students may continue editing after the course is over because they are predisposed to editing Wikipedia, but the real value in the program comes from the fact that student editors come each term and add significant high-quality content to Wikipedia, with very little staff resources once the instructor is experienced.
Still not convinced? Read more about our theory of change, then return to this training.
What is your theory of change?
You don't necessarily need to agree with ours. But think about what you believe, and design your program with that theory of change in mind.
Slide 3: Narrow your focus
The biggest mistake new education program leaders make is trying to do too much. Because there are so many connections between Wikipedia and education, it's easy to get pulled in different directions by well-intentioned people. What education program leaders globally have found is the key to success is to choose a specific program and stick to it.
The primary goal of the Wikipedia Education Program is to add high-quality, diverse content to Wikipedia or other Wikimedia projects. Don't be distracted by other goals, like educating students about Wikipedia, creating open educational resources, or retaining editors. While these are all laudable goals, they will just distract you from the primary goal of content creation. If you're interested in these other goals instead, choose a different program that's focused more seriously on those goals.
Narrowing your focus includes more than just setting your primary goal as adding high-quality, diverse content. You'll also need to choose your target audience. Some target audiences might be:
- High school students
- University students
- Ph.D. students
- Can we add something like this: students in a specific discipline (e.g. gender studies)?
Slide 4: What should your focus be?
The best way of determining what your focus should be is to consider your language Wikipedia version. None of these are mutually exclusive; instead, think about crafting the focus of your education program around what can get you the most impact for your language Wikipedia.
- Does your language Wikipedia have many holes in specific subjects (e.g., humanities, social sciences, history)? Then you should focus on working with university or Ph.D. students who are studying those subjects.
- Does your language Wikipedia lack gender diversity? Then you should target women's schools or subjects in which women make up the majority of students (such as languages or arts).
- Does your language Wikipedia lack articles? Consider working with language students (of any age) who can translate articles from larger Wikipedias into your language.
Slide 5: Activity: Finalize your scope
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Scope" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your scope section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 6: Resisting scope creep
One final note before you start developing the specifics of your program plan. When people hear you're doing something with Wikipedia and education, they'll approach you with their own ideas or views on how you should proceed or what you should do. Before you comment on their ideas, think:
Does this help me achieve my goals? Is this in my target audience?
If the answer is no, don't be tempted to take on their suggestion too! You and your program volunteers may have unlimited initiative, but you have limited capacity — be aware of your limited time and other resources to stay on track for success! Enacting the plan you've established for your first term is the most important thing for you to do. You can consider expanding your scope after you have a successful pilot, but stay focused on your specific goals for at least your first term.
Remember, it's always better to do a great job with a small pilot than to try to do too much at once and not achieve meaningful results on your education program's many facets! Keep it small, keep it defined, and stick to it!
Module 2: Design your pilot
Slide 1: What does success look like?
Before you start thinking about the specifics of how you will accomplish the scope you set out in the last module, it's important to make a specific plan for how you will measure success.
For your pilot, there will be more specific goals (based on the scope you've now defined, such as a certain number of bytes added), but you'll also want to consider broader measures of success, such as Does your model work? or How many instructors would participate in the program again?
It's unrealistic to expect that every student will contribute brilliant work to Wikipedia. It's unrealistic to expect every student will add content to Wikipedia, or even create a user account. Some instructors will plan on using it in their classroom, but will find it too challenging or time-consuming to do so and abandon the assignment mid-term. That's okay, and that's expected. That's why you should determine what success will look like for you upfront, and keep your expectations modest. We've generally found about a quarter of all students enrolled in classes never contribute to the article namespace for one reason or another.
Slide 2: Are your goals specific and measurable?
As you determine what your goals are, make sure they are measurable! Some examples include:
- ______ number of overall bytes added to Wikipedia articles
- ______ number of photos uploaded to Commons
- ______ percentage of students who are female
- ______ return rate of instructors within one academic year
- ______ number of overall bytes added/student
- ______ number of new/translated articles
- ______ improvement rate for article quality
Setting meaningful, measurable goals will help you determine what you need to track as you enact your program plan. They'll help you determine if you're on track or not.
Slide 3: Is it feasible to get that measurement?
A lot of the suggested measurable goals listed in the last slide can be determined through the WikiMetrics tool developed by the Wikimedia Analytics team. All you need to do is ensure you collect all student usernames. The Education Program MediaWiki Extension offers a way to capture student usernames automatically; if it is installed on your language Wikipedia, we suggest you use it. If it is not installed on your language Wikipedia, see this link for information on how to get it installed.
But other qualitative data, such as article quality information, cannot be gathered through WikiMetrics. So if you set article quality goals, make sure you have the means to evaluate article quality.
For more about measurable goals, see the Program Evaluation portal.
Slide 4: Activity: Define success
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Measuring Success" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your measuring success section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 5: Thinking about your model
Each program is unique. Programs are made up of the individuals and institutions that participate in them to make them successful. So it's only natural for each program to be customized according to your needs.
When you start thinking about your model, consider who is implementing your plan. Some models that have worked successfully include:
- Top-down (an education minister or other government official asks instructors to participate; a university adopts the model and asks instructors to adjust their curriculum)
- Grassroots (members of an existing Wikimedia community — such as a chapter — reach out to institutions and ask them to participate)
- Individual-led (one instructor pioneers it in his or her classroom and then recruits colleagues to participate)
Think about your country and how best to approach developing your model. Some key considerations:
- Do individual instructors have control over their curriculum, or is that guided at the university or government level?
- What capacity does the community you are working with have to lead an education effort?
- Is a pioneering instructor already at work in your country?
Slide 6: Models currently in use
You can choose a more traditional hierarchy or a more decentralized model. Here's an example of each:
In the United States and Canada program, efforts are run by one paid staff member who serves as the Program Manager and makes strategic decisions about the direction of the program, the assignments instructors are encouraged to use, and support resources available for students and instructors. The Program Manager works closely with a group of Regional Ambassadors, who are each responsible for a specific geographic region in the United States and Canada. The Regional Ambassadors work to support Instructors and Campus Ambassadors, providing training and support for them to ensure in-person support for students works well. The Program Manger also coordinates the work of Online Ambassadors, who support students on-wiki. This program currently supports about 75 classes each term.
In the Czech Republic program, efforts are more decentralized. Wikipedia Ambassadors pair with Instructors. Chapter members serve as central resources for the program, but many of the decisions about what direction the assignments should take get made at the class level, rather than the program level. This program currently supports about 6 classes each term.
Slide 7: Do you need a paid staff member running your education program?
One thing you might have noticed about the centralized vs. decentralized discussion in the last page is the scale of the programs compared. The Czech Republic program contributes great content to the Czech Wikipedia each term, and they are able to do so with very little budget and no paid staff members, thanks to some very dedicated volunteers from Wikimedia Czech Republic. But they're not looking to grow the program to 75 classes, like the U.S. and Canada program supports.
If you're looking for your program to scale beyond a handful of classes, it's likely that you will need to have a paid staff person running the program. To get a feel for what a program manager might do on a daily basis, see this page written by the program manager for the U.S. and Canada program, documenting what she does on a daily basis.
Slide 8: Activity: Draw your model's big picture
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Big picture" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your big picture section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 9: More about Instructors
Getting good instructors on board for you pilot is pivotal to your success. If the instructor you're working with doesn't fully support the program or doesn't see the value for his or her students, your pilot is likely to fail.
Depending on how the educational institutions work in your country, this can be challenging. In some countries, instructors have no control over their course curriculum; deans or other administrative decision-makers dictate assignments students must complete. If your country has this structure, tread carefully, and be sure you give all instructors the option to do the assignment or not.
Instructors are ultimately responsible for the student learning in their classrooms, so they will be the one with final sign-off on a Wikipedia assignment. While you and Ambassadors can make suggestions about course design, ultimately it is the instructor's duty to ensure the assignment meets course goals. Instructors are also the first point of contact for students; even with Ambassadors or other help resources, students will often go to the instructor first out of habit.
For instructors, a Wikipedia assignment will take more time than a similar traditional assignment. Be sure the instructors understand this at the start! Students gain a lot more skills out of them — writing in a neutral point of view, critical thinking, research, technology — but they need to learn how to accomplish the task, and that will take more time. Since most students will be unfamiliar with wiki code, that adds a layer of complexity. Good instructors will understand that they'll need to spend more class time answering questions about Wikipedia, and assignments will be more difficult to grade because of the collaborative nature of Wikipedia, but they will be willing to put in the time to work with their students because of the benefits to both the students and Wikipedia.
Remember, Wikipedia is likely not the subject the instructor is teaching, and there will be many more demands on their class time (and out-of-class time). Try not to demand too much from the instructors, and acknowledge their expertise with regard to the subject matter and the art of teaching.
Slide 10: How many instructors do you want?
You want to have enough instructors participating in the pilot to be able to tell whether what you're doing is a success, but you don't want to have so many instructors participating that you become overwhelmed, or if something goes wrong, that you can't fix it. Not every instructor who agrees to participate in the pilot will actually follow through, so it's good to have 3-4 signed on initially if you're running a volunteer-only program. If you have staff members working on your education program, you likely have the capacity to support about 10 instructors. Think about the other commitments on your time and determine what is the best number for your pilot.
One caution: Think more about how many students each instructor will bring. The 10 number is on the assumption that each class has about 20 students; if class sizes you're working with are closer to 100, reduce the number of instructors you work with.
Slide 11: Recruiting Instructors
If instructors in your country don't have control over the curriculum, then you'll want to first approach deans at a few institutions teaching in the subject matters you want to improve on Wikipedia. Once you get a few deans on board, get them to recruit a few volunteers in their department to join your pilot.
If instructors control their individual curriculum, you'll be able to recruit instructors yourself. For a pilot, it's a good idea to stick to one small geographic area — one city or even one university campus. That will enable you to meet with instructors in-person and be more responsive to any concerns they may have.
How do you find good instructors? Here's a few suggestions:
- Existing instructors teaching with Wikipedia — Chances are, there's already an instructor running a Wikipedia assignment on your language version. Working with them to recruit their colleagues will make your life easier. Instructors generally trust other instructors more than they trust anyone else in regard to Wikipedia assignments.
- Personal relationships — Are you still in touch with instructors from when you were their student? Do you have any friends or family members who are instructors? Reach out to them and ask if it would be something they'd be interested in doing.
- Teaching and learning centers — Is there a university department dedicated to helping instructors at the institution with their curriculum? Many universities have such departments, with staff trained to assist professors on various ways of enhancing student learning. These centers, for example, help create class blogs or manage the Blackboard or Moodle systems. They may also have staff willing to be trained in how to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool, who can then recruit instructors who might be interested.
- Academic conferences — If there are particular disciplines you're interested in targeting, consider attending the annual conference of one of these disciplines as an exhibitor. Set up a booth and talk to the instructors who walk by about how they can use Wikipedia in their classrooms. Generally, if the idea hasn't "clicked" after 60 seconds, the instructor won't be a good fit, so encourage them to take some literature and move on.
- Subject matter lists — Many of these academic associations also have email lists to which all instructors belong. See if you can send out a message on one of those lists recruiting new instructors.
Slide 12: Training Instructors
Instructors who have never taught with Wikipedia before will need some assistance before they're able to plan a good assignment, so you should build in a specific orientation step for instructors participating in your pilot. If you're starting in a small geographic region, it may be worthwhile to bring the instructors together in-person; they'll be able to have colleagues to reach out to for ideas around assignment design or problems that crop up — and potentially to write a journal article about their experiences with the program after you've finished, which will look good on their CVs.
Most instructors will not be familiar with wiki code or editing Wikipedia, so you'll want to cover wiki basics as well as best practices in assignment design. The online training for educators offers an overview of topics most instructors need to know before using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in their classroom. You're encouraged to translate and adapt the online training as needed for your country's education system and your language Wikipedia. See the documentation on Meta for details on how to port the trainings to another wiki.
Slide 13: Supporting Instructors
Throughout the term, you'll also need a plan of how you will support the instructors. Most programs have some form of Wikipedia Ambassadors (discussed in depth in the next section). Think about what sort of resources you'll want to provide instructors, such as brochures, assignment design mentoring, Ambassador support, wiki code support. Remember, your education program's goal (likely) isn't to turn instructors into Wikipedians; instead, you're expecting them to assign their students to contribute — and develop enough expertise about Wikipedia to guide their students to contribute effectively. So how can you make it easier for instructors to interact as they need to without requiring them to be Wikipedia editors?
One of the most important ways that you can plan to support instructors is to have a designated contact to whom they can escalate problems. For most situations, this can be a Wikipedia Ambassador who is working with their class, but in cases in which the Ambassador is the problem, having another point of contact is always a good idea. Remember, you want to make sure the instructor feels supported throughout the process. This will increase their odds of success as well as instructor retention for future terms.
Slide 14: Activity: Create plan for Instructors
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Educational institutions and instructors" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your educational institutions and instructors section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 15: More about Wikipedia Ambassadors
We mentioned Wikipedia Ambassadors — but what did we mean by that term? Generally, there are three types of Wikipedia Ambassadors, although the specific requirements and role descriptions vary in each program. Determining how your Ambassador program will work is an important step in creating your model.
Online Ambassadors are experienced editors on the language Wikipedia where your program is in operation who are able to assist students with any questions they have through online support channels — on-wiki, on IRC, in a Facebook group, etc. They do not need to be geographically located near your students, since the support is all online.
In contrast, Campus Ambassadors aren't necessarily Wikipedia editors — although if they are, that's great — but they are volunteers who can work with instructors and students in person. Campus Ambassadors are often existing staff members within the school system (such as librarians, teaching assistance, or teaching and learning center staff) who are available to help teach students editing basics, such as how to create user accounts, add references, etc. They can often help instructors with assignment planning as well.
Some smaller programs collapse the distinction between Campus and Online Ambassadors and just have Wikipedia Ambassadors who serve both roles simultaneously.
Regional Ambassadors coordinate recruiting, training, and support for instructors and students in a specific geographic area. Regional Ambassadors are specifically useful if you have a large geographic area that your program is trying to cover and once your program has expanded beyond an initial pilot. But the model isn't just for large geographic areas; a similar idea in the Egypt program is called "faculty leaders" and these individuals coordinate all the education program activity within a specific department at a university. While you might want to keep the idea of some kind of Regional Ambassador in mind when developing your pilot, don't worry about finding people to fill that role until your second or third term of your program. (Alternatively, you may find that it makes sense for experienced Ambassadors to serve as recruitment and training coordinators for specific subject areas rather than specific geographical areas.)
Slide 16: How many volunteers do you need?
After you determine which model will work best for you, it's time to determine how many volunteers in each role you need.
Finding the right balance can be tricky. You don't want to leave students and instructors unsupported, but you want to have enough work for each volunteer that they feel like their time is valued and worthwhile. You definitely want to start out with both academics and experienced Wikipedia editors in your volunteer pool, however. Academics will be able to navigate the work inside the educational institution that needs to be done prior to the start of a Wikipedia assignment. And experienced Wikipedia editors can help head off problems that academics might not see. One common problem is that instructors usually encourage students to draw conclusions from the research they've done, writing "thesis statements" in many cases. Such original thought has no place in an encyclopedia, however. When Wikipedia editors work closely with instructors, they're able to create assignment plans that both meet the instructors' learning objectives and add quality content to Wikipedia.
Generally, good ratios when you begin is one trained Wikipedia Ambassador for every 10-15 students, and it's useful for students to have multiple points of contact, in case an Ambassador gets busy with other activities and can't support students anymore.
Slide 17: Recruiting Ambassadors
Where do you find good Ambassadors?
- Online Ambassadors
Finding good Online Ambassadors can be a challenge. But think about your language Wikipedia's current mentoring structure. Is there an adopt-a-user program? Something like the Teahouse, a central, friendly place for newbies to ask question? Where do newbies on your language Wikipedia get the most help? Reaching out to the editors who already provide assistance to newbies can be a great way to recruit Online Ambassadors. You can also reach out individually to good editors who work in the same subject area as your classes; many Wikipedians will be willing to help students and instructors to improve their areas of interest. For small wikis, you might also want to post a message to the Village Pump or other central discussion area to recruit interested editors.
- Campus Ambassadors
Look to the current on-campus help structure to find the best Campus Ambassadors. Where do students already go for help on campus? The library? Teaching assistants? Where do instructors already go for help in assignment design? Is there some sort of teaching and learning staff? These people make great Campus Ambassadors. You can also reach out to local Wikipedians, either through a meet-up, a geonotice targeting a specific city, or through a chapter in the area.
Slide 18: Training Ambassadors
The most important thing to cover in an Ambassador training is what the expectations you have for them are. Because Ambassadors are the first point of contact for both instructors and students, it's important for them to know what your expectations are for what they will do, what the instructor will do, and what students will do. If the Ambassadors aren't interested in a particular facet of the role description you've created, then you'll need to find additional support for the classes that particular Ambassador is supporting. Having clear expectations up-front for all participants will make your pilot go more smooth.
Campus Ambassadors who are not experienced Wikipedia editors will need an overview of core Wikipedia policies and the basics of editing. All Ambassadors will need an orientation to how you anticipate instructors using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in the classroom, as very few of them will have information on best practices in assignment design.
If you're in one city, it might be worthwhile to do an in-person Ambassador training for your first term of your pilot. Bringing Ambassadors together establishes a group camaraderie that can be useful in helping resolve challenges as the term goes on. But these in-person trainings can get costly quickly; you might also want to translate the on-wiki Ambassador training into your language to send Ambassadors through on their own time.
Slide 19: Supporting Ambassadors
How will you support Ambassadors throughout the term? Part of the answer to this question depends on the structure you've established, but it's important to have a point of contact for all Ambassadors for when they have questions. Ensure Campus Ambassadors who are new to Wikipedia have a point of contact for a more experienced editor who they can escalate questions they don't know the answer to. But all Ambassadors need to have a point of contact for someone they can raise questions with.
Jami, what are some common questions you get or common ways you support Ambassadors?
- introduce Ambassadors and professors to each other—offer suggestions for the roles they can play together
- provide guidance through conflict, especially when it involves a Wikipedia editor and a student/professor
- help newer Ambassadors find their answers about editing on-wiki and learn where to look for help, so they can help students do the same thing
- share relevant resources and materials/give feedback on presentations or workshops the Ambassador is running
- provide tips when possible about the work you see them doing (e.g. offer advice on communication on-wiki)
Slide 20: Activity: Create plan for Ambassadors
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Wikipedia Ambassadors" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your Wikipedia Ambassadors section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 21: More about student editors
What do you expect the student editors participating in your program to do? Student editors may or may not follow patterns commonly seen among other new editors. Many will do essentially the bare minimum for what they've been asked to do, and will not do any significant editing until a few days before the deadline their instructors set. A few student editors might take to Wikipedia and start making copy edits or other contributions outside of what they're being asked to do for class — and these may be potential long-term Wikipedians and future Ambassadors. But don't have unrealistic expectations about what student editors will contribute — remember, they're busy with school and may or may not have any interest in contributing beyond what they're being asked to do for class.
Slide 22: Training student editors
There are two main ways that programs train student editors: in-person workshops and online. While in-person workshops can be more helpful, since they offer student editors a chance to ask questions, they are also time-consuming, and not all instructors have precious class time to give to a Wikipedia workshop. You can organize in-person workshops out of class, but not all students are able to attend.
The online student training offers a good overview of the types of things students need to know before contributing to Wikipedia, and is useful even if students also get in-person training. Be sure to cover not just the technical how-to of Wikipedia editing, but also important policies. Student editors in particular may struggle with the strict copyright policies on Wikipedia. Make sure student editors understand that close paraphrasing is still plagiarism and will not be tolerated on Wikipedia. Helping student editors understand sourcing requirements and how encyclopedic writing may be different from what they're used to is important as well.
Remember, students are newbies, and only teach them things they truly need to know. Advanced topics like categories, for example, aren't appropriate for newbies to learn when they're first getting started. As you create your training materials for student editors, always think, "do they need to know this now, or is this more of an intermediate or advanced editor task?"
Slide 23: Supporting student editors
What materials will you have available to support student editors in your program? Support for student editors can come in many forms — human (Ambassadors, a Teahouse-like page on-wiki), text (on-wiki trainings and help pages), video (screencasts), or printed materials (brochures, handouts). There's not one right answer for how to best support students in your program; instead, think about what will best help your students and create a plan for developing those resources.
The Education Portal Tips and Resources page contains files used by other programs to support students; review and see if some would be useful for you to translate and use as well.
Slide 24: Activity: Create plan for student editors
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Student editors" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your student editors section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 25: Course design best practices
One thing you'll have to talk with instructors about is course and assignment design. Of course, different instructors will have different learning objectives for their assignments, so you'll want to familiarize yourself with a variety of different assignment types. You should be sure to read the Wikipedia Education Program brochure suite for educators: "Instructor Basics: How to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool", "Case Studies: How professors are teaching with Wikipedia", and "The Syllabus: A 12-week assignment to write a Wikipedia article".
We highly recommend a milestone model for assignments. That means students have check-points throughout the term where they are supposed to have completed certain tasks on Wikipedia. Students tend to procrastinate, so the more regulated their tasks, the better prepared they will be to effectively contribute.
Some instructors might want students to work individually; others may ask students to contribute in groups. Either are fine for Wikipedia assignments, but if students are working in groups, make sure the instructor structures the group work such that each student is contributing to Wikipedia, thereby gaining the wiki editing skills.
If plagiarism is a common problem for students in your country, you might want to consider focusing on translation assignments. Students studying a language with a major Wikipedia version (English, German, French, Spanish, etc.) can translate Good and Featured Articles from that language into their native language, thereby eliminating plagiarism challenges, since students won't be writing original content.
Think through these best practices, and come up with recommended assignments that you think will work well for your pilot.
Slide 26: Activity: Define recommended assignment
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Recommended course design" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your recommended course design section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 27: Communicating about your program
So you have the beginnings of a plan — now let's figure out how you're going to talk about it! Your communications plan doesn't need to be detailed, but it's helpful to start by identifying key audiences you will want to communicate with regularly. At your most basic, you should include the instructors, Ambassadors, students, and Wikipedia community you'll be working with. But think more broadly, too, about fellow education program leaders globally, journalists, colleagues of the instructors you're working with, etc.
Determining a communications strategy doesn't need to take a lot of time. But consider each target audience individually. How are instructors best reached? Wikipedians? Ambassadors? Pick a medium that works well for each target audience. It can be something like an email listserv, a Facebook group or page, or a central organizing place on-wiki. Whatever works best for your target audience is what you should consider. And think about how frequently updates to each of these groups should happen. You'll want to be able to share successes, challenges, and changes to the program as the term goes on.
Slide 28: Activity: Create your communications plan
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Communications plan" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your communications plan section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 29: What to do when problems come up
No matter how detailed your plan, something unexpected will likely arise. So it's a good idea to have a contingency plan in place. Throughout the term, determine points where you could intervene to change the direction of the program if something is going awry. Do you have a way of reaching out to all instructors to ask them to change their assignment direction if something ends up harming Wikipedia? How can you reach all students in the program if you see something that everyone is doing wrong? How can you make suggestions to Ambassadors to shift advice they're giving? Determining these steps ahead of time may save you grief when you're dealing with challenges when they come up.
Think about what would be so drastic that it would cause you to cancel the program entirely. And figure out what you'd need to do if you were to stop the program.
Slide 30: Activity: Create a contingency plan
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "Addressing problems" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your addressing problems section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 31: Creating a timeline
You're almost done with your program plan! The last step is to create a timeline. You'll need to include thinks like an instructor and Ambassador recruiting period, training for instructors and Ambassadors, academic calendar dates, when students will mostly be editing, end of term, dates for a potential celebration conference, and when you will evaluate the success of your pilot.
Slide 32: Activity: Create a timeline
- Edit your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. Click the edit button next to the "High-level timeline" section and follow the directions in the template.
Once you've saved your high-level timeline section on your program plan tab, click the next arrow on this training to move on.
Slide 33: Activity: Look over your program plan
- Read your program plan
Open the tab in your browser with the program plan template you created before starting this training. All sections should now be filled out except your list of participants, which you will add to as you start enacting your plan. Does your plan explain everything you intend to do with your education program? It not, add additional sections or notes as you need it.
Remember in Module 1 where we suggested you resist scope creep? Read through your program plan. Make sure everything you intend to do over the next few months is mentioned somewhere in this plan. Such a program plan provides transparency to everyone involved, clearly outlining what you are trying to do and what your scope is. You can refer to this when people bring good ideas outside of your existing capacity.
Congratulations! You have a program plan. Now, let's move to the next module to figure out how to enact that plan.
Module 3: Enact your plan
Slide 1: Getting started
Ready to get started? Look back at your plan's timeline. Figure out where to start: likely, this will be with recruiting volunteer instructors and Ambassadors. These volunteers are incredibly important to the success of your pilot: without them, you won't get far.
Your role as program leader is to create meaningful roles for these volunteers so that they feel like what they're doing will be helpful and meaningful to them. When you're communicating with volunteers, remember that each person is different and may be volunteering for your program for different reasons. It's likely that an instructor has very different motivations for participating in the program than a longtime Wikipedia contributor. For the instructor, student learning will likely be most important. For the longtime Wikipedia contributor, the impact on Wikipedia will likely be most important. To attract the volunteers you need, make sure you're communicating with each audience in ways that speak to their motivations.
Slide 2: Communicating with volunteers
It's important to set a positive and encouraging tone when interacting with volunteers, especially in cultures where volunteering is not common. Everyone has different levels of commitment and capacity, and you must find ways to keep them engaged and feeling rewarded by their efforts.
As you work with your volunteers over the course of the pilot, keep these principles in mind:
- Enable and encourage: Remember, your role is to provide support for the volunteers to do work in the classrooms. You won't have the capacity to work with every class, especially as your program grows beyond a small pilot. Your role is to ensure your volunteers have everything they need to do their roles successfully.
- Don't dictate; guide: You may have the benefit of more experience, but you don't know everything. And your volunteers are your most precious resource. Make sure you're not dictating to them, but guiding them. Say things like, "Other Ambassadors have found letting students connect with them on Facebook has led to greater student engagement with the Wikipedia assignment. Do you mind if students contact you on Facebook?" If they say no, that's okay — but give them an opportunity to come up with an alternative method of achieving that student engagement.
- Thank and recognize: Volunteers give us something precious: their time and energy. Always be aware of this, and thank and recognize them for their participation. Everyone's motivated by something different — spend some time learning what motivates your volunteers and do your best to ensure their experience is fulfilling.
Slide 3: Working with the larger community
Your program plan contains a section on how you'll keep a variety of audiences up-to-date about your activities. Don't forget that your "community" of people stretches beyond your program participants. Prospective instructors, other Wikipedia editors, academia, journalists, fellow Wikipedia Education Program leaders, and more form your larger community who may be interested in your activities as well.
As you enact your program plan, be aware of this larger community, and give attention to it as you have time to. Reach out to local media to get some attention for your project. Write a post for the Wikimedia blog about your experiences. Publish something on your chapter blog or on your language Wikipedia to keep your local community up to date.
Slide 4: Your visual identity
Every program needs a logo! Since you're creating a Wikipedia Education Program branch, you're welcome to use the visual identity that forms a common bond across cities, regions, and countries. The visual identity guidelines give you the flexibility to share what makes your region special while maintaining visual consistency across programs.
See Wikipedia Education Program visual identity to get started.
Module 4: After the pilot
Slide 1: Now what?
Congratulations! When you reach this stage, you've successfully completed your Wikipedia Education Program pilot. Classes have wrapped up, and your students have hopefully made a meaningful contribution to Wikipedia. First, take some time to congratulate yourself! Running a Wikipedia Education Program takes a lot of work, and successfully completing a pilot phase is a major accomplishment.
Once you've recovered, it's time to look back at your program plan. What did you define as your original goals for your pilot? As you look at these goals, consider the following:
- What goals did you meet?
- What goals did you not meet?
- Were the goals you didn't meet actually appropriate, or did doing the pilot make you realize they weren't a sensible goal?
Slide 2: Pluses and deltas
Many in-person workshops end with a "pluses and deltas" activity. In this activity, each participant is given post-it notes, and they are supposed to write things they liked ("pluses") and things that they'd like to see different next time ("deltas", from the Greek letter delta, which signifies change in mathematics). If you have the ability to do some sort of celebration conference with your participants, try doing this exercise with them. If not, just do it yourself.
In picking pluses, the key is to identify things that worked well with your pilot. What happened that worked well and would be good to see repeated? What would you not change in a second edition of your Wikipedia Education Program?
In picking deltas, the key is to identify things you would do differently next time. These should not be framed as complaints, but instead ideas for improvement. So instead of saying "the student training was bad", they should say things like "the student training should have more coverage of sourcing", for example.
Once you have a great list of pluses and deltas from your pilot program, consider writing a blog post or other document outlining your successes and learning points from your pilot, so that others can follow what you've done.
Slide 3: Expanding your program
Look at the deltas generated in the activity from the previous slide. What kinds of things do you need to do before next term? Some may be fairly simple things like creating more resources for students; others may take more work, like recruiting more volunteers.
Look again at your program plan. Does the model you set out work for expansion, based on your experiences with your pilot? Now that you have experience running one program, additional terms will be much easier. Each new instructor and Ambassador takes a lot of work to train, but once they've had one term's worth of experience, they will ask fewer questions and have a better idea of what they're doing. While you'll still have to offer assistance, you can instead focus your attention on recruiting and training new instructors and Ambassadors.
What is the best way to get more impact on your language Wikipedia? Who were your best instructors? Your best students? Your best Ambassadors? What can you do to recruit more people like your best instructors, Ambassadors, and students? How can you carefully discourage anyone who didn't contribute quality content from participating again? How can you bring people to your program who will improve Wikipedia the most?
Do you need to create additional roles? Is everything you had in the pilot plan necessary for your second term? How can you adjust the plan to get the most out of your volunteer time without overwhelming your participants?
Be creative. It may be that doubling the number of instructors will simply double the impact. Or maybe you can determine a way to get students to contribute more content. There's no one right answer, but your experiences in your pilot should be enough to guide you in the direction you think is best for expansion.
Slide 4: You're not alone!
While you are the expert on your own program, remember there is a community of other Wikipedia Education Program leaders globally who are here to support your work! Don't forget to share your plan with other program leaders and ask for feedback. If you have a specific problem you'd like to solve, try asking!
Even better, if you found a great solution to a problem that others may also be facing, share it! By sharing your learnings, you're helping other program leaders expand their own language Wikipedias.
Congratulations! You've completed the orientation.
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We look forward to seeing great things from your Wikipedia Education Program!