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Wikipedia Education Program Overview for Campus Ambassadors[edit]

This module will provide you with an overview of the Wikipedia Education Program as well as more information about Wikipedia support roles (Regional, Campus and Online Ambassadors), where you and your students can get help, program expectations and the requirements for participating.

Wikipedia in Education
At the end of 2009 we began to see a growing number of educators around the globe experimenting with Wikipedia in the classroom. To learn more about how we could help these intrepid educators, we met with over 40 professors at several U.S. universities. We brought together an advisory group of university educators to further explore how they teach with Wikipedia and how we could support them in their efforts. Together these conversations resulted in a 17-montch grant-based pilot program called the Public Policy Initiative (PPI).

The Public Policy Initiative worked with professors who were teaching 50 different classes at 20 universities and supported over 800+ students both in-classroom and virtually. The results were truly impressive. Not only did these students learn the university course material, they also added more than 8.8 million characters or roughly 5,333 pages (
11 reams of paper) of quality content to Wikipedia
. Students received first-hand experience of writing for a global audience with much of their work being viewed hundreds of times by readers of Wikipedia. With the success of PPI, the program changed its name and expanded to include all academic disciplines and more countries, including India, Egypt, Brazil and Canada! So you are part of a truly global and rapidly expanding movement.

At its core, the Wikipedia Education Program works with and supports professors and educators as they incorporate Wikipedia assignments into their classes. Please recognize that the class you will be working with is most likely not about Wikipedia and that they will be using a Wikipedia assignment as a means to achieve the professor's learning objectives. With that in mind, you will be able to support your professors with a variety of support resources, including instructional brochures, videos, lesson plans and sample syllabi as well as in-class presentations and working with virtual Wikipedia Ambassadors. Ambassadors like you have been integral partners in the classroom—helping both students and professors apply Wikipedia to learning.

This program will teach you how to:

  1. Support professors as they develop appropriate Wikipedia assignments for their class
  2. Teach and mentor students on the technical skills of editing Wikipedia
  3. Work with students to understand the collaborative community of Wikipedia

Let's take a quick look at your volunteer support role as well as that of your virtual counterpart, the Online Ambassador.

Campus Ambassadors

Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors are truly unique. You may be a student, teaching assistant, Wikipedian, graduate or even a local business person. Yet all Ambassadors have one thing in common: like you, each has volunteered his or her time, energy and passion to help professors and students succeed with their Wikipedia assignments. Also like you, Ambassadors are passionate about Wikipedia and its mission to create and share the sum of all human knowledge.

We have designed the volunteer Campus Ambassador role to support professors by:

  • Consulting on their Wikipedia assignment and ensure that it is appropriate for an online encyclopedia. (We'll talk more about assignment types in Module Three)
  • Conducting in-class Wikipedia presentations & Wikipedia editing labs
  • Helping students with Wikipedia questions
  • Working with professors and students to help identify possible articles to work on (e.g., stub and start class articles)
  • Making Wikipedia fun and engaging

Remember that this is a support role and as a Campus Ambassadors you're NOT expected to:

  • Write your professor's Wikipedia assignment
  • Actively contribute/edit content to student articles
  • Grade student work effort/product

Online Ambassadors

In addition to your role as a Campus Ambassadors, the program also includes volunteer Online Ambassadors to help students and professors virtually. At the moment, Online Ambassadors are 100% Wikipedia contributors and most have years of experience and thousands of edits. Wikipedians who serve as Online Ambassadors are passionate about both creating the best online encyclopedia in the world and helping new editors successfully contribute to the Wikipedia project.

We have designed the Online Ambassador role to support you, your professor and your students by:

  • Providing real-time online help through live IRC (i.e. chat)
  • Sorting through the technical skill of Wiki mark-up language
  • Navigating Wikipedia jargon, policies and guidelines
  • Working with students to submit their articles to the "Did you know?" process
  • Helping to resolve any potential content disputes as they arise with the community
  • Linking students with Wikipedia community members

Regional Ambassador

A Regional Ambassador serves to help pair you up with Professors and Online Ambassadors. They usually work behind the scenes to check in with you and your professor throughout the academic term. Additionally, they are the first point of contact for you should any questions, concerns, or problems arise during the academic term.

More help[edit]

So what happens when you get asked a question you can't answer? There are several channels through which you can ask for help. The Wikipedia Education Program has simplified where you, your professors and your students get the support when you need it.

If YOU have questions about:

  • How you or your students work with Online Ambassadors
    • Contact fellow Campus Ambassador(s)
    • Regional Ambassadors and Wikimedia Foundation staff are also available if you get stuck, especially in relationships with professors.
  • How you or your students work with Campus Ambassadors
    • Contact your Regional Ambassador or Wikimedia staff
  • Writing Article (technical/research/writing)
    • If you're just looking for a quick answer to a technical question, your best bet is to log on to IRC -- #wikipedia-en-classroom ( If you've never used IRC before, it's like any Internet chat room. The en-classroom channel is for one is for students (and you!) to get help; the en-help channel is staffed by helpful Wikipedians not connected to our program.
    • Course page's talk page. This is always a good place to start for questions about article development.
    • You can also post questions on the Wikipedia Ambassadors discussion page. Many Regional Ambassadors, staff, Online Ambassadors, and other Campus Ambassadors have these pages watchlisted, so they'll see when you post something and will give you an answer.


  • Issues or questions that arise when working with Online Ambassadors
    • They should contact you—their Campus Ambassador
  • Issues or questions about working with Campus Ambassadors
    • They should contact you directly or the Regional Ambassador or Wikimedia Education Program staff
  • Questions regarding Writing Articles (i.e. technical, research, writing, community)

If YOUR STUDENTS have questions about:

  • Article writing (i.e. technical, research, writing, community)
  • Conflict with other Wikipedia editors
    • Ask your Campus or Online Ambassador
  • Class specific questions only
    • Ther professor, teaching assistant, classmates, etc.

Requirements and Logistics[edit]

This section covers the requirements and logistical details necessary to participate in the program.

"Working in Pods" or what team am I on?"
The central working unit of this program is the "pod." The pod is a team of people supporting your class and consists of:

  1. Your professor
  2. You (Campus Ambassador)
  3. Your Online Ambassador

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
The MOU outlines what is expected of each member of the "pod" and serves as a guide for working together in supporting the class. The MOU will give you a solid understanding of what is being asked of the professor in order to participate in the program.

We ask the each member of the Pod sign the MOU as soon as possible.

In some cases, you may be supporting a participating professor that is also a Wikipedia Teaching Fellow. To get information on the additional requirements for Teaching Fellow click here.


  1. Module One: Global Education Program Overview
  2. Module Two: About Wikipedia
  3. Modules Three: Syllabus and Assignment Design