Grants talk:PEG/User:Pjthepiano - Wiki Education Foundation/US and Canada Wikipedia Education Program

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Comments[edit]

Hello!

Thank you for putting up this grant request, I find the development of the Education program extremely thrilling. Here are my remarks:

  • I am a bit confused as to the actual alignment of this grant request with [[Grants:Index/Eligibility requirements

|GAC eligibility requirements to get funding]]. As I understand it, this grant entails employment of staff not on a project basis, but on a long term basis (even if the grant time-scope itself only covers 7 months or so) since it is aimed at building a new organisation. So my first question is: is this grant at all elligible for this Grants program? I would assume it more of an FDC type grant.

However, assuming that this is a GAC elligible grant, then here are my more specific questions:

  • given the very important amount requested, I would like to see a much more detailled timeline of what happens when, maybe also cashflow projection (when are which investments made, for example).
  • In order to make an informed decision about whether this grant should be funded, I think a plan about what happens when the funding requested through this grant runs out should be presented. Are there plans to become sustainable? What does "WEF is preparing grant requests to support the program beyond the 7 month period of this request." exactly mean? Which kind of grants are we talking about? Grants from within Wikimedia? Outside grants?

Thanks a lot for your clarifications. notafish }<';> 13:36, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the questions, Notafish. To your first point, we've spoken with Asaf and he said that because this is a short-term request and because we will be securing alternative funding for these staff positions at the end of the grant period, this is an appropriate GAC request. In regard to your other questions:
  • I can certainly provide you with a detailed timeline of when these line items will be expended.
    • Hi Pjthepiano. Just to be clear, actual cashflow timeline is secondary in my request. I am much more interested in knowing what kind of activities you are planning to , what the role of each staff member may be, when you plan to have them hired, that kind of things. Let's call it a mini strategic plan... notafish }<';> 00:14, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
      • I've added a timeline to our proposal. I hope this gets at your request, but if you're looking for more information just let me know! Pjthepiano (talk) 02:42, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • The sustainability of WEF beyond this 7 month grant is one of our key objectives (hence the emphasis on fundraising). We will be seeking funds from outside Wikimedia as well as the FDC. I'll get you more information on this as well.
  • Thank you for your prompt response. notafish }<';> 00:14, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your questions. I'll get you the additional information promptly. Pjthepiano (talk) 02:39, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi PJ, thanks for the timeline, very informative. I believe it is quite audacious and bold but I guess we would have not done anything if we hadn't been bold before. I find this so far pretty well planned out. If I were nitpicking I would ask for detailled job descriptions of the people you are planning to hire, and maybe even whether you already have potential people to fill those positions, just because I think setting up the "hired" team might be the hardest part of the project. All in all, I find this to be a pretty sound project, and if experience serves, the past results, as well as the likely support in the transition from a WMF to an independant project will help make this smooth.
It's certainly an ambitious timeline, but since we are building on an existing program that enjoys support from a number of dedicated and talented people, I think it's achievable. I'll get back to you regarding detailed job descriptions. The "Project Scope and Activities" section gives four bullet points on what each person will do. I understand that since this is a large request, more detail is desirable so I'll work on getting that to you. Thanks for your kind words and continued interest. Pjthepiano (talk) 02:58, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Just two other quick questions:
  • I echo Mike's question below about the measures of success, how many is "sufficient"? I think having clear targets helps measure the work still to achieve, you might want to put numbers forth, in order to ask yourself what makes sense. Since you have some past numbers to look at, it might be easier to figure out what can be achieved in what amount of time anyway.
Recruiting for the fall semester is currently being handled by the WMF since the transition to WEF won't happen until the end of June. The number of ambassadors needed is largely contingent on how many professors sign up for the program. I'll check with User:JMathewson_(WMF) to get some clarity around the numbers. Pjthepiano (talk) 02:58, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
We have been talking to AffCom about becoming a thematic organization (thorg). Pending AffCom's approval of our bylaws and then subsequent approval by the WMF Board, it is our intention to become a thorg. We'll have more on that in the next few weeks. Pjthepiano (talk) 02:58, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks notafish }<';> 21:38, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Comments re grant funds allocation[edit]

I’d like to comment on this grant proposal and say that I fully support WMF funding of the WEF and its mission. I would hope that the GAC and WMF will fund the WEF to the maximum extent possible. However, I do believe the funds allocation in this grant request is shortsighted at least and potentially damaging to the long-term success of the WEF mission. Nearly 70% of the total grant is to pay salaries and benefits to a paid staff. An additional 10% is devoted to paid staff travel. When one examines the claimed Measures of Success one merely sees a list of tactical activities and no sense of Program results. Apart from achieving some additional funding to sustain the organization beyond Dec 2013, none of the measures indicate strategic or program results, they merely indicated activities, expensive ones at that.

When the WMF Global Outreach Program made the decision to encourage the creation of an independent US/Canada Education Program last year, one of primary reasons was that the current WMF based EP process just wasn’t scalable. After three years of very successful experimentation, the WMF realized they could not grow the US EP substantially using just paid WMF staff. Now in April 2013, the WEF intends, it appears, merely to replicate the same non-scalable practices by hiring paid staff. This appears by the nature of the grant language to be a solution that completely ignores the essence of the WMF Strategic Plan Encourage Innovation language. It doesn’t appear from that grant language that the new WEF has even considered alternatives to using paid staff achieve the mission of the WEF.

For example, has the WEF examined the possibility of using volunteer staff and collaborative technologies to achieve its mission? One of the measures listed is: “Have recruited and trained a sufficient number of campus and online ambassadors to support the Education Programs”. How many is sufficient? The grant request lists the existence of 273 ambassadors and 168 educators already in the program. Is five, ten, 25 more sufficient? Even if more are needed, why can’t they be recruited and trained by volunteer staff? The grant proposal lists 40 volunteers willing to support the program, why can’t some of them be enlisted to help perform essential WEF functions. One surmises from the grant language that if there isn’t a paid staff member to send emails, make and take phone calls, and make the occasional trip to talk to a professor (all of which could be done with volunteer staff), the entire US/CAN EP will collapse--all those ambassadors and instructors will just stop supporting classes.

One of key things WMF EP learned from its EP experiments was the need to make training and other resources available online and universally available and effective for all stakeholders in EP programs. In-person training, recruitments and mentoring of ambassadors, students and instructors just wasn’t scalable. A lot of progress was made in this regard as most, if not all the training and guidance is on-wiki and the volunteer Wikipedia Community continues its efforts to strengthen program guidance-voluntarily as in this example. [1] With a sufficient number of volunteers already lined up to support the program and the availability of collaborative technologies (many of which are world class and essentially free for non-profits) it would seem to me that there are volunteer and technology alternatives to spending 80% of the grant funds on paid staff and benefits when it’s clear that approach is not scalable.

I do believe establishing the WEF with paid staff first, without any consideration of using volunteers and technology to achieve its mission will be potentially damaging or stifling at least to the program in the long run. Paid staffs with benefits tend to become entrenched and have a long-term primary focus of keeping their jobs. In this case, the jobs entail replicating processes and such that even the WMF admits are not scalable. Much of their energies will by necessity be spent on fundraising not to advance program results but to preserve their salaries and benefits.

I want to conclude my comments by saying that this grant request reads a bit like a group of entrepreneurs going to a bank for a loan and saying: “Give us enough money to hire two people and we’ll let them build a business case so they can keep their jobs.” I believe the detailed business case ought to come first and in this particular grant request, I believe a far greater percentage of the initial funding for the WEF ought to be devoted to developing volunteer staff and collaborative technologies that allow WEF activities to be scalable and generate real long-term program results. Replicating past practices is not essential to WEF success and to insist on doing so is likely to do more long-term harm than good. I would encourage the GAC and the WMF to ask the WEF to consider more scalable, innovative approaches to achieving their mission with the funds the WMF is willing to grant, funds which I trust are substantial enough to give the WEF a good, stable and productive start.

Full disclosure: I am a former member of the US EP working group and interim WEF board and have been vocal about these issues for some time. --Mike Cline (talk) 14:09, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

This is the most cogent and sensible thing I've seen you say, Mike. In fact, I think I agree 100%. As I've also said repeatedly, the current proposal looks too much like an attempt merely to outsource (rather than rethink) a program that until recently the WMF was happy to fund itself. --Jbmurray (talk) 17:57, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Though it may not be clear in this proposal yet, which we will try to clarify, of course, 'developing volunteer staff' is precisely what WEF wants to do. WEF aims to mentor volunteers in creating local and subject-based groups that can support educators and student editors in having positive experiences while making positive contributions to Wikipedia. The same is probably true of developing 'collaborative technologies', though you may be aware that this typically does take some staff time, either to develop those technologies or to involve volunteers in doing so. I think for WEF to propose having some sort of community manager, which is very common in organizations with a community, is not so far off base. I will not disagree that I wish we could have done more of creating these institutionalized groups by now, but, as someone who was a part of this entire process up until a week ago, you are one of the few people who knows the time it can take to get there. I think we want to create an organization that encourages and empowers volunteers, but I don't think we want to create one where we take advantage of our amazing volunteer community. Providing the right tools and training to be successful and have positive personal growth will be the reasons our volunteers make this organization so successful, and I do think that's where this group of volunteers is working to get. JMathewson (WMF) (talk) 19:22, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
As usual, you've provided very thoughtful and articulate comments, Mike. There's a lot there so I'm just going to offer a general response rather than address point-by-point. Forgive me if I miss anything.
You state that "WEF intends . . . merely to replicate the same non-scalable practices [of the WMF] by hiring paid staff." I would argue that there needs to be at least some paid staff to coordinate the scores of volunteers that currently support the program. This grant proposes hiring just two people - I think that's a very light footprint for an organization with as many participants as this one. WEF intends to continue, expand, and enhance the volunteer system currently in place (i.e. Wikipedia ambassadors) to reach universities across the U.S. and Canada. I think it's clear that this is a volunteer driven program.
I also disagree that the percentage of this grant intended for staff salaries is really a fair measure of how volunteer driven this program is. After all, by definition, volunteers work for free, so their participation in the program doesn't do anything to decrease the share of the budget committed to paid staff. In addition, as WEF secures additional funding it will be able to invest in collaborative technologies to leverage its staff and volunteer resources, thus lowering staff expenses as a percentage of the budget. But even the best technologies don't do you any good if you don't have someone to use them so we need to have some staff for WEF to be successful. Pjthepiano (talk) 03:27, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I think there is some confusion here about "volunteer staff". Ambassadors, et al are indeed volunteers, but they are not volunteer staff (as planned) of the WEF. There are countless non-profits with no paid staff and they function very well. All the business of the non-profit is conducted by volunteers. I see no reason why "paid" staff are required "to coordinate the scores of volunteers that currently support the program" as such support could just as easily be accomplished with volunteer staff. Does an email or phone call from a volunteer have less effect than from someone who is being paid?. My point here is that viable alternatives to very expensive "paid" staff have not even been considered. --Mike Cline (talk) 17:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi Mike. I have read and taken your concerns into account, especially regarding the "paid staff". While I make a point of being careful not to push Wikimedia (related) organisations to head on for full staffing without having tried to make it work on a volunteer level, I do believe that paid staff makes sense in the program as I understand it. I may find the title "Executive director" a bit too big for what that person is going to be doing (even in the longer run), but I do see the need for people on a reliable schedule and ready to serve the many volunteers working for this program, and I believe that even with the best will in the world, volunteers might not provide that on a long term basis. As I understood it, this program until now has been run with the help of staff from the WMF, so it *has* had paid staff working for it. Changing that drastically could create difficulties which may jeopardize the project. Nothing prevents the board from actually having the Executive Director "make this an all-volunteer program" if they see fit, for example. My take is that such a program, while it may not in the long run require a LOT of paid staff, will always need some kind of office which coordinates it to ensure organisational memory, reporting, active support of the many volunteers etc.. Best, notafish }<';> 21:38, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
@MikeCline. It's true that there are non-profits with no paid staff that function well. It's also true that there are many such non-profits that function very poorly. And there are non-profits with paid staff that function both well and poorly. I think the real question is whether this non-profit (WEF) will function well without any paid staff. As you know, I think that WEF will need a small staff to succeed. I think Notafish correctly observes that this program requires professional staff on reliable schedules to coordinate volunteers, correspond with professors and administrators, and raise funds to sustain the program. We're already fighting an uphill battle trying to convince a rather conservative academic community that they should embrace Wikipedia in their classrooms. I just think WEF cannot get the job done without at least some folks willing to put in 8 hours days to make it happen. Pjthepiano (talk) 19:39, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

A Note of Endorsement from the Wikipedia Education Program[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation believes that the Education Program in the United States and Canada should be led by those who have made this program successful: the Wikipedians and the academics.

In May 2012, WMF first proposed spinning-off the United States and Canada Education Program. Running programs has never been WMF's objective; rather, we endeavor to create pilots, then give our community members the opportunity to expand programs based on those learnings. We convened a Working Group of seven Wikipedians, seven educators, and two WMF representatives who spent several months working together to develop an overall strategy and proposal for taking over the program. During this time, the strategic direction of WMF narrowed, reducing organizational activities to only a core set. Program work is not core, especially programs that are focused on the English Wikipedia, so the proposal to create a new organization to run the United States and Canada program was very aligned with the narrowing focus strategy. The Working Group's proposal led to the development of the current initial board of directors for the new organization—which is now requesting the Grants Program Funds to assume responsibility for the program.

With limited resources available to support Wikipedia and education within the current format of the program, the Wikimedia Foundation is unable to scale the program to its potential capacity. The contract for the current United States and Canada Education Program contractor expires on June 30, 2013, and is not expected to be renewed except possibly for program transitional activities. We have more interest from professors than capacity, within the current strategy of the Wikimedia Foundation, but we believe a new organization would be able to pursue partnerships, grants, and other opportunities to grow the use of Wikipedia in educational endeavors.

The Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikipedia Education Program endorse the creation of the Wiki Education Foundation to run the United States and Canada Education Program. Rdunican22 (talk) 23:49, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Well. If it would be an application from any WM chapter - it for sure had been rejected. Why? Because it is an application for huge sallary (40 k USD per year + 60 k USD for side employment costs + 10 K USD for travel reinbursement) which makes over 80% of the requested amount of money and for non-existing yet organisation. This is almost against all hiring staff rules which are normally used for grant evaluation.
  1. The new organisation did not proved that it is able to follow "Prerequisites for applying to hire WMF-funded staff",
  2. The project misses the "Restrictions on WMF-funded staff's employment" which says that no more than 30% of the allocated funds can be spent for administrative costs. 70% of the cost had to be spent on programs.
  3. "Governance and Reporting when employing WMF-funded staff" - the organisation did not provided any report yet...

Polimerek (talk) 13:57, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi Poli. I don't understand your "40k USD per year +60k USD for side employment costs". What are "side employment costs" exactly? Also you have to keep in mind that not the whole of salaries are "administrative expenses", but at least the program manager costs are probably fully imputable to programatic activities, as well as some of the travel and general expenses.
This said, I have been thinking along the same lines as you for a while. I personally find the project per se to be both sound and important, but I am a bit at a loss as to how I should be looking at it as a GAC member. It does not fit (as I already said above) with the basic requirements for a normal Grant request and, as you point out, it has several points that go against everything we're supposed to be taking into consideration when looking at a grant request. Things which probably would lead to complete rejection as a valid request if the program hadn't existed before through the Foundation. To add to this, the endorsements from WMF staff, while I find them reassuring, also make this whole thing sound like it's a given, and this program will be funded whatever we say. My way of looking at this is that such a grant request shows the limit of having a Grant program that has so many rules that you can't really "be bold" anymore. I'm all for funding this, but the question would be, out of which pot should it come from? Do we have a be bold budget line somewhere? notafish }<';> 20:45, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I am much less concerned about whether or not the WEF followed the GAC guideline than I am about whether or not $140K of WMF funds is being spent in the best possible way to achieve the mission of WEF. My objections are not that the WEF shouldn’t be funded. It should be funded to the fullest extent possible as it is an important program for Wikipedia and Higher Education. My objections are largely centered on the failure of the WEF to even consider alternative methods of achieving their mission that might prove more effective from both a programmatic and financial perspective. The GAC should be asking very direct return of investment (ROI) questions of the WEF. They should be asking the WEF to demonstrate they’ve considered the ROI of other alternatives to achieving the mission. Expensive, non-scalable paid staff may be the best alternative from a programmatic and financial perspective, but without any thought given to alternatives the GAC is only guessing that the WEF is making the best choice in the use of WMF funding. --Mike Cline (talk) 22:06, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi Mike, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I understand where you're coming from, but my question to you (and maybe actually rather to the Foundation) is the following: what was the budget allocated to the Education Program until now? I have written my thoughts above about paid staff/volunteers, but the answer to this question would be a pretty good comparison basis to start with. Is there any way for us to have a clear vision of the budget allocated to staff/programs by the Foundation to the US and Canada Education program? What was the structure of that program (staffing, volunteer positions, others)? With the answer to those questions surely we can start evaluating options that make sense. notafish }<';> 06:22, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
@Poli. Like Notafish said, it would be helpful for you to clarify your figures. The program manager hire (and associated travel costs) are direct program expenses. The executive director will be heavily focused on sustainability (which includes fundraising) in the early stages. I think this is important since it will eventually lighten our dependency on WMF funds. And as I've noted elsewhere on this page, as the program grows and can do more things (e.g. we are planning to hold an annual conference and host a journal both focused on the use of Wikipedia in academia) then the staff costs as a percentage of the budget will decrease. Pjthepiano (talk) 19:30, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
@Notafish. I agree that it's not exactly clear where in the WMF grants process this proposal fits best, especially since there have been some significant changes to the process recently. The GAC and the FDC seem like the natural WMF sources for WEF; however, we can't yet apply for FDC support because we're not yet an affiliated organization. FDC also requires grant recipients to have completed two WMF grants or two fundraising campaigns (or one of each of those). That presents a sort of chicken and egg problem - you can't get a grant until you have shown that you can handle a grant. That's why this GAC proposal is critical to get WEF off the ground. Pjthepiano (talk) 19:30, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
@MikeCline. I appreciate your comments. I'd just like to reiterate my view that the fact that this proposal includes funding for two employees does not mean that WEF intends to pursue an "expensive, non-scalable" model. I'll respond in more detail in the section above where you have also raised this point. Pjthepiano (talk) 19:30, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes - my numbers are wrong - but the proposal is even worse in terms of sallary/program costs propotions. Out of $147,570 $100,370 is for sallary (68%) and vast majority of the rest of the costs are for office-related and side costs (laptops, insurance, legal advice etc.) Polimerek (talk) 12:54, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying your comments, Polimerek. I don't think your comparison of salary vs. program costs is entirely appropriate. The generally accepted accounting principles for nonprofits divide expenses into three categories: fundraising, program costs, management/general expenses. The salary for the program manager and the materials he/she uses to support program activities are program costs. In addition, any portion of the executive director's time that is spent conducting program activities - e.g. communicating with professors, developing educational materials, etc. - would be categorized as program costs. As I've said earlier, as a very small organization we don't benefit from the economies of scale from which the WMF benefits, but as we grow, our management costs will shrink as a percentage of the overall budget. You will also notice that the WMF budget that Rod provided below does not include any fundraising, legal, or accounting expenses. That's because those are all provided by the larger WMF organization. However, WEF will have to cover that itself. We are looking at many different ways to minimize those direct costs to WEF, but some costs will have to come out of WEF dollars. I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can clarify anything further. Pjthepiano (talk) 03:47, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Brief update[edit]

I agree with much that was pointed out by the GAC above. I have asked the Education Program staff to give us a clearer idea of past and present expenditure on the Education Program in the US and Canada, so we can all get a better handle on the value of this proposal, in terms of the transition of this already existing program, and the change in costs. Stay tuned! Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:09, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

U.S. CANADA Budget (2012-2013)[edit]

As requested, I have pulled the numbers for the U.S. Canada Program. The expenditures shown below are for 7 months of this fiscal year 2012-2013. As you will note, some items in the Wiki Education Foundation budget (e.g. fundraising, accounting, legal, insurance, etc) are part of the larger WMF budget and not specific to the Global Education budget. I would also note that 2012-2013 budget included several short-term educational initiatives (e.g. "Article Quality", "Assignment Design", etc) and are reflected in the budget below. As the year progressed, the number of staff and contractors involved in the program slowly reduced from seven people to two primary people with one of them being 1/2 time. Obviously, providing salary information is sensitive both personally and legally—that is why the numbers are presented without specific detail. The Global Education budget represents less than 1% of the overall Wikimedia Foundation budget for 2012-2013.

Number Category Description Staff/Contractors Total Cost Currency Notes
1 Capital and Equipment Expense Laptops, software, phones - $4,300 USD
2 Personnel Related Expenses Salary, Wages, taxes, benefits etc. Program Director, Communication Mgr, Program Mgr $46,439.73 USD Each postion noted worked on the program with varying time allocation (or %)
3 Professional Services Outside Contract Services Education Program Consultant; Community and Technical Specialist; 2 Special Projects Contractors $114,779 USD Each postion noted worked on the program with varying time allocation (or %)
4 Travel Travel, Meals and Meetings $6,963 USD Travel to various regions/universities, and conferences
5 Mail/Shipping Mailing materials and brochures to students/professors/conferences $816.15 USD
6 Other Operating Expenses Volunteer Development, Promotional Material, Educational Subscriptions $8,164 USD
Total $181,461.15 USD

--

Rdunican22 (talk) 23:49, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Rod, who were the "Education Program Consultant; Community and Technical Specialist; [and] 2 Special Projects Contractors"? Is one of these Sage? I'm trying to figure out where 2/3rds of the budget went, and it's not immediately obvious. --Jbmurray (talk) 03:26, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi, Jbmurray. That's me, Sage, and 2 contractors who worked on the quality assessment research project last summer (at the very beginning of the data Rod pulled). Hope that helps! (PS Sorry if I'm missing this answer elsewhere. I'm on shoddy internet in a hotel and can't seem to access pages properly.) JMathewson (WMF) (talk) 23:31, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
OK, so you were a contractor. I had presumed you were one of "Program Director, Communication Mgr, Program Mgr." Who were these, then? --Jbmurray (talk) 03:41, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

I have concerns[edit]

As a community member (and someone listed on this proposal as a supporter) I have a variety of concerns. One thing that I noticed is that many of the people listed as supporters came in late January as students in DStrassmann's class. Could these votes have been encouraged by the professor? If so, should those names be given equal consideration? Are those students going to continue to participate in Wikimedia projects? The vast majority of students appear to stop editing after their course, from my experiences. My name was originally attached to this organization with interest but a concern and a desire for things to improve.

My overarching concern is this (and I do want an education program to be successful): I'm left with the impression this organization will adopt the existing WMF model without demonstrating enough evidence it can adapt and evolve to serve the community and readers. The community wants more quality (see the RfC) out of these effots. I'll quote it:

...the number of opposes is significant, and the concerns raised seem pertinent. The concerns are about the quality of the work done, the amount of time needed to monitor and correct mistakes, and the value for money of the programme. These concerns appear to have been partly met with an analysis of the impact of the programme, which shows a net gain; though there is no extended discussion of the analysis by the opposers, nor an independent scrutiny of the data.

I was an ambassador for this class in Fall 2012. Recently, one of the students reqested that their article be deleted. I contacted the deleting administrator and found out that on the talk page, a comment had said: "I do research in this field and most of this article is incorrect and should be rewritten to avoid the spread of misinformation. The revision should cite the recent literature." This implies to me that any real analysis of quality has to be done by subject matter experts. I was a very active ambassador, but I had no way of knowing that the article might have been complete garbage.

Currently in the grant, we have a section that implies success is assocated with quantity. But in my opinion, quantity should not be cited as a positive outcome of an education program without a serious scrutiny of quality measures such as neutrality and factual accuracy. And I think these types of analyses should be published in journals subject to peer-review. Has this ever been done/attempted?

This semester, the professor I helped the most said they had a hard time keeping up with the 7 or 8 articles done in that small class. I think that honest admission is more sober and realistic assessment of what serves readers well. The sentence that says "With a decentralized structure (please see organizational structure below), the Wikipedia Education Program can expand its volunteer support to even more educators and students, as the enthusiasm for using Wikipedia in the classroom continues to grow" strikes me as disconnected from the needs of an education program. I also am not sure where the "organizational structure" is, because a word search did not reveal it in the text other than that mention. Biosthmors (talk) 17:37, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments, Biosthmors. I'm going to focus my reply on issues that have not already been discussed at length in the RfC. If I don't address anything you are specifically interested in, please don't hesitate to say so.
You point out that the "community wants more quality" and you offer an example of a student in your class who did not produce quality work. However, I would point you to another student who was also in your class and produced this quality article from scratch. As with content produced by non-students, the quality of content produced by education program will vary by, among many things, the quality of the students participating. One of the things we are trying to accomplish with this program is maximize the amount of great content that gets added. In addition, like you, I recognize the challenge of reliably evaluating the quality of the content our students produce, but I disagree that "any analysis of quality has to be done by subject matter experts." To my knowledge, this is not the standard that is applied to evaluating articles anywhere else on WP; student editors should be held to the same standards as other Wikipedians. Further, these students are different from the average editor in that they do have direct access to subject matter experts (their professors). If anything, the education program has a greater chance of producing quality content than many other outreach programs on WP.
I would also like to challenge your assertion that the grant request places too great an emphasis on the quantity of contributions and not enough emphasis on quality. In fact, a word search will reveal that the word "quality" is mentioned five times - once in the header of a section about how WEF intends to improve the quality of content on WP, and also in the following sentences:
  • "This program achieves many of the goals outlined by the Wikimedia Foundation's strategic plan for the movement, including increasing the number of women adding contents, improving the quality of articles, and introducing new editors to the community."
  • "WEF plans to continue focusing on methods to support students in creating quality content on Wikipedia."
  • "The U.S. and Canada education programs are well-established efforts that have proven track records of successfully improving the quality of material on Wikipedia and educating both students and professors about the benefits of using Wikipedia in the classroom."
  • "WEF will enhance information fluency, improve the breadth, scope, and quality of Wikimedia content and increase the number of diversity of contributors to the free knowledge movement."
I agree with you that the quality of contributions is an essential measure of the success of the education program. It is clear that content quality is also at the center of WEF's plans. You will also note that our proposal's timeline notes that we plan to develop information and data collection methods that will assist with the evaluation of student contributions. In addition, as you will see on this page, WEF intends to support Wikipedia Studies, academic, peer-reviewed research aimed at, among other things, furthering an understanding and application of Wikipedia as a tool in the classroom.
I hope my comments address your concerns. I look forward to your reply. Pjthepiano (talk) 04:49, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Without responding to your comments, but only asking for you to comment on something I find missing, what do you think about the appropriateness of listing students from a board member's class? My first paragraph is where I asked some questions about that. Might they be better off removed from this grant application/the original list? Biosthmors (talk) 00:15, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
I actually would appreciate it if you would respond to my comments since I took the time to respond to yours. In regard to your specific request above, as I said in my reply, I don't see the value in rehashing arguments that have already been had in the RfC (see comment #7 in the oppose). Furthermore, the list of supporters is secondary to the merits of the proposal itself, which I am more than happy to discuss with you. Pjthepiano (talk) 23:57, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
Had the RfC gone in favour of the Education Program's proposal, it might arguably make sense not to go over the same ground. But in that the RfC was not in any way conclusive, I don't see how in good conscience you can try to consign legitimate concerns to the past. --Jbmurray (talk) 05:11, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
While it is true that the RfC on the whole was not conclusive, it would appear that the particular point Biosthmors is addressing was resolved. Looking at the discussion you'll see that User:MER-C, who raised the issue in the first place, concluded by saying "Never mind. I was wrong. Sorry." Again, I think we would be better served focusing our time on the substance of the proposal. Pjthepiano (talk) 15:42, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
Biosthmors, I'm with you on getting some more concrete plans together on how to improve the quality of student contribs, rather than quantity. We really do have to move away from metrics like characters added or new articles started and adopt more realistic/accurate measures of what makes a successful student project. One issue with moving the program from WMF management to a community-run program is that we can't now just ask that improvements to processes be made, we (as a collective) must make them ourselves. This is also a strength, though - the priorities of the new org will be set by the people involved, not the WMF, or a chapter, but the people who feel passionate enough to take the reins. The Interior (talk) 19:55, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments. (I've been short on time, so I haven't had time to point out some of the flaws I perceive in arguments presented above.) I see what you're saying, but I was hoping to see some specific quality measures to be incorporated into this grant proposal. Biosthmors (talk) 17:07, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
P.J., I apologize for my late reply, but I should share my perspective. I would like to challenge this statement of yours: I would point you to another student who was also in your class and produced this quality article. By challenging your statement, and explaining my perspecive, I hope you will understand what I (and I think Wikipedians themselves) mean when they use the word quality. I anticipate using some rhetorical questions, because I don't expect that you will know all of these answers. So, to begin: how do you know it is a quality article? Are you a subject-matter expert? If not, then have you evaluated the literature? These are the only ways to know if an article is of a good quality or not, as far as I am aware. As you can see from this, quality is judged by the number of "serious errors, such as misinterpretations of important concepts ... factual errors, omissions or misleading statements". How many of each did you count? To give you the Wikipedia perspective, please let me point you to a couple examples where I have dived into the sources. Please see en:Talk:Malaria/GA2. (And also click on "Some reviewed comments".) After all that work, I still didn't grant the article "good" article status because I was finding text-source integrity issues even until the very end. I'm also diving into the sources now at en:Talk:Low_back_pain/GA1#Verifiability, and I helped spot a factual error today. It has since been removed. Real quality assessment takes significant amounts of time, in my opinion. Does this help you understand what I mean by quality? Biosthmors (talk) 00:18, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate the reply, Biosthmors. My point was that identifying individual incidences of subpar student work is not an effective critique of the program because subpar work by non-students is also prevalent (in fact, probably more prevalent) on Wikipedia. A stronger argument would be to demonstrate that the student population (participants in the education program in particular) produces lower quality work than the non-student population. Even then, however, you'd have to control for the fact that students are probably more likely to be new editors than is the general population. Comparing them to first-time editors who are non-students would probably be a better comparison.
Still, as you point out, a serious and comprehensive evaluation of the quality of student contributions is very labor intensive. We have to consider the costs and benefits of conducting such analyses since they are likely to be conducted by experienced editors, like yourself, who could be using their time to make other contributions to the encyclopedia. I am very interested in exploring ways that we can conduct better evaluations and, in turn, improve the quality of student contributions. Thanks again for all of your work on the education program. Pjthepiano (talk) 03:22, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Given that we encourage ambassadors, have online training for students and instructors, the WEF has money (labor), I think it should be expected that what students publish on Wikipedia (vastly?) exceeds that of newbies. As students are receiving course credit, I think they have more of a responsibility to produce quality contributions than new volunteers. Grading can also be done from the sandbox if there are any questions on quality. Also, one has to consider the adverse-effects of student assignments discouraging the volunteers that do exist, because massive incoming changes with deficits in quality can make volunteers very dissatisfied and discouraged. Biosthmors (talk) 09:40, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
That's a fair point (regarding ed program students receiving more support than others). In fact, the evaluations that I have seen have shown that contributions from education program students are generally quite good. Given that, I don't buy the argument that ed program contributions would cause others to be "dissatisfied and discouraged." Pjthepiano (talk) 03:33, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Well then maybe we should chat! It was my dissatisfaction with the status quo that drove me into participating in the program. =) And I could also find you some diffs where others share their dissatisfaction and discouragement. Biosthmors (talk) 10:57, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd be happy to talk. I'll follow up via email. Pjthepiano (talk) 21:49, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Sorry if I may repeat something[edit]

It's a little bit unusual that GAC receive requests with paid staff. In general I appreciate that larger projects like this would be managed under the umbrella of an organization like WMF or like a chapter. I don't know for instance which kind of contract will have the ED or the other staff members. They will be paid by whom? Basically I think that this project may have some problems of accountability. --Ilario (talk) 19:31, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Indeed, there have been serious problems of accountability for many months now, with no sign that there is any coherent plan to confront them. --Jbmurray (talk) 05:14, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Ilario, the role of paid staff in the new organisation has been a topic of discussion for a while now. Ideally, this would be an entirely volunteer-run effort. However, looking at the history of the program, there are two major problems with this. First, like many wikipedia endeavours, there is high year-to-year turnover, and a wide range of engagement levels, with involved volunteers. People get involved, do good work, then move on to the next interesting project. This isn't conducive to building a strong program with institutional memory that can learn from past mistakes and provide consistently effective training for the people involved. Those involved with the program, and the wider editing community, don't want to see the same mistakes being made every new term.
The second factor is that co-ordinating off-wiki activities, such as answering emails from professors and ambassadors, running training programs, and doing long-term analysis of student editing isn't something we have volunteers lining up for. These things need the sort of professional commitment that only paid staff can provide. In terms of chapter involvement, and oversight, we have been discussing partnership with the Wikimedia DC chapter, which has generously reached out to the organisers of this proposal. However, oversight as to the effective and responsible use of funds will ultimately lie with the new Foundation's board, which will be made up of Wikipedian, WMF, and academic representation. Jbmurray, if you have any ideas on how to improve accountability, I'd be interested. The more people working constructively on this, the better the chance of a coherent plan ... The Interior (talk) 19:40, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
The I, we've been over this ground before, as I and others have repeatedly complained about the obscurity and obfuscation involved at just about every stage of the working group and what has followed. For instance, as has been observed many times, transparency and accountability could be significantly improved if members of the working group (now putative board) bothered to engage on-wiki, and in one place on-wiki. It's symptomatic that the Wikipedia Education Noticeboard was only even informed of this here grant proposal almost a month after it was submitted. --Jbmurray (talk) 03:32, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
That late notification was my fault, and I apologize. It's been a heady spring for me in RL, and sometimes the communications have suffered. Obfuscation is a very strong term - I don't think that's really accurate. (What's the phrase, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence"? I'm not saying we're incompetent, but we are a group of volunteers trying to accomplish a very difficult task - one that we are learning as we go) I regret we haven't met your expectations for good communication practices. But there is still a lot of issues to be ironed out if we are going to have an Education Program for the US and Canada in the future, and arguing over the same points (poor communications between the board and the community) isn't going to get us there. I will do my best to make the communications better. The Interior (talk) 23:06, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Terms for approval[edit]

I am prepared to approve this grant proposal, under the following terms:

  1. In addition to the metrics included in the grant proposal, a regular (at least bi-monthly; ideally monthly) report to the English Wikipedia community is posted by the WEF at the Wikipedia:Education noticeboard, along with a link to the report from an appropriate high-visibility area like the Village Pump. The report should describe ongoing activities and their status, include links to the actual pages, courses, and discussions wherever possible, and WEF staff should monitor the report's talk page and engage with feedback. (Naturally, the WEF would not be obliged to agree with any and all feedback.)
  2. A commitment by WEF to adhere to the WMF Trademark Policy. It would need to secure trademark permission separately from this grant, either via affiliation or by requesting ad hoc permission before use.
  3. It should be made clear whether any of the prospective board members is to be one of the temporary staff to be funded by this grant. We expect the answer to be 'no', or changes to be made to the prospective board so that it is.

Please state if these terms are acceptable to the future Wiki Education Foundation. If they are, we shall proceed. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 01:21, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Asaf. This is great news. I will check with the Board re:the terms of the offer and get back to you promptly. Pjthepiano (talk) 01:05, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
Any news? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:36, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay. I'll respond one-by-one to the conditions. 1. WEF agrees to this condition. We have already been providing updates via the noticeboard and intend to continue to do so. 2. WEF agrees to this condition. 3. None of the current board members will be hired using funds from this grant. However, it is WEF's understanding that former board member are eligible for employment.
Just let me know what our next steps are. Pjthepiano (talk) 03:09, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
"We have already been providing updates via the noticeboard and intend to continue to do so." Have you?! Please tell me that your communications with Wikipedia will improve, and drastically. See above, passim, as well as elsewhere. --Jbmurray (talk) 15:38, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Put it this way: beyond a (now deleted) edit from PJ, the last contribution to the Education Noticeboard from anyone on the putative board was from the (now ex)member The Interior, here, itself a month-late update about this page here (see above). I don't believe that The Village Pump (or any other similarly "high-visibility area") has been edited since the ill-fated RFC. --Jbmurray (talk) 15:47, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
That's correct. Is this current? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 06:03, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
I have updated that page. I need to confirm Annie Lin's username (since her WMF account was disabled after she left the foundation). As soon as I hear back from her I will again update the page. But other than that, this is an up-to-date list of the WEF board. Pjthepiano (talk) 03:23, 12 July 2013 (UTC)


Broken link[edit]

The link to "Education board" in this grant request appears not to work. Would you mind repairing it? Thank you, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 01:00, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out, Winifred. I've fixed it. Pjthepiano (talk) 01:19, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the change, PJ. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 01:17, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Re Pjthepiano's revert[edit]

Regarding this: of course, they are all board members. Why one is described differently from the others is not at all obvious. --Jbmurray (talk) 06:21, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

You will notice that the tag at the top of the page reads "IMPORTANT: Please do not make changes to this page without the explicit approval of WMF Grants Program staff. They will be reverted." However, if you would like to change Annie's description, I would suggest "Former WMF Global Education Program Manager." Pjthepiano (talk) 15:32, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Meanwhile, regarding this edit summary, I have indeed raised concerns on this talk page, notably here, where I pointed out that the putative board does not currently meet the terms of approval for the grant. Sadly, this was to no avail. Perhaps you now are hoping to indicate a new responsiveness to talk page comments at least? If so, I look forward to hearing more.

By my count, I have responded to comments on this talk page 18 times since the grant was submitted; 19 if you include my current reply to you. We have been very responsive to talk page comments and will continue to improve. Keep in mind that we are all volunteers with full time jobs, families, and other commitments. We try our best; if have suggestions then we are happy to hear them. Pjthepiano (talk) 15:32, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
PJ, bar the WMF employees, we are all volunteers here. Which doesn't mean that we don't accept responsibility for the tasks for which we've volunteered. --Jbmurray (talk) 21:13, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

And while we're talking about edit summaries, this one was clearly misleading at best. --Jbmurray (talk) 06:27, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, I was working quickly. I think "co-opt" has a negative connotation so would prefer a different term to describe adding a new Board member. Pjthepiano (talk) 15:32, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
It looks like the current version has two differences from the approved version; one is a link fix and the other is updating the board membership to include Annie Lin instead of Jami Mathewson. The first is harmless but I'd suggest reverting the second; we're not going to keep this page updated with all future board membership changes for all time, so it should contain the list as it was given on the page at the time the grant was approved. So long as there's a way for the reader to get to current information I think that's OK. Mike Christie (talk) 03:59, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I see I'm wrong -- Jami was not a board member at the time the grant was approved; Annie was on the board at that time. I think we should check with the grants staff, per the rubric at the top of the page, to be sure it's OK to make this change, but it seems logical that the names should match the actual board, so I can't see them objecting. I wouldn't describe Annie as "ex-WMF"; we're not describing prior qualifications for other board members, only current status. Mike Christie (talk) 13:17, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
OK, I left a note for Asaf asking if we can make the edit; Jon, in my proposed edit I took out the description of Annie that you added, so please comment on Asaf's talk page if you want to suggest that we put that in. Mike Christie (talk) 16:40, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Fine by me. --Jbmurray (talk) 21:07, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for asking, Mike. Yes, it's fine to make the board list reflect reality. We were aware that at the time of approval Jami was no longer on the (putative) board. Indeed, that is why I explicitly asked if the list was current, before approving. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 17:02, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
P.S. 'co-opt' is a standard term in governance jargon, and does not carry a negative connotation (with me, at least). Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 17:02, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Nor with me. Nothing negative intended by the use of this standard term. --Jbmurray (talk) 21:18, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Jon/PJ: I took out the "ex-WMF employee" description as I thought it was inconsistent per my comments above. Mike Christie (talk) 17:47, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your help, Asaf. I'm fine with the changes Mike made. And thanks for your input, Jon. Even if we bump heads from time to time, I do appreciate hearing from you. Pjthepiano (talk) 01:38, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
 :) --Jbmurray (talk) 05:41, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Rethink this grant?[edit]

This grant proposal starts with the statement that "In June 2013 the WMF will transfer responsibility for the education program to the Wiki Education Foundation (WEF)." It turns out, however, that the WEF wants to decline responsibility for the Education Program. See the discussion on Wikipedia. I wonder what consequences this has for the grant itself, which seems now to have been granted under a rationale that turns out to be spurious. --Jbmurray (talk) 17:19, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

As the discussion on the ENB has illustrated, exactly what is meant by the phrases "the education program" and "in charge" depends on context. So it's not accurate to say that we have declined responsibility for the education program. Pjthepiano (talk) 04:17, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Discussion on the ENB has given us extraordinarily mixed messages. And Mike Christie above all (who is the WEF's appointed spokesperson on the ENB) has rather forcefully declined responsibility for the program. Some clarity would be welcome. --Jbmurray (talk) 06:42, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
The WEF will generally be doing the same things the WMF was doing: liaising with classes, working to improve the quality of resources; responding to inquiries from professors; monitoring class work. I think of the Education Program as including all the on-wiki activities, which the WMF did not control and the WEF will not control, so I don't think of the WEF as "running" the EP. Is there something specific the WMF was doing that you think the WEF should be taking over which we are not? Mike Christie (talk) 20:40, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
The WMF happily claimed to be running the Education Program. Indeed, strangely enough it still does. If the WEF is simply taking over the WMF's former responsibility, then it should be equally happy to say that it's running the program. If you are not happy to say that, then that's a declaration of a rather drastic withdrawal of responsibility, and this grant should be withdrawn.
Mike, I'm aware that you want to redefine what is meant by the "Education Program," and change what those words mean everywhere else on-wiki and elsewhere (including in this grant application), but it simply doesn't wash. It is, indeed, rather disturbing. Not least when you tell your only employee that she, too, has got things wrong. You can't just spring a change like that on everyone. --Jbmurray (talk) 03:58, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

FTE for staff?[edit]

Could someone please specify whether estimated annual salaries are $40,000 (Program Manager) and $85,000 (Executive Director). (now reduced to Program Manager ($32,116); Executive Director ($68,250)?) are full-time, or if not, what proportion FTE? Who would work full-time for $32K? Tony (talk) 05:06, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the question, @Tony1:. This is a 7 month grant so that's why the budgeted amounts are less than the estimated annual salaries. The budgeted amounts also include the cost of taxes and benefits; the estimated annual salaries in the "notes" column do not include the cost of benefits and taxes. Both positions are FTEs. Just let me know if you have other questions. Pjthepiano (talk) 03:09, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply, Pj. We really do need a protocol across all grant applications about the need to express FTE, duration of employment, and whether on-costs are included. :-) Tony (talk) 12:48, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Extension request[edit]

The Wiki Education Foundation is requesting an extension of this grant until August 2014. There were several factors delaying our receipt of the funds and as a result our timeline has been extended. I would be happy to answer any questions regarding this request. Pjthepiano (talk) 05:01, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Personally, I'd like a rather fuller rationale for this request. Are you blaming the WMF for the extension of your timeline? And what is the timeline in any case? And I'm still concerned at the unanswered questions above. --Jbmurray (talk) 22:02, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Well yes: the extension would double the duration of the project. Could we have a revised timeline, please? Tony (talk) 13:27, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Pjthepiano. Three weeks ago you said you would be "happy to answer any questions regarding this request," but you haven't responded to the queries above. To help you, here are some more specific questions. Can you tell us:
Thanks. --Jbmurray (talk) 09:36, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
While I am aware of at least some of the factors causing this delay, it would be good to at least list them here on the wiki for the record, before an extension is approved. I can confirm that one factor was confusion (due to a misunderstanding between departments within WMF) about how this grant was to be disbursed, which affected questions surrounding the WEF's incorporation and financial set-up. Please add any other issues causing the delay, and do address the questions above. We're not opposed to granting an extension, but it does make sense to clarify what's been done and how much has been spent so far. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 01:49, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
In fact, I'd like you to submit an interim report. This would be a good format for you to summarize activities and spending so far, and for us to make a decision on the extension request. Thanks. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 16:32, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Asaf. I will submit the report this week. Pjthepiano (talk) 05:13, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Pjthepiano, it's good to see that you're responding to Asaf. Will you also be responding to Tony and my own (rather similar) questions, given that you stated back on January 3 that you "would be happy to answer any questions regarding this request." Thanks in advance. --Jbmurray (talk) 00:24, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Asaf, Jon, and Tony - Per Asaf's request I have submitted an interim report regarding our grant (see here). Do let me know if you need any additional information. Pjthepiano (talk) 02:13, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, you could try answering our questions. Why not start with Tony's: Could we have a revised timeline, please? Thanks. --Jbmurray (talk) 00:01, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Three and a half months later... still no response from Pjthepiano, still no revised timeline. --Jbmurray (talk) 05:51, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
JBmurray, I'm just looking at this for the first time. But an interim report was submitted, and accepted by the administrator of the grant program. While it's always nice to to have open discussion, what is the basis for your expectation that PJ would answer your questions? -Pete F (talk) 06:11, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Pete, my expectation that questions might be answered comes from Pjthepiano's comment that he would "be happy to answer any questions regarding this request." My specific expectatation that we would be provided with a revised timeline comes from Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants)'s note of February 6: "do make it a point to post an updated timeline on the talk page of the grant itself once the new ED is on board and the WEF is ready to commit to one. I expect this shouldn't take much more than two months from today." It is now two and a half months after that note was made. --Jbmurray (talk) 18:15, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Jbmurray, thanks for pointing that out. I apologize on behalf of the Wiki Education Foundation -- clearly we've missed that deadline. I've just confirmed the board and executive director are discussing it now, and I hope to have an update in a few weeks. Our apologies for the delay. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:36, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Approved[edit]

The interim report is now accepted (but see talk page), and the extension to August 31st 2014 is hereby approved. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:13, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Interim grant report[edit]

Dear Asaf,

I apologize for not getting back to you earlier. Here’s our report on what we’ve achieved so far:

  • Legal incorporation: Wiki Ed has incorporated legally as a non-profit in mid 2013. We’ve applied for 501(c)(3) status, and we’re still awaiting confirmation.
  • Assume operations of Education Program: Wiki Ed has been supporting instructors, students, and community as described in our monthly reports.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to support U.S. and Canada programs: Wiki Ed has consulted with different groups of stakeholders through surveys, emails, and phone calls. We have also supported instructors and students with Wikipedia teaching materials.
  • Secure additional funding: Wiki Ed has secured funding (at 90% of our planned expenses for April 2014–June 2015) through a third party grant (see our announcement in April). In June 2014, we’re planning to hire a fundraiser to secure additional funds.
  • Secure operational infrastructure: Wiki Ed has established a well-functioning payroll and benefits system and also signed insurance contracts. In order to keep the non-programmatic costs as low as possible, we’re working with outside contractors for HR and accounting. Up to this point we have hired three employees and we’re planning to add another three employees in June. The grant money provided by the Wikimedia Foundation allowed us to equip our existing employees with computers and software.

At this point in time, we’re still deliberating whether an academic conference (as described in our initial grant proposal) should take place and under which conditions it would still make sense for us to organize such a conference. I’ll get back to you as soon as we’ve made a decision.

For the time being, we have stopped spending against the grant. If we decided to organize the conference, we will provide you with a timeline and spending estimate for such an event.

You’ll find more information about our activities on our new website at http://www.wikiedfoundation.org. We’re also planning to share additional information with the Wikipedia community at the upcoming Wikiconference USA in New York and at Wikimania in London.

We’re deeply grateful for the grant which enabled us to get our organization successfully off the ground. The support provided through the grant has made a huge difference.

Thanks, --Frank Schulenburg (Wiki Ed) (talk) 19:18, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for this additional report. I appreciate the candor, and am happy to learn the grant has already achieved its primary goal, in that the WEF has now secured stable external funding. I look forward to additional updates as you figure out the conference question. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 17:59, 30 May 2014 (UTC)