Talk:India Program/India Campus Program Reports

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See story in this week's The Signpost on en.WP. Tony1 07:26, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

awesome & thanks! Hmundol 16:26, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

On the importance of editting skills in Campus Ambassadors[edit]

I would like to add a note of dissent to one of the approaches being taken in Campus Ambassadors program - "That it is not really important to be a good Wikipedia editor".

As of today, there are extremely few Wikipedians available for Colleges to depend upon other than these Campus Ambassadors. In effect, these Campus Ambassadors will be the prime motivators for getting students involved as well as to give guidance and mentoring once the organisation/teacher buys into the "Wikipedia in Education" program. They cannot motivate, guide or facilitate others in editing, if they are themselves not adept in it. And it will be unfair if we do not equip them with the skills they will require in future.

While I agree that the point of the Campus Ambassadors Program is to develop Campus Ambassadors not editors, I feel there has been inadequate emphasis on editting during the two-day contact program. In addition, we are publicly playing down the need for editing skills in Campus Ambassadors. Imho this trend is unhealthy and needs to be reversed. We need to make the Campus Ambassadors Wikipedians first and Campus Ambassadors later rather than vice versa.

Assuming that future batches of Campus Ambassadors too would be taught by a WMF team, I would like to suggest a change in approach. The efforts of the resource personnel who have come all the way from the Foundation are surely best used in what they are doing - teaching aspirants to be Campus Ambassadors. The teaching of editing skills is best done say a month prior to the Campus Ambassador training and can be done over a two-day period by community Wikipedians. The aspirants would then have time to hone their editing skills and their take off point would be higher when the WMF team arrives. If done this way, some of the basic introduction to Wikipedia stuff can be dropped off the training by the WMF team who could then focus more on the Campus Ambassador stuff.

All said and done, editting Wikipedia is both fun and involves skill. Anyone who isn't inspired to do it will find editting a chore and not bother gaining proficiency. The final editting that is the output (the quantity of which is proudly heralded by foreign campus ambassador programs) will be 'fat' or 'lean' depending upon the enthusiasm of the students the Campus Ambassador system motivates. I don't foresee a rich harvest of edits and articles unless the students are enthused and part of the job of motivating them will willy-nilly fall on the shoulder of the campus ambassadors. AshLin 16:49, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Actually the point I had made was,"These trainings must be about enabling them to support the program and not to become the best Wikipedia editor. As such, the emphasis must be on providing the very limited basics and no more. This distinction is mission-critical. Any deviation runs the risk of information overload." This nuance is important. Of course, they should be editors and of course they ought to enabled and supported and motivated to become good editors. That's why we've invited them to attend community meet-ups and join mailing lists. In fact, all along the way (and even before the training), they have been encouraged to start editing and given tips and gentle nudges to edit and positive reinforcement when they have edited. However, in a 2 day training program, there are limits to how much can be absorbed and that is why I emphasised "providing the very limited basics and no more." If one does this in a suitably inspiring and motivating environment, there is a reasonable chance of them going ahead and editing. Editing must be accesible and not intimidating. They must be given the basic tools and then inspired to find their wings - in whatever direction they choose to fly.
Also, in a train-the-trainer session, the person being trained doesn't necessarily have to be the best at the subject - but he or she has to certainly be really really good at training. Would it be great if they are experts? Of course. Can you make them experts rapidly? I'm not so sure.
Future batches of Campus Ambassadors will be trained not by WMF but - as it should be - by the community (of which previous batches of Campus Ambassadors are a part.) I am more than happy if the community wishes to take it up in the manner that you've outlined - i.e., a dedicated 2-full-day editing workshop 1 month before a dedicated 2-full-day program workshop. Either way, it ought to be focused and inspiring. Hmundol 14:14, 23 June 2011 (UTC)