India Access To Knowledge/India Campus Program Reports

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This page is meant to house all reports related to the India Campus Program.

Pune Pilot[edit]

Pune Pilot: Planning[edit]

Preliminary Visit: April 20th - 22nd, 2011[edit]

Hisham Mundol visited Pune and met up / spoke to 2 education authorities, 8 teachers, 5 students and 4 community members. The objective of this visit was to get a preliminary understanding of the potential for the India Campus program and to feedback into the program design all relevant inputs.

Aspect Findings Anecdotes Implications Next Steps
Timing
  • Undergraduate year ends April 30th and restarts June 10th
  • Postgraduate year ends mid-May and restarts June 28th

Official start of year (for undergraduate teachers) is 1st Monday of June i.e., teachers will be back on campus on June 6th

  • In order to get teachers to meet up, the ideal time for the WMF team visit is arrive June 10th, conduct Campus Ambassador training on June 11-12th, conduct meet-ups with teachers and teacher "workshop" in the week of June 13-17th
  • This might mean we are not there in time to do all the groundwork before the actual start of the year and our program will need to blend through with the calendar year
  • Finalise visit dates
  • Commence scheduling of various meetings
Overall Interest
  • There appears to be a reasonable level of interest, laced with a degree of (healthy) skepticism on how it can be made to work in India.
  • "What's in it for me?" - separately for authorities, teachers & students
  • "This might work in the US where the teachers are very motivated, but will it happen in India?"
  • "Unless students are genuinely motivated, will they actually take part in it?"
  • "Send me a formal proposal and let me discuss it. I can get 1 teacher from each of my 4 divisions to meet up with you."

Need to ensure that there is a compelling "What's in it for me?" for all 3 stakeholders

Rework existing program outline to incorporate strong "What's in it for me?" (See next 3 rows.)

What's in it for me? - Authorities
  • There's got to be something in it for college authorities to make them grant an OK.
  • Autonomous colleges / universities have greater flexibility than those affiliated to Pune University to partner with Wikipedia.
  • "This is going to require additional effort. What are we going to gain from it?"
  • "Teachers already loaded with work. Make sure you provide them adequate support to get this additional thing done."
  • Explore a formal arrangement (i.e., MOU equivalent) between WMF and the respective college
  • Explore an "Intel Labs" style partnership communication, e.g. "Wikipedia-enabled College" (purely illustrative)
  • Benefits to authorities - free inputs (i.e., training to teachers & students), publicity (as partners of Wikipedia), affiliations such as mentioned in above point, better learning (innovative & engaging)
  • Have twin track for autonomous & non-autonomous colleges & universities (e.g., for non-autonomous, students might be asked to submit a formal report as well as edit a Wikipedia article, instead of just editing on Wikipedia)
  • Rework existing program outline to incorporate implications
What's in it for me? - Teachers & Professors
  • Teachers are unclear / wary of Wikipedia
  • Teachers understand the potential role of Wikipedia
  • For graduate classes, 40% of marks are determined by the teacher & 60% by the final exam (with an external teacher marking papers). This 40% can be determined through mid-term tests, surprise tests, presentations, practicals, papers, etc. Autonomous universities can determine this split on their own, but non-autonomous ones need Pune University's permission.
  • For post-graduate classes, the split is 60 % determined by the teacher and 40% by the final exam
  • "Is Wikipedia accurate? Who writes Wikipedia?"
  • "One of my students insisted that he was right and I was wrong because he quoted Wikipedia."
  • "I know I have to be better than Wikipedia."
  • Need to reassure teachers of Wikipedia's content model (e.g., protocols, reviews, etc.)
  • It is essential to create a global community of participating teachers to support, recognize, benefit and motivate teachers.
  • Benefits to teachers - free training inputs to teachers & students, support on teaching program redesign to incorporate Wikipedia, recognition for using Wikipedia, support through regular updates from Campus Ambassadors on progress.
  • Rework existing program outline to incorporate implications
What's in it for me? - Students
  • Students know about Wikipedia and read it regularly.
  • Students are at sometimes only vaguely aware that "anyone can contribute."
  • Students are apathetic or diffident about contributing to Wikipedia.
  • Students will have a major language barrier in editing
  • "I use it all the time, but I don't think I can contribute"
  • "Students are like soft drinks. They start off with a lot of enthusiasm and unless you sustain in, they fizzle out." - quote from authority
  • "Be careful that something as cool as Wikipedia does not get regarded as part of a broken education system."
  • "Teachers just want you to vomit whatever they have said, exactly how they have said it."
  • It is essential to incorporate language training into student training by Campus Ambassadors
  • Options such as creating an incubator for articles where students contribute content and one or more of them help out with the "correct" language should be explored. Alternatively, external editors could be requested to support correcting language errors.
  • Need to ensure that there is constant excitement and that Wikipedia is regarded as "fun"
  • Benefits to students - free training, support from Campus Ambassadors, their reports available to a potential audience of millions, more fun learning
  • Rework existing program outline to incorporate implications
Teacher Insights
  • Many teachers regard teaching as just a profession. A few regard it as a passion
  • Teachers want to teach well. Teachers want to teach using more innovative and modern tools - but think they lack the flexibility and the tools.
  • There is no link between better academic performance of students and teacher appraisals.
  • Teacher evaluation is done on an ad hoc basis, if at all. Student feedbacks are collected but even that is not always "honestly" filled in.
  • There is no clear incentive to reward better teaching performance.
  • University Grants Commission has determined the following evaluation criteria for teachers
  • 40%: teaching performance
  • 40%: personal development (e.g. training undertaken, research papers, etc.)
  • 20%: administrative support
  • Teacher salary is relatively low - and it used to be regarded as a non-aspirational profession, thought that is (slowly) changing.
  • Teachers still face some negative perception that they are all about repetition - boring and monotonous. Sometimes, they are regarded as to "preachy" by their own families.
  • "I just became a teacher. It wasn't something I planned."
  • "I became a teacher because it had safe, fixed timings and no travel - all of which were convenient."
  • "My day is great when I have a good class, and everything seems terrible when I have a bad class."
  • "I instinctively know when it is a good class. It is when students participate and engage with me and ask questions."
  • "I know that after 10 years I can become a professor. I don't know if this can become faster if I do anything better."
  • "My appraisals don't happen at all, so I just get time-bound increments and promotions."
  • "Some people are leaving high-paying corporate jobs and becoming teachers."
  • "I feel really good when students stay in touch with me after the pass out. They have nothing to gain from me; in fact, I gain from talking to them now."
  • "At home, I keep quiet because if I open my mouth on any family issue, everyone gangs up on me and says, 'You are not in the classroom now; we are not your students.'"
  • Need to identify and work closely with teachers who are interested to help them realize their (sometimes latent) desire to be more innovative and modern in the classroom
  • Incorporate insights into program design and communication
  • Need for Campus Program to get onto staff notice boards
Additional Point: 100 Hours
  • 100 hours of Computer Education are part of the teaching program for every graduate class. This is not controlled by any of the governing bodies and so teachers have total flexibility in how to use these. This could be used for Wikipedia without getting into any bureaucratic issues.
  • "You can start this off immediately."
  • While this option can and should be explored, it will not deliver the integration of Wikipedia into the classroom to write specific subject articles that is ideally required.
  • Explore option
Additional Point: Wikiversity
  • Wikiversity offers a credible platform for teachers to collaborate and gain recognition.
  • "Because it is an academicians' exercise, it will overcome teachers blocks."
  • Explore Wikiversity or Wikeducator - though this alone will not give the step-jump in participation that is required.
  • Explore option
Campus Ambassador Applications
  • Large number of applicants expressed interest (~70 from Pune; >400 nationally)
  • Some students, but many who are no longer but are interested in education / Wikipedia.
  • "Let us create a "Incubator" for unsuccessful applicants"
  • "Can those who won't currently make it as Campus Ambassadors but still want to be involved help out in setting up student clubs"
  • India Programs & Global University Program teams to work out a way to communicate, engage and encourage active participation by all applicants - successful & otherwise.
  • Plan to be developed by April 30th
Community Engagement
  • India Programs has not done a good enough job in engaging the existing community
  • "We just don't know what we are expected to do in this program"
  • "It looks as if the Foundation is just doing this program independently."
  • India Programs to intensify efforts to engage the existing community through regular updates.
  • India Programs to brief community directly through Pune mailing list, as well as by attending Pune monthly community meet-ups.
  • India Programs to facilitate Campus Ambassador applicants (successful & otherwise) to attend next Pune monthly community meet-up
  • Pune community to explore option of "incubating" currently unsuccessful applicants for future success as Campus Ambassadors
  • Immediate actions, as outlined in previous column

Pune Pilot: Roll Out[edit]

Roll Out Visit: May 31st – June 17th, 2011[edit]

A team from the Foundation (Frank Schulenburg & Annie Lin), 2 Foundation Fellows (PJ Tabit & Srikeit Tadepalli), an advisory board member of the US Public Policy Initiative (Professor Bob Cummings) and Hisham Mundol visited Pune over a period of 3 weeks to roll-out the Wikipedia India Education Program. The objectives of this visit were to outreach education institutions & authorities and faculty members on the initiative, train Campus Ambassadors and to conduct faculty workshops on for the selected insitutitions.

This report is intended to provide learnings from the various activities conducted – and is not intended as minutes of the visit. This is primarily because the Pilot in Pune is intended to inform the national roll-out of the program.

Aspect Summary of Activities Learnings Implications
Institutional Outreach
  • Researched >50 institutions in the Pune area and approached ~15; got meetings with 9 but could meet only 8 (SIMC, SIBM, CoEP, Modern, , SSE, Centrum, SICSR & SNDT (Please refer to the trip agenda for full forms of abbreviations.)
  • Shortlisted 6 based on mutual interest (SIMC, CoEP, Modern, SSE, SICSR & SNDT)
  • Please refer the emailer that was used, the presentation that was shared, the program pamphlet that was given and Welcome to Wikipedia and Evaluating Wikipedia Article Quality brochures that were also left behind.
  • It is essential to do strong preparatory work prior to reaching out to colleges. The success rates of getting meetings is extremely impressive – and this was because of the research that was done. This was to look for those institutes with a strong reputations but also of innovative teaching methods.
  • The approach adopted was to send a brief introductory email with only the basic information required to elicit a meeting. The next step was to have a 2-3 hour discussion which included a presentation. Handouts were given after the meeting so as to not distract participants. Interest was sought regard participating in the program. Every word of every document was worked on by the team to make it the most appropriate and impactful.
  • Prior to every meeting, a detailed discussion was held on the nuances of the institution / individual(s) so that the team never went in uninformed. After every single meeting, the team did a ruthless debrief where feedback was shared and acted upon on individual contributions to the meeting.
  • While initially reaching out, we didn't always have the contact details of the principal / director / dean - so we reached out to faculty. For the meeting though, we requested to have the head of the institution present and that has worked well.
  • A one line summary of the program (replace traditional paper submissions by students with enabling them to write Wikipedia articles) was discussed in considerable detail. This included how students would be trained on Wikipedia editing, the challenges of selecting and assigning potential articles and how to evaluate articles at the end of the semester.
  • The message of “What's in it for me” must be articulated clearly for every stakeholder (institution, teacher and student) separately and complimentarily. While Wikimedia values should be part of this, it is also critical to look at the individual benefits that the stakeholders can gain (e.g., advantages in placements for students.)
  • Preparatory work is critical. Every institution needs to be researched in detail prior to approaching and a way of sharing this information with the larger outreach team must be put in place.
  • The outreach team needs time to work out the best team dynamics of doing this kind of outreach presentation – and it is only after 1-2 meetings that this gets sorted out. Eventually, as in this case, the outreach team can work in a wonderfully seamless and complimentary manner.
  • Teachers are particularly curious if not skeptical at times about the authenticity of Wikipedia given the fact that “anyone can edit.” A really powerful way of clarifying this is to ask them to randomly select an article from their academic areas and see the informed, measured, insightful debates in the Discussion page. This reassures teachers about the intellectual acument of the community.
  • Given the Wikipedia brand, it is far too easy for expressions of interest to come through. It is important to convey to all concerned the benefits – but also the additional effort and challenges so that informed decisions about participating can take place.
  • While a lot of the outreach was directed at the teachers, it is necessary and useful for the head of the institution to be present through the meeting.
  • The benefits of participation in the program appear to be best articulated as follows. For students, it is better research skills, stronger critical thinking ability, significantly improved writing capability, opportunity for (global) collaboration, platform for a global audience for their work (which is many, many, many times more than the audience of 1 they have with a conventional term paper) as well as improved placement chances. For teachers, it is more participative students in class, more impactful teaching (which comes from deeper understanding of a particular article topic), stronger individual teacher academic records (by rightfully claiming due credit for articles that they have supported their students to write), as well as the opportunities for collaboration and audience mentioned earlier for students. For institutions, it is to have more motivated faculty & students, building academic credentials (by rightfully claiming due credit for the articles that their students and teachers have worked on) and by improving placement prospects.
  • Most teachers acknowledge the issue that students currently copy Wikipedia articles for class paper submissions. They get the advantage of this program to get their students to create knowledge instead of merely consuming it.
  • There is going to be a significant challenge in getting an entire class to improve their writing skills. In our age of instant messaging, writing skills of a quality that would be appropriate to Wikipedia have declined and will require considerable effort to build up. Options that could be suggested would be for students to use the sandbox for at most half the semester till the articles reach some reasonable degree of quality before going live on Wikipedia.
Campus Ambassador Training
  • The main objective of this training – unlike a conventional WikiAcademy – is not to train them about how to edit Wikipedia and the considerable details associated with this and the community and various projects, etc. It was to give them a basic understanding of the program, a basic introduction to Wikipedia, a basic tutorial on how to edit Wikipedia – and most importantly – how to teach others how to edit Wikipedia. It was also about building softer skills such as presenting, stakeholder management and problem solving.
  • It was extraordinarily, infectiously inspiring to see the motivation and commitment of the Campus Ambassadors. The overwhelming majority came in on time on both days, stayed till the very end and were engaged throughout.
  • Feedback received from participants indicated that – while there were areas of improvement (including making the examples more India-centric, - the sessions were extremely well received.
  • An important aspect of the training was that the local (and indeed outstation) community was involved in specific sessions and in open house discussions on Wikimedia and Wikipedia – Ashwin, Mandar & Sudhanwa from Pune, Pradeep from Mumbai and Tinu from Bangalore. Many many thanks to all of them!
  • A very useful component was a bunch of tasks that were given to Campus Ambassadors prior to the formal training. This included basic reading up and some elementary stuff like creating a login and taking a shot at editing.
  • The need to stay single-mindedly focused on the objectives of the training is hugely important. 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. For instance, it is useful to know how to do basic editing as well as how to insert an image, etc. It is not essential to know the process for how to become an administrator or the role of a SysOp. This discipline in messaging takes effort and discipline!
  • It is hugely important to have fun in the training. It is important to have icebreakers and fun activities interspersed throughout the specific sessions. The sessions must be conducted with in an exciting and uplifting manner – and must never become boringly serious. Throughout the training, a measure of success is how many times people laughed and how often they were smiling and how much they were actively participating rather than just listening. That said, the sessions can be conducted to convey specific feedback (which was always balanced) and to look for improvements based on the feedback provided.
  • The community should be involved and those who participate should be given a detailed briefing on the objectives of the training – and how best they can contribute to it.
  • Rapid integration into the community must also be catalysed by inviting Campus Ambassadors to join community meet-ups as well as mailing lists, Facebook pages, twitter feeds, etc.
  • From the time that Campus Ambassadors are selected to the time that the training takes place, there is likely to be some considerable time-lag. It is necessary and useful to keep them engaged by giving them reading material, simple tasks and ask for their help in various aspects of the program.
Media Support
  • This was also a global collaboration case study. Community members from across the country supported with contact details of various media agencies. Between Moka & Jessie in San Francisco, Tinu in Bangalore and Hisham – briefing notes & FAQs were prepared and shared. The invited press interviewed Campus Ambassadors as well as Frank & Hisham.
  • It was really useful to have a formal briefing notes cum FAQ which helped send a clear and comprehensive picture of the program to the media.
  • It is essential to get media coverage to create a facilitating environment for outreach and to motivate students. This must be planned out and carefully executed.
  • Written briefing notes and FAQs are incredibly important to support media. Even in the context of face-to-face interviews, these must be prepared and shared.
  • Understandably so, local press are very passionate about local stories – and they must be tapped into. It is very useful (as Pune managed to get with Sakal) in getting local language media coverage.
  • Given the media consumption habits of students, getting FM and TV channels to support such initiatives can be extremely useful (which was not managed in Pune – mainly because our network on contacts tend to be in the newspaper circles.)
  • Encourage the press to take group pictures of Campus Ambassadors. It helps bring to live the story and the program – and to motivate the Ambassadors even more.
Faculty Workshops
  • Subsequent to the initial outreach conducted, Faculty Workshops were conducted at 6 institutions in Pune (SIMC, CoEP, SNDT, SSE, SICSR & Modern.) These were conducted by PJ, Bob & (and Hisham participated in the first 3 of 6). We covered nearly 30 teachers.
  • This was actually not planned initially – but was an outcome of the outreach sessions where many asked for it. These sessions were held for 3 hours each.
  • The objectives were to introduce Wikipedia and basic editing, discuss how article accuracy and authenticity is maintained, address doubts about contributors, discus the program and it's benefits and challenges as well as the specific next steps.
  • It was interesting to observe that in many cases, more teachers joined in the Faculty Workshops than during the Outreach sessions. This was because word-of-mouth spread about the program. This was very encouraging.
  • Professor Bob Cummings' presence was really useful because it afforded faculty members the chance to have a peer-to-peer discussion and Bob was able to share a unique practitioner's perspective (as he has used Wikipedia in the classroom – and indeed written a book about it than can be downloaded at Lazy Virtues)
  • It appears as though we will get an average of 3 teachers in 5 institutes to participate - and they will have between 20 and 60 students in their class. Conceivably, we could therefore have as much as 500 students participating. Needless to say, these numbers do need to be confirmed.
  • While it will obviously not be possible to have Bob everywhere, eventually we will have a group of teachers who would have participated in the program. They can and should be invited or outreach and faculty workshops. Nothing works better than peer conversations.
  • A useful concept of the “Wikipedia Teaching Fellow” was received very well. This would serve to recognise the additional effort and commitment of faculty members who chose to participate in the program. This will be awarded to teachers who agree to a basic MoU on what needs to be done in their classrooms for this program.
  • Do refer to the earlier section of this report on Outreach - where a lot of learnings are relevant. These include being disciplined about conveying only the bare essentials, taking risks and allowing teachers to randomly select articles to discuss and edit, getting teachers to do an edit or two to bring the whole experience to life and making the sessions engaging and uplifting and motivating.