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Participating universities and instructors[edit]

Given the fact that a proportionally high number of new users can put some substantial workload on the existing community (the Portuguese Wikipedia has ~300 very active editors[1]), we will keep the number of participating classes small. Over the 6-month period of the pilot, we will work with 5-6 classes in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (participating professors and institutions to be announced later). We are selecting the participating instructors based on the following criteria:

  • Alignment with the Wikimedia Foundation's mission
  • Basic understanding of Wikipedia and its core values
  • Interest in the Wikipedia Education Program and the idea of growing the amount and quality of Portuguese content on the web
  • Ability to fulfill certain other criteria that are necessary to participate in the pilot: for example, working on a wiki course page; flexibility in grading; teaching courses of students with high writing and research skills
  • Responsiveness and communication skills

While we are communicating (and/or have communicated) with a network of professors across the country, we are focusing on the small cluster of classes which we think have the highest potential to succeed based on the limited supporting resources we can provide and facilitate via the community. Pending the outcome of this informal pilot, we are looking forward to expanding the network of higher education instructions committed to open knowledge in other parts of Brazil, too!

Number of students per class and total amount of students in the pilot[edit]

In some countries of the world, the skill gap between the the best and the worst student in a class can be very high. We have learned from our pilot program in India that only a few students out of a class of between 100 and 200 were able to contribute to Wikipedia in a meaningful way. The other students lacked the writing and research skills or simply the interest in contributing to the Wikimedia Foundation's projects. We therefore decided to let the teachers in Brazil select only their best students for the pilot or at a minimum, make the assignment optional for students to participate. This will limit the overall program to approximately 150 participating students in total, and we expect this can increace the number of active contributors to the Portuguese Wikipedia during the pilot.[2]

Support for students and professors[edit]

Before the semester starts[edit]

Participating Brazilian professors will be given a mandatory orientation[3] to Wikipedia, and offered coaching on how to:

  • Most effectively incorporate Wikipedia editing into their classroom
  • Work alongside a Campus Ambassador
  • Participate in Wikipedia.

The mandatory orientation was on March 3rd, 2012. The one-day orientation aimed at enabling instructors to successfully integrate Wikipedia into their syllabus and at giving them an overview of Wikipedias core policies, structures and workflows. The orientation comprises three main phases:

  • Wikipedia Education Program Overview
  • About Wikipedia
  • Syllabus and assignment design

See: Training for more information.

During the semester[edit]

During the semester, professors and students will be supported by Wikipedia Campus and Online Ambassadors.

Campus Ambassadors will

  • teach participating students – on a face-to-face basis – about how to edit Portuguese Wikipedia. This means doing in-class presentations and out-of-class workshops;
  • provide ongoing face-to-face support for participating students on Portuguese Wikipedia-editing skills, to make sure that student contributions are high-quality and follow Wikipedia policies;
  • advise participating professors to make sure assignments are in line with the Portuguese Wikipedia's policies and guidelines.

Online Ambassadors will

  • loosely monitor students' work on Portuguese Wikipedia and provide feedback via talk pages on student articles, to make sure that students' contributions are high-quality and align with Wikipedia's policies;
  • answer students' questions about how to edit Wikipedia in a timely manner;
  • help students communicate with other Wikipedia editors; to the extent possible, defend students from hostile editors (within the limits of Wikipedia policies);
  • welcome students to the Wikipedia editing community; to the extent possible, make sure students' experience on Wikipedia is positive.
  • be students' official, friendly mentors on the Portuguese Wikipedia.

We expect the workload for both roles to be 3–5 hours per week, on average, with variations during the semester. Based on our learnings from the U.S. Education Program, two Campus Ambassadors (at least one of which is already a Wikipedian) will be paired up with each class; additionally, each class will be supported online through one long-term Wikipedian as an Online Ambassador.

Ambassador selection criteria and orientation[edit]

All Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors and Online Ambassadors will be required to participate in an orientation (training), to make sure that they clearly understand what is expected of them and to sharpen the skills they need to perform their role well. Because the required qualifications and responsibilities are different for Campus Ambassadors and Online Ambassadors (see the "Support for students and professors" section above), different selection criteria and orientation content will be in place for these two groups of people. All were invited to be involved as an ambassador through an open-call on the Esplanada.

  • Campus Ambassadors:
    • Selection criteria: Campus Ambassadors will be selected based on four primary criteria proven to be essential through past education work done by WMBR and WMF. The criteria are: presentation and teaching skills, technological competency (50% of the Campus Ambassadors will be people with extensive prior Wikipedia-editing experience), a friendly and approachable personality, and genuine interest in Wikipedia. Capacity to meet the role's time commitment requirements is also a prerequisite.
    • Orientation: The Campus Ambassador orientation will take one day on a face-to-face basis. Major topics covered will include: overview of the Wikipedia Education Program, expectations and responsibilities for Campus Ambassadors, how to teach newbies to edit Wikipedia, tips on working with professors and students, and fundamental Wikipedia-editing skills. Local Wikipedians will be in charge of leading the orientation, with help from previously developed training materials[4]. The orientation will be interactive and hands-on, and for 1st semester 2012, it will be done in conjunction with the Professor orientation.
  • Online Ambassadors:
    • Selection criteria: Online Ambassadors must be experienced editors on the Portuguese Wikipedia, to ensure that they can properly mentor students on big and small questions about editing. They will be chosen based on their prior experience helping newbies on Wikipedia, their ability to explain complicated technical processes in a beginner-friendly way, and their ability to be welcoming and patient with newbies. Capacity to meet the role's time commitment requirements is also a prerequisite.
    • Orientation: Since Online Ambassadors can be physically located anywhere in the world, the Online Ambassador orientation will take place over Skype, Google+ Hangout, or an equivalent web-conferencing channel, and will last a few hours. Major topics covered will include: overview of the Wikipedia Education Program and the Brazil Pilot, expectations and responsibilities for Online Ambassadors, how to effectively mentor newbies online on Wikipedia-editing, and tips on working with professors and students. Local Wikipedians will be in charge of leading the orientation. The orientation will be interactive and hands-on to the extent possible.

High-level timeline[edit]

  • June 2012 – August 2012: Planning and preparation – Professor recruitment and project planning; recruitment of Campus and Online Ambassadors; training and orientation events for teachers and Ambassadors; creation/translation of support materials
  • mid-August 2012 – December 2012: Execution – Students write Wikipedia articles during the semester
  • December 2012 – mid-January 2013: Analysis and documentation – Surveys; analysis of the results; documentation of the learning points; meeting with participants


  1. PT.WP Editor statistics
  2. See General Editor Trends. Average number of active editors (>5 edits) per month is ~2000 for Portuguese Wikipedia
  3. For more information on this decision, see description in the Cairo Pilot Program Plan.
  4. See Ambassador Resources