Learnings through the second phase of the pilot.
Outreach and expanding the program
Succefull method to bring professors
- Interested professors: with an open call inviting university professors to participate of the Wikipedia Education Program, in less than one month we have had 36 proposals in total. Our goal was to work with 12 to 15 professors, so a committee (composed by 2 wikipedians and 2 WMF contractors) have selected 16 professors best proposals according to our criteria.
- Focus on specific cities and universities: the open call was only disclosed proactively in some universities from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states for specific universities (see our communication plan)
- Major media outlets: even without proactive marketing for the media (we wouldn't be able to handle if hundreds of professors applied, so we decided not to do that), the open call appeared on a mainstream newspaper.
Strikes affecting the calendar
- Changing the timeline/schedule of workshops: out of 16 choosen professors, only 9 were not affected by a general strike in Brazilian federal universities. This hasn't allowed us to have the two planned workshops, one in São Paulo and one in Rio de Janeiro, and we have had to postpone the Rio de Janeiro one (carried out in Setptember) and organized individually two other workshops (one in Curitiba and other in Vitoria, the later to come).
To be improved
- Send the proposals back: a lot of professors complained they didn't receive back their proposals sent by the form of the open call. Fair. For an open call we should always send back their submissions, mainly for professors we have choosen to work with.
- Number of students (open field): We should not give ranges of students for professors select. they should type the number of students and how many classes they have.
- Time spend on their class: This also must be an open field where professors should explain in words how he wants to use his class time with the wiki activities. That is a difficult thing to plan for professors that don't know anything about the wiki activities.
Professors not following what they have submited through the open call: One professor who was selected through the open call 1. had proposed mandatory Wikipedia assignments, 2. had talked to her peer professor that she has agreed to have these activities. Initially the professor had said there would be about one article per students cohort, with about 10 to 20 articles to be improved. After 2 weeks the course had started, WMF was informed that the peer professor had said to students the Wikipedia assignments were optional (students can choose Wikipedia or another activity), thus the professor who was committed to the program said (embarrassingly) she could not change this and would just try to persuade her students to choose to improve Wikipedia article - this will decrease the planned 10-20 articles to 5-10. As an excited CA has only time to support this course, so we cannot bring her to help another course of the same university.
There were also two cases of professors who have said they had TAs that could participate of the orientation organized by WMF/ambassadors to work as CAs, but they didn't.
Professor not selected through the open call joining enthusiasticaly the program: one professor from one of the top universities in Brazil, UFRGS in Porto Alegre, not selected mainly because he was going to talk to his peers if he was going to use Wikipedia and there was some lack of infrastructure, has continued to participate in the program through the support of an experient wikipedian/CA. According to this professor, the involvement of this wikipedian was fundamental for him to join the program. His optional Wikipedia assingments will be similar to a successful case of the first phase of the pilot.
"We have no time!" That is a very common thing we listen from most professors we have worked with, that they are very busy and almost have no time. The same regarding students time, since the have millions of other tasks and courses. Likely when professors applied a proposal to the call, they had no idea on the amount of time and their own commiiment necessary to have Wikipedia assignments
Enthusiastic ambassadors/wikipedians making the difference: in a city where we haven't had many proposals for the WEP open call in Brazil (second phase of the pilot), one professor not selected is going to use Wikipedia assignments mainly because of the support of an enthusiastic Wikipedian, who has also already invited two other Wikipedians initially not involved with the program to support this course as OA and they have accepted to contribute.
Lack of confidence or non-availability of new campus ambassadors: for having enough support of campus ambassadors for the number of classes we decided to achieve, we have asked professors to indicate on thei open call training assistants or advanced students to participate of the ambassadors training for they give support to their students. In two cases, professors have asked some experienced wikipedians to go to the lab class because they were not confident the new campus ambassadors could give the adequate support for their students or they were not available in the course time. Both contractors ended up having to go to the classes (one in Rio de Janeiro, the other in São Paulo), because we didn't have any of the more experient campus ambassadors available at the class time.
Loosing new ambassadors: some of the new campus ambassadors found by professors from the open call and trained by us have quit the program because they have had to attend other commitments on their graduate studies (finish PhD thesis and change their research institute, for instance).
Ambassadors, instead of students, adding content: There are some classes where the own campus ambassador is adding the student contribution to Wikipedia.
Not enough ambassador for expanding: We don't have enough ambassadors (campus and online) for expanding, although some online ambassadors are being underutilized.
We cannot train a campus ambassador in one day: the general performance so far (6 courses out of 12 + 2 later) of campus ambassadors indicated by professors has been very low. Although a general positive feedback also from new campus ambassadors about the workshop, this is a good indicative that the one day training was not efficient.
Wikipedians acting as online ambassadors naturally: some students are editing directly on the main space, instead of the indicated sandbox, and some wikipedians that haven't appeared so far on any discussion about the WEP offered help to the new editors.
- Does this reforce the idea of a central place for students asking questions?
- Should we move to the main space as soon as we can? My answer now is YES!
Courses pages interface
Most professors haven't created their pages: Although we have agreed with most professors that they would create the courses pages with a template for a step by step creation, almost no one have edited it. The contractor has had to create by himself, after not seeing any answer by e-mail, and send the link to professors.
Difficulty in editing the courses pages: Without the support of experienced wikipedia editors, professors and new campus ambassadors seem to be finding difficult to update their course pages, for instance, adding the list of article and the respective student that is editing. In one case where a professor said students are editing and things are going well, we simply cannot check what articles are being improved. The few exceptions were professors who engaged by themselves on wiki editing, such as using talk pages and helping to organize the workshop page before our orientation.
Professor realised things are not so easy As in the first semester, after attending to the workshops we have organized and shown how Wikipedia works (that includes wiki code), the general impression we had is that professors got a bit afraid about the assignment they needed to implement in their courses. That is confirmed from some answers in a survey we have sent to attendees of the workshop.
Feedback from survey
The workshops we have organized to explain about the program to professors and new ambassadors have has a general positive feedback. Find bellow the comments on each part analyses.
Wikipedia Education Program Overview On average, all answers considered the programa overview effective. What we need improve more is the explanation on the goals and measure of success of the program - although it's still considered as effective.
Practically not used We have put each course in touch with at least one online ambassador and we have tauch how to contact them using talk pages. We tried also to lead the questions to a centralized place in WP PT where new editors can ask about wiki code (Café dos novatos). So far, after more than 2 months and some wiki activities, no one have used the online support we have offered.
Professors and ambassadors constrained to WMF contractors Professors and (new) campus ambassadors trained on the workshops feel a huge resistence to post their questions on the public spaces we have indicated and tend to expect support generally from WMF contractors by e-mail, even after puting in touch online ambassadors (experienced wikipedians) with them and explaining (that is also in the tutorials) when to get help. That is a general feeling also when professors want someone to speak at their courses, they seem to feel more confident if there is someone from WMF speaking to their students. That was a general aspect also from the first phase of the pilot. Maybe that is a cultural aspect of the Brazilians? How to make people more integrated to other communication channels instead of us?
Volunteers who applied as online ambassadors lack experience: we have started a online campaign for online and campus ambassadors. The great majority of people who applied were new editors or almost have never edited Wikipedia. In one month with the sitenotice, we have had more than 100 applications and in 3 months a total of approximately 130.
Committee for choosing online ambassadors didn't work: a committee composed of experienced online ambassadors was formed with some criteria to select them, similarly to US/Canada Program. After contacting all applicants by e-mail, only 5 volunteers applied and only one was actually received support to be a online ambassador.
Number of students editing: it was always asked to professor the number of students for we plan better together with them what kind of assignments they could do based on our recommendations and learnings. A lot of courses had students that give up, which changes the number given to us in the beginning of the school term. There is also the case where there is a lot of students in a classroom, thus they work in cohorts per article, which made us to suggest the approximation of a cohort of student per article to be identified as a single student. In some course where professors made the assignment optional, we had a small fraction of students who decided to edit - and the results were good in all cases where students spontaneously have done so.
Translation is a new field in Brazil: According to a professor that coordinates translation courses at Gama Filho University, translation courses in Brazil are at the very beginning. Differently from some countries this type of course has started decades ago, in Brazil we have only a few professionals and courses in this field.
- A French professor from University of São Paulo confirmed this view and said a translation course was just started this year at her university.
- Subpage deleted: a subpage to function as a sandbox created by a student not logged in was deleted. An admin and campus ambassador, one of the few ones we have, was necessary to restore the page.
Comparison EN WP X PT WP - 1st phase of the program in Brazil (does not include professors involved this semester who were affected by the strike and are started to work in October or will be starting in November)
|Language||Students||Admins||Rollbackers||New Users||Active Users||CAs||CAs/TAs|
* Includes recently trained teaching assistents