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Based on a sucessful experience in 2011 where Wikipedia assignments resulted on high quality Wikipedia articles, Wikimedia Foundation has decided to start a small pilot, working with a few professors in the first school term of 2012. A partil time (20 hours/week) contractor was hired at the end of the year to plan, outreach, document, manage, create tutorials, involve the community, working together with a project manager of Wikimedia Foundation.
The outreach started on December 2011, when most professors were finishing their academic year or going on vacation, so a few dozens of professors of top univities in the network of the contractor were reached and it was decided we would work with about 4 to 5 professors, 2 of them in São Paulo, 2 of them in Rio de Janeiro (one the professor who worked successfully in the previous semester) and 1 in the country side of São Paulo state, but with the professor resident in São Paulo city, where the contractor lives.
- Main learning points in progress
On the program
- This education program is not about bringing new contributors to Wikipedia in the short term: if we regard the profile of who contribute to Wikipedia, which is a volunteer work, and how school tasks are generally assigned to students, where they need to proove they learned somethings from what was taught, according to our results only a few students can become active Wikipedia contributors. Instead...
- This education program is about improving the Wikipedia quality and retaining professors to support sharing of free knowledge and Wikimedia projects: improving the Wikipedia quality may be understood in many different ways and this should be more clearly define for the program as a whole. Although we can have high quality content of specific fields of knowledge when the Wikipedia assignments are successful, this may not be what will have the biggest educational impact on potential readers for a educational project. To mobilize and empower the next generation of human-knowledge generators, we should retain professors after participating of the program that can understand: 1. the importance of freely sharing online educational resources of high quality; 2. how to set Wikipedia (Wikimedia?) assignments on their courses - having in mind the benefits for students and for the readers of the content that is supposed to be created. It is important to realise that Wikipedia is not a cause, open educational resouces with high quality is and Wikipedia have to be seen as one possible tool.
On setting the goals
On planing and setting strategies
- Highlighting some points
Wikipedia Ambassadors growth: increase the number of volunteers willing to work as wikipedia ambassadors: inside Wikipedia community and among students inside universities we are working with. Ambassadors should be the main catalystis for new ambassadors together with the professor.
More professors joining the program: convince the academia on the importance of sharing free knowledge using Wikipedia. Professors commited to education should understand the importance of making knowledge available freely to everyone and teach this to his students.
Find ways to make the program sustainable: the program should be community driven.
Good newbies acceptance: contributions from students of courses joining the program should be well accepted by the community and we have to find ways to convince the community on the importance of having new editors.
Bellow you can find the previous partial reports of the program: