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Brazil Program/Reports/wep-20120515

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May 15: progress of the classes after the April 30 classes report.

Case studies


Electromagnetism class

  • Model used by the professor: Each student can choose one article on electromagnetism to improve or create, if it still doesn't exist. Students could send their first draf on May 10 2012. Edits should be in a subpage of the professor user page. If the article is good enough for the professor, students can score 1/10 of their final grade. We still need to check professor evaluation of the articles edited until now for this first phase.
  • Articles suggested: 14
  • Accounts created: 11
  • Articles edited by students: 8
  • Articles created: 3
  • Articles improved considerably: 5
  • Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

General overview: For the expected time to students send their first draft, May 10, we have a considerable number of articles being edited by students (57% of the total) and a very significant number of students that signed up on Wikipedia are editing (72% of the 11 accounts), even being an optional task. The professor is in the phase of evaluating the articles and giving feedbacks for the students on how they could improve its quality (see these two examples, 1 and 2).

We have faced difficulties for using the lab and the professor reported students prefer to make their edits at their homes, instead of having campus ambassador during a time they agreed to meet out of the class time.

It must also be considered the possibility that students are still learning the subjects involved in the articles they have choosen, so that they will make better articles at the end of the semester.

Communication with students: We have gathered students emails to send them messages directly. Most of the communication have been done between the professor and the campus ambassador, and then the professor communicates important information regarding the program to his class.

Main challenges: We have a considerable number of students editing the articles proposed by the professor. Students have not had too much contact with the campus ambassadors and they have prefered to edit the articles by their own at their homes. In the day it was planned to edit Wikipedia, the professor and the campus ambassador realised the computer lab was booked during the full semester for another course, so that they had to use the professor laptop at his room.

We need check in advance the university infrastructure and possibility of booking computer lab not to have surprises during the activities planned by the professor.

It is also possible that students added thus far by students need to be improved and fixed before going to the main Wikipedia domain.

Updates from the last report: more students started editing a few days before the deadline set by the professor.

Public Policy class

  • Model used by the professor: The goal of the course is to create encyclopedic articles related to Cultural Policy. Students of both classes (daytime and evening) of this course have formed groups to edit the 11 articles choosen by the professor (10 didn't exist at the beginning of the semester). The deadline for students sending the articles is June 15.
  • Articles suggested: 11
  • Accounts created: 6
  • Articles edited by students: 2
  • Articles created: 2

General overview: Most students have not started editing Wikipedia and since it is very clear that editing Wikipedia is not compulsory, some students we have talked to are using technologies other than Wikipedia that they might consider easier or they are more used to, such as google docs.

Ambassadors who live near this campus have offered their help after they saw we were without campus ambassadors for this course (we lost one at the beginning of the semester). Campus ambassadors, when available, are going to the campus to try to convince students to sign up in Wikipedia.

Communication with students: There is one mailing list set up by the professor for each class. Online ambassadors have tried to communicate to students through the mailing list without success. It seems students will only read messages from the professor or the course assistant.

Main challenges: This campus is too far from the center of the city, then we need find students that we can train to be campus ambassadors to have a more closer and frequente contact with students. Last year this campus director said they would give full support for WMF, so we are waiting their response for a possible meeting on the week of May 28.

Showing to students the importance of having their content publicaly during the process of elaboration can be hard and possible pedagogical advantages of this creation process may not be well understood if it is not pushed by the professor.

Communication through mailing lists or email can also be plainly ignored by students, as we have seen in this case from more than 60 students.

Updates from the last report: Campus ambassadors have gone to the daytime class at its end to ask if students would like to sign up in Wikipedia. Half of the class was present this day and 1/3 of them decided to sign up. Ambassadors are going this week to the evening class to do the same.

Asking students by email have not being efficient to things such as sending the article they have shown in the last classes.

Proposed for deletion cases


We have three situations noticed thus far:

  1. Students using their own talk pages where the content was deleted (using the bot Huggle)
  2. Students using the main domain, instead of the proposed subpage
  3. Subpages being deleted by a bot (again Huggle), but quickly fixed by experienced users

Student's talk page case: We have this case where a student have started using his own talk page as a draft for the article he was going to create, w:pt:Usuário(a):Emsantos/Teorema de Helmholtz. The page was proposed to be deleted (w:pt:WP:ER/w:en:WP:SD). His page was restored, but without the original content. The consultant interfered creating a subpage to not lose his efforts in creating such non-trivial content. After some discutions on his talk page, the student began to have a lot of online support and praises for his great effort from online ambassadors, and the problem seems to be solved.

Student using the main domain: An article was created by one of the students on the main domain (see w:pt:Modelos de política cultural), and it was proposed for deletion (see here), to be concluded until May 13. The consultant, instead of an online ambassador, noticed and moved the article under construction to the subpage that was explained, in the first classes, should be used during the course. We are going to call attention of online ambassadors about this fact.

There is another case where the student had the article deleted w:pt:Migração nordestina para o interior de São Paulo in the main domain and all content was lost, but re-created by the student. Again, the article was proposed for speedy deletion by the bot w:pt:Usuário(a):Salebot a few seconds after its re-creation. One of the online ambassadors is giving support to this case after our attention was called through a forum in the Moodle system used by the professor. We need admin privileges for analysing better the situation or ask help for one of the 33 actual adminstrators of Wikipedia in Portuguese.

Update: content was recreated with sources. Deletion proposal by ER20 was wrong in first (deleted and restored) and second time. Situation already solved. Proponent was advised and admitted his mistake. A message expressing apologize was sent to the student.

Subpage of one professor: An article under construction was proposed for speedy deletion (see here) using the bot Huggle, but it was quickly fixed by the volunteer who made the mistake. This could have caused some confusion for the student if the mistake was not solved quickly and he noticed a deletion proposal banner at the top of the article.

Other classes


General overview of other classes: Other two classes are beginning to have activities in Wikepedia, then we expect to have more detailed analysis on them in the next report for the beginning of June. In the physics class, a few students began to edit Wikipedia through the mentorship of ambassadors, there has been some movement in the mailing list set up by campus ambassador to meet students who were willing to engage on Wikipedia activities.

In the sociology class, the online ambassadors and the consultant have subscribed in the Moodle system of UNESP university. Some of the students who attended the trainning class have already started editing, but we still need figure out ways to involve other students.

Communication model: For the physics case, there is a mailing list set up by ambassadors for the 8 students who were willing to edit Wikipedia as an optional task. Since they are working with students who choose spontaneously to partipate, there is some activity in the mailing list and some students have already used it to meet campus ambassadors.

Main challenges: In the physics course, since it is an optional task, we need observe how many of the 8 students are effectively going to engage into Wikipedia activities. Since it is not possible to use the class time, the main challenge is to persuade students on the importance of editing Wikipedia and share the knowledge they are acquiring through the course.

In the sociology couse, there are some things explained in the trainning section that wasn't clear to student, for instance, that they should edit subpages. Since we don't have campus ambassadors for this course, the main challenge is to give support only through the online system Moodle. It is possible we can achieve only a few students, but that is an interesting case to take into account, since, in recent year, there is considerable expansion of elearning courses for undergraduate and graduate students. [citation needed]

Updates from the last report: In both cases there is some activity with students. In one case just through the support and independent work of campus ambassadors, in the other, through the online support mainly for those students who attended the trainning section done by the consultant and two volunteers who could help only in the trainning day.

Extension course


General overview: The extension course that has been organized at UNIRIO is going to start at the end of May (more information here). It is proposed to be for any university student and has a limit of 15 students. The consultant will attend for the first class to learn from the case that possibily can be replicated in other universities.

Main challenges: Learn from this extension course all its peculiarities and report it, since it is going to happen in a city where the consultant is not present. A periodic communication with the professor is necessary.

Updates from the last report: We have information when the course is going to start and how many students can attend.