CIS-A2K/Education Program/Program Design/Role of OAs

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Wikipedia Online Ambassadors serve as virtual mentors and helpers to the professors and students who are using Wikipedia in the classroom. Their role is provide positive online help for students on how to edit Wikipedia and participate in the editing community. The Online Ambassador program is part of the larger Wikipedia Ambassador program, which is a crucial element of the Global Education Program.

The Online Ambassador program supports instructors and their classes, mostly at the undergraduate or graduate university level, where the classwork includes a requirement for the students to edit articles on Wikipedia. Online Ambassadors help students get started on editing Wikipedia and watch out that their first efforts are sympathetically reviewed, so that the students have a positive experience on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia Online Ambassador role is a volunteer (unpaid) position. The estimated time commitment is 3-5 hours per week, with variations throughout the academic term.

How does it work?[edit]

Online Ambassadors will be paired up with particular classes in the India Education Program, and are generally the first online point of contact for students who have Wikipedia-editing questions. Online Ambassadors will provide basic Wikipedia support for students, via online means of communication. Areas they are likely to help will include:

  • Simple formatting (bolding text, italicizing text, section headers and sub-headers)
  • References/citations
  • Links
  • Adding images
  • Sandboxes
  • Signatures
  • Anatomy of an article
  • How discussion pages work
  • How edit history works
  • Basic "Wikifying" of articles
  • Core Wikipedia policies and guidelines
  • Did You Know nomination process
  • Etc.

The India Education Program will provide training (mandatory) for all Online Ambassadors.

Typical Activities[edit]

  • Participate in the Online Ambassador orientation
  • Hold IRC (chatroom) "office hours" at a specified time every week to answer any queries students might have about how to edit Wikipedia.
  • Monitor students' work on Wikipedia and provide feedback on student articles, to make sure that students' writing aligns with Wikipedia's core guidelines and policies;
  • Welcome students to the Wikipedia editing community; to the extent possible, make sure students' experience on Wikipedia is positive.
  • Helping students communicate with other editors (especially with hostile editors)
  • Soliciting content feedback from WikiProjects / other editors for students' articles
  • Provide style/formatting feedback on student articles;
  • Get other Wikipedia editors to provide feedback for student articles;
  • Help students communicate with other Wikipedia editors; to the extent possible, defend students from hostile editors (within the limits of Wikipedia guidelines and policies);
  • Identify opportunities for Good Article, Featured Article, Did You Know nominations - as well as for moving up the Wikipedia article rating scale in general - and help students with these nomination/review processes;
  • To the extent possible, make sure students' experience on Wikipedia is positive.


  • Passion for Wikimedia's values and mission;
  • Experience helping other people over the internet;
  • Ability to communicate in a friendly, encouraging and concise manner online;
  • Ability to provide constructive, clear, and targeted feedback to people's work online;
  • Knowledge about how to edit Wikipedia, or the ability and willingness to acquire this knowledge;
  • Willingness and ability to respond quickly to discussions on-wiki or over email;
  • Patience with people who have varying levels of computer literacy;
  • Ability to explain complex technical information in a clear and easily understandable way for beginners.
  • Demonstrated track record of providing effective and friendly help for new editors on Wikipedia;
  • Extensive experience with editing Wikipedia articles;
  • Knowledge of the Did You Know, Good Article, and Featured Article nomination processes is a plus.

Important General Expectations Online Ambassadors[edit]

  • Provide help and guidance to students in a timely manner, by being available over email, the Ambassadors IRC chat room, and Wikipedia discussion pages.
  • Interact with all students, professors, Campus Ambassadors, and Online Ambassadors in a friendly and warm manner.
  • Interact with all students, professors, Campus Ambassadors, and Online Ambassadors in a beginner-friendly manner, for example minimizing technical jargon and explaining only what students need to know to complete their assignments. Be patient with people who make "beginners' mistakes" on Wikipedia, and help them improve rather than scare them away. Remember: Online Ambassadors should simplify and demystify Wikipedia-editing for newcomers, not make Wikipedia seem intimidating.
  • Respect and comply with professors' class plans. The only exception to this is if class plans absolutely clash with Wikipedia's core policies, in which case Online Ambassadors are expected to explain this to the professors in a friendly and respectful manner, and still leave the final decision regarding class plans to the professors. Remember: ultimately the professor is the person who will have final say over how the class and assignments will be structured.
  • Keep in mind that students and professors may prefer to communicate in different way than you're used to - please respect their preferences if possible.
  • Provide Wikipedia support, not subject matter support. While some knowledge of the subject area taught in class could be helpful, the role of the Online Ambassadors is to help students on Wikipedia questions, not help students with the subject content they're learning in class (that is the role of the professor!).

Time commitment[edit]

All Wikipedia Online Ambassadors will be expected to be available about 3-5 hours per week, on average, during a given academic term. Since the students follow an academic schedule, their involvement on Wikipedia will likely vary from week to week, so some weeks the students you're helping may be completely inactive on Wikipedia, whereas other weeks they may have a burst of activity that requires support from you.


Interested in becoming a Wikipedia Online Ambassador?

Fill in this Google Doc and send it to ambassadors-ind(_AT_) with your resume/CV.

Subject of the mail should be: "Application for IEP Wikipedia Campus Ambassador"

Please remember to attach your resume/CV when you send in your application. We will be in touch with you shortly after you submit!

If you have any questions about the Wikipedia Online Ambassador role, or have trouble accessing the application, or are not sure where exactly to send the application, please email indiateam(_AT_)