CIS-A2K/Research/Wikimedia in Education Case Study

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Introduction[edit]

In the Indian education system, most courses are based on a prefixed syllabus adhering to some standards of the respective universities. Courses on Indian languages in particular, have mostly continued in the same manner, and for a long time have been outside the digital sphere. In the last few decades, with the increase in the number of students entering higher education, especially the undergraduate programs, classrooms have also become very diverse, raising new questions and challenges around linguistic barriers and inclusion.

This growth comes with concern about the quality of the education provided to the students. The most common concern is the lack of soft skills, which includes a set of key skills like:

  • Ability to critically think about a problem or imagine a solution.
  • Language proficiency in terms of cohesively presenting an idea or concept.
  • Ability to closely read/assess information or data.
  • Ability to collaborate in a team environment.
  • Ability to be a producer of knowledge than a passive consumer.

One of the main reasons for the lack of critical thinking skills is that students are not trained to proficiently use English or Indian Languages. Thus the need for rethinking teaching-learning methods in the UG classrooms was started, and the need arose for an exercise to be planned where students learn digital literacy skills and understand the academics.

To develop the digital literacy skills among the students of CHRIST (Deemed to be University), CIS-A2K in collaboration with the university started introducing Wikimedia projects in Continous Internal assessments for the undergraduate students.

Background[edit]

In 2013, CIS-A2K entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Christ University, Bangalore (CU) to address the issues mentioned above through their Continuous Internal Assessment (CIA) of undergraduate students with the following objectives:

  • to introduce various Wikimedia projects, with a focus on collaborative work, research skills etc.
  • to help the students to enhance their digital skills, to help them undertake a critical evaluation of information, consumption, and creation of open knowledge resources.
  • to enrich the content of Indic language Wikimedia projects, including training the students to access information in vernacular languages and contribute to the worldwide web.

The course design is revised every year based on the feedback and learnings of the previous years. The recent version of the course can be seen below:

Semester 1[edit]

  • CIA 1 - Type and digitize given text on Wikisource.
  • CIA 3 - Type and proofread texts on Wikisource.

Semester 2[edit]

  • CIA 1 - Create their user page on Wikipedia.
  • CIA 3 - Add relevant images.

Semester 3[edit]

  • CIA 1 - Write an article on Wikipedia related to Culture and Language.
  • CIA 3 - Add images to the articles (from commons) which were written for CIA 1.

Semester 4[edit]

  • CIA 1 - Creation of articles related to their core subjects.
  • CIA 3 - Add images to the articles (from commons) which were written for CIA 1.

After the first iteration of the education program at the Christ University, the CIS-A2K team did a needs-assessment to understand and identify the challenges and basic barriers in the program, one of them was non-availability of training resources for students. CIS-A2K along with the University produced 10 tutorial videos in Hindi and Kannada, for the students to understand basic Wikipedia editing guidelines. Along with this, in the last five years, the CIS-A2K team has incubated different other programs for the students to have hands-on experience of the knowledge/training they gained being part of the program such as an internship at CIS, certificate course, representation of student-community leaders at various national conferences and others.

Objectives/Research Questions[edit]

The main objective of this case study is to understand the motivation, challenges, impact & personal improvements of the students, faculty members and the community members with respect to their engagement with the education programme.

Proposed Methods for the Study[edit]

  • The methods for this case study will include cumulative studies of the experience of the programme and also comprise of semi-structured interviews with 2-3 students from each year(18-24 in total) and 3 active faculty members from the language department at Christ University. Interviews will be conducted over phone/Skype and recorded with consent from participants.
  • Analysis of reports and other documentation produced as part of the programme.

Research Outputs[edit]

Research outputs include a short report or paper which summarises the key findings of the study, and a blog post. The learnings from the study will help us improve the quality of the work undertaken on Wikimedia in Education.  

Updates[edit]

In the last six months, we have finalised the research question, concept note and research methodology for the study. Two interviews were conducted with the faculty members who have been working with the Education program at Christ University and due to the college exams, other interviews are rescheduled for the upcoming months. These faculty members and students are selected based on the Interest and Knowledge of the Wikimedia movement. Also, based on the interest towards the languages. We had some of the challenges in doing the interviews such as locating the students who have graduated from the University and scheduling the interviews with these students and regular follow-ups with the respondents. The next phase of the research will look at consolidating the observations.