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Education/News/July 2023/“Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom” course launched in Ukraine

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“Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom” course launched in Ukraine

Summary: July 24 was the official start date for the first installment of the “Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom” course in Ukraine developed by Wikimedia Ukraine. 300 Ukrainian educators will study for five weeks and complete a final assignment designing an integration of Wikipedia their lessons.
Maryna Chala, the course’s trainer, presents the project at a conference for Ukrainian educators organized by Wikimedia Ukraine in July 2023

Wikipedia has been a tremendous learning resource for students and teachers alike, but it’s important to get it right – and understand the benefits and limitations of Wikipedia in education.

A few years ago the Wikimedia Foundation developed the international “Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom” program, which is designed to help educators and students “develop vital media and information literacy skills for the 21st century”, including by learning how to leverage Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Ukraine embarked on a journey to create a Ukrainian localization of the program in 2021. The project was delayed early last year because of the start of Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine. While the invasion is still ongoing, life in Ukraine goes on (and, as one course participant from the frontline region of Zaporizhia that’s constantly under Russian shelling pointed out, online education is even more important as instruction in their region and many others is being done remotely for security reasons). So we’ve been able to resume work on the course and finalize it.

To implement the course, we partnered with Prometheus, Ukraine’s biggest platform for online courses. The course is led by Maryna Chala, Certified Trainer of the international program, and supported by Wikimedia Ukraine’s team of staff and volunteers. The project is possible thanks to the Wikimedia Foundation, which developed the international program and provided financial support for implementing the course in Ukraine.

We worked internally and with Prometheus over the past months to localize the course to the needs of Ukrainian educators, including by translating its text and developing supplementary materials like a curriculum that would make the course’s certificate recognized by Ukrainian educational institutions as helping teachers meet part of formal professional development requirements.

One of the visuals we created to promote the course

600 people registered for the first installment of the course; we selected 300 participants who match the course’s requirements most. (We promoted the course on social media, including through advertising, and also relied on Prometheus’ wide network of educators who use the platform frequently. According to a survey of participants, roughly half of them learned about the course from Wikimedia Ukraine and half from Prometheus).

The first installment of the course runs until early September. It includes three modules and a final assignment distributed across five weeks. Participants will be able to join webinars on Zoom every Friday, but the main work will be done on the Prometheus platform – reading and watching course material, completing exercises and tests, communicating on the forum. Those who’ve successfully completed the course, including the final assignment, will receive certificates from Prometheus and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Because it’s normal in mass online courses to have a part of participants drop out throughout the course, we hope to see 200 people engage meaningfully with the course completing at least 1/3 of the curriculum, and 100 people completing the course & getting a certificate. (But it’s our first time doing a full-fledged online course – we’ll see how it goes!)

After the first installment is complete, we’ll evaluate results and proceed with either launching the next installment, or working to make the course available asynchronously on the Prometheus platform, or possibly both. We are also developing publicly available materials based on the course, which everyone will be able to benefit from, including a booklet for educators.