Education/News/June 2022/А large-scale online course for teaching beginners to work in Wikipedia has been developed in Russia

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А large-scale online course for teaching beginners to work in Wikipedia has been developed in Russia

Author: Dmitry Rozhkov

Summary: Wikimedia Russia launched an online course on working with Wikipedia providing a compact guideline covering various topics including how to contribute to Wikipedia and the basics of information sources.

In 2021, Wikimedia Russia launched an online course on working with Wikipedia.

Everyone can use the course materials, and since September 2021, training has begun for those who signed up for the course with the support of mentors. The online course is completely free for participants and contains 12 large topics with 72 lessons. 153 test questions-exercises that simulate real situations that beginners have to face in the process of editing Wikipedia help to consolidate their knowledge.

A free manual prepared and published by Wikimedia Russia is attached to the training course. Among the key issues of the course: Wikimedia technologies and projects, creating a Wikipedia account, interacting with the encyclopedia interfaces and the visual editor, the subtleties of wiki markup and, most importantly, the rules for working with sources and the principles of correct citation.

"This course is the first Russian-language online course on the most important areas of work in Wikipedia. The course will not only provide basic knowledge on writing and editing articles in the world encyclopedia, but also teach you to search for and correctly use information sources, which is extremely important for modern students. In addition, work that involves explicit, concrete and visible results is very useful for students. Wiki articles that they will eventually write will be visible to everyone and will be read by thousands, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of people, while academic papers at the university, as a rule, are not seen by anyone outside the examination committee," project manager Stanislav Kozlovsky said.

The course materials are published under the terms of a free Creative Commons license on the Russian Stepik platform and are available to any user for free. At the same time, 50 people can take the course with full feedback and support from mentors, classes of the first stream started in the fall of 2021. For those who did not manage to get into the first wave, the second stream started in the spring of 2022. Already on November 2021, a thousandth student has registered on the course page.

"New authors are the life force that feeds the Wikimedia community, creating the popular Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. Without them, the development of the project will stop, so we pay great attention to them. We consider this course to be a key element of our efforts to attract volunteers. Previously, we could not actively involve them: the Wikipedia community didn't have enough resources to train them. Therefore, their work caused irritation to others instead of gratitude because of the mistakes they made, and many newcomers left Wikipedia, unable to fully adapt to it. Now, I hope the situation will change," Vladimir Medeyko, Director of Wikimedia Russia explained.

Russian Wikipedia is read by 97 million people a year. In fact, it is one of the most popular sources of information. One of the most important factors affecting the quality of Wikipedia articles is the citation of reliable, authoritative sources. The purpose of the Wikimedia Russia online course is to prepare authors to write high—quality articles.

The project also involves holding several contests for writing articles, which will be helped by an online course and methodological materials. The project activities will continue until the end of June 2022.