Education/News/June 2022/The students of Kadir Has University, Istanbul contribute Wikimedia projects in "Civic Responsibility Project" course

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The students of Kadir Has University, Istanbul contribute Wikimedia projects in "Civic Responsibility Project" course

Author: Basak

Summary: In the 2021–2022 spring term, Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey (WMTR) collaborated with Kadir Has University , Istanbul in supporting 200 students from different departments for doing Wikimedia related projects in their compulsory Civic Responsibility Project course in their first year in the university.

Training on how to edit Wikimedia projects
Students are taking their civic responsibility

Beginning from their first year in the university, the students of Kadir Has University are expected to learn how to design and implement projects that could bring a creative solution to a problem or need in their social environment. For this purpose, the curriculum includes a compulsory course where the students are introduced to the concept of social responsibility. At the beginning of the term, in addition to getting some theoretical knowledge from their instructors, the students from different departments -including law, psychology, computer sciences, political sciences, civil engineering, theatre, business administration, economics, bioinformatics and visual communication design departments – are also introduced with several NGOs which are invited to make a presentation. Later working in groups of six, the students prepare a project and implement it with the help of the NGO they selected.

Poster on the project about adding film quotes to WikiQuote
Learning digital voluntarism through Wikimedia projects

Wikimedia User Group Turkey was one of the NGOs that collaborated with Kadir Has University for this course. The group made a protocol with the university about supporting the students who make wiki-projects. The volunteers of the user group have prepared a list of 'suggested wiki projects for the students. The list included about 40 suggested activities for students to contribute to Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Commons and Wikisource projects. WMTR agreed to train and support student groups who would like to make any of those projects or similar ones.

Student presentation on their experience of improving Wikipedia articles on animal species

At the beginning of the term, WMTR made a video to introduce its work and the importance of volunteering at Wikimedia projects. This video was shown in classes and the user group members were delighted to learn that after watching the video, many students changed thmindsmind about the type of project they wanted to make and wanted to be involved in Wikimedia-related work. It was very surprising to learn that one of the most popular items in the wiki-project suggestion list was taking photos of Byzantine monuments in Istanbul and uploading them to Commons.

After the student groups were formed, WMTR made an online training session about Wikimedia projects and how to edit. Later, students started to work on their projects. Some have contacted the user group members when they had difficulty.

New wiki-project ideas from students!

Apart from our suggestions, students have developed many ideas about how they would like to contribute to the Wikimedia projects. Their ideas included improving film festival articles on Wikipedia; adding quotes from top-rated IMDB films to Turkish Wikiquote; add to specific descriptions of plant names to Wikipedia using Dictionary of Turkish plants; adding missing information on species in Turkish Wikipedia, adding images/information of paintings in the Istanbul Art and Sculpture Museum to Commons.

At the end of the term, the contributions of the students included the creation of 488 new articles, improving 1410 articles, adding 2580 references, and uploading 537 items on Commons. Each group prepared weekly progress reports about their work and made a presentation at the end of the term where they reported the difficulties they had during their work.

Ready to make Wikipedia assignments in departmental courses

WMTR finds this experience very valuable for the future. First of all, this collaboration allowed every student to be introduced to the Edit button in the first year of their university life. The user group is already connected to some professors from different departments of the university who are interested in giving Wikipedia assignments to their students. We believe having students gain knowledge and experience about contributing to Wikimedia projects in their first year will make things a lot easier in the future when the students are asked to contribute to subjects related to their departmental course.

We also have signals that after introducing wiki-editing with this experience some students will become as passionate about editing as we do and this gives us a big hope for the future!