Grants:APG/Proposals/2019-2020 round 1/Wiki Education Foundation/Staff proposal assessment
Staff assessment summary
The Wiki Education Foundation enters its third year in the APG General Support program. We have seen great changes in its approach to annual planning, mostly due to the creation last year of a strategic plan and its use to reassess and reshape programs. This strategic shift has helped WikiEd make a lot of changes in the way it operates, sunsetting some of its programs while developing others and creating new models. Of note is the growth of their Scholars and Scientists program as a fee for service model. WikiEd has always had a holistic approach to evaluation and has developed numerous channels to listen to and get feedback from the students it works with but also the Wikimedia projects communities (Wikipedia and Wikidata). They have done a lot of work on refining their evaluation scheme in order to adapt their program and have done so with an external consultant to help them design their courses with specific learning objectives.
Strategy and programs
The Wiki Education Foundation has two main programs, the Wikipedia Student Program and the Wikidata and Wikipedia Scholars and Scientists program. These two programs are aimed at achieving better representativeness and completeness of Wikimedia content, with a lense of equity, quality and reach (the three pillars of their strategy)
The Student Program enrolls 16,000 students and represents about 19% of all new editors on the English Wikipedia. While there is a natural attrition to which courses are in this program, new courses have been steadily replacing the ones that are not returning, and the flow of new editors has been constant. This year, WikiEd has been working on two topic areas, equity and science, which they intend to pursue in 2020, while improving them and adding to them more courses on the topics of gender, race and sexuality. WikiEd has been working with expert Dr Lockett, professor at Spelman College (one of the top historically black women's colleges in the US) to refresh their courses in all programs by adding an equity lens to student guidance, such as looking at how many women of color they are citing, or discussions around privileges in their areas of contribution.
WikiEd's Students program was to be extended to Wikidata, but this will be delayed as pilots have not given great results. As success in the WIkidata Scholars and Scientists program shows, it may be that are not prime public for a Wikidata focused education program.
The Wikipedia Scholars and Scientists program has been transitioned to a fully fee for service model, and offers three models for enrollment: individual (the individual pays for the course); institutional (the institution pays for the course), hybrid. WikiEd is still testing out to see what works best in terms of the payment model, but the course itself has proven it works and answers a need as well as motivates participants. 2020 will see the launch of new advanced courses: these are courses for alumni on a specific topic: ex. Women's suffrage in the US was piloted in 2019 as an advanced course and got good response. WikiEd is looking to make those courses less staff intensive in order to be able to focus their resources where they are most needed. The Scholars and Scientists program has been extended to work with Wikidata rather than Wikipedia and WikiEd has launched new courses in 2019, which have been very successful both in terms of interest raised and in terms of impact into Wikidata. WikiEd will research in 2020 the possibility of adding self directed courses to the curriculum.
WikiEd has been developing the Dashboard for years now, and using it as an important tool to track progress and impact of their project on the Wikimedia Projects. Developing the Dashboard is a priority, especially when it needs to be updated and adapted to accommodate Wikidata courses. Technological development include looking into testing an Android App and changing the way data is being retrieved from Toolforge to Mediawiki API.
We are glad to see that WikiEd strategic work, backed up by its thorough and holistic approach to evaluation, hs allowed it to adopt its program and even develop a pay per fee program that might very well be the future of its funding base. We are looking forward to seeing new developments and work together to make sure that exchange continues between WikiEd's work and affiliates and partners.
Budget & grant request
Wiki Education Foundation is asking for a grant of 400,000 USD, which represents about 20% of their total budget. Some remarks made in the past by the FDC and staff still apply such as the limitation of WikiEd scope (mainly in the English Wikipedia) which make this grant a sizeable amount of resources not going directly to emerging communities, but efforts have been made to improve the alignment with the Wikimedia movement strategy and integrate especially the concept of knowledge equity. We should be exploring possibilities of working together