Grants:APG/Proposals/2020-2021 round 1/Wiki Education Foundation/Proposal form

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Proposal by Wiki Education Foundation to support its annual plan with 412,000 USD.

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Context and Strategy[edit]

Wiki Education Strategy

In 2018, the Wiki Education Foundation ("Wiki Education") adopted a new strategy, adapted from the Wikimedia movement's strategic direction. The strategy, which was renewed by our board at its June 2020 meeting, identifies three strategic goals: Equity, Quality, and Reach. Within each goal are certain strategic objectives and measures of success. In 2021, we will be three years into the strategy. We've made significant progress, but we have more work to do.

Our 2021 plan expands on the work we've done in the past years, but in a time of great uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions to higher education, GLAMs, and philanthropy in the United States, three areas with which our work is closely linked. Our programmatic work, however, was already almost all virtual, meaning we've had a nearly seamless transition to the new remote delivery of our programs. As we look to the next year, we are cautiously optimistic that we will still achieve significant impact, despite the challenges of the uncertainty in the United States.

  • Legal name of organization: Wiki Education Foundation
  • Organization's fiscal year: July 1 – June 30
  • 12-month funding period requested: January 1 – December 31, 2021
  • Currency requested: US dollars
  • Name of primary contact: LiAnna Davis, Chief Programs Officer & Deputy Director
  • Total expenses for 2021: $1,515,350
  • Amount requested from APG: $412,000 (last cycle's +3% COLA)
  • Amount received last APG cycle: $400,000
  • Annual plan


Wiki Education will continue running two programs in 2021: Our Wikipedia Student Program, in which university instructors assign students to contribute content to Wikipedia as a class assignment, and our Scholars & Scientist Program, a revenue-generation program in which we lead academics and other professionals through 6-session Wikipedia or Wikidata editing courses as a professional development option. We also plan to continue to support the Programs & Events Dashboard, a program management and tracking software tool developed by Wiki Education and widely used in the Wikimedia movement.

Wikipedia Student Program[edit]

Wikipedia Student Program support resources were all mostly online before the pandemic.
What we're continuing to do and why — Support thousands of student editors

In 2019, Wiki Education student editors represented 19% of all of the new active editors on English Wikipedia. This impressive statistic showcases the impact this program has had, and continues to have, on Wikipedia. While the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic likely means this number will drop in 2020, we still anticipate supporting large quantities of student editors making positive contributions to Wikipedia.

Knowledge equity is the cornerstone of the Wikimedia strategic direction, and equity is also one of Wiki Education's strategic goals. We've been focused on bringing equity-focused course topics to the Student Program for many years now, and we have high retention of faculty who teach these courses. We expect we will continue to have a major impact on equity related topics on English Wikipedia in 2021. Not only will many students improve biographies of women (a popular focus of many classes), but we also expect courses that address equity gaps related to race, sexuality, disability, and other areas. We also expect to attract a diverse student editor population, reflective of the diversity of people enrolled in higher education institutions in the United States.

But true knowledge equity shouldn't just be coming from courses where equity is part of the discipline. In 2020, based on recommendations from consultant Dr. Alexandria Lockett, we debuted a broad set of changes to our training materials, exercises, and Dashboard standard text meant to encourage students in all courses to think more about equity as they tackle their Wikipedia assignment. For example, in the evaluation prompt once students have selected an existing article to improve, we ask students: "Does the article tackle one of Wikipedia's equity gaps (coverage of historically underrepresented or misrepresented populations or subjects)?" We revamped an optional discussion topic about Wikipedia's content gaps that instructors can select for their assignment based on Dr. Lockett's suggestions. We are very interested to see how these changes impact the perspective students bring to their assignment in 2021 and whether or not it guides them to be more inclusive in their research and writing.

What we intend to do that is new and why — Support more sandbox-only classes

We are piloting a new way to support more classes in fall 2020: accepting some courses into our program as sandbox-only. We won't have the full results from this until late 2020 or early 2021, but we anticipate it being a cornerstone of our 2021 strategy. Our biggest bottleneck in staff time is ensuring the content student editors are adding to English Wikipedia is of high quality, answering questions, addressing plagiarism or other problems, and dealing with incidents that community members bring to our attention: This work is extremely seasonal, with spikes toward the end of the spring and fall terms. To ensure we can keep supporting courses with our current capacity, we have asked about a third of our fall 2020 courses to work exclusively in sandboxes. At the end of the term, when we have more staff capacity, we will review this content, and move high-quality student work to mainspace using history merges when we can. We expect this will enable us to meet the higher demand than our capacity can support, without compromising the quality of content our student editors are adding to English Wikipedia.

What we intend to discontinue and why — Print physical brochures

We had already significantly slowed our printed resource distribution in the time leading up to the pandemic, but 2020 has definitely ended our printed materials days. The interactive training modules we have on the Dashboard for students and instructors seem to serve our participants well, and we find that PDFs of the publications we have created are just fine for most of our participants. Since few of our classes are meeting in-person this year, we've eliminated the cost of printing and shipping brochures.

Scholars & Scientists Program[edit]

What we're continuing to do and why — Generate revenue by teaching subject matter experts how to edit
Wiki Education's Scholars & Scientists courses took place via Zoom even before the pandemic.

When Jennifer Doudna received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year, her English Wikipedia biography already had extensive details about her research; that content was thanks to a participant in our Scholars & Scientists program, where we train subject matter experts to contribute to Wikipedia or Wikidata in weekly Zoom meetings paired with outside of class assignments.

Our Scholars & Scientists Program is unique in the Wikimedia movement in that it both increases the quality of content and generates revenue for Wiki Education. We are focusing on two main models for this program: (1) an institutional payer model for our Wikipedia courses, in which a particular organization (such as the American Physical Society) buys out an entire course on editing Wikipedia and then offers it as a professional development benefit for their members, our (2) and individual payer model for our Wikidata courses, in which (mostly) GLAM professionals take our courses using their professional development funds from their employers, making the case that Wikidata is an important element of their work. We also occasionally offer individual payer Wikipedia courses and occasionally sell Wikidata courses to an institution.

In 2021, we hope to continue growing the revenue generated from this program. The pandemic has led to uncertainty amidst the GLAM sector, and particularly among the budgets in this sector, but we have seen strong interest from several organizations in the second half of 2020, leading us to believe there is revenue opportunity here we should explore in 2021.

While having an additional revenue model beyond our philanthropic support is a critical element of this program, it's also important to note that these courses generate content for Wikipedia and Wikidata, and bring subject matter experts to the projects. In 2020, we trained members of the National Science Policy Network, the Society of Family Planning, disability scholars sponsored by the WITH Foundation, and more. We also ran courses targeted at improving the availability of information about state and regional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What we intend to do that is new and why — Guest instructor program

In the first years of the program, Wiki Education staff members taught all the courses. But as we expand the program, we're looking at ways to be more flexible in how we run these courses. We would like to have more flexibility in scheduling courses, so if 8 partners want to schedule courses in May but none want to schedule one in December, we aren't limited by our staff capacity. We will be doing a small pilot of a guest instructor program, where we train an experienced Wikipedia contributor in how to teach with our existing curriculum and systems, then pay them to run the course we've sold. We expect this to increase the scalability of our model.

What we intend to discontinue and why — 12-week courses

When we started the program, we tried a variety of course lengths, initially settling on 12 weeks as being a good amount of time to enable people to contribute to at least two articles. We found this length, however, an incredible challenge to schedule, and the costs for a 12-week course in terms of staff time made it prohibitive for many organizations' budgets. We've found a happy medium with 6-week courses, which still enable significant development of at least one article, while being easier to schedule and affordable for many organizations.

Programs & Events Dashboard[edit]

The Programs and Events Dashboard won the Coolest Tool Award in the Outreach category, an indication of its wide popularity among Wikimedia movement program leaders.
What we're continuing to do and why — Support global Wikimedia program leaders with the Programs & Events Dashboard

Because the Programs & Events Dashboard is such a powerful and flexible tool, we have learned that program leaders use it for a wide variety of use cases. They use it to generate stats for historical programs, track stats for ongoing programs, help organize programs and get people onto Wikipedia during edit-a-thons and similar events, monitor for problems during busy events, publicize the impact of programs, introduce new users to the wiki basics via customizable training modules, and train program leaders how to organize safe events and respond to harassment.

Because of the complexity that comes with this power and flexibility, we expected to see a considerable number of organizers shift over to the simpler Event Metrics tool that Community Tech completed in 2019. However, we haven't seen a decrease in Dashboard users, perhaps because program leaders have become increasingly comfortable with using the Dashboard. We can likely attribute this to knowledge sharing efforts across the global community as well as our continued efforts to improve the user experience.

What we intend to do that is new and why — Evaluate server architecture and hosting

This year, we plan to explore options for improving the performance and maximum capacity of the Programs & Events Dashboard. With the current usage rate, it is approaching the limits of what its current Wikimedia Cloud server can handle. This results in a longer time between updates and occasional downtime during periods of high usage. We will determine whether these limitations can be overcome (in order of preference) through optimizing code bottlenecks, changing the server architecture to distribute the load, and/or moving the Programs & Events Dashboard to a more powerful commercial server.

What we intend to discontinue and why — Technology conference participation, Android app development

This year, we don't plan to participate in any Wikimedia Hackathons or other technology conferences (should they resume). While such events have helped us identify important community needs, develop features, and fix bugs that affect the Programs & Events Dashboard users, our technology team is smaller and stretched more thinly this year, so we won't be able to spare time for conference preparation and travel.

We will also discontinue efforts to develop an Android app for the Dashboard. While the nascent app made considerable progress over the course of two internship projects — the second co-mentored by the student who completed the first one to develop the app initially — it didn't reach the point that it could be deployed and tested, and we don't have the capacity to continue working on it.


Jan - March April - June July - Sept Oct - Dec TOTAL
Student Program $64,775 $64,775 $65,825 $65,825 $261,202
Scholars & Scientists $103,664 $121,664 $123,671 $123,671 $472,672
Technology $35,416 $35,416 $35,416 $35,416 $141,664
General/HR/Finance/Admin/Board/Fundraising $174,099 $162,214 $153,657 $170,882 $660,853
TOTAL $377,955 $384,070 $378,570 $395,795 $1,536,390
Revenue $1,036,866 $48,000 $379,334 $98,000 $1,562,200


In 2021, we will continue to measure editors, articles edited, amount of content added, and quality articles, the same grantee-defined metrics as we used the last three years.

Program name Total Participants Newly Registered Content Pages Improved Quantity[1] Quality Articles[2]
Wikipedia Student Program 9,000 8,000 13,000 5,500,000 1,000
Wikipedia Scholars & Scientists 140 80 125 91,000 30
Wikidata Scholars & Scientists 45 20 225 1,000 400
Programs & Events Dashboard 1,500[3] n/a n/a n/a n/a
Total 10,685 8,100 13,350 5,592,000 1,430

[1] Number of words added to the article namespace for Wikipedia programs, and number of statements improved for Wikidata.
[2] For Wikipedia programs, number of articles that have at least a 10-point improvement in an ORES-based quality prediction score, which indicates significant improvement of the "structural completeness" of an article. For Wikidata program, number of references added to items.
[3] For the Programs & Events Dashboard, number of participants is defined as number of unique global Wikimedia program leaders who track an event with the Dashboard during the year.

Verification and signature[edit]

Please enter "yes" or "no" for the verification below.

The term “political or legislative activities” includes any activities relating to political campaigns or candidates (including the contribution of funds and the publication of position statements relating to political campaigns or candidates); voter registration activities; meetings with or submissions and petitions to government executives, ministers, officers or agencies on political or policy issues; and any other activities seeking government intervention or policy implementation (like “lobbying”), whether directed toward the government or the community or public at large. General operating support through the FDC may not be used to cover political and legislative activities, although you may make a separate grant agreement with the WMF for these purposes.
I verify that no funds from the Wikimedia Foundation will be used
for political or legislative activities except as permitted by a grant agreement

Please sign below to complete this proposal form.

IMPORTANT. Please do not make any changes to this proposal form after the proposal submission deadline for this round. If a change that is essential to an understanding of your organization's proposal is needed, please request the change on the discussion page of this form so it may be reviewed by FDC staff. Once submitted, complete and valid proposal forms submitted on time by eligible organizations will be considered unless an organization withdraws its application in writing or fails to remain eligible for the duration of the FDC process.
Please sign here once this proposal form is complete, using four tildes. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 23:30, 28 October 2020 (UTC)