Grants:Project/FLG/History of Quebec and French-speaking North America/Midpoint
Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learning from the grantee's first 6 months.
In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.
- Ahead of schedule regarding our project plan for contribution event.
- In accordance with our grant proposal.
- Establishment of an effective and easily reproducible methodology for the creation of training and contribution events (new learning pattern).
- So far, very good ratings from participants who answered our 2 post-event surveys.
- In a process to propose a diversified training program to maximize our results during the next weeks and months.
- Objective of long-term sustainability of our relationships with major partners.
Methods and activities
How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?
Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.
For several years, the Fondation Lionel-Groulx (FLG) has been concerned about the low representativeness and the low quality of the articles on the history of Québec and French-speaking North America in Wikipedia. The activities and events organized during the first 6 months of the grant are in line with the approach of the FLG since 2014 and are in continuity with previous experiences. Please visit the sections "Current Projects" and "Past Project" of our dedicated Wikimedia page.
During the first 6 months of the project, we hired JBouchez as a Wikimedian in residence, we successfully organized 2 major events in May and August, and we have a training and contribution event scheduled for October 3, 2019 in addition to our 3rd major event in mid-November. This means that we are ahead of schedule regarding the organization of training and contribution events. Moreover, in June, we put online 2 new dedicated pages regarding the projects of Fondation Lionel-Groulx on Wikipedia and Wikisource (we were already on Wikimedia Commons). In August, we trained our first history teacher. Finally, 2 major partners of our first event plan to organize their own training programs with our help, probably at the beginning of 2020.
In order to meet our objectives, several key steps were necessary and a methodology was put in place to facilitate the organization of our training and contribution events and to measure their results.
- We hired JBouchez as our Wikimedian in residence (March 14)
- We selected an intern in collaboration with Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ). Isabelle Gareau, Director of communications at FTQ, suggested to lend an intern who could help us organize the first event and contribute directly to article improvements, file uploads, etc. On April 4, we met and chose Hamza.Tabaichount, master's degree student in history at Université du Québec à Montréal.
- Several weeks prior to each event and in collaboration with our partners, we prepared a project document (finalized as a PDF) containing all the details (date, location, theme, program, links) to be shared to kick off registrations.
- For each event, we created a list of articles to improve relevant to the theme selected with partners. The lists were sent to the registered participants alongside our own suggestions of newbie tasks to improve the said articles. The lists can be seen here for the first major event, and there for the second event.
- For each event, we brought a collection of books relevant for the theme. With relevant books in the room, participants could focus on improving articles by citing sources.
- Using the Programs & Events Dashboard made by the Wiki Education Foundation and hosted on the Wikimedia Cloud Services, we created a campaign entitled "History of Québec and French-speaking North America". As part of this campaign, we created a program page for each event in order to monitor data related to the edits and other actions of participants.
- A few days after each event, we sent a survey to collect the comments of the participants and their degree of satisfaction. To generate our surveys, we used Framaform from Framasoft, a free-software based online service (please see the poll results for each event in the section below).
- While moving forward with our events, we took the time to prepare and write down (at the end of August) a clear and diversified training program to Wikipedia, Wikisource and Commons that will help us and our past and future partners for the next 6 months. In addition to making clear the kinds of training we have to offer, this preparation allowed us to reflect on the type of open educational resources (OER) we should maybe produce to support our training.
What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?
Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.
We are on track with our goals and even ahead of schedule regarding the timing suggested in our proposal. The following paragraphs list our achievements and results so far :
- First major event (May 31) in Montreal on the "History of trade unionism in Quebec". The event was organized in collaboration with the 3 major trade union organizations in Québec and a history and archives center on trade unionism in Québec, the CHAT. Please read our detailed report of the first event.
- Second major event (August 14) in Quebec City on the "History of Quebec City neighborhoods". The event was part of the Rendez-vous d'histoire de Québec, a major gathering during 4 days which, through conferences and talks, aims to contribute to the development of knowledge about the history of Québec. Three organizations were partners for this major training and contribution event. Please read our detailed report of the second event.
As described in the section "Method and activities", a few days after each event, we asked participants to answer a short survey in order to know their degree of satisfaction and their willingness to contribute after their training and contributions. Here are screenshots of the charts from Framaform. Please note that the questions and the results were in French, but we translated them in English for our event reports and the present midpoint report :
- In addition to the results provided by Framaform, we've calculated the mean of the answers for each question and the total mean including all the answers. This provide a global notation for each event. The notation for the 1st event is 4.16/5 and the notation for the 2nd event is 4.27/5.
- Furthermore, we've collected commentaries from several participants. Please click the links cited above to read commentaries in the section "Post event survey" of our event reports.
- The table below presents the results of our 2 major events. The data is taken from the "Programs and Events Dashboard" tool. Here is the link to visit our dedicated campaign and programs.
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- On August 6, we trained Lucia Ferretti (Lancia Spaghetti), history professor at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) who will in turn train her students to contribute to Wikipedia as part of her course entitled "HST1094 - Démocratie et citoyenneté : perspectives historiques sur les enjeux actuels" (Democracy and Citizenship - historical perspective on current issues). This project exists as part of the UQTR Picom program, which aims to create educational activities at the university that serve the community, usually for a non-profit organization. Here is the link of the project on Picom's website.
- Thus far, when it comes to training material, we have mostly reused or updated what we already had around. In addition, we made use of our new WP:FLG space to create subpages such as these: WP:FLG/preformation (pre-training material), WP:FLG/compte (how to create an account), WP:FLG/raccourcis (useful shortcuts). We are planning to go further over the next six months by producing short screencasts showing how to accomplish certain specific tasks or explaning certain concepts or features of Wikipedia. Formalizing and putting online material for our training program will ease our capacity to propose quality distance learning sessions (with our large TV + conference camera).
- Our outreach efforts paid off. Soon after our initial public announcement of the grant we received from WMF, the word got around and we received many e-mails and even phone calls from historians and teachers who wanted to give us their personal support. Our relationship with trade unions will for certain go beyond the training and contribution event of 31 May 2019. We made several positive contacts with new organizations interested in what we have to offer and events are already in preparation with some of them. Here are the main organizations we have in mind: Société historique de Montréal (SHM), Archives de Montréal (Montreal City Archives), Pointe-à-Callière Museum, Institut d'histoire de l'Amérique française (IHAF), Société d'histoire de Longueuil (SHL), Société d'histoire et de généalogie de St-Casimir (SHGSC), Société d'histoire de Charlebourg (SHDC).
Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.
We have filled up the project finances table with our expenses up to 31 August 2019.
Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.
Yes, so far we have.
- We have yet to fully spend the budget for the portable computer & accessories. We already have the portable computer and main accessories, but we plan to buy two more things: an external hard drive for backup and a USB stick.
- We bought 80 Wikipedia t-shirts that we intend to give away to all participants to our four major events (about 20 per event). Since we don't expect other major expenses in the gifts and prizes category, we should be within the budget at the end.
The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.
What are the challenges
What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.
- One of the biggest challenges is to make sure that the partners for each event do their part in recruiting participants. We did not have big problems on this point, but from time to time we had to send reminders to some partners who did not promote the event enough. To address this situation, we chose to adapt our strategy. For instance, before the event in Quebec City in August, we decided to create a special visual to post on Facebook and we asked our partners to share it as much as they could. For the next events, a good strategy would be to prepare a more complete promotional kit comprising one or two visuals "ready to share" on social media and find effective means to better "enforce" a shared communications timetable with partners.
- Another challenge is keeping participants active after our training and contribution events. So far, we've put in place several strategies to do so: sending emails to invite them to free and recurring events of training and contribution such as "Mardi, c'est Wiki !" (Montréal) and "Jeudi, c'est Wiki !" (Québec City) organized by BAnQ, one of our major partners. We also recognize their contributions and encourage them by sending "thank you" notifications. In order to improve our editors retention rate, we will continue to apply these strategies and also try new ones, for example the sending of a newsletter (publicizing what's been done by active participants, announcing events to come, etc.)
What is working well
What have you found works best so far? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.
Since the beginning of the grant, we've been using a method to prepare our major training and contribution events. It allows us to propose a list of relevant articles to improve on a given theme and it provides participants with a way to progress and learn on their own. We explain our method in a new learning pattern :
Next steps and opportunities
What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points.
- Roll out and popularize our diversified training program in order to reach future partners. The program will ease our capacity to propose distance learning sessions (with our large TV + conference camera).
- Strengthen our excellent collaboration with major partners. For example, Fédération des travailleurs et des travailleuses du Québec and Centrale des syndicats du Québec (2 major trade unions) want to offer their employees training sessions to Wikipedia all year round. In this case, the Fondation Lionel-Groulx would be a key partner in the long term.
- Training at least one more history teacher.
- We will make sure to take more photos during the next training and contribution events.
We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an grantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 6 months?
What has been the most surprising and enjoyable thing for us so far has been the general enthusiasm we received from the history milieu of Québec. We excepted to have a LOT more convincing to do in order to get on board many of the organizations or individuals that we contacted. In particular, we thought that a general skepticism had to be overcome to get university-level professors on board. This doesn't appear to be the case from the feedback we have had so far. IHAF, the largest professional association of historians in Québec, did not even wait for us to contact them: they did it on their own. History professor Lucia Ferretti reported to us (early September) a very strong support from her students when she told them about their future role in improving articles in Wikipedia. Being able to focus 100% on knowledge and skill transfer (instead of advocacy) is a great relief.