Grants:Project/Rapid/Offline open education conference/hackathon

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Offline projects/Potsdam conference and hackathon for offline open education
We have around 25-30 people from the world of offline education/medical resources coming together to share ideas, and write code to that will allow Wikimedia content (and other open resources such as OpenStreetMap) to be easily produced and updated for use in places that lack internet. We plan to hold lunchtime "brown bag" sessions to showcase current projects and successes, then have Q&A.
targetWikipedia, all languages (but especially EN, FR, ES), WikiBooks, Wiktionary, Wikiversity
start dateAugust 14, though payment is due later
end dateAugust 18
budget (local currency)US$$1979.27
budget (USD)$1979.27
grant typeindividual, but on behalf of several groups working in this area
contact(s)• walkerma(_AT_)
organization (if applicable)• Wikipedia 1.0

Project Goals[edit]

  1. Exchange knowledge and ideas in a "safe space"
  2. Organize projects to serve educational and medical needs in under-resourced areas of the world
  3. Write code so that non-technical people can assemble and distribute open resources easily to the entire world, especially those without internet. Examples of those attending include people distributing medical content, and resources for schools. Countries where we expect to see benefits in the short term include Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, South Africa.
  4. Increase skills for programmers working with open content
  5. Showcase successes and benefits from using offline educational materials

Project Plan[edit]


  1. What is the purpose of the meeting and why is it important to your community?
    There are many people active in putting together and distributing open educational resources (OERs) and medical materials, but many work in isolation. This meeting will allow many of the global leaders in this field to meet face-to-face, and share ideas and information in a "safe space".
    We will be writing code to streamline production of educational/medical resources for non-technical users and those distributing those resources in developing countries.
    This event brings together technical experts with people working in the field, to make sure that the technology & code meet the needs of the end-users
    We are holding short presentations by different experts, and documenting these on video, to educate one another about diverse offline projects and their impact on the world's poor.
  2. If applicable, what benefits have you seen from doing this kind of meeting in the past?
    Speaking personally, a chance conversation and meeting between myself and two others at Wikimania 2006 led to the production of three official offline releases of EN Wikipedia content (0.5, 0.7, 0.8), and greatly enhanced the assessment scheme used on EN, FR and other Wikipedias. A similar meeting took place at Wikimania 2016 (which I did not attend), and it led to new collaborations and projects. But this meeting is expected to be broader in scope and impact than previous meetings.
  3. How will you let participants know about the meeting?
    We have had a wiki page open for several months at http://OFF.NETWORK to build the event. We have had Skype meetings at least monthly for over 18 months, and been in regular contact via email. We have already recruited around 25 people to attend from many different organizations.
  4. How will you keep participants engaged after the meeting is over?
    We will continue our monthly meetings for the foreseeable future, and stay in contact via email and at future Wikimanias. We will be in regular contact as distribution of offline content takes off.
  5. Is there anything else you want to tell us about this project?
    We will follow these guidelines in providing a friendly space for free and frank exchange of ideas. We aim to be sensitive and respectful to all attendees, no matter what is their gender, race, religion, sexuality or level of experience. We will adhere to the expected behavior of the Wikipedia community: w:WP:AGF, w:WP:DNB and Don't be a jerk. Attendees will be advised of these expectations when they arrive.
    The meeting is scheduled immediately after Wikimania in Montreal, in order to allow Wikimania attendees from around the world to simply extend their stay and come to Potsdam (which is quite close to Montreal).
    The meeting will be held in the main building on the campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam over four days, for no cost. Two college departments (Chemistry and Educational Technology) are acting as hosts, to allow use of college facilities. In addition, use of college dorms is keeping accommodation costs down for the many attendees who are volunteers or working for nonprofits.
    If the meeting's work is successful, the impact could be immense. "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." Right now we're not doing this; there are many millions of people with no access to Wikipedia and other open electronic resources - the very people who could benefit the most from them. Let's help make Jimmy Wales' statement come true!


Note: In addition to your project-specific measures of success, you will also be asked to report on some Global Metrics at the end of your final report. Please keep this in mind as you plan, and we'll support you as you begin your project.

  1. Our initial target was to have 15-20 participants; in fact we're expecting closer to 30.
  2. Three people have been involved in the main organization.
  3. Our target is to allow more specific content packages to be created by non-technical people, and accessible through Kiwix.
  4. Our target is for both programmers and field workers to give short presentations about their projects (totally at least two hours), respond to Q&A, then to produce & upload videos to document/share these presentations. These presentations will take place over lunch.
  5. Our target is for at least eight people from at least three different groups working "in the field" to attend and have at least six hours together sharing ideas and resources.
  6. Our target is to produce a report documenting the event, its successes and failures (based on above), and its impact on the community.


  • It will be used to cover meals during the hackathon/conference, to get people to work together. The lunch will be served right before the lunchtime talks, and allow work to continue through the lunch period without major interruption. These meals will be provided by the SUNY Potsdam non-profit catering service, who have provided me with official quotes (available upon request as a PDF).
    • Monday Aug 14th: Breakfast, lunch and coffee for 30 people, total = $537.67
    • Tuesday Aug 15th: Breakfast, lunch and coffee for 30 people, total = $538.66
    • Wednesday Aug 16th: Breakfast, lunch and coffee for 30 people, total = $537.67
    • Thursday Aug 17th: Breakfast, lunch and coffee for 20 people, total = $365.27

OVERALL TOTAL = $1979.27