Grants:Project/WikiProject Limnology and Oceanography/recruiting aquatic editors/Midpoint

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proposal people timeline & progress finances midpoint report final report

Report accepted
This midpoint report for a Project Grant approved in FY 2019-20 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learning from the grantee's first 3 months.


In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.

Methods and activities[edit]

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.

Pilot education program[edit]

Our pilot program coordinates aquatic content creation for Wikipedia pages among students, educators, and professional scientists with the goal of increasing the amount and quality of aquatic-related Wikipedia articles. Our project coordinator facilitated conversations among the educators, project leads, and scientists serving as content reviewers. We leveraged email, video conferencing, Wikipedia, and Slack to coordinate among these groups.

Recruiting educators[edit]

We recruited educators to be a part of the pilot project through our professional networks, including via Twitter, listservs, direct email, free workshops, WikiEdu search, and advertisement in journal articles (Stachelek et al. 2020, Kincaid et al. 2020).

Training to edit Wikipedia[edit]

All educators used WikiEdu to organize the Wikipedia editing portion of their courses. WikiEdu has excellent training modules that the students completed to learn how to edit Wikipedia. The project leads and members of WP L&O also answered editing questions via Slack, Wikipedia, or email.

How to incorporate Wikipedia into your classroom[edit]

Our group hosted a virtual workshop for how to incorporate Wikipedia editing into class curriculum. We had over 40 attendees at the virtual workshop across several countries. We documented a summary of the workshop on our WikiProject page for those who could not attend.

WikiEdu guided educators on the mechanics of student content creation, while the peer-support network of educators in our pilot program helped tailor their classes for aquatic content. Educators shared potential solutions to common struggles, rubrics for classroom activities, and best practices for incorporating Wikipedia editing in aquatic curriculum. The WP L&O team guided educators on how to select aquatic articles for their classrooms, pointing to the articles in most need of improvement.

Ensuring quality student content[edit]

Our project coordinator facilitated content review for student generated content. Through our professional networks, the coordinator recruited aquatic experts to review content from the students in their sandboxes prior to adding to the Wikipedia main spaces. This helped relieve pressure on the course instructors to be subject matter experts for all aquatic topics covered by their students. Additionally, this process helps connect students with professional aquatic scientists via Wikipedia, which exposes students to various career paths in the aquatic sciences. We standardized the review process so that it was easy for reviewers new-to-Wikipedia to find and review the content generated by the students.

Recruitment and training videos[edit]

The recruitment and training videos are meant to reduce barriers to editing Wikipedia for new editors, including scientists, students, and educators. We are collaborating with a multimedia professional to generate two videos - a motivational video and Wikipedia editing video.

Midpoint outcomes[edit]

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.

Pilot education program[edit]

We had 8 educators participate in the pilot program during the Fall 2020 semester. Across all classrooms, 150 students generated aquatic-related Wikipedia content. In total, more than 100,000 words and 1100 references were added to 95 Wikipedia pages that have been viewed more than 215,000 times so far. Of these 95 Wikipedia pages, 11 were new articles that were created this semester.

Twelve aquatic experts reviewed content generated by the students, with each reviewer looking over 3 articles on average.

We advertised about student generated aquatic content via Twitter. So far, we have tweeted about content created in Spring 2020 (example tweet), but will Tweet about content created during the Fall of 2020 soon.

We recruited educators for Spring 2021 semester. So far we have 10 educators committed to joining the pilot program for Spring 2021.

Recruitment and training videos[edit]

We met with Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath (multimedia professional) to discuss training and recruitment videos. We decided on creating two videos and are coordinating with Elizabeth to create a script and storyboard for both videos. We expect the videos to be complete in April - May, 2021. We also solicited feedback from the educators as to what would be useful content to have in the videos to reduce barriers to editing for students or incorporating into classroom curriculum for educators.

Two new journal articles to reach out to aquatic community (Stachelek et al. 2020, Kincaid et al. 2020)


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.

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.

Expense Approved amount Actual funds spent Difference
Coordinator, education pilot project $6,000 USD $2,491 USD $3,509 USD
Contractor, multimedia team $3,200 USD $0 USD $3,200 USD
Total $9,200 USD $2,491 USD $6,709

We have spent our funds as expected. We haven't spent money on recruitment and training videos yet but expect to in early 2021.


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[edit]

What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • Most of our educators are freshwater scientists. We are reaching out and targeting marine science educators and programs to add more content to oceanography-related Wikipedia pages
  • We were a bit unsure of how the content review would work for the student generated content. We now have a better plan for content review for the next round of students and educators and will describe this process early and upfront to the new educators for the Spring 2021 semester.

What is working well[edit]

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.

  • Your learning pattern link goes here

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

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. During the Spring 2021 semester, we will focus on:

  • Improving the supports for aquatic science educators during the Spring 2021 semester, including more frequent team messages (via email or Slack) and more direct communication regarding available resources.
  • Clearly communicating the article review process to the Spring 2021 educators early in the semester.
  • Creating more thorough and informative resources for reviewers to use when reviewing and providing feedback on student-generated content.
  • Compiling a library of resources that will be made available to educators using Wikipedia in future aquatic science classes.

Grantee reflection[edit]

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 3 months?

  • It's quite amazing how much quality content has been created by the students in the participating classrooms. It's both inspiring and a gift to anyone interested in learning more about aquatic resources.
  • Working with the Educator Team was a very positive experience. Most were new to Wikipedia editing in the classroom, but all educators reported a positive experience and a willingness to use Wikipedia-based assignments again in future.