Grants:Simple/Applications/Wiki Education Foundation/2017

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Grant stage: grant in progress
Grantee: Wiki Education Foundation
Amount granted: $99,996 ($99,996)
Funding period: 1 May 2017 to 30 September 2017
Final report due: 30 October



These two requests are required of first-time applicants. In future years, you can use reports to substitute for these requirements.

  1. Link to one program story that showcases your organization's achievements in the past year.
  2. Link to one learning story you have created or contributed to, that demonstrates how your organization documents and applies learning.

Link to these documents only if you have them.

  1. Link to your organization's staffing plan. * Our staffing plan is on page 41 of our Annual Plan. A few changes since then: Tom Porter has left the organization, and we are in the process of filling that development position. Renee LeVesque, Victoria Hinshaw, and Eryk Salvaggio left the organization, and we did not refill those positions. Ryan McGrady moved from half-time to full time.
  2. Link to your annual plan. * Annual Plan
  3. Link to your strategic plan. * Information on the strategic planning process and the outcomes can be found in the previous year's previous year's Annual Report and Plan document.

Please add your global metrics to this sheet. Contact APG staff if you need access. Please visit this worksheet to view global metrics targets and progress.


Classroom Program

In our Classroom Program, college and university students in the U.S. and Canada edit Wikipedia articles as a class assignment, supported by Wiki Ed staff. In the spring 2017 term, we are supporting around 7,000 student editors in 350 courses participating in our program. We expect these students to edit around 6,500 articles on the English Wikipedia, adding more than 4.5 million words of content. Our Dashboard software provides up-to-date metrics for the students participating in this term, which will wrap up in mid-June. Staff will make final clean-up of article content and move high quality content left in sandboxes through early July; we should have final numbers for the impact of the spring term in mid-July, which is the midpoint of this grant.

Student Learning Outcomes Research

This year, we kicked off a research project to identify the student learning outcomes that come from participating in Wiki Ed's Classroom Program. In fall 2016, we ran pre- and post-tests for student editors in our program, asked questions in a qualitative survey to all students, and conducted focus groups of students and instructors. All told, more than 1,600 students took our surveys, and we conducted 13 focus groups. We have a significant amount of data from this research, and we think this data can be incredibly important in offering a preliminary understanding of the learning outcomes from Wikipedia assignments. Several global program leaders have reported acceptance in the academy as a barrier to expanding their education programs, so this empirical evidence will aid them in formalizing and scaling their work. In this grant proposal, we will finalize the preliminary data report, release the data under an open license, submit at least one paper based on the findings to a peer reviewed journal for publication consideration, and present the findings at the New Media Consortium conference (see Evidence-Based Pedagogy: Students Write Wikipedia session for full description). As we publish more evidence that Wikipedia assignments offer pedagogically valuable student learning experiences, programs around the world will be able to scale within traditional educational systems that value this peer-reviewed research.

Informed Citizens Campaign

The bulk of the money we are specifically requesting through this APG will go toward kicking off our Informed Citizens Campaign. Based on the learnings from the Student Learning Outcomes Research project, we want to embark on an initiative that amplifies the value of Wikipedia assignments in colleges and universities. We will channel our efforts to a) teach students crucial digital literacy skills in the era of fake news, while b) activating them to improve content on politically relevant topic areas (e.g., political science, law, history, sociology). A recent Stanford study deemed students' media literacy skills as "bleak." We see this initiative as incredibly important for both improving students' information evaluation skills and increasing Wikipedia's reputation as the go-to resource for citizens seeking information to understand important issues.

In particular, the grant will fund communications planning to align research, messaging, capacity, community, and visualization elements of communications. This integrated communications campaign will help us bring on board funders and participants in the Informed Citizens Campaign. As part of this planning, we will build strategic messaging architecture for content such as training material, presentations, web content, and earned and social media. Finally, we will also work on both speaking opportunities and media work to showcase the power of Wikipedia in making people informed citizens.

A key element of the Informed Citizens campaign will be creating new titles in our discipline-specific handouts series, as well as reprinting existing handouts important for students participating in our program.

The grant will also fund needed collaborations to bring Wiki Education staff together to kick off the execution planning portion of the Informed Citizens Campaign. Because Wiki Ed has prioritized Wikipedia-editing experience for many staff positions, half of our staff is remote. Bringing our staff together in-person allows us to expedite collaborations on projects, divide responsibility, and ensure everyone is on the same page. As part of the kick-off for the Informed Citizens Campaign, we will bring together all Wiki Ed staff for a week in San Francisco to develop the necessary execution planning for the first year.

Finally, an important element of the Informed Citizens Campaign will be bringing new participants into the fold. The grant includes travel funding for staff to attend and have booths at the American Sociological Association and American Political Science Association conferences in August and September 2017, with the goal of recruiting new instructors to participate in the Classroom Program as part of the Informed Citizens Campaign, as well as trips to meet with various associations to form new partnerships and new institutions to seek out funding opportunities.

At the conclusion of the grant period in September 2017, we will have a fully developed communications strategy and an execution plan for the first year of the Informed Citizens Campaign, preparing us to succeed in our efforts to provide more digital literacy skills to students and more politically relevant content on Wikipedia.


Please see the detailed staffing plan in our Annual Plan as described above; note that all staffing costs will be covered by other grants.

Budget and resource plan[edit]

Link to a detailed budget (that also includes a plan for raising the resources you need). * A budget for this specific grant request can be found in this Google doc.

Midpoint report[edit]

This is a brief report on the grantee's progress during the midpoint reporting period: {{{reportingperiodmid}}}.

Program story[edit]

Please link to one program story that showcases your organization's achievements during the reporting period.

Here is the text you may use to add a story or link!


Please add text or a link to a page with details on your program progress. This should including reporting against each of the SMART objectives from your proposal.

Classroom Program

Wiki Education wrapped up our most effective term ever in Spring 2017: More than 7,500 student editors in 358 courses added more than 6 million words to the English Wikipedia, improving 9,130 articles and creating 855 new articles on subjects ranging from en:w:Diagnostic microbiology to en:w:Police brutality against Native Americans. These numbers far surpassed our goals of 7,000 student editors and 6,500 articles edited. Slightly more than 7,000 of those student editors were newly registered accounts; 463 of them had created their accounts prior to two weeks before the start of the term. We believe the majority of these students were not existing Wikipedia editors, but were instead students who had previously taken a class where they were assigned to edit Wikipedia. As our program has grown, more and more of our students are editing Wikipedia for a second time in their college experience, and their work is often some of our best since they've already written a Wikipedia article. We're proud of the work our students accomplished during the spring term. You can browse all the articles students edited and see what they did by clicking "current version w/authorship highlighting" if you click to the articles tab of any course page on our our Dashboard software.

Student Learning Outcomes Research

Student Learning Outcomes using Wikipedia-based Assignments Fall 2016 Research Report, available on Commons.

During this grant period, we finalized the contract work with our Research Fellow and Research Assistant. They finalized the data analysis from the fall 2016 student learning outcomes research project, and wrote up an executive summary of the research findings that we then published on Wikimedia Commons (click on the thumbnail at right to read the report). We publicized the research in both the Wikimedia Foundation blog and the Wiki Education blog. We also released all of the anonymized data, all of the survey questions, and findings on Github under an open license, so researchers who were interested in independent analyses of the results could use the work we've done. We also updated the meta page in the research hub that documented our project, and shared the results with several Wikimedia lists, Facebook groups, and in the This Month in Education newsletter. Global program leaders expressed enthusiasm for the results, and we expect they will find them useful when trying to grow education programs globally.

Our Research Fellow, Dr. Zach McDowell, joined Dr. Joseph Reagle of Northeastern University to present the initial findings at the New Media Consortium conference in Boston in June. Their talk was well-received, and we received much interest in the findings. At the midpoint, we are in the process of finalizing a draft of a paper co-authored with Dr. Matthew Vetter of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, which we are planning to submit for review to a peer-reviewed journal shortly.

Informed Citizens Campaign

The largest part of our grant was reserved for the planning phase of what we had termed the “Informed Citizens Campaign” at the time of our grant application. The idea behind the multi-year initiative was to target improvements in politically relevant topic areas on the English Wikipedia as well as to provide higher education students crucial digital literacy skills. We are working to package this to increase Wiki Education’s fundraising base so that we can support a growing number of instructors who want their students to edit Wikipedia as part of the course work.

We began the grant with two half-day messaging sessions with our communications firm, PR & Company, who helped us hone in on the vision we wanted to create with the initiative. Based on these sessions, we decided to change the name of the campaign to the “Future of Facts” initiative. Our communications firm presented this option as one with the personality of futurist, looking beyond the corner at information gathering. The tone of the campaign will be confident, comfortable with hypotheticals, with a brand that is authoritative, tech, and media centric.

We identified specific assertions we want to use in the campaign, including: (1) Supporting education is a long-term, global solution to “fake news”, and (2) The Future of Facts brings real-world skills to higher education. We specifically will focus on the threat to facts, and how Wiki Ed’s work to improve the accuracy of information on Wikipedia is a way of countering that threat. This narrative arc, we believe, will be helpful in positioning our organization for fundraising and programmatic growth.

With the communications firm, we also created a strategic messaging guide, identified by specific audiences (e.g., funders, instructors, news media). In this guide, there are a set of definitions (e.g., “Wiki Education promotes hands-on learning experiences that train students in critical information literacy”), then a few assertions that back up each definition (e.g., “Wiki Education works with college and university faculty to teach students research, critical thinking, and writing skills, which are the foundation of the information literacy they need in the 21st century” is one of three assertions that back up the definition), then supports and details (e.g., “96% of instructors thought the Wikipedia assignment was more or much more valuable for teaching students digital literacy than traditional assignments are” would be a detail for that assertion). This strategic messaging guide is still in draft form at the mid-point, but we will be working with the communications firm to finalize it, so it can serve as the basis of our communications plan for the Future of Facts campaign.

Wiki Education staff at our all-staff meeting in July. Back row, left to right: Frank Schulenburg, Ryan McGrady, TJ Bliss, Ian Ramjohn, Samantha Weald, Adam Hyland (in absentia, represented by a print-out of his face), Sage Ross; Front row, left to right: LiAnna Davis, Helaine Blumenthal, Jami Mathewson, Shalor Toncray, Bill Gong

In early July, right at the midpoint for the grant, we brought our remote staff (TJ Bliss, Ryan McGrady, Ian Ramjohn, Sage Ross, and Shalor Toncray) to San Francisco. Adam Hyland was unfortunately unable to travel, so joined us remotely. During the meeting, we focused on how to prepare for the Future of Facts campaign, including discussing what specific courses we are targeting as part of this initiative, what changes we need to make to our help resources for students and instructors based on past feedback and our vision for the future of the program, and how we can work to address challenges that arose in our program last term. The week-long meeting was also a great opportunity to do in-person on boarding for TJ and Shalor, who both recently joined the staff of our organization. After three full days of meetings, we spent one day as a group exploring Angel Island, a good way to get out in nature and talk in more casual settings. Getting everybody on the same page about the campaign is key to our success, we believe, and we felt like our All Staff meeting set the stage for the campaign.

We also created two new discipline-specific handouts: Editing Wikipedia articles on films and Editing Wikipedia articles on books. Many of our students write articles on nonfiction books and documentary films related to course topics, and we find these handouts to be helpful in guiding students in the right direction. We’re also working on a discipline-specific handout for history articles, which we hope to have printed in September.

Finally, we’ve made reservations for the American Sociological Association and American Political Science Association conferences, scheduled travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with potential academic association partners, and are planning a trip to meet with potential Future of Facts funders on the east coast in September. We’re on track to have a strategy and execution plan for the first year of the Future of Facts campaign in place by the end of the grant in September.


Please report your organization's total spending during the reporting period, or link to a financial document showing your total spending. $66,177

Here is where your spending notes/explanations are.

This spending includes prepaid expenses (such as flights and an Airbnb for Wikimania, other prepaid travel expenses, and booth fees for the American Political Science Association conference) that will not actually be recognized on our books until the appropriate months.

Final report[edit]

This is the final report for your grant, describing your outcomes from the period *.

Program story[edit]

Please link to one program story that showcases your organization's achievements during the reporting period.

We publish blog posts regularly at, but we'd like to draw attention to one post in particular, which tells the story of a student who edited Wikipedia through our program.

Learning story[edit]

Please link to one learning story that shows how your organization documents lessons learned and adapts its programs accordingly.

In addition to the reports and blog posts mentioned in our midpoint report, we published a post about the results from our instructor survey in Spring 2017.


Please add text or a link to a page with details on your program results. You should report on each of the objectives you included in your Simple APG application.

Classroom Program

Our work on the Classroom Program during this granting period had wrapped up by the midpoint report; see section above for a report.

Student Learning Outcomes Research

At the end of the midpoint of the grant already reported above, we were putting the final touches on a journal article. On July 20, Matthew Vetter, Zach McDowell, and Mahala Dyer Stewart submitted the manuscript "From Opportunities to Outcomes: The Wikipedia-based Writing Assignment," to the journal Computers and Composition. At the beginning of October, we received revise and resubmit feedback from reviewers, with a very positive response to the research and small suggestions to update the literature review section of the manuscript. We resubmitted a draft that incorporated that feedback at the end of October.

Informed Citizens Campaign

In the second half of the grant, we worked with PR & Company to finalize the strategic messaging document mentioned in the midterm report. This document highlights particular angles to take with funders interested in education, differentiated from those interested in democracy. As part of the "Future of Facts" campaign, we began testing and adapting this messaging in a series of in-person and phone meetings with a variety of funding organizations. We received an additional $375,000 in unrestricted support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of this outreach, and are in the process of finalizing another grant agreement with a major donor who is interested in supporting the Future of Facts initiative. We have also met with or talked with several other funders. We believe these initial conversations have been well-received and are likely to lead to additional financial support for Wiki Education in the future.

On the Programs side of the Future of Facts initiative, Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson traveled to Washington, D.C., twice to meet with academic associations, a key strategy for us to recruit new faculty into our programs:

  • Jami met with the Association for Psychological Sciences, one of our existing partners, to confirm steps to expand our outreach. They agreed to provide free booth space in their exhibit hall for their upcoming May 2018 conference in San Francisco so we can recruit additional psychological sciences faculty.
  • Jami met with the American Anthropological Association on both visits, receiving confirmation of a partnership that is planned to be announced in conjunction with their upcoming annual meeting. They worked with us to determine the best strategy for working our programs into their upcoming initiatives.
  • Jami met with the National Humanities Alliance Executive Director to investigate partnership opportunities. They remain interested in working with us, but our current model does not exactly fit their needs, so we are continuing to explore partnership opportunities with them.
  • Jami met with the National Communication Association and signed a formal partnership agreement with their executive director while there. We recently announced this partnership.
  • While in D.C., Jami also visited Howard University as part of our efforts to do outreach to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). She worked with staff at the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CETLA) at Howard to give a presentation, which she also blogged about.
  • Additionally, Jami signed a partnership agreement with the American Studies Association, which we announced early in October, to improve Wikipedia's coverage of U.S. culture and history from multiple perspectives.
Jami discusses teaching with Wikipedia with a prospective instructor at the American Sociological Association conference.

We also recruited new faculty in Future of Facts-related disciplines through exhibiting at the American Political Science Association conference and the American Sociological Association conference (ASA is one of our existing partners). These provided opportunities for us to find new faculty who might be interested in teaching with Wikipedia in future terms, setting us up to be successful for the Future of Facts initiative.

Finally, Board Chair PJ Tabit, Executive Director Frank Schulenburg, Director of Programs LiAnna Davis, Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson, Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady, Product Manager Sage Ross, and Outreach Manager Samantha Weald joined former Research Fellow Zach McDowell to attend Wikimania 2017, in Montreal, Canada. As part of the pre-conference sessions, Jami and Samantha led a four-hour Teaching with Wikipedia workshop for local Montreal faculty, Sage and Google Summer of Code intern Sejal Khatri participated in the Hackathon, and LiAnna led sessions during the Learning Days. During Wikimania, LiAnna presented on our Year of Science initiative launched last year; Zach presented on his student learning outcomes research project; and Ryan presented on the Visiting Scholars program with San Francisco State University Visiting Scholar Jackie Koerner, Smithsonian Libraries' Diana Shaw, Consumer Reports' Lane Rasberry, and Cochrane Visiting Scholar Jennifer Dawson. Wikimania was a great opportunity for us to connect with other education program leaders globally, learning from their programs and sharing our own learnings, which will help inform our Future of Facts initiative moving forward.

Our work over the five-month grant period has enabled us to create a plan that we believe will enable us to successfully execute our Future of Facts initiative from both a fundraising and a programs perspective. We are excited to see where this work goes, and we thank the Simple APG Committee for their support for our initiatives!


Please link to a detailed financial report for your spending during the grant period. This should be in the same format as your detailed budget from your Simple APG application.

See Final tab on our original budget spreadsheet.

Please include the total amount of Simple APG funds you spent during the grant period.