Grants talk:Project/HBCU Student Outreach and Engagement (SOE) Project

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Change status to 'proposed' to submit for 8/2/16 Project Grants deadline[edit]

Dear gjone1,

Please note that if you intend to submit this proposal for the August 2 deadline of the current round of Project Grants, you must change the status from draft to proposed. If you have any questions, our final proposal clinic is from 1600-1700 UTC on August 2.


--Marti (WMF) (talk) 05:12, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Eligibility confirmed, round 1 2016[edit]

IEG review.png

This Project Grants proposal is under review!

We've confirmed your proposal is eligible for round 1 2016 review. Please feel free to ask questions and make changes to this proposal as discussions continue during this community comments period.

The committee's formal review for round 1 2016 begins on 24 August 2016, and grants will be announced in October. See the schedule for more details.

Questions? Contact us.

--Marti (WMF) (talk) 18:01, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Questions by NickK[edit]

Hi @Gjone1: and thank you for an interesting idea, I am really looking forward to seeing greater involvement of African Americans on Wikimedia projects.

Hi @NickK: thank you for you interest and questions. Please see my responses in bold to your questions below.

I would like to ask you several questions:

  • I didn't get from your request how many HBCUs you want to cover. Will you focus just on Paul Quinn College of will you cover also other HBCUs during these 6 months?

Paul Quinn College will be our primary Historically Black College & University (HBCU), however the intention of this project is to act as a pilot program for other HBCUs.

  • Why do you want to organise Train the Trainer sessions prior to organising edit-a-thons? Train the Trainer sessions are mostly targeting experienced Wikimedians who want to learn how to organise edit-a-thons, and this format may not work with students who have never edited Wikipedia before.

While it is customary to conduct Train the Trainer (TtT) sessions after edit-a-thons within the community of Wikimedians, TtT sessions performed at the start of introducing a new concept to a new group, were often very successful in other non-profit and for profit projects I have been on in the past. My prior experience showed that TtT sessions empower individuals to participate at increased levels when they understand that new concepts are "teachable" by themselves or others from their community. Train the Trainer sessions become default leadership training, teaching students how to plan and coordinate events that celebrate knowledge-sharing and facilitate community building.

  • What is the need for having separate Wikimedia Informational sessions and edit-a-thons? It might be a good idea to organise this into multiple stages of an edit-a-thon, e.g. first part dedicated to general information and basic editing and second (or third, fourth...) part dedicated to more advanced editing a week or two later. Such series of several edit-a-thons in a row usually gives better results.

Thank you for your suggestion. We expect many newcommers to attend edit-a-thons and will be using an approach very similar to what you are suggesting. The intention of the "Wikimedia Informational" is to introduce the HBCU SOE project to the campus as a whole and provide an informal introduction of the larger "Wikimedia Movement" beyond just the (English) "Wikipedia".

  • Your budget does not include rental fees, while your activity plan does. Does this mean that you expect to use space donated by universities and colleges?

We intend to maintain the inclusion of rental fees as a contingency plan, because we have not received confirmation about using the college's facilities.

  • What retention rate do you expect for participants involved in the project (i.e. percent of participants who continue being active editors 3 or 6 months after the end of the project)? Given the cost of the project, I would expect a significant retention rate of at least 25%, as I would really like to see this resulting in new active Wikipedians and not just one-time users recruited.

I think those are great metrics to shoot for. We will utilize several tracking mechanisms to report on those metrics of our new users. Retention has always been a problem and this project has focus on learning and testing the best methods to ensure retention among HBCUs and African American students.

Thanks in advance for your answers and please do not hesitate to ask me if you have any questions — NickK (talk) 17:29, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Once again, Thank you NickK for your questions and I look forward to sharing our progress. Please do not hesitate to send more feedback or suggestions.

Questions from Superzerocool[edit]

Hi, thanks for your proposal. Here is some questions and thoughts

Hi @Superzerocool:, thank you for you interest and questions. Please see my answers to your questions below in bold.

  • Sorry to being ignorant, but What means "HBCU"?.

My apologies, I hate using acronyms without writing out their full meaning. :( HBCU stands for Historically Black College & University - thank you for researching it also, I figured that I should include my answer for formal purposes.

  • I see your budget and the staff is over 75% of the requested amount. Is there any reason?

Staffing directives include: 1 - meeting with school administrators to discover intersections with editing Wikipedia and student lesson plans 2 - actively engaging and testing various recruiting methods (as non-students and outsiders to Paul Quinn College we may have to employ multiple methods to gain trust and acceptance among HBCU students) 3 - modifying tutorials and training for staff and students, creating reports from stats about events and user activities, developing relationships with other HBCUs for future implementation

This is a new project and I am not fully aware of all total costs and expenses that may arise. There is a likelihood that what is currently budgeted is less than what will be required to achieve success; the budget intends to offset these sudden costs.'

  • The activity and edit-a-thons, Are graded or "just for fun"?

At this moment in the grant proposal, students will not receive a "grade" for their participation, but our approach will not be complete until the final meetings with school administrators. We are advocating for the administrators to create incentives for editing "Wikipedia" in some academic capacity, which would greatly increase our chances of reaching our projected goals.

Regards Superzerocool (talk) 12:32, 26 August 2016 (UTC)

Comments of Ruslik0[edit]

Hi @Ruslik0:, thank you for your concerns and questions. Please see the answers to your concerns below in bold.

  • Generally, when you use abbreviates use should spell them out at the first use. I needed to search for HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to understand the proposal.

My apologies, I hate using acronyms without writing out their full meaning. HBCU stands for Historically Black College & University - thank you for researching it also.

  • In the problems section you state that the low participation of African Americans is because Wikipedia lacks in content about African Americans. Why not is the reverse true: lack of the content because there are few African American editors? Moreover increasing the number of African American editors can not be goal itself - Wikipedia is about content, not editors. It is only a tool to improve the content about African Americans. So, the project and its goals should be reformulated to take this into account: the primary goal should be to expand Wikipedia content about African Americans not to increase the number of editors.

Editors have a huge impact on the function and participation rate of content makers. I completely agree with you about Wikipedia being a tool for content and am excited about the series of Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) projects because as a fan of historical archives, I relish the day when Wikipedia will have the functionality to contain every actual document in its original form, in its original text as the primary content for Wikipedia. While there is definitely an emphasized focus on expanding the amount of content about African Americans, we realize that the more editors of African American descent get exposed to Wikipedia, the "more likely" that the content about African Americans will increase, especially on the campus of a college that has a tradition of everyday knowledge sharing about content related to African Americans.

  • I also think that "To increase the number of edits ..." is not a worthwhile goal: the edits can be very different. The article creation and expansion of the existing articles are fine.

I agree, especially in the way of "minor" edits (i.e. adding a single comma once). The phrase "To increase the number of edits..." is intended for "expansion" of articles.

  • You begin the Activities section with "Establish relationships with instructors or administrators". It is not clear who are those administrators and instructors? I only understood this when I reached Community engagement section. I think that you should clarify the geographical scope of the proposal and state it at the beginning: it will only involve Paul Quinn College (echo NickK's comment) and you may consider renaming of the proposal.

This is a "pilot" project with every intention to expand to other HBCU campuses. Part of the proposal references engaging with more universities at a well attended HBCU symposium exploring ways that HBCUs are engaging with students. We intend to create new contacts with more HBCUs at the symposium, in addition to the contacts we have already garnered. We want to remain focused on one school now as a pilot and perfect the model that we are testing. The group of people that we will be engaging with throughout this project are "administrators and instructors" at Paul Quinn College.

  • The duration of the project and timeline of the activities is not clearly stated. You only wrote that Project manager and coordinator will be employed for six months.

Yes, the project manager and coordinator will remain on the project for six months, however the intention of this project is to develop a robust model that can be implemented on College and University campuses throughout the states. Many aspects of staff roles will be in establishing long-term relationships with other campus contacts, assisting college administration in incentivizing participation, planning, coordinating, and facilitating edit-a-thons, and gathering statistics on participation and creating reports on those metrics. The goals set forth are actually at minimumal rates, our project intends to surpass those initial goals set forth which most likely will involve more edit-a-thons than what is expressed.

The proposal needs some works before it can be considered for funding. Ruslik (talk) 12:59, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

I don't agree that increasing number of editors should not be a goal: Wikipedia is also about editors who create this content. The main investment in such kind of workshops is in involving new editors: while 80 new and improved articles is a very weak goal, 40 new editors (especially if all or at least a significant part of them remain active) is a rather good goal. We should measure both number of new editors and number of new articles in such projects — NickK (talk) 17:07, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Who needs editors who do not contribute to the content? Ruslik (talk) 18:46, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
That's why we can measure not just number of new editors, but also number of new active editors, i.e. people registered during the project and who make at least 5 edits per month after the end of the project. This is a rather standard metrics for such projects to measure retention of new editors — NickK (talk) 09:19, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

Link of Proposed Project Schedule added to Project Plan Section on Proposal Page[edit]

The following link provides a spreadsheet of a the projected schedule of events/activities for this project plan. However, these projections are awaiting review and modification from the college administration. Included is a reference to Wikimedia projects whose methodologies may be included in the implementation of project activities and events.

Aggregated feedback from the committee for HBCU Student Outreach and Engagement (SOE) Project[edit]

Scoring rubric Score
(A) Impact potential
  • Does it have the potential to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects, either in terms of content, contributors, or both?
  • Does it have the potential for online impact?
  • Can it be sustained, scaled, or adapted elsewhere after the grant ends?
(B) Community engagement
  • Does it have a specific target community and plan to engage it often?
  • Does it have community support?
(C) Ability to execute
  • Can the scope be accomplished in the proposed timeframe?
  • Is the budget realistic/efficient ?
  • Do the participants have the necessary skills/experience?
(D) Measures of success
  • Are there both quantitative and qualitative measures of success?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Can they be measured?
Additional comments from the Committee:
  • Targeted outreach projects, like AfroCROWD, have been successful at achieving significant impact; the proposed effort, which is in essence a similar project, is likely to do so as well.
  • The main goal of the grant - increasing participation in English Wikipedia of African Americans fits within Wikimedia's strategic priorities. It has a significant potential for online impact, which will likely be sustained after the grant ends (if the project is successful).
  • The proposal aims to replicate the success of existing programs, such as AfroCROWD, and presents an effective and low-risk approach to doing so. Given the success of similar past programs, the proposed impact appears achievable, and the proposed work can be scaled to achieve further impact in the future.
  • This proposal is evidently in line with the general priority of diversity, a pillar within our community. Yet, the ratio of expected number of activities and new users per dollars seems low. A small-scale, and small-funding, project could be a better way to start.
  • Interesting project and potential for impact but the budget seems quite high for student outreach compared to other similar projects.
  • This project can set up an important case study for further developing projects within African American students and their communities. The online impact is a bit small considering the amount invested.
  • If the project is expanded to cover multiple universities and colleges, it has a huge potential for online impact and can be adapted elsewhere
  • If it only covers Paul Quinn College, it has low potential for online impact given the size of the college and will be difficult to replicate (unrealistically high budget per college).
  • We have seen volunteer-driven Wikipedia Education Programs provide more sustainable impact with impressive measures of success. Is this an option?
  • The proposal has a good plan, clear goals and realistic measures of success. It may create a long-term impact.
  • The structure of the proposal can be easily emulated across as the grant states clearly what intends to do and structurally explains how it intends to achieve it.
  • I would like more information on how the grantees will develop the community it intends to engage. Unfortunately, relevant questions that were raised on talk page were not addressed.
  • I would like to know more about longer-term plans for sustainability after the grant is over.
  • There are a lot of things to learn from the Wikipedia Education Program and it would be great to see more evidence that the grantee has familiarly with the program. We need a more developed plan for retaining students as editors as this has been a problem in the past.
  • It would be nice to see more preliminary research done on the target population, even an informal survey of African American college students in regards to the Wikimedia projects and their motivations to contribute or not.
  • The proposed scope and schedule are reasonable and realistic, and the participants have significant experience with similar project through their history with the AfroCROWD program. However, the budget is high for the proposed scope of work; the aggregate spending translates to a cost of $8,000 per edit-a-thon, which is significantly higher than the cost incurred by similar projects.
  • The project can be realistically finished within 6 months, although the duration of the grant is not clearly specified. There are some irregularities in the budget. Participants probably have necessary qualifications but more information is necessary.
  • It would be great to see evidence of preliminary interest from the college, as well as endorsements of project notifications. For any education program, it is important to have commitment from school administrators and a few dedicated professors who understand Wikipedia editing and culture. Education programs also require engagement with local Wikimedia volunteers who can visit the college, run the programs, and ensure sustainability after the grant.
  • The proposed work is directly aimed at improving diversity in an area that has historically been greatly under-represented both within the Wikimedia community and within the online knowledge movement as a whole. The proposal presents a clear plan for community engagement; given the past success of similar programs, the risk of this community engagement failing is relatively low.
  • There is very little evidence of support from the community. A proposal of this magnitude should be able to gather more endorsements. I would like to see questions raised on the talk page responded to.
  • The project aims for a concrete community and looks forward for building something big with the students and instructors. The grant is planning successful activities already experimented with other education projects.
  • There is a rather significant support from Wikimedia NYC and Afrocrowd projects. This can be instrumental in helping the potential grantee to succeed.
  • It is good to inform active Wikimedians from the region, or who take part in subject areas like the African American Portal and WikiProject African diaspora.
  • I’d like to know more about the grantees experience on Wikimedia projects.
  • The proposal presents a compelling and well-structured approach to engaging an underrepresented audience with proven, low-risk programs. However, the proposed budget is high for the volume of work to be done. I would suggest reducing the budget by eliminating one of the two paid positions and/or reducing the amounts budgeted for travel. It may also be beneficial to leverage the funding currently being provided to the AfroCROWD project through Wikimedia NYC; if some or all of the proposed work can be performed by the staff already retained for the parent AfroCROWD program, the budget requirements for this project can be correspondingly reduced.
  • I am not clear why the project needs both a coordinator and a project manager, as most of the roles stated for the coordinator could be executed by the project manager. Also, can there be a breakdown to explain what constitutes the allowance for the project manager and how many hours of work is intended for the duration of the project?
  • If it covers Paul Quinn College only, I would recommend partial funding and would be happy to support covering event supplies and travel expenses, but not paid staff.
  • I would propose the applicant start with a smaller-scale project with more engagement with the Wikimedia community.
IEG IdeaLab review.png

This proposal has been recommended for due diligence review.

The Project Grants Committee has conducted a preliminary assessment of your proposal and recommended it for due diligence review. This means that a majority of the committee reviewers favorably assessed this proposal and have requested further investigation by Wikimedia Foundation staff.

Next steps:

  1. Aggregated committee comments from the committee are posted above. Note that these comments may vary, or even contradict each other, since they reflect the conclusions of multiple individual committee members who independently reviewed this proposal. We recommend that you review all the feedback and post any responses, clarifications or questions on this talk page.
  2. Following due diligence review, a final funding decision will be announced on March 1st, 2019.

Questions? Contact us.

gjone1, our interview with you was part of the due diligence process (I'm getting these comments posted late). You are still welcome to post any response you have to committee comments in the next couple of days, if you choose, but I think we gathered the information we needed during our talk with you. Best regards, Marti (WMF) (talk) 18:40, 2 October 2016 (UTC)

Round 1 2016 decision[edit]

IEG IdeaLab review.png

This project has not been selected for a Project Grant at this time.

We love that you took the chance to creatively improve the Wikimedia movement. The committee has reviewed this proposal and not recommended it for funding, but we hope you'll continue to engage in the program. Please drop by the IdeaLab to share and refine future ideas!

Comments regarding this decision:
The committee was very favorable toward the idea of supporting outreach on historically black college and university campuses. They also saw the leadership potential of this applicant team, as well as the partnerships associated with it, as strong assets of the proposal. However, there were enough concerns about the specifics of the project plan that the committee did not feel confident of the project’s success at this time. They have advised staff to follow up with the applicants to support further refinement of the project plan for resubmission in a future round. Staff will be in touch shortly to provide more detailed feedback about potential future opportunities.

Next steps:

  1. Visit the IdeaLab to continue developing this idea and share any new ideas you may have.
  2. To reapply with this project in the future, please make updates based on the feedback provided in this round before resubmitting it for review in a new round.
  3. Check the schedule for the next open call to submit proposals - we look forward to helping you apply for a grant in a future round.

Questions? Contact us.