Learning patterns/Get the community involved early
What problem does this solve?
There are many reasons why educators and education program leaders will benefit from involving the community when planning to teach students to contribute to WIkimedia projects.
- Student work being quickly deleted or reverted
- Not knowing what content to work on or where to begin
- Need for volunteer support
What is the solution?
- Let the community know to prevent student work from being quickly deleted or reverted
- Make the community aware that students plan to contribute content so that existing editors know you'll be contributing to their Wikimedia project.
- Be sure to do this before the term begins and are also not surprised by an influx of new contributors.
Wikimedians are a community of volunteers who work hard to maintain the quality of Wikimedia projects. They use a number of tools to monitor edits and contributions so they can quickly remove vandalism – edits that are intentionally made to interfere with the quality of Wikimedia content. Sometimes student work can look like vandalism, either due to normal mistakes or because of a lack of understanding of the rules and norms for editing on the site. By letting the community know what you and your students are planning to do, you can help prevent work from being deleted.
- Put notifications about your education program in key places, such as village pumps, mailing lists, and project pages for communities that may be affected by an influx of new editors. On the English Wikipedia, the education noticeboard is a good place to initiate contact with community members who are familiar with how education projects work.
- Check the Wikimedia Embassy for a list of ambassadors on different language projects around the world if you need help finding a community member to answer questions about a wiki in a language you are not familiar with.
- Create a course page. This can be a valuable tool for keeping track of student work, and will help you build positive relationships with the editing community. In the process of creating a course page, you will need to request "instructor" or "course coordinator" rights, which will notify communities that you plan to use Wikimedia in the classroom. Look for details on how to do this in the course-page learning pattern.
- Get advice on selecting good assignments, seek support from the community to plan your course in a way that will benefit both students and Wikimedians
Community members can have helpful advice for selecting the best content for students to work on.
Communities on WikiProjects can help you develop a list of content for students to contribute that is both appropriate for new editors to work on and will help the community fill gaps in content.
- Look at the Let the community know learning pattern for tips on how to find the right communities to contact.
- The Local standards of notability learning pattern goes into more detail about how to assign students the right content for Wikimedia project your class is working on.
- Get help teaching, invite community members to contribute either in class or as online mentors.
Many Wikimedians enjoy teaching others about Wikimedia; they may like the opportunity to work with students in class or online.
Many successful education programs invite community members to help educators by coming to classes to teach students about how Wikimedia works. Other programs have developed online mentor programs that allow students to ask questions to local Wikimedians who want to help students.
- Check this list of Wikimedia movement affiliates to see if there is a local chapter, thematic organization or user group you can contact to ask whether they know any volunteers who might help.
When to use
- It is strongly recommended to contact members of the Wikimedia community before you begin using Wikimedia in an education for the first time.
- Educators and program leaders who have experience using Wikimedia in education should also plan to work with the community prior to each term where they will contribute to Wikimedia projects as part of a course.
- Let the community know
- Local standards of notability
- Use course pages to organize student assignments
- Feedback cycle