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Learning patterns/Motivating students to contribute to Wikimedia projects

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A learning pattern foreducation
Motivating students to contribute to Wikimedia projects
problemHow do you get students interested in contributing to Wikimedia projects as part of a course?
solutionMake contribution to Wikimedia projects for credit. Focus on the value of sharing information. Share goals. Celebrate student achievements.
creatorKHarold (WMF)
created on23:20, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
status:in progress

What problem does this solve?[edit]

Contributing to a Wikimedia project as part of a course means students will need to do work that is different from assignments they are accustomed to doing. In other words, they will be learning how to contribute to a Wikimedia project in addition to the academic learning objectives in their course. Paying attention to motivating students will improve the quality of their contributions.

What is the solution?[edit]

There are a couple of things that educators and volunteers can do to motivate students who are contributing to Wikimedia as part of an education program.

If possible, student contributions should be acknowledged through course or other credits such as for required service or internship hours.

  • This will have the most impact on quality.
  • If students will be given a grade or marks for their contribution to WIkimedia projects, be clear about how their work will be assessed.
  • If students are contributing to Wikimedia projects for social service, volunteer or internship hours, it may help to assign a value to the kind of contribution they are making and award credit only if work is completed and of satisfactory quality, regardless of how long it took the student to complete. For example: writing a new article might be worth X hours, or translating 300 words is worth Y hours.

If contributing to Wikimedia projects is optional or for extra credit, focus on how contributing will benefit students.

  • For students in large classes, contributing to Wikimedia may give them opportunities for feedback or personal interaction with educators that they may not normally have.
  • Remind students that writing an article on Wikipedia might be shorter than a traditional term paper.
  • Participating students can gain experience and get feedback on subjects not well covered by course.

Talk about the value of sharing information online.

  • Help students visualize the impact of sharing information on Wikimedia projects using a variety of tools.
  • Talk about contributing to Wikimedia projects as a way of sharing the privilege of education with others.
  • Remind students that their work will be visible and accessible to everyone, rather than ending up in a desk drawer.

Set goals and share them with students.

  • Set goals for how much content students will contribute.
  • Create a leaderboard to track progress toward these goals.
  • Consider having contests between classes to meet goals.
  • If you use contests to motivate students, monitor the quality of their contributions.

Celebrate student achievements. This is something some program leaders find useful and others say students do not care.

  • Give students badges for completing learning objectives.
  • Award students a certificate of achievement or completion, some students may want to reference that certificate on their CV.
  • Certificates of achievement may work the best in programs where the most promising participants have been selected due to limited class size.
  • Hold a closing or awards ceremony to recognize participant achievements, consider inviting educators who are interested in joining the program in the next term.

Things to consider[edit]

When to use[edit]


  • In case of WikiCamps organized by Wikimedia Armenia, factors that motivate students are:
    • the competition between camp groups (every day the best group was announced based on edits in wikiprojects)
    • the competition between campers (every day the best editor was announced based on edits in wikiprojects)
    • an opportunity to participate in other camps including the ones being organized abroad (the best editors who continue editing after the camp has an opportunity to participate in other camps as well)
    • special guests from WMF or elsewhere, who encourage the campers by their speeches and talks
    • the camp's friendly and warm atmosphere.[1]


See also[edit]

Education Toolkit Learning Pattern
This learning pattern is part of the Education Program Toolkit.
Go to the toolkit.

Related patterns[edit]

External links[edit]