Learning patterns/Wiki MOOC

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A learning pattern forvolunteer management
problemWhich scalable solution can we use to teach new contributors how to contribute to Wikimedia project?
solutionCreate a MOOC to learn how to contribute, involve the communities to set it up (Wikipedia in our case).
creatorCyrille WMFrJules78120
created on14:53, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?[edit]

Perhaps a newer approach to guides pertaining to Wikipedia editing can be taken.

  1. Wikipedia needs to attract people involved in academia.
  2. Many users are unable to find proper guidance pertaining to Wikipedia editing even though all the relevant information are available in form of guidelines. Adherence to notability principles or manual of style can not be expected from newbies who lack guidance.
  3. An organized guide to editing Wikipedia is lacking.
  4. Apart from being self-taught about the norms of Wikipedia editing there is hardly any other way to advance the understanding of how Wikipedia works or how one can go on to the next level of Wikipedia editing.
  5. Learning material pertaining to Wikipedia editing are usually restricted to Wikipedia or its sister projects and are frequently text based in nature. Audiovisual courses have a better impact.
  6. Advanced understanding may be required for users who contribute to specific niches like WP:MED.
  7. There can be lack of understanding about how to create and deal with templates and about how to use them optimally.
  8. There is paucity of audiovisual guides on Wikipedia editing. Even though there are a limited number of videos on such topics available on Commons, amateur users or casual users might not be well aware about them.
  9. Many users seek some sort of recognition of their skills of Wikipedia editing.
  10. Professionals dealing with SEO often try to increase the popularity of sites through the process of Wikipedia marketing without actually being aware of the principles of Wikipedia editing. Such courses would help in improving their awareness and help in reducing the disruptive nature of Wikipedia marketing
  11. Wikiversity is not as renowned as Wikipedia as a form of learning tool.

In a context in which the Wikimedia projects communities are wondering how to go about welcoming and retain contributors, new ways are emerging.
On the French language Wikipedia the “Help & greeting” project ("Aide et Accueil" (French)) aims to provide new contributors with a set of good practices and help (proofreading a draft, help chat-line, etc.). More globally, we're wondering since several years how we can reach out to new contributors, who are regular readers of the encyclopaedia but are hesitant about contributing. Contributors know little about the relatively recent visual editor; here, too, we need to find ways of using active learning to reach these people.
Furthermore, in order to maximize the return on the investment involved, it is a goal to come up with a solution that involves as many contributors as possible with a high level of scalability. Indeed, since the beginning we are doing courses, to different audiences (GLAM users/customers, students, teachers, ...), we're doing courses for trainers in order to duplicate the trainings and then increase the number of courses in our territory. But all these solutions have two strong limiting factors: Time and volunteers' availabilities.

What is the solution?[edit]

The setting-up of a Massive Open Online Courses ("MOOC") has naturally been discussed as, in addition to supplying the video resources to present contribution, the “relationship with learners” aspect needs to be considered. In addition to the tutorials, there are the exercises to be done between each lesson to enable the self-train in contribution of the learners. We also initially considered putting only tutorial videos online but the MOOC has the advantage of offering learners a framework with learning objectives, successive lessons, exercises, etc.

Things to consider[edit]

To produce the videos, we called in another non-profit organization whose costs turned out to be 4 times cheaper than the other professionals that we asked to get a quote (independent editor, consultancy firm, etc.).
The other key question was where to host the MOOC. The “France Université Numérique” platform hosts the state university MOOCs. We chose it because it enabled us to highlight the accreditation awarded by the Ministry of Education and benefit from a lower hosting cost.
Forecast the time spent - especially if (a) staff member(s) is involved - could be a good idea too, as this WikiMOOC from scratch represents more than 2,000 hours of work (volunteers and staff time aggregated).

  • Coordination and volunteer work

A civic volunteer was recruited to monitor the work of the volunteer working party and the MOOC from design stage to launch (registration from early December 2015 to February 2016).

He supported and empowered a team of volunteers, contributors of the French Wikipedia, and managed all the "support tasks". So, the volunteers had the opportunity to focus on the pedagogical contents,[1] design, assessment, etc. A schedule[2] was set up with the tasks to be performed by the stakeholders. It is important, as for any project, to break down the tasks and missions, especially as the WikiMOOC will run from July 2015 to autumn 2016, therefore including the summer and Christmas holidays, and it is important to keep the volunteers involved constantly motivated.
We realized the huge workload needs to be done in order to create the MOOC. If launched from scratch as we did, this is not to be taken lightly so your project could be completed.

When to use[edit]

Once the tutorial videos and training materials are already available, we can consider organizing a MOOC to reach out to members of the public keen to learn more about the Wikimedia projects and contribute to the encyclopaedia. Finally, a MOOC is a real added value as the content of the WikiMOOC will be under CC-by-SA licence and uploaded on Wikimedia Commons. We therefore need to take into account the dissemination aspect of the content (as part of WikiMOOC for French-speaking learners). Update : A first session of the WikiMOOC occured in March 2016, and a new session is forecast to take place in March 2017. Alexandre Hocquet (talk) 22:36, 3 October 2016 (UTC)[reply]


  • The WikiMooc was a great project and achieved great results in terms of attracting new contributors and engaging the community around this project. Furthermore, other projects aimed at teaching how to contribute can now beneficiate from the free ressources (youtube videos tutorials) made available. The participation rate of women (36%) is also substantially over the average rate of women participation on Wikipedia. Possibly a way to partly address gender gap issues in the future. Nattes à chat (talk) 23:11, 5 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • Timely and relevant pattern to engage new users and also make bridges with the academic world. Alexandre Hocquet (talk) 01:18, 14 November 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • A very essential project which is indispensable and relevant for the current scenario. I had conceived it on my own and had placed a proposal only to find that it is already underway, courtesy the team on French Wikipedia. I would endorse them and would like to support them with my efforts. I would also help in developing an international collaboration to facilitate development of MOOCs in different languages including English. DiptanshuTalk 06:32, 15 November 2016 (UTC)[reply]

See also[edit]

Our coordinator, volunteers, and contributors worked together on IRC, on Mumble and documented all they've done on the Wikipedia Project pages:

Related patterns[edit]

External links[edit]