Wikimedia monthly activities meetings/Quarterly reviews/Wikipedia Education Program/May 2013
The following are minutes and pre-prepared notes from the Mid-Year Review meeting of the Wikipedia Education Program team on Friday, May 17, 2013.
In attendance: Sue Gardner, Erik Moeller, Frank Schulenburg, Jami Mathewson, LiAnna Davis, Rodney Dunican, Sage Ross (remote), Praveena Maharaj (taking minutes)
- 1 Introduction (Rod)
- 2 Progress toward goals (LiAnna)
- 3 Support for all programs (LiAnna/Sage)
- 4 US/Canada program (Jami)
- 5 Arab World program (LiAnna)
- 6 Creating a global movement/Where we go from here (Rod)
Rod: Welcome… Hope to give new insights on what we do in the education program area and evaluate blockers and barriers where we may need support.
Sue: …The more we've dug into some of the teams’ quarterly reviews; people have been able to give more thoughtful answers about blockers (if any)….We don't resolve issues about blockers and barriers in this meeting because we don’t commit other teams’ resources, but this would be a good place to raise any issues, and they can be resolved outside the meeting itself.
- Staff introduction - Who we are, what our specific role on the team is
- Rod: I started with the public policy initiatives 3 years ago and then I went away for awhile and now I’m back serving as the director of global education focusing on strong strategic plans for moving forward, having clear goals, oversee the budget… I’m very proud to manage this team; they are passionate about Wikipedia and Education, results driven and fearless learners.
- LiAnna: …I have 2 roles on the team; I’m filling in as the interim program manager - overseeing the Egypt and Arab world program…As the communications manager I work on the blog, newsletters, talking to journalists…
- Rod: I chose not to hire a new PM until I knew where we were going…I do have a req for new team member…now we have our plans for next year and I am hiring.
- Jami: My job is to make sure that our professors, ambassadors; students are connected to the right resources and supported as best as possible.
- Sage: "Cat herder" for the team, I serve as the community liaison on English Wikipedia- developing and refining the training program for program participants…
- Sue: Do you support only on English Wikipedia or do you support the program in other languages as well?
- Sage: …A lot of my focus is turning to other languages…
Theory of Change (Rod)
For the Wikipedia education program our theory of change as it relates to new editors and retention of editors is quite different from most programs that we see…We believe that we can teach student-editors the skills required to contribute successfully to Wikipedia, expose them to editing Wikipedia and the community, but we can't teach them to be Wikipedians… We believe that if someone predisposed to contributing to Wikipedia, then exposure to Wikipedia editing through our program as part of a class assignment will encourage him or her to take the step from being a reader to being an editor. If someone is not predisposed, he or she will never become a long-term contributor except through editing as part of a classroom assignment. With that in mind, the focus of our program is on the reader, not developing long-term Wikipedians. Working through student-editors we are able to add significant amounts of quality content and in the process support the learning objectives for the class and educator. Jami will talk about more institutionalization. There are many motivating factors, but at the core, students want to get good grades and want to add quality content to Wikipedia.
Our Theory of Change formed over the last three years through observation of various programs, lengthy discussions with many program leaders, evaluation of programmatic activities, adjustment to WEP program based on learnings and results delivered.
We’ve seen and made significant changes to the program…It's not always easy to execute …But the core principle is simply: A professor assigns a student to work on a Wikipedia article and we provide all the support around that.
What we firmly believe that Wikipedia belongs in education. Our program works within the current education system to have a greater impact on Wikipedia content and our readers.
Progress toward goals (LiAnna)
Review of goals from 2012-13 FY: "Continue to expand participation in the Global Education Program from 79 to 150 classes with at least 50% female participation, leading to an increase in quality content added by students from 19M characters in 2011-12 to at least 25M characters in 2012-13."
In the annual plan, we set our goal for 150 classes, broken out by country. We anticipated focusing the majority of our efforts on Global South programs, while maintaining the approximate same level of courses in the U.S. and Canada programs.
- Proposed breakdown by country was:
- US: 50
- Canada: 15
- Arab World: 40
- Brazil: 30
- India: 15
- TOTAL: 150
- US: 64
- Canada: 7
- Arab World: 48
- Brazil: 9
- India: 0
- TOTAL: 128
We actually added several classes in US/Canada (since both programs are in operation on the same language WP and run by same person, we tend to think of them as the same program, although they're split in the annual plan).
Also had more success in the Arab world. Expect that number to grow; terms there slightly off from ours, the Saudi folks will be starting in the summer.
Strategic direction in Brazil didn't work; Tom reporting to Jessie, disconnected from our work. Unclear lines of authority for decision-making; classes ended up as not particularly successful. Also, narrowing focus shifted Tom and Oona's efforts to finding a home for the Brazil program rather than expanding classes.
Community support wasn't there for India program; abandoned it. Total of 128 classes; fewer than set out, but the programs we're running are doing well. Talk more in depth about these program later.
Frank: 150 a good number?
Rod: We want to grow the program smartly.
Frank: What keeps us from having a program in every university in the US?
Rod: Support… We are putting into place online training vs. in-person training. We need to look at the opportunities in the model to scale. …
Frank: Once we have these things in place, would we be able to grow the program?
Rod: Yes, we would grow the program, but we need to balance it with needs of the community.
Frank: (paraphrased) The assumption is that the community is only able to absorb a certain amount of people?
Rod: (Canadian professor example) Too many students for the community to support …
LiAnna: When we think of how we can scale this program, we need to look at a particular community – there’s not one general answer.
Erik: You are not tracking any global education programs done by chapters, partners, etc?
LiAnna: Not at this time. That’s one of the things we hope the extension will enable us to do.
Erik: Before we looked at this program as a WMF sponsored program now we see more independent actors emerging…we should be celebrating them and counting them, we need to change how we measure and track the success of the program…
Sue: ...You are what you measure and so if we only measure the things inside our control, we’re only gonna work towards achieving those things, and that’s not the path we want to be on. The path that we want to be on is where we equip other movement actors to be able to do a bunch of stuff. The question that raises for target setting is that you want to measure what you want to become, so we want our targets to speak to the idea that it’s us equipping other entities to do things as much as possible. There’s some risk in that because we are letting go of control and that means we can’t be sure that we’re going to get done what we want to get done… Trick will be to find a middle ground where we’re not being precise is ways that we can’t back-up, but where the trajectory is measuring if we are effectively equipping these other entities to those things right.
- US/Canada program: 61% female
- Mirrors overall diversity in higher ed
- Arab World program: 87% female
- Case study: Walaa -- student at Cairo University introduced to editing Wikipedia through us; has 10K+ edits, 74 new articles, #75 on list of active ARWPians, and is now the only female admin on the Arabic Wikipedia.
Few reasons for our success in this area:
- Education is a logical area to find more women worldwide, especially if we choose to work with humanities and social science classes, which are generally underdeveloped on Wikipedia anyway.
- Not only women, also writing on topics like women's studies. Adding women's voice to WP.
- Education is an easy way to fix the gender gap.
Amount of content
- 2011-12 fiscal year: 19 M overall
- Fall 2012: 11M
- Spring 2012: 13M
- Progress, Fall 2012:
- US: 6,930,678
- Canada: 876,256
- Egypt: 5,970,316
- Brazil: 262,156
- Total: 14,039,406
- Program increased from 100 classes in fall 2012 to 128 classes in spring 2013. Given we have already outpaced goal for fall by 3M bytes and that we increased number of classes, we anticipate easily reaching the 25M target, barring unforeseen difficulties.
- No data yet for classes happening now; need better analytics support (hope to have this with the User Metrics API tool).
- Success in terms of bytes is heavily dependent on global south countries. Political instability can wreak havoc: classes cancelled due to strikes in both Egypt and Brazil; if Egypt/Jordan/Algeria/Saudi Arabia have more instability, we may not hit the 25M goal.
Erik: What do you use before?
LiAnna: …all the data we’ve had previously has been through researchers pulling numbers out of the database for us or Frank’s tool server account.
Erik: …Evan has built some standard API tools that are running on the command line…so that is also a possibility.
Support for all programs (LiAnna/Sage)
LiAnna: 39 programs worldwide. I work to facilitate communications among them. Moving to model from WMF->program to program->program
Frank: People learn about what is going on in other countries - people don't reinvent the wheel, right?
Rod: Yes, this helps with shared learning.
Communications support (LiAnna)
- We worked to feature blog posts sharing learnings from education programs in 12 countries in 2012-13 (U.S., Canada, Egypt, India, Brazil, Czech Republic, Argentina, Sweden, Greece, Catalonia, Namibia, and Mexico), including publishing posts about education in eight different languages.
- Write newsletter 2x/month; distributed more than 1,000 people
- Contribute to community-run "This Month in Education", delivered on talk pages; 100 people get it.
- Other programs look to gain legitimacy by affiliated themselves with us; I provide quotes to journalists interested in covering them.
- Wikimania 2012, more than 75 people from at least 20 different countries
- Chapters Conference 2013, more than 40 people from at least 25 countries
- Teaching Tool
- In development: Commons -- free licenses, how to upload, how to use on WP, other wikis, other sites, mobile
- Updating existing titles
- Work with community members to translate these
- Shared multilingual resources page on outreach: http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Education_Portal/Tips_and_Resources
Online trainings (Sage)
One of the things I've put a lot of work into is our online trainings for the education program participants. These started out on outreach wiki, with just ones for professors and ambassadors. Since we had the material, we decided it would probably be useful to make one adapted for students, too.
I put this w:Wikipedia:Training/For students together on en.wiki, and in retrospect it's been the most important. We can see some of the highlights, quickly:
- it covers the five pillars and other key community norms, then there's
- videos about editing basics
- and then some specific advice to head of common problems for typical assignments, like how to choose good topics to work on.
- And at the end, students are asked to leave feedback.
About 450 students completed the training since January *and left a feedback edit*, which is about a third of the students in classes using the extension. It takes about an hour if you watch all the videos (which many students report as very useful). This volume of feedback has allowed us to improve the major pain points pretty efficiently.
Especially this term, which is the first that we've systematically funnelled both new professors and students through the trainings, we've seen that classes using the extension and the training are, for the most part, going smoothly. The classes giving the community the community major headaches have mostly been ones outside of this system.
Where to go from here:
- The biggest shortcoming with the trainings is the lack of interactive content. Student editors, in particular, want something in the training where they can practice editing. I'm going to be using GuidedTours to create that.
- The big thing is facilitating translation. Template infrastructure is now pretty flexible, and there are straightforward instructions for translating it to other languages. (As an aside, the advent of Lua and the level of community enthusiasm for Lua development has been extremely useful for this. User:Wnt wrote a Lua module that lets us have a single wiki page that defines a training, so you can rearrange a training, cut pages, add new ones, etc, just by editing a single simple page.) This is work I just finished, and next I'm going to move some training modules to meta so we can hook it up to the translate extension. After that, we'll be promoting it to the people leading education programs in other languages, and it should be pretty easy to port and translate the trainings. We tried a more top-down translation approach for pt.wikipedia, including paid professional translation of the copy, but we think community translation will be better going forward: we'll be able to have a good enough starting point that other education programs can set up adapted trainings on their own.
Erik: Assumption with translations in that way is that documents don't vary in the translations, like usually that process used for things like press releases, reports, so forth. You guys had talked about the localization need of educational resources like this… how much of this stuff to so you want heavily customized?...
Sage: I think probably I will cull this down to the parts that are most general when I move it to commons, sort of de-localize it, so that as much as possible can be translated.
Erik: …Be aware that the language engineering team is thinking about adding features for content translation from Wikipedia to Wikipedia…that’s 5-6 months down the road at this point in time, but you may want to check with Siebrand just to see if there’s a pilot opportunity for a different way of going about this.
Sage: Good, that’s wonderful. That could make a lot of sense because if we start with providing templates for the programs right now that want to just get accurate, it would be much easier for other programs down the road.
Frank: Are we also using these slides also for people who are not in the education program, or are we planning to do that?
Sage: I have a slide for that, it’s my next one.
One thing I've found very interesting, is that students aren't normal newcomers, and these trainings basically just don't work for other newcomers. Students are generally explicitly assigned to complete the trainings, and they do. But I've experimented with a drastically slimmed down version for general newcomers, which (thanks to an editor who took it upon him/herself to link it from a bunch of significant help pages) gets a pretty steady flow of visitors each day. But the attrition rate is huge, with hardly any users going to the end of it even at just ~6 pages long. I'll continue to do some simple experiments with how to entice users to go through it.
So we can give a lot more guidance and training to student editors versus what we can do with other newcomers.
MediaWiki extension (Sage)
My other big focus has been managing the Education Program extension, which was and continues to be developed by Jeroen De Dauw.
What's the point of the extension?
- the extension gives them some structure, especially for getting started, so that they can put together their course plan and get it up on the wiki without dealing much with the hard parts of wikitext. And it lets them professors use our example syllabus as the starting point for putting together the course plan, if they want.
- but more importantly, it gives professors a way to keep track of what the students are doing on-wiki: what all the usernames are, what articles they are working on, and what edits they are making as the course moves along.
For the student editors:
- it's easy to get started. They can add themselves to the course page before they even learn how to make an edit.
- And it connects them to the help they need: both things like the online student trainings, and the experienced editors can give 1-on-1 help.
For the the broader editor community:
- It gives some transparency to what's going on with classes, and provides tools to monitor what student editors are doing.
- And it provides points of contact where otherwise, communication just wouldn't happen: both at the outset, when professors go through a community-run process before they can create a course page, and throughout the course when editors want get in touch with a class.
And for WMF:
- It gives us a sane starting point for analytics.
- And it unlocks the potential of education programs to scale up, both into new languages and by taking a lot of the burden of facilitating Wikipedia assignments off of experienced volunteers and staff.
Our extension been actively used for courses since January. So I'll do a quick walkthrough of how it works on English Wikipedia, first setting up a new course and then the features for student editors and others:
- The first step is to add your institution, on this special page (Special:Institutions).
- We'll add "University of Wikipedia" to the system.
- And now we're on the page for University of Wikipedia, and we can add a course: Wikipedia 101.
- We have a form to fill in the details. There is a box can hold wikitext, basically you can write your course page here, but by default it says just leave this as it is if you want to use the course page wizard. (The course page wizard is a template that I put together to make course pages easier to work with on English Wikipedia. It has a bar of links at the top, like an easy-to-find button for students to enroll, links to the student and instructor trainings, and specific help links. And then it also has some logic to let instructors build the standard elements of a course page piece by piece: a course description, an assignment timeline, a grading rubric for the Wikipedia parts.) For the demo, we'll leave the course page wizard code in place, and fill in the course details: field of study, level of the students, start and end dates. And we save it,
- and here's our course page, with button to add a description.
- So you do that and save. And then you have a button to add a timeline, and you click and you have the timeline of our model syllabus to either replace or adapt.
- And once your course page is set up, student editors can follow a link to enroll in the course.
- And then there's a table of enrolled editors, and each one can put in the articles they're working on.
- The other big feature is the MyCourses feed (w:Special:MyCourses). So you go here, and if you're the instructor, or an experienced editor supporting the class, or a student editor, this shows activity from all the enrollees, so it's easy to monitor the classes you're involved with.
What's good about this?
- It's relatively easy to get started. The wikitext learning curve is much more natural for both the student editors and the professors. The professors can set up their course pages without worrying too much about formatting, tables, that sort of thing. Students can sign up on the course page right at the beginning, before they start learning the mechanics of editing.
- The basic MyCourses feed lets people monitor student editors' activity, which hasn't really been feasible before, even if the newcomers had figured out how to manually add their names to a plain wiki course page.
- The student editors also leave traces in the system: there's a log entry for when they enroll in the course page, and when they add their articles, or sign up as reviewers. So if another editor is trying to figure out the context for what a newbie student is doing, they can find the log entry and see what class they are in. And if you're watching an article, it'll show on your watchlist that a student editor signed up for it, even before they start making edits.
- The system is open to any class (once instructor gets user rights), not just ones working with the US/Canada Education Program; the administration is in the hands of the community, so it allows community to funnel independent classes into the system... which they are increasingly doing.
A little anecdote about communication in courses
This last term a student editor in one of our classes was putting together a new article in her sandbox. She was ready to move out of the sandbox, but she wanted some advice. She knew that this ambassador was out there, but she wasn't sure where to ask the question or whether she'd get the answer in time...So, she went to her professor after class instead. the assignment deadline was coming up... so she'd saved her question for after class. The professor sent an email to the ambassador. And within a few hours the ambassador had reviewed her sandbox and replied, and so then she moved her article into Wikipedia.
Now, this is the best its ever been. The right people knew about each other and connected. But there's a lot of friction between needing help and getting help.
What needs to improve
Just in its current form, the education program extension has helped prevent a lot more basic problems, but there's plenty to improve. And fortunately, a lot of the hard problems are already being solved by other teams. :)
- The first thing, just at a very basic level, is to make the course pages behave more like editors expect. Right now, even though the course pages include a big wikitext section, it's not actually a normal wiki page, and there are no diffs, you can't watch a course page, no section editing, no substitution, and other little incongruities. Jeroen is using a piece of Wikidata tech, ContentHandler, to fix this whole set of issues.
- We also need some system-wide monitoring, a feed of everything going on with students all together, and some automatic analytics to get an overall picture.
The overall user experience is pretty rough still: a programmer UI, with some hacky wiki templates added on top, and for newcomers it's not easy enough to connect with help. Right now we have the template kludges, which are working alright on English Wikipedia, but it's going to be a lot worse out of the box on other wikis (and woe be to anyone else trying to figure out how those templates work).
- And of course, there's a lot of potential for hooking into Echo. Imagine a student editor, a complete newcomer. They sign on to their Wikipedia course page and get a Notification pointing them to the student training. And then when the professors posts a note to the course talk page, the student editor gets a ping. And you can imagine other useful Notifications specific to courses, to keep the users connected and engaged.
- We'd also like to get some integration with the training, so that course pages actually guide new students to the training, and can indicate whether or not each student completed it.
- Jeroen is working on the ContentHandler transition now, which should let us clear up most of the bugs that annoy/confuse experienced editors.
- For monitoring and analytics, we have some basic existing code that had to be disabled, but we expect to get it back online once the bugs are ironed out.
- And that course page user experience is what we've just started to tackle with Features. One neat thing is that we think we take the existing tech for MoodBar and turn it into an easy way to connect student editors who want help with experienced editors who can give quick help.
- Notifications may take some engineering work to connect up the kind of events that happen in courses. But we've got a clear idea of the first wave of notifications we want to add.
- Training integration is sort of on the backlog for now; it'll be something to focus on once we've got a solid interface for the course pages.
Erik:(paraphrased) Enlist help from chapters for Education Program extension support. Do you guys have any organizations in your network?
Since the Milan meeting, we've got a couple languages actively moving toward deployment, It's on translatewiki, and we're helping to make sure interested programs can translate the extension.
We've deployed last week to a second Wikipedia: Macedonian, and this week German Wikiversity started using it as well. You can see on Macedonian Wikipedia what the basic course pages look like without the templates we've been using on English Wikipedia to provide some extra context.
We expect to have it live on Arabic and a number of others by August.
US/Canada program (Jami)
In 6 terms that we've been running the program, students in the US and Canada have added 41 million bytes to the English Wikipedia, which is about 9.3 million words.
- More than 20% of the last printed edition of Encyclopedia Britannica
- 16 copies of War and Peace
Theory of change: retaining profs that bring a steady stream of content and new student editors
- retention goal: for professors to return for another semester
- each class adds 120,000 bytes (approx. 80 pages)
- returning, experienced professors generally produce better results
- fewer staff and volunteer hours to on-board and support during the semester
Summer 2012, we conducted a research survey with 78 professors, and 78% of those said they were interested in participating in the future.
Sue: Was this all the professors, or the professors who chose to respond?
Jami: Professors who chose to respond.
- participating professors who have returned: floating right around 30%
- retention rate has been very steady and positive for the last few semesters
- getting better because we have better materials, resources, and a strong understanding of how to support professors and student editors
- our best profs are retained at a higher rate (52%)- high quantity of bytes added and quality
Some challenges in measuring our retention:
- profs often teach in either Spring or Fall
- some classes don't fit with a Wikipedia assignment
- sometimes we recommend they don't participate, when their learning objectives don't match up with an appropriate Wikipedia assignment
Major goal: support profs/students in a more systematic way; reduce one-to-one needs from a central person. We have experimented with ways of reducing staff time and on-boarding time for new profs/classes. We still want our participants to have a positive learning experience while improving Wikipedia. Found a variety of successful ways to institutionalize:
- Different ways of institutionalizing
- faculty members who incorporate their role into their jobs
- Teaching & Learning Center faculty
- University Librarians
- 30+ Ambassadors who are campus faculty
- Academic organizations
- Integrating into a discipline
- students edit in more than one class (so they're retained as experienced student editors the second time around)
- Example article
Article from Fall 2012: Infant mortality
- Before: pretty good; 25 references
- After: added causes, treatments, expanded global section; 72 refs
- 100,000 views in the last 3 months
- 247,000+ page views since she improved it
Rod: When we talk about how Wikipedia works as a tool, we talk about the benefits for the student and the page view impacts
Jami: This student's work that shows the quality we see from institutionalization. This was her second class with a Wikipedia assignment
- Mentoring professors
Since last summer, I've been connected with at least 220 profs who want to teach with Wikipedia, mostly through our institutionalization efforts. So we have to figure out how to support these people, if they decide to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool.
Now that we have a great online training for students, Ambassadors have more time to offer assignment design/best practices advice and provide feedback on contributions to student editors.
- Before Fall 2012, that assignment design came mostly from WMF staff
- Before Spring 2013, facilitated a training for a group of Ambassadors
- understand why some assignments work well
- what learning objectives they meet
- brainstorm ideas for new assignments
- Cultural shift visible on-wiki
Now that we're focusing more on preparing and guiding new professors early in their use of Wikipedia in the classroom, we've started to see a cultural shift on-wiki. Last summer, an Ambassador created the Education Noticeboard to complain about the program and our student editors. This term, vast majority of the class/student issues that appeared on the education noticeboard were from classes outside of our program—-classes we didn't even know were out there. Now, it's a place to call our attention to classes to connect with them
- Future picture
- transition the Ambassador program to be more crowdsourced in the person-to-person support
- mentor our existing campus faculty members to institutionalize
- incremental growth: increase number of classes, now that we have better support infrastructure in place
- Working Group
They were tasked to figure out a way to scale the Education Program in the US and Canada, since we'd learned already that we had reached a limit on support capacity.
- Started with 7 Wikipedians & 7 academics
- aimed to align our stakeholders
- worked hard to come to consensus and make sure the programmatic work will improve Wikipedia AND student learning
They decided to build a non-profit org to host the program and believe they can scale by training and mentoring more campus faculty to institutionalize on a much larger scale.
Arab World program (LiAnna)
Successes are really Annie and Faris and volunteers in Egypt's; I'm serving as interim program manager for the Egypt program until we hire a replacement for Annie.
- How we started
Started this program in October 2012, at the same time as India was failing. We took the lessons we learned from India and immediately applied them to the Egypt program. Some of the lessons were:
- Involved the community from the beginning: Mohammed Ouda, Moushira, Annie, Ashraf El-Soud, Faris El-Gwely, Essam Sharaf. All Egyptian WPians, involved in the program from the beginning.
- Started SMALL. 40 students editing, 10 classes.
- Optional assignments
- Translations (avoid copyright issues)
- Monitoring: Annie visits
In many cases, because they're working on translation, they have a choice of which articles to work on from the GA/FA of the language they're studying, and they often choose ones with personal meaning to them. For example, one student chose to expand the article on Islamic Art on the Arabic Wikipedia last term (before and after). These are important articles -- the article gets about 200 views a day, making it the 664th most popular article on the Arabic Wikipedia, and people coming to that article are now getting much better information.
Erik: If you're doing a lot translation, pay attention to what the folks in language engineering are doing.
- Total: 8.3M; Including content from students converted into editors, added 8.3M bytes in a little more than one year. 2,800 printed pages. or nearly 6 reams of paper.
- Even better is that the amount of content we're getting per student is higher than any other program, and trend is promising.
- Thinking of the program in a cost per page added to WP in terms of if we were to just pay a translation firm to translate the copy. It's not cost effective in its first term, but by the second term, it's significantly less costly than if we were to just pay to have content translated.
Frank: I talked to some of those students and they are so motivated to get content translated into their language.
Having an impact on the active and very active editor numbers on the Arabic Wikipedia. About 10% of them are students in our program. Doesn't count Ambassadors, who are also editing; more like 15% of active/very active eds involved in the program.
Even better, tackling the gender gap head-on. Particularly important on the Arabic Wikipedia, which has been an even more extreme example of gender gap.
One of the ways, like in the US, that we reduce costs over time is by institutionalizing the program. One of the best things about this program is the people involved; they're the ones leading the drive for institutionalization, so I'll introduce you to several of them as we talk here.
Faculty of Al-Alsun at Ain Shams University -- the large photo is of Dr. Dalia El-Toukhy, our biggest champion in Egypt (ARWPian Mohammed Ouda in the background). Smaller photo is of the Vice Dean; Dr. Karma Sami. Dr. Dalia argued to Dr. Karma that we should make it a formal program; Dr. Karma agreed. 10-15 classes each term out of Faculty of Al-Alsun now.
Similar efforts in Saudi Arabia, which leads to my next point.
The Arab World has a lot of interest and opportunity to expand this program.
Jordan: Classes at Isra University, and also a program with Society of Teachers to train about 20 HS teachers to use it in their classrooms as well. Jordanian Arabic skills some of the best in the region, so makes sense to focus on HS there too.
Algeria: One class, free software.
Saudi Arabia: Translation department, officially sponsored by the university.
In all three countries, university program is centered around 1 university: Medea, Isra, and King Saud. Dedicated professors are the leaders there; want to grow program within their university, see it as an opportunity to position their university at the center of technological advancement. Jordan: Dr. Nidal Yousef, Algeria: Dr. Fareh Abdelhak, Saudi Arabia: Dr. Mohammed Alghbban and Dr. Sami Ben Salamh
- What's different about the Arab World - Challenges
Chaos: traffic is terrible; meetings hard to deal with; people don't show. Classes get cancelled left and right. Strike ended four classes last term. Operate cautiously to ensure personal safety of all participants.
No office space makes this harder: brochure distribution is a challenge. Participation certificates for students months late (no mail). Hard to coordinate shared resources.
Everything is based on face-to-face personal relationships. The reason I'm running this program right now is because I'm the only one on this team who has been to Egypt. People wouldn't reply to emails or phone calls until I had met them in person; then they will interact with you. Challenge in that trust is very important there; they want to get to know you and develop a real relationship with you.
None of us speak Arabic; majority of participants speak at least some English, but very few are fluent: lots of nuances lost. Check ins are all over typed chat rather than voice chat, make use of Google Translate a LOT. Good part of this is it forces us out of the weeds of discussions; we can't create pages or participate because we can't speak the language. Strategic discussion requires more fluency in English than most of the participants have.
Challenge for students -- country in general has unreliable internet. Faris's cut off for a week, etc.
Some cultural, some youth -- they look to us for solutions to all of their problems. Setting expectations is a challenge.
- What's different about the Arab World - Benefits
Also huge benefits for this program.
Only 225K articles; plenty of work to be done. Easy to find ways to contribute.
Free knowledge = good. Blog posts; a lot of people talk about wanting to contribute to WP; share their knowledge, etc. but Egyptians are all about FREE knowledge.
Arab Spring = revolutionary. Egyptians in particular feel like they've shown the world; embarrassing that ARWP is so far behind. Duty as Arabs; feel like the world is taking them seriously, they need a WP that rivals that of other major languages.
Arabic Wikipedia community is very supportive of the program. Like the Foundation, like any program that brings good-faith contributors.
Ambassadors are friends outside of program: more than anyone else, they're a community. Meet for coffee, Commons photo walks, etc. Same city helps a lot.
"Faculty leaders" -- top is our crew from Ain Shams. Doaa is Faculty of Al-Alsun, Mina and Helana are Faculty of the Arts. Bottom level: Walaa is Cairo University and Samir is Damanhour University. Doaa was first generation CA; all the rest are former students who've volunteered to be CAs and faculty leaders. None edited WP before the program started.
Potential of this program is really high; enthusiasm and impact is already pretty special, Rod will talk more about where we see it going from here.
Creating a global movement/Where we go from here (Rod)
Rod: Our way forward involves working smartly in three key areas: 1) Increase impact & reach worldwide 2) Lay the foundation for a Global Education Cooperative 3) Empower, engage and support local education programs worldwide
Increase overall impact and reach of educational programs worldwide. We'll do this through a variety of activities including: Educational program evaluations, regional growth, partnerships, cooperative sharing, program support and mentoring.
I want to focus on two things here: 1) The Arab World Education Program 2) High-potential education programs
- Arab World (Rod)
1) For the Arab program, we want to continue to bring stability to an unstable world.
What does that mean?
Continue to invest in the region through hiring a contract Arab World Education Program Manager and continue working our local Education consult (Wikipedian)
We will work closely with local program leaders and volunteers as well as use the April 2013 Egypt evaluation report to:
- Improve ongoing program activities and organizational structure (e.g. recruiting ambassadors and professors; training; educational program model)
- Continue to build solid relationships and establish expectations for program leaders, volunteers and partner professors
- Continue to set clear program goals
- Work with our local volunteers to build leadership skills
- Improve communication and support
- Looking to hire Arab World Education Program Manager to support local efforts
2) Building on this past year's successes and learnings, the Program will focus on continuing to expand in Arabic speaking countries.
- Continuing to work with our professors in Jordan, Egypt Saudi Arabia, and Algeria while also identifying other potential professors
- Continue to develop short-term and long-term strategies for growing educational programs throughout the Arab World
- Work with our local partners to determine if and how the program could be more self-sustaining; also look to see what interventions may have the biggest impact
- Identify new educational opportunities and potential regional partners.
3) Our goal is to continue to increase the amount of quality Arabic content. We will further explore the successes of the translation programs as a way to simply increase the amount of articles on the Arab Wikipedia.
- Partnerships (Rod)
Rod: This will be the year of exploring partnerships.
We see two distinct types of education programs emerging worldwide: (1) programs run by Wikimedia chapters or thematic organizations, and (2) programs run by volunteers. Many of the programs are just starting and often do not have a clear strategy for their program or even concrete goals. Some do not even know where to begin, they are simply very interested in education and want to learn how to start a program. This is where we can share our expertise to mentor and support these programs and in process learn from each of them.
We are in the process of hiring a new Global Education Program Manager whose responsibilities will include establishing positive working relationships with key chapter and non-chapter educational program leaders.
The Global Education Program Manager will also help identify and partner with high-potential education programs to determine:
- Overall educational program needs and how we can best support them
- Innovative education program models and potential for sustainable growth
- Common measures of success
- Activities that lead to significant and positive impact on local Wikipedia
- Effective ways to share "best practices" across countries and program-types
Work with program leaders to better use evaluation to improve their overall program results.
- Global Education "Cooperative"
Rod: In fiscal year 2013/14, we will work to lay the foundation for a global education “cooperative”.
The Global Education Cooperative will help continue our shift in focus and perception from San Francisco to a more global perspective and vision--something we started a year and a half ago. The “cooperative” would serve as an informal advisory group and evangelists for Wikipedia Education program activities worldwide.
The overall goal is to provide an opportunity for educational program leaders worldwide to:
- Discuss and share “best practices” (e.g. scalability solutions for starting and growing programs, recruiting professors and ambassadors, furthering program training, achieving gender diversity, program evaluation and sustainability).
- Help to establish common measures of success for educational programs worldwide
- Communicate the value and impact of Wikipedia Education Programs
Empower, engage and support program leaders in educational programs worldwide
1) Communication We will continue to support all education programs through various communication methods (e.g. media, blog posts, brochures, etc.); Freely offer materials to get programs started
Strategically, we will evaluate our current communication strategies and activities to ensure that we are hitting the right target audience as well as look at new audiences that are emerging.
2) Technical Infrastructure: We will continue to build out our technical Infrastructure as this is key to everyone running educational programs worldwide. Our focus will be on: MediaWiki extension -- Refining its current UX/UI and expanding its capabilities; and Online trainings -- Revising current offerings to better serve our educational partner needs
3) Learning & Evaluation: We will continue to foster an environment for learning and evaluation. It is only through learning and evaluation program successes and mistakes (ours and others) can it succeed in delivering solid results and grow.
Sue: This is good. It feels to me like we are on the right track in terms of this program. We began with the Public Policy project which because of the terms of the grant was going to be inherently limited to the public policy space and to the United States and enWP, but we knew that we wanted to expand past that and use it only as a starting point. We knew that we wanted to team to shift from the WMF itself directly running the program, towards the WMF scalably supporting other movement actors (chapters, individual Wikipedians, schools) in running programs. And we're doing that -- we can see it in the numbers. More players, more non-English work, work that extends past public policy related topics. It's particularly encouraging to see the numbers related to gender -- that's a part of the story that isn't sufficiently well understood, and needs to be understood. This is good: we're on track. Thank you.