WikiToLearn User Group/Reports/2017 Report
This page presents a brief overview of the activities of the WikiTolearn User Group both online and offline.
The WikiToLearn portal has been growing for the last year. For example, monthly sessions on the Italian portal it.wikitolearn.org steadily rose to reach about 18.000 unique users (compared to less than 10.000 of one year ago), out of a total audience of about 30.000 people (the number of Italian science students).
We found several challenges in adapting MediaWiki to a book-style publishing workflow. We thus paused the technical activities while we are waiting to solve this problem, and we concentrated on free content. Our main focus in 2017 was the creation of as much free material as possible, and, where applicable, convincing authors to move the work on existing documents on a wiki platform, where binary versions are no longer frozen and subsequent versions can be improved collaboratively. Much of the time of our contributors was thus spent on outreaching activities.
Other Online Activities
We have been working on outreach activities using a Facebook page, developer blogs and our Telegram channel. All these methods were used to this purpose. We have collaborated with the world of academia and reached university students.
- 18-19 January: WikiToLearn India Conference: the focus was on how to contribute to Mediawiki and WikiToLearn technically, on turning students into free knowledge contributors (through their daily activities) and in general on bringing more developers into WikiToLearn and Wikimedia Foundation. This event was partly sponsored by Wikimedia Foundation.
- Meeting with Wikimedia CH for action plans on schools
- Talk at Nexa Center (Politecnico di Torino): “Writing collaborative textbooks”
- Talk at Fossasia 2017 “WikiToLearn: Bringing academia to the Internet era - a revolution in knowledge sharing”
- Release of the German portal: de.wikitolearn.org
- 13-14 May: A talk and a workshop by members of our community about community building "Social engagement for the open source world" and free software "Web backends for native frontends" at Open Source Conference Albania (OSCAL) 2017. A first plan to start an “Open Education Hive” in Albania, to start producing Open Educational Resources
- Talk at GridKA - a Computing School for High Energy Physics for selected scientists, to show the possibilities of sharing knowledge on open and collaborative platforms
- Workshop “Open practices and collaborative textbooks” at Unimed, to help Arab Universities create their own textbooks as Open Educational Resources on a collaborative platform
- One of our collaborators was awarded a grant from GARR to work for one year on the technological platform and gave a talk about the development of WikiToLearn at BorsistiDay 2017 (12 December)
- A grant of 10.000 CHF from Wikimedia CH allowed the creation of 13 new textbooks.
Plans for the future
- Improve the PDF rendering so that textbooks can be used by Wikimedia Commons and be useful for the greater Wikimedia community
- Finish the work (expected to end Sept. 2018) on the technology to allow for more complex publishing workflows. We expect this to greatly increase the speed for producing Open Textbooks and exporting them on Wikimedia.