Wiki Education Foundation/Monthly Reports/2018-11
- Chief Programs Officer LiAnna Davis attended WikiCite 2018, a three-day conference in Berkeley, California, aimed at creating an open repository of all bibliographic data. WikiCite brings together Wikimedia community members, especially those who work on Wikidata, librarians, and other professionals whose work is connected to citations. The conference is structured as learning day, a strategy day, and a doing day. For the "doathon" day, LiAnna joined a group of librarians and Wikimedians who began mapping out what a curriculum might look like for teaching Wikidata skills to librarians. This scaffolding work will help as Wiki Education begins planning to launch a Wikidata Student Program in the next year.
- In early November, Executive Director Frank Schulenburg spoke at the Global HR Forum in Seoul and at the International Forum for Educational Innovation at KAIST Daejeon. With Korean universities seeking new ways of providing students with better learning outcomes, concepts like “active learning” and “project-based assignments” are currently of high interest to instructors at institutions of higher education in South Korea. Frank talked about the way Wikipedia has increasingly been embraced as a teaching tool in the United States and other countries around the world. He provided examples of how students have a deeper learning experience and how teaching with Wikipedia improves students’ critical thinking, writing, and digital literacy skills. The many questions from attendees at both conferences were a testament to the high level of interest in the intersection of Wikipedia and higher education.
- In Atlanta, Director of Partnerships Jami Mathewson attended both the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) and American Studies Association's annual meetings. This was a great opportunity to speak to relevant scholars about our upcoming Wiki Scholars course, in which we'll facilitate historians improving content related to the 19th Amendment and women's suffrage. At the NWSA meeting, Jami presented to faculty alongside Dr. Jenn Brandt, a former Wiki Scholar and instructor who teaches in our Wikipedia Student Program. We had the opportunity to share learning outcomes from first-time Wikipedia editing, and we expect several of the people we met to collaborate with Wiki Education as a part of our NWSA partnership.
- We celebrated the work and experiences of individuals in our professional development courses on the blog this month. Helen Siaw, a member of the American Chemical Society and PhD candidate and research assistant at Emory University Department of Chemistry, wrote about Wikipedia as a tool for public engagement with science. Youngah Kwon, graduate student at Columbia University and a member of the American Chemical Society, also wrote about her experience in our professional development course. She views Wikipedia editing as a chance to counterbalance the inequalities that women often encounter in STEM fields.
- We received more than 50 applications for our first Software Developer position, and hired Wes Reid — a talented developer with extensive experience both using and teaching the React and Ruby on Rails frameworks that undergird our Dashboard.
LiAnna attended WikiCite 2018, a three-day conference in Berkeley, California, aimed at creating an open repository of all bibliographic data. WikiCite brings together Wikimedia community members, especially those who work on Wikidata, librarians, and other professionals whose work is connected to citations. The conference is structured as learning day, a strategy day, and a doing day. For the "doathon" day, LiAnna joined a group of librarians and Wikimedians who began mapping out what a curriculum might look like for teaching Wikidata skills to librarians. This scaffolding work will help as Wiki Education begins planning to launch a Wikidata Student Program in the next year.
Wikipedia Student Program
Status of the Wikipedia Student Program for Fall 2018 in numbers, as of November 30:
- 384 Wiki Education-supported courses were in progress (223, or 59%, were led by returning instructors).
- 7,774 student editors were enrolled.
- 62% of students were up-to-date with their assigned training modules.
- Students edited 5,280 articles, created 451 new entries, and added 3.74 million words.
November is typically our busiest month of the fall term, and Fall 2018 was no exception. It's around this time that students begin to take the plunge and move their contributions into the article mainspace. It's an exciting time, but a busy one for the Wikipedia Student Program team.
And while we're in the thick of Fall 2018, we're working just as hard to get courses set up for the spring term. This means that Wikipedia Student Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal is reaching out to returning instructors as well as interfacing with new program participants as they undertake the Wikipedia assignment for the first time.
As always, we're working diligently to ensure that we meet the needs of the community, our students, and our instructors as we all work together to improve Wikipedia.
- Student work highlights
Bishop University's "Memory, truth and reconciliation" students added 31,000 words to Wikipedia, creating five new articles and expanding several others about nations and peoples digging up the past in search of the truth. In the article Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Peru), readers can learn about how the Peruvian government sought to analyze the factors that led to widespread human rights violations, leading them to recommend reforms so that such violence could be avoided for the future. In the article Commission of Inquiry in Algeria, readers learn about a conflict that caused 150,000 deaths and 7,000 disappearances. The Commission's report on who was responsible, however, was never released to the public. In examining these truth commissions, students examined countries' searches for alternative national narratives and the complexities of "the truth."
Only 7-11% of all biographies of chemists on Wikipedia are about women, despite the fact that 34% of all chemists are women in the United States alone! Notable women throughout history and across occupations have fallen into the content gender gap on Wikipedia, as their stories are told much less frequently than men. Students in Rebecca Barnes' Introduction to Global Climate Change class had the opportunity to fill in some of that gap, creating an astonishing 25 biographies of women scientists. Their creations span from ecologists such as Pamela Templer and Erika Marín-Spiotta, biogeochemists like Claudia Benitez-Nelson, and Antarctic geophysicist Anne Grunow. These contributions help make Wikipedia a more equitable and thorough encyclopedia that includes coverage of notable scientists, regardless of gender.
Birds are more than just creatures that stand on power lines or make you nervous when you've just washed your car. They fill an important niche in our ecosystem that, if vacated, will send out ripples with long term repercussions. Even birds that seem commonplace, like swallows, can end up on a list of animals vulnerable to extinction. One University of Ottawa student in Patrick McCurdy's Theories of the Media class chose to expand the article on the white-tailed swallow, which was a four sentence stub when they first began editing. They expanded the article tenfold, adding information about the white-tailed swallows' habitat, a general description, as well as information about their vulnerable status, which was brought about by a loss of habitat. An effective way to help conservation efforts is awareness, so the expansion of this article could surely help to that end.
Two students in Emer O'Toole's Irish Theatre course at Concordia University added content to the articles on Riders to the Sea and The Aran Islands, both of which were written by Irish Literary Renaissance playwright and author John Millington Synge. Riders of the Sea, a stage play first performed on February 25, 1904, at the Molesworth Hall, Dublin, is a one act tragedy. Inspired by Synge's trip to the Aran Islands, the play focuses on a woman who has lost her husband and five of her sons to the sea. By the play's end the woman has lost her remaining two sons and remarks "They're all gone now, and there isn't anything more the sea can do to me..", as her only living children are daughters, who will not go out to sea. Whereas Riders of the Sea is fiction, The Aran Islands is not and is a four part collection of journal entries regarding the geography and people of the Aran Islands. It was completed in 1901 and published six years later in 1907. In the journal entries Synge details the islands and its people, who were and still remain largely isolated from mainland Ireland. As such, the islands' communities developed in specific ways that are reflected in the culture and language of the Aran Islands. Some of their traditions are no longer practiced or have changed, highlighting the importance of Synge's work as they show these traditions as they were practiced during his visit to the island.
Doing good for others feels good. Warm-glow giving is the economic theory that explores why people give. A student in Benjamin Karney's Social Psychology class expanded Wikipedia's short article on this topic into a fairly comprehensive examination of the topic. They added details about the underlying economic models, the underlying perspectives in psychology and neuroscience, and the idea that it can lead to inefficient charitable giving.
People conceptualize their future self in a way that's similar to how they think of other people, which can explain our tendency to treat our future selves badly (by eating unhealthily, not exercising, or saving less for retirement than we could afford to). Thanks to another student in this class, Wikipedia now has an article about this subject which explores topics like the philosophical foundations, underlying psychological theory, and the policy implications of the way we relate to our future selves. Other students in this class created articles on social cognitive neuroscience, social emotional development, and social vision, while others made substantial improvements to existing articles on ownership, intergroup relations, and social behavior, among others.
The mesopelagic zone is that portion of the ocean which starts at the depth where 1% of the light hitting the surface remains and ends at the point where no light is present. Students in George Waldbusser's Biogeochemical Earth class made major improvements to the mesopelagic zone article, expanding it greatly and adding information about biology and biogeochemistry, human impacts, and research and exploration of this zone of the ocean. The Heceta Bank is a rocky bank off the coast of Oregon. Other students in the class created a substantial article about this ecologically and oceanographically important region. Other students made major expansions to a range of articles including the silica cycle, sea spray, and sea foam.
Information can be imparted by both the written word as well as images, something that Cal Poly Pomona students in Shonn Haren's Information Literacy in the Digital Age class could probably tell you all about. One student found a picture of a painting of the Egyptian god Horus on a wall in the Temple of Hatshepsut. Recognizing its importance, the student chose to upload this, as they knew that it would help illustrate not only the overall figure of Horus, but also a specific attribute of his that is often discussed: the Eye of Horus.
A student in Barbara Mundy's Aztec Art and Architecture course at Yale University also uploaded some great images and added them to appropriate Wikipedia articles. One shows a stone carving of Mesoamerican deity Tlaltecuhtli. Another is a side panel of the Stone of Motecuhzoma I, a pre-Colombian stone monolith.
And a student in Madeline Knickerbocker's Aboriginal Peoples of North America to 1850 course at Simon Fraser University uploaded a photo of a man and woman from the Aleutian Islands dressed in ceremonial attire circa 1862. The student then added the image to the article about Unangan hunting headgear.
Scholars & Scientists Program
The academics and professionals in our seven Scholars & Scientists courses have been busy this month, improving articles on a wide range of topics. One of the groups, scheduled to finish in early December, has been hard at work polishing their work, while the others, which have a few more weeks to go, continue to develop theirs.
Since only 17% of biographies on Wikipedia are about women, we have decided to run our successful Women in Science course again, which engages scientists in writing biography articles for women in STEM. Here is an update on all of the wonderful progress that course participants have made so far:
- A Fellow created the Tanja Bosak article from scratch, weaving over 30 citations into this article. Bosak is an award-winning geobiologist from Croatia. Her work concerns "the formation of stromatolites and their interpretation in the rock record."
- Another Fellow expanded Susan Brown's article, specifically sections on her biography and her research. Susan Brown was a researcher in fluid mechanics.
- One Fellow created an article for Rosa M. Miró-Roig, a professor who specializes in algebraic geometry and commutative algebra.
- The article for Rosalind Rickaby has doubled in size since one of our Fellows started contributing to it. Rickaby is a professor of biogeochemistry who researches paleoceanography.
Our Communicating Science course equips scientists with the tools to communicate their expertise to the public on Wikipedia. Here are some of the articles our science Wikipedia Fellows are working on, either in their articles or sandboxes:
- Improving sourcing, organization, and explanations of magma
- Expanding the article on the Valles Caldera, a volcanic caldera in New Mexico
- Adding theoretical models to the assessment of suicide risk and improving its lead
- A variety of improvements to the article about the mantle, the layer of the planet between the crust and the core
We have two active humanities and social sciences courses working on articles and in their sandboxes. Here are a few of the pages they are improving:
- Expanding the article on Letitia Obeng, the "grandmother of female scientists in Ghana"
- Developing the section on misconceptions regarding sex trafficking
- Adding content and many sources to the hometown association article
- Improving coverage of Shankleville, Texas, a community founded as a Freedmen's town
Our interdisciplinary course includes a diverse group of scholars from the humanities, social sciences, behavioral sciences, and natural sciences. Here are some examples of the work they have been contributing so far, mostly in sandboxes, to be added to articles next month:
- One Fellow improved articles on multiple communication theories, such as media richness theory and media naturalness theory.
- Another has been working on the article aboutOriginal Plumbing, a magazine for transgender men.
- A Fellow is working on an expansion of the article on Joy Ladin, the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution.
- Another has been expanding the article about media transparency.
- There have also been a wide range of improvements to the disciplinary article on linguistics as a result of this course.
We have started a new professional development course in partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to improve articles about Women's Right to Vote and the 19th Amendment. Participants from the two sections of this course have selected and published their first round of Wikipedia articles. Here is a brief update on their improvements:
- Take a look at Adelina Otero-Warren's article. She was a suffragist from New Mexico. Her article now contains more information about her career, new citations, and the text has been cleaned up substantially.
- In the course we have a team of two working to improve the article about Ida B. Wells. As a prominent, well-known suffragist, we are hoping to improve upon this article's B-class rating, which is no small task.
- If you read the article for Sara Yorke Stevenson, who was an American archaeologist and suffragist, you will see improvements and additions in every section of this article.
- Frances Harper, an African-American abolitionist and suffragist, now has significantly more content thanks to the addition of several sources that are new to this article. One of our course participants reorganized this article and edited the prose so it is easier for readers to understand.
- If you want to learn more about one of the founders of the The Maryland Suffrage News, look no further than the article for Edith Houghton Hooker. This article has seen several improvements since the beginning of this course.
- Doesn't it seem wrong that the Virginia Durant Young House had a Wikipedia article before Virginia Durant Young had one? One of our Wiki Scholars has since remedied this.
- With a new lead and a completely reorganized Activism section, the article for Caroline Spencer no longer lacks references, which kept it at a stub class rating.
- As with many historical figures, white suffragists are disproportionately documented. Tillie Paul was part of the Tlingit tribe, who were indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. She was a suffragist who fought not only for women's right to vote, but also for Native Americans' right to vote.
Visiting Scholars Program
Our Wikipedia Visiting Scholars continued to produce some great work this month. A stand-out is the promotion to Featured Article of California Pacific International Exposition half dollar. George Mason University Visiting Scholar Gary Greenbaum added the article to his ever-expanding collection of Featured Articles, the highest quality content one can find on Wikipedia. This fifty-cent piece from 1935-6 was designed by sculptor Robert I. Aiken. One side depicts Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, while the other side includes buildings from the California Pacific International Exposition, held during that time in San Diego.
In the time Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight has been a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University, she has written an incredible number of articles about historically notable women. This month she passed the 400 mark, adding number 401 to the list: Jennie Casseday (1840-1893). Though an accident left her physically disabled, Casseday was an active philanthropist known in particular for her "Flower Mission."
Rosie wrote several other articles about notable women this month, too. Another example is Matilda Carse (1835-1917), an Irish-born American businesswoman and leader of the temperance movement, co-founding the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
Deep Carbon Observatory Visiting Scholar Andrew Newell made several improvements to the article about diamond, improving the lead description and several sections.
Chief Advancement Officer TJ Bliss returned from paternity leave during the last week of November. He hit the ground running by traveling to San Francisco to host Angela DeBarger of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in a site visit at our San Francisco office. Angela is the program officer for the major grants Wiki Education has received from the Hewlett Foundation. During her visit, Angela met with Executive Director Frank Schulenburg and TJ to get an update on the grant work, including a general update about our work (Hewlett's main grant is for unrestricted general operating support) and a specific update about our work related to building a sustainable business model. In July, Angela provided Wiki Education a $50,000 Organizational Effectiveness grant to assist with our business model effort. After meeting with Frank and TJ, Angela had lunch with most of the Wiki Education staff who work in-person at the San Francisco office. Several remote staff also video-conferenced in. Each staff member took a few minutes to introduce themselves and describe their specific work. Angela asked several insightful questions and robust discussion ensued. Overall, it was wonderful to welcome Angela into our Wiki Education family and help her more deeply understand the work that we do.
During his first few days back from leave, TJ sent several follow-up emails to potential funders, requesting meetings. Several funders responded, some with news that they will not be able to provide funding in 2019 and others with an invitation to speak on the phone early in the New Year.
In late October, LiAnna wrote and submitted an application for the 2019 Annual Planning Grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. In November, she received feedback from Delphine Menard on our application and worked with several Wiki Education staff to provide responses. LiAnna also posted our 2019 application on Meta.
Finally, while he was in San Francisco, TJ met in person with the newly formed Advancement Team, which he leads, and together with Jami, Customer Success Manager Samantha Weald, and Outreach and Communications Associate Cassidy Villeneuve, put plans together for a team retreat in December.
This month, we attended the History of Science Society's annual meeting in Seattle, where Chief Technology Officer Sage Ross met instructors interested in assigning students to improve Wikipedia's coverage of science history.
Samantha attended the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego and then joined National Communication Association (NCA) members in Salt Lake City for their meeting. At NCA, Samantha had the opportunity to join a panel discussion about the use of open educational resources. Wiki Education is no stranger to discussions of open educational practice, so we were excited to participate in that session, especially as we continue to offer free teaching tools and resources.
In Atlanta, Jami attended both the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) and American Studies Association's annual meetings. This was a great opportunity to speak to relevant scholars about our upcoming Wiki Scholars course, in which we'll facilitate historians improving content related to the 19th Amendment and women's suffrage. At the NWSA meeting, Jami presented to faculty alongside Dr. Jenn Brandt, a former Wiki Scholar and instructor who teaches in our Wikipedia Student Program. We had the opportunity to share learning outcomes from first-time Wikipedia editing, and we expect several of the people we met to collaborate with Wiki Education as a part of our NWSA partnership.
Later in the month, Samantha and Jami attended the American Anthropological Association's meeting nearby in San Jose. Jami joined Wiki Education Board member Dr. Carwil Bjork-James to get anthropologists excited about improving Wikipedia.
We celebrated the work and experiences of individuals in our professional development courses on the blog this month. Helen Siaw, a member of the American Chemical Society and PhD candidate and research assistant at Emory University Department of Chemistry, wrote about Wikipedia as a tool for public engagement with science. Youngah Kwon, graduate student at Columbia University and a member of the American Chemical Society, also wrote about her experience in our professional development course. She views Wikipedia editing as a chance to counterbalance the inequalities that women often encounter in STEM fields. We shared two more success stories from our professional development courses, as well. Dr. Michael Ramirez improved the masculinity Wikipedia article from a sociologist's perspective, at a time when people were looking for more information about the concept. And Dr. Jenn Brandt brought Margaret Atwood's Wikipedia article up to Good Article quality and even returned to the article seven months after her course to make improvements the day Atwood announced that she's writing a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale.
- Wiki Education now offers consulting services (November 2)
- Why Wikipedia is “Communication at Play” (November 6)
- Scholars leverage the National Archives on Wikipedia in professional development course (November 6)
- Learning Wikipedia editing: how scientists can communicate with the public (November 7)
- Scientists to write Wikipedia biographies of women in STEM (November 8)
- How to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women and marginalized American communities (November 9)
- Monthly Report, September 2018 (November 13)
- Wikipedia as a tool for public engagement with science (November 14)
- Group of interdisciplinary scholars to learn how to edit Wikipedia (November 14)
- Classroom Program renamed to Wikipedia Student Program (November 15)
- How humanities scholars and social scientists can make a difference for public knowledge (November 16)
- Improve women’s suffrage articles on Wikipedia for a new National Archives exhibit (November 19)
- Students make trans history more visible on Wikipedia (November 20)
- How to counterbalance the inequalities women encounter in STEM (November 21)
- Understanding masculinity from a sociological perspective (November 26)
- Three Wiki Education values worth supporting on Giving Tuesday (November 27)
- Women’s studies expert makes sure Margaret Atwood’s Wikipedia biography is top quality (November 29)
- A November to remember (November 30)
- See why an ASU professor wants his students to use Wikipedia, Ethan Gilchrist, ASU State Press, (November 5)
- Paving the desire paths of health information needs: Teaching students to edit Wikipedia, Tina Brock & Dorie Apollonio, BMC Blog Series, (November 20)
- Wikipedia in the Science Classroom, Anne Sternberger & Sarah Wyatt, Course Source.
- “숙제로 위키피디아 글쓰기, 어때요?”, Kim Eun Young, The Science Times, (November 22, 2018)
November was a busy month of preparing for big projects to come. We received more than 50 applications for our first Software Developer position, and hired Wes Reid — a talented developer with extensive experience both using and teaching the React and Ruby on Rails frameworks that undergird our Dashboard.
Sage, along with former Summer 2018 interns Urvashi Verma and Pratyush Singhal, will be mentoring a new Outreachy internship project beginning in December: Cressence T. Yakam will create a wizard for setting up a new program with the right settings and course type for Programs & Events Dashboard.
Finance & Administration
The total expenses for November were $175,000, ($36K) less than budgeted. Fundraising was under by ($50K). The consulting budget is being utilized, however in the month of November, only $2K out of $50K budgeted, the remaining $2K under relates to travel under budget. Programs were over budget for the month of November by $13K- $9K relating to personnel, where one employee was scheduled to come off in November, but stayed on, as well as PTO was earned and unused and $4K in Printing scheduled in prior months. General and Administrative was over by $1K, due to accounting preparation for the upcoming Audit scheduled for December.
The Year-to-date expenses are $795,000 ($262K) under budget of $1,057,000. Fundraising is under budget by (165K). This was due to not hosting a cultivation event ($10K) and correlating travel costs that would have been attributed to the event ($3K) and a change in plans with regard to outside consulting ($152K). Programs are under budget by ($66K), mostly stemming from Q1: ($19K) Payroll and Benefits, ($17K) Professional Fees, (22K) Relating to Travel and Volunteer development, ($8K) Printing the strategic plan that was printed September and we received the copies in early October. This is posted as an adjustment in November, as the previous months have already been published. The cost for the printing was $4K, so we’ll remain underspent on this anyway for the rest of this FY. Technology is under by ($9K)-due to outside services that have been pushed into fall ($12K) with an increase in salary (+6K) and underspending in internet ($3K). General and Administration are under by ($24K) with ($11K) professional fees including audit fees pushed to December due to scheduling, ($6K) under in reduction of Occupancy Costs, (4K) in General supply costs, and ($3K) in IT/ Desk equipment.
Office of the ED
- Current priorities:
- Preparing for the upcoming audit
- Leading the organization through changes that come as a result of our new strategy
- Overseeing a couple of smaller changes aimed at improving organizational effectiveness
In early November, Frank spoke at the Global HR Forum in Seoul and at the International Forum for Educational Innovation at KAIST Daejeon. With Korean universities seeking new ways of providing students with better learning outcomes, concepts like “active learning” and “project-based assignments” are currently of high interest to instructors at institutions of higher education in South Korea. Frank talked about the way Wikipedia has increasingly been embraced as a teaching tool in the United States and other countries around the world. He provided examples of how students have a deeper learning experience and how teaching with Wikipedia improves students’ critical thinking, writing, and digital literacy skills. The many questions from attendees at both conferences were a testament to the high level of interest in the intersection of Wikipedia and higher education. Frank's presentation at the Global HR Forum got covered by the Korean newssite The Science Times.
Also in November, Frank and Jami traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, to meet with faculty at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. During this meeting, they presented the work Wiki Education has been doing over the past couple of years and then discussed different options for collaboration. As a result, faculty of the Cronkite School declared their interest in Wiki Education’s new Scholars and Scientists program and started working with Frank on a joint grant proposal for a larger project in 2019.
As part of the standard hiring process, Frank interviewed job candidate Wes Reid who will join Wiki Education as our first software developer in January 2019.
Visitors and guests
- Lane Rasberry, Wikimedian-in-Residence at the UVA Data Science Institute (DSI)
- Angela DeBarger, Program Officer in Education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- Andrew Lih, Wikimedia DC
- Rob Fernandez, Wikimedia DC
- Viswanathan Prabhakaran, Wikimedia India
- Pavan Santhosh Surampudi, Telugu Wikipedia/CIS-A2K