Recruit and support newbies from a variety of ages to contribute towards Wikipedia and other Wiki projects.
Build strong relationships with educational institutions.
Availability of inadequate information about how to conduct an outreach session.
Volunteer time is of prime importance and is limited.
Existing outreach tends to be designed on an individual basis – with duplication of effort and resources.
Outreach takes skill and effort. It's not an easy task to convince volunteers to contribute to Wikipedia in their free time.
Staying in touch with newbies, and hand-holding them after an outreach session.
Find collaborative opportunities with groups and organizations that can enhance Wikipedia content:
Interest Groups (group of people interested in a common topic like butterflies, cookery, airplanes)
Group of people writing content in an encyclopedic manner
Stronger mentorship from existing community members
Conduct training workshops for interested community members. This can be done in form of imparting knowledge about whats the best way of conducting wiki presentations for newbies, members giving mock presentation and incorporating suggestions/feedback they get from others.
Develop standardized documents that can be used by any for conducting outreach sessions.
The Outreach will be done through a series of Workshops and Forums existing in several institutions, colleges and universities in the regions covered. Through established contacts in the various Universities and Colleges, Wikimedia Kenya shall liaise with the University Contact persons for a possible slot in the conference and workshops in which it will find audience for the Workshop and Wiki Lessons.
Stage: Conducting Stage I
(A) Introduction to the audience
If you have enough time & limited number of participants ask them to introduce themselves or else ask them some basic questions.
Some of the basic questions you can ask are:
How many of you've heard of Wikipedia?
How many of you use Wikipedia?
What do you use Wikipedia for?
How many of you know who writes content on Wikipedia?
Interactive questions like these provide an opportunity to the audience to get involved in the discussion and help them become more comfortable amongst the participants and the environment.
(B) Introduction to Wikipedia
Focus on the following aspects:
What is Wikipedia? (Online encyclopedia, 5th largest website, real time, give stats about no. of readers/articles, no. of languages etc.) Show the numbers, they never lie.
Different languages on Wikipedia (shade some light on Swahili Wikipedia plus why we need more languages from Kenya)
What are the other Wiki projects? (Brief them about Wikimedia Commons, Wikinews, Wiki species, Wikibooks, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Metawiki etc.)
Who edits Wikipedia?
(c) Question & Answer round
Encourage them to ask questions and clear any doubts they may have. In this session do not take questions on wiki editing. Inform the participants wiki editing will be handled in session II.
10 minutes break
It would be a good idea to give a 10 min break between the 2 parts mainly because of the following reasons:
We don't want the workshop to be a long and boring event.
In long sessions participants usually get tired and loose interest.
Some of the quieter folks might want to ask you questions personally in the small break.
Stage: Conducting Stage II
There is no PPT for this session. Entire session is online and hands on.
(A) Approach Wiki as a reader
Show the participants how to approach wiki as a reader by way of:
Teaching them how to search for articles on Wikipedia.
Introduce them to very briefly to different tabs on a wiki page like:
View history tab
what pages link here.
Adding page to watchlist
(B) Approach Wiki as an editor - Creating Username
Tell them the advantages of having a username.
Request one of the participants to come on stage and help that participant to create an account while demonstrating it to rest of the audience.
The first time you create it show them where the 'create account' link is and brief them about the information that needs to be filled in. Don't take too long to create a new account the first time. We want to demonstrate that its really really easy to create a new account and takes less than 30 seconds.
Encourage them to ask questions pertaining to creation of new account. If need be, ask one more participant to volunteer and create an account in front of everyone.
It's very essential for us to keep repeating and restating that creating an account is extremely easy and just takes few seconds.
NOTE: You might not be able to create more than six accounts on a single IP block as the Mediawiki Software might detect this as a bot. So you might open accounts in the various language versions of Wikipedia languages.
Ask them if they'd like to edit Wikipedia in the session. Most probably the answer will be 'Yes' :)
Ask the participants to suggest an article of their interest that they would like to edit during the course of the session.
Use login of one of the participants to make the edits. (may be use the account already created)
Pretty much like creating new account we want to tell the audience that editing is really simple and doesn't take too much time. Figure out a minor mistake in the article - spelling, grammar, missing comma/full stop and correct it. Once again, the first edit should not take too long. Show them that their first edit has gone live as soon as you hit the Save button.
For the first edit try and avoid adding long sentences, references etc. Just show them the easiest edit!
(D) Introduction to Syntaxes
Introduce them to different Wiki syntaxes. Make sure you introduce it in the following order:
Heading levels (here you can show section editing)
Adding link to other wiki articles
Adding external links
Follow up stage
It's important that we're able to follow up with the participants and provide them all the support they need to know more about Wikipedia and Wikipedia editing. And it's equally important for the participant to be able to get in touch with us if they need any assistance.
Ways in which participants can follow up with you or with the larger Wiki community:
Give them your email id, username, phone number, Facebook account details where the interested participants can get in touch with you.
Give them details of Wikimedia Kenya Facebook page that they can join.
Ask them to foolow @wikimediakenya on twitter, they can tweet any questions here.
Ask them to join Kenya mailing list.
Ways in which you can follow up with the participants:
Circulate a form in the room and request the participants to add their email ids and usernames (if they already had or were able to create one during the session).
Follow up with the participants by sending them mails/writing on their talk pages.
Request the participants to spread a word about Wikipedia amongst their friend circle, family members, on Facebook, twitter etc.
Towards the end of the session ask the participant if any of them would like to become representatives of this group. You should maintain direct contact with these volunteers and if possible ask them to organize follow up academy session where participants could get their doubts cleared or ask them to invite all the participants to wiki meet ups etc. Basically, these volunteers could serve as your single point of contact for the entire group.
Some more tips
It should be a fun workshop! The session should be not be long and boring. We should try and make it fun for the participants or else they might loose interest. We could start by playing an ice breaker game to engage the participants. For example, ask them to open the article on Obama. Then ask them to reach the article on Moi International Airport by way of clicking on internal links from one article to another. One who reaches in minimum number of hits will be announced as the winner and can be awarded by giving away a t-shirt/badge/sticker. This kind of exercise will help the participants become more comfortable with the environment and become more engaged in the proceedings and will contribute more effectively towards a successful outcome.
Engage the participants as much possible and make sure that there is a two way communication happening during the session. Don't make the session feel like a discourse. If they don't get the opportunity to be a part of the discussion they might feel disinterested. Some ideas to engage the participants would be:
When teaching how to create a new account, instead of creating any random account ask one of the participants to come on stage and create a live account for themselves - using their own username and password.
Instead of selecting an article to edit in the session yourself ask the participants to suggest an article of their interest that they would like to edit during the course of the session.
When editing an article use login of one of the participants and not your own. This will give ownership to the participants for editing that particular article.
Keep it simple!
Introduce them only to the above syntaxes. Do not introduce tables/templates or other complex syntaxes. Just tell them there are some more syntaxes and they can learn it when they start editing in wiki.
As far as possible teach them syntaxes using the automated tools (eg tab for Bold, Italics, Heading etc.) and not by the codes that needs to be added. In general people are used to using these automated tools in various productivity softwares. And they'll find it easier to use these tools rather than inserting codes. For example, when teaching how to insert bullets - tell them to click on the "Bulleted list item" tab. Do not confuse the participants by telling them to add a code like (*) to insert bullets.
Do not mention about any complex wiki policies, wiki acronyms, disputed articles, DYK, GA, FA, Categories etc. Keep the session as simple as possible.
Be Patient! It will take roughly 2-3 hours to complete this. But remember people will ask lot of questions during this session. So please be patient and receptive to their questions.
It is particularly useful to discipline the number of messages during outreach sessions. Anyone attending outreach sessions will have limited capacity to absorb lot of information shared in a small period of time (2-3hrs) and, therefore, it is important that the number of messages are restricted, and repeated during a session.
A team of 3 Wikimedia Kenya members conversant with Wikipedia will be taking charge of every Wiki Outreach in every Session or area. They will be in charge of the trainings and workshops to all the participants.