Education/News/May 2021/Wiki Education Program Organized with the University Students for the First time in Bangladesh

Wiki Education Program Organized with the University Students for the First time in Bangladesh

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Summary: Wikimedia Bangladesh organized the country’s first Wiki Education Program of its kind with the country's future engineers. 25 students from 8 different departments created 103 new articles on Bengali Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Bangladesh organized the country’s first Wiki Education Program of its kind with the students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). In collaboration with BUET Energy Club, a co-curricular club of the university, this program aimed at involving future engineers to share their knowledge on the largest online encyclopedia.

The plan to organize an Education Program in Bangladesh is now new. Multiple plans were in the pipeline but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant transition in the country’s education system, and we had to postpone those in-person programs in 2020. Analyzing the situation, we understood the lack of feasibility in organizing the pre-planned large-level education program offline. Later, in August 2020, we organized our first online workshop with the students of BUET to check the feasibility of organizing one at the online platform. The workshop was followed by a short edit-a-thon where the participants created new engineering-related articles in Bengali Wikipedia. This pilot event encouraged us to organize an official program with the cooperation with university’s club. There was another newsletter article regarding those programs, which can be found here: Introductory Wikipedia Workshop with Future Engineers: First Step of Education Program.

We officially began the event on February 21 this year, and it continued up to May 11. 25 students from 8 different departments of the university participated in this non-graded co-curricular event and they created 103 new articles on Bengali Wikipedia. The articles include various fundamental topics including Electrical energy, Crystallographic defect, Delocalized electron, etc. Each of the students selected three 1500 words, or two 1500 words and three 300 words-long articles from English Wikipedia. The topics of these articles were part of their course curriculum in any previous semester. On top of translating an article, it was needed to add at least a new paragraph in the Bengali Wikipedia article along with relevant references from their academic textbook or journals, which wasn’t present in English Wikipedia. Tutorials on how to create new articles, how to add references, etc. were provided to them and during the whole period, they were being mentored by myself (author of this article), as the coordinator of the whole event. The students who were able to finish their tasks properly will receive certificates and souvenirs from the organizers.

In Bengali Wikipedia, there is a tremendous lack of quality articles on engineering topics. Often it is not easy to write on these topics without some background knowledge. Through this program, Bengali Wikipedia got 103 new and rich quality articles on the various engineering, architectural, and urban and regional planning topics. This was one of the major motivations behind organizing the education program. We were concerned about the event as it is not part of their credit hours, and due to the tough time, we all are going in. But the students participated in this event in a really joyful manner. In feedback, the students expressed their happiness to be able to participate in something like this. One of the participants, Arnab Naha Ushna from the Department of Civil Engineering said, “An education program like this helped me a lot to gain experience at the co-curricular level.” The participants felt contented to know that they are directly contributing to a platform like Wikipedia. They expect more of such events in the future. The event got a lot of media coverage, as can be seen here.

We hope to organize more of these events in the coming future on a larger scale involving students from other universities as well.