Education/Newsletter/January 2015/Single

By Vojtěch Dostál (Wikimedia Czech Republic)

Young scientists learn how to upload their pictures to Wikimedia Commons
Cross-section through a stem, fluorescent microscopy

Snippet: Young Czech scientists upload microscopic images during a workshop in Prague.

A unique uploading session took place on 24 January 2015 in Prague on the premises of the Faculty of Science at Charles University. "Fluorescent Night" is a geeky biannual event during which high-school students from all over the Czech Republic gather for a weekend and learn about biology, regularly using a fluorescence microscope. Such a microscope allows the acquisition of scientifically valuable information and it is also very educative and generates truly beautiful pictures. Thanks to the unique properties of plant and animal bodies, fine details of the samples can sometimes stand out as differently coloured.

While former sessions were aimed at the participants themselves, this time we wanted them to share their results with the world. Eleven participants of the Fluorescent Night created their own personal Wikipedia accounts and learned to upload pictures to Wikimedia Commons. Some of them even added pictures to corresponding articles on the Czech Wikipedia. The full list of participants is available on the course page, and the pictures they uploaded can be browsed in this category.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Czech Republic here.

By Abhishek Suryawanshi (Wikipedia Education Program India), Anna Koval (WMF)

Wikipedia Workshop student participants in Nashik, India

Snippet: Intensive training was held in India for more than 100 students to contribute content about their town on Wikipedia.

In August 2015, 30 million people will pass through India as part of a pilgrimage known as the Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh is one of the largest human gatherings in the world. Many tourists will be visiting the city of Nashik to attend Kumbh Mela and so many will use Wikipedia to get information about the city during the event.

In honor of the Kumbh, MIT Media Labs is hosting series of Kumbathon workshops in Nashik, India. As part of this two-month project, more than 100 college students will upload information and photographs of their home city to Wikipedia. The project aims at developing, correcting and expanding the available information about the city on Wikipedia in English, Marathi, and Hindi languages in particular.

The first workshop was on the 3rd and 4th of January at the Nashik campus of the Institute of Engineers (India). More than 100 students from 7 different colleges participated in the workshops. Indian Wikipedia Education Program Ambassador Abhishek Suryawanshi spoke at the event whose aim was to encourage and train students to share information about their city on the free encyclopedia. The students were introduced to Wikipedia and its essential editing techniques.

The event received much generous local support. MIT Media Labs and the KumbaThon Team managed local logistics. The Institute of Engineers (India) offered their modern auditorium for free. And Airtel sponsored 4G internet connection for two days.

The students' contributions are still being stored in Google Docs, and after adding proper citations and references, their work will be moved into sandboxes and then go live on Marathi, Hindi and English Wikipedia. There are 9 Wikipedians, including 1 English Wikipedia administrator, volunteering on this project and working on the team. All 8 Hindi admins are supportive of this work as well. These workshops are part of a pilot project of the WikiProject WikiConnect, a large-scale project to connect Wikipedia to rural parts of India.

The next workshop is scheduled on 28th January 2015 in Nashik. We look forward to sharing our progress again soon.

Media coverage of the event

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in India here.

By Sara Mörtsell (Wikimedia Sweden)


Snippet: How can gamification resolve the issue of uncategorized images on Wikimedia Commons? This was the assignment for a masters class at Umeå University in Sweden.

Masters students at the Department of Informatics Umeå University, Sweden, were assigned to design a prototype for a gamified applications for categorizing images on Wikimedia Commons. The 25 students presented their prototypes at the beginning of 2015 in groups of 3-5. In their presentations, they elaborated on the challenge of the vast amount of uncategorized images on Wikimedia Commons and how they had researched the Wikimedia Commons Community and gamification when designing and evaluating their prototypes. This assignment is one of the examples of Wikimedia Sweden's efforts at engaging universities in researching the Wikimedia projects.

Watch videos of example prototypes here and here.

Read Umeå University's summary of the event (in Swedish) here.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Sweden here.

By May Hachem (Wikipedia Education Program Egypt)


Snippet: This term Wikipedia Education Program in Egypt expands to new schools in Cairo and new classes in existing schools.

Every term new students join the Wikipedia Education Program in Egypt. The results of every term usually encourage others to participate in the new one. Last term, which witnessed the highest contributions ever, helped the program recruit new volunteers, who in turn invited their colleagues to participate.

The Department of Russian Language in the Languages School (Al-Alsun) at Ain Shams University starts its first translation group since the program has started in Egypt. New educators from the mentioned department are expected to assign their students to translate featured and good articles from the Russian Wikipedia to the Arabic Wikipedia.

Students at Al-Azhar University in Cairo are participating in the program for the first time this term. They are starting actively with 4 new classes in which 50 new students have enrolled. The new students are all translating articles to the Arabic Wikipedia from English, Persian, Turkish and Spanish. The Wikipedia Education Program is the first student activity in Al-Azhar University to encourage students use their study practically. Students there have been waiting for an extra-curricular activity like this to make use of their academic abilities to serve their society. They believe that editing Wikipedia will help other academics and non-academics get access to free knowledge.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Egypt here.

By Ahmed Ahmed (Wikipedia Education Program Syria)

Proposed logo for Wikipedia Education Program Syria

Snippet: Wikipedians in Syria launch a pilot edition of Wikipedia Education Program in local institutions

Local institutions in Syria, including the Syrian Wikipedian Foundation, represented by Wikipedia Ambassador Ahmed Ahmed, and the Syrian Researchers Initiative, headed by Dr. Muhannad Malek and represented by Ahmed Hassan, seek to develop free Arabic content on Wikipedia. They agreed on starting a pilot initiative to enrich the Arabic content on Wikipedia and training students on basic editing techniques. The project will aim at creating 400 new articles in two terms. The first term starts on March 1 and ends on April 1, 2015 while the second will start in April through July.

During the first term, the initiative will focus on creating new articles in different fields like Syrian monuments, people, society and other different fields. One of the objectives of this project is raising the number of users who read Wikipedia in the Arab Republic of Syria given the current unstable situation of the country. In the second term, participants will concentrate on the scientific content in particular. At the end of the terms, students will get certificates signed by the two supporting institutions with simple prizes to encourage those who had special contributions

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program pilot in Syria here.

By Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Biblioteca Vasconcelos, venue of Wikimania 2015

Snippet: Applications for scholarships to attend Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City are now open and education-related submissions for presentation are now being accepted.

Wikimania is the annual conference of the Wikimedia movement, where volunteers of Wikimedia projects from almost everywhere around the world meet to exchange experiences, discuss their issues, learn, teach and think about developing and expanding the movement. For the past 10 years, Wikimania has been held in several venues around the world starting in 2005 in Frankfurt, Germany until the most recent one in 2014 in London, UK. This year, Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Mexico City, Mexico will host Wikimania 2015, the eleventh Wikimania conference. The conference includes workshops, presentations, panels, tutorials and other collaborative sessions.

The Wikimedia Foundation offers a Wikimania scholarship program every year, which covers travel expenses, accommodation and conference registration fees for selected candidates. Active volunteer contributors to Wikimedia projects are highly encouraged to apply to receive a scholarship.

The eligibility criteria has been changed this year. "Unlike in previous years, activity within the Wikimedia movement will be the main criteria for evaluation. Participation in non-Wikimedia free knowledge, free software, collaborative or educational initiatives is a plus but is no longer a requirement." says the announcement.

The Wikipedia Education Program has been able to increase the diversity of contributors to Wikipedia with very high participation among female users that reached nearly 90% of student editors in some countries, such as Egypt.

We wish to invite the all of the heroes of the Wikipedia Education Program, especially the Wiki Women, to apply for a scholarship to attend the conference and share your experiences in narrowing the gender gap with our movement. The deadline for scholarship applications is February 16th, 2015.

Proposals to give a presentation at Wikimania 2015 are now being accepted in different categories, including Education Outreach submissions. We encourage you to add your submission to give a presentation about your education program. The deadline for presentation proposals is February 28th, 2015.

Apply for a scholarship to attend Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City here.

Submit a proposal for an Education presentation here.

By Leigh Thelmadatter (Wiki Learning)

Group photo from training session at Campus Estado de México

Snippet:Wikimedia activities are being expanded on three Mexico City area campuses as part of an innovation project called "Semana i" (or i Week).

Thanks to recognition of Wikimedia activities at the Tec de Monterrey campus under the name of "Wiki Learning," the effort to integrate Wikimedia activities into courses at the ITESM school system was made a part of a larger effort called "Semana i" (i Week) with the "i" standing for concepts such as "innovation" and "invention."

Semana i works by having students work on campus-wide projects instead of classes for a number of days as part of their coursework. As this semester is the pilot, students will work on projects for three days. Wiki Learning has been designated as one of the projects for students, primarily those in foreign language and Spanish expression classes on three campuses: Campus Ciudad de México (Mexico City), Campus Santa Fe and Campus Estado de México (State of Mexico). Working with Wikipedia/Wikimedia has been developing on the Ciudad de México campus for several years now, but the experience is a new one for the other two.

Servicio social student group at the new library learning commons

Since December, we have been holding training sessions for professors, with support activities to continue through the Spring 2015 term. The goal is that all 90+ professors on these campuses will do at least one simple Wikipedia/Wikimedia activity in their classes before the three days of Semana i. For those days, the campuses are planning edit-a-thons, with the goal of uploading files or improving current files in Wikimedia Commons, as well as article translation from English, French and German Wikipedias into Spanish. A select number of students, nominated by their professors, will work on the creation of new articles. It is not yet known how many students will participate in the edit-a-thons, as students do have their choice of projects.

Professors working with article improvement and translation are in the process of putting their classes on the course extension, es:Especial:Cursos, and those working with media files are creating categories for their classes in Commons at Category:Wiki Learning Spring 2015

In addition, 20 students who will work with Wikipedia for servicio social (or community service) credit have been recruited at the first training session on 24 January. Four are returning students: es:Usuario:Natalia0893, es:Usuario:MaríaJoséFelgueresPlanells, es:Usuario:A01333649 and es:Usuario:LuisQuiroz1618 and various of the new students are those who joined because "Wikiservicio" was recommended to them by one of these four.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program at ITESM here.


By Sara Mörtsell (Wikimedia Sweden)

Snippet: Issuing open badges to recognize Wikipedia skills of educators in Sweden.

As 2014 neared its end, Wikimedia Sweden started issuing Open Badges as a digital certificate to recognize educator achievements with successfully integrating Wikipedia in their curriculum. So far, six educators have been awarded the badge "Wikipediapedagog 2014". Taking steps from the design to actual issuing raised some technical issues that we need to consider before future implementation since we also plan to issue this type of credentials for students.

Read more about this project on Wikimedia Foundation blog.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Sweden here.

Summarized by Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)


Snippet: A successful experience of senior citizens training on Wikipedia editing in the Czech Republic.

In spite of several discouraging responses to the idea of training senior citizens on editing Wikipedia, all based on the thought that they don't use the internet as well as younger generations, Wikimedians in the Czech Republic insisted on implementing this project. Senior citizens are often more qualified for editing Wikipedia than others by the high education, experience and free time they have when they get retired.

At the very beginning, the organizers were aware of the challenges they may face and how training senior citizens is different from ordinary students. Program leaders thought of new methods to reach out to senior citizens since they do not go to school everyday. Age-targeted Facebook ads and library newsletter were the advertising tool and municipal libraries replaced classrooms. 37 new users joined the program. They attended three sessions per week till the end of the course. Participants have created 18 new articles and added 84,828 bytes to the article namespace on the Czech Wikipedia. The great part is that nearly 50% of the participants continued to edit Wikipedia after the end of their course which is much higher than those who continue from high school and university students.

The passion and activity of both the participants and organizers promise of higher success from the project if it is repeated in the future.

Read the post on the Wikimedia Foundation blog here.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Czech Republic here.

Wikipedia Education Program in Egypt on Euronews


An episode of the weekly TV show Learning World on Euronews discussed open sources of information, like Wikipedia, and how they help change the usual education process and open new ways to the world of knowledge. The footage was filmed during one of the Wikipedia Education Program workshops in Cairo with the students and volunteers. Dr. Abeer Abdel-Hafez, one of the founding professors of the program at Cairo University, indicated how the program helped students build their personality through contributing to a free and collaborative source of information. May Hachem, a student leader at Ain Shams University, indicated the important role that female students play to raise quality through their participation. You can watch the episode and read its summary on the Euronews website in 13 languages, including English and Arabic Read the full article here. Watch the video here.

Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority and Liberal Education in the Digital Age, by Thomas Leitch


This article in Times Higher Education, reviews Thomas Leitch's book Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority and Liberal Education in the Digital Age. The book discusses Wikipedia being used widely and whether it is an authoritative and reliable source as an academic tool or not being edited and run totally by volunteers. Leitch collected in his book a set of stories about authority in the liberal education world as a reply to common calls against the use of Wikipedia in research. Read the full article here.

Jimmy Wales: Students should be taught how to use Wikipedia


This article on pays attention to statements Jimmy Wales gave at BETT 2015 event in London. Many professors warn their students of using Wikipedia at all in research, something that Wales denies. On the contrary, Wales believes that students must be trained on how to use Wikipedia. He argues that they all use Wikipedia, and this is a fact educators must put into consideration. What students need would be some guidance on how to do so correctly. Wales agrees with most of educators who don't want students to cite Wikipedia but he believe that they should be taught how to refer to it which would lead many of them to editing it! Read the full article here.

Armenian resort town hosts Winter Wiki Camp


This article in covers the winter camp Wikimedia Armenia hosted from January 7 to 11, 2015. Student editors aged 14-20 years old edited articles on Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikitionary and other sister projects. Participants, during this camp, helped the Armenian Wikipedia jump from the 42 place to the 41 one between all Wikipedia editions around the world. Wiki camps are events organized in Armenia were teenagers dedicate their time to editing Wikipedia with other scientific, sport, art and fun activities. Wiki camps were first organized in Armenia in Summer 2014 and more camps are being prepared for 2015. Read the full article here.

Academia should find a place for Wikipedia


This article in The Daily Northwestern elaborates how many professors warn their students about using Wikipedia in their research at all. The author notes that while Wikipedia is not perfect and should not be cited in academic research, it is still the largest free source of information and it has unlimited sources, including some articles that contain more than 400 references, many more than most libraries have for one topic. The article also refutes the common belief that Wikipedia is full of wrong information as a result of being open to anyone to edit, stating that "error[s] will be fixed in moments." The author suggests that Wikipedia should not be the end point of academic research but a place to begin. Read the full article here.

In India, Over 100 college students volunteer to upload city data on Wikipedia


This article in The Times of India covers a two-month project in which more than 100 college students upload information and photos of their home city Nashik, India to Wikipedia. The students attended a two-day workshop to get introduced to Wikipedia and its essential editing techniques. Many tourists will be visiting the city to attend Kumbh Mela and so many will use Wikipedia to get information about the city during the event. The project aims at developing, correcting and expanding the available information about the city on Wikipedia. Read the full article here.

University of Victoria announces new Honorary Resident Wikipedian


The University of Victoria announces its first resident Wikipedian, Christian Vandendorpe. Vandendorpe is a professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa and a former magazine editor and author. Vandendorpe's role will be helping raise awareness about Wikipedia and encouraging more academics join Wikipedia and to improve it by sharing their knowledge with everyone. He says academics usually have interest in introducing their disciplines correctly to the public, and he believes that professors have a responsibility to their society to spread knowledge. Read the full article here.