Public Policy Initiative
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The Public Policy Initiative was a pilot project, run by the Wikimedia Foundation in 2010–11, to explore the use of Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education. Professors at public policy programs in universities in the United States participated, assigning their students to improve articles on the English language Wikipedia. The Foundation provided lesson plans, and coordinated with the Wikipedia volunteer community to provide Wikipedia Ambassadors, who served as mentors for the first-time Wikipedians.
See Public Policy Initiative Learning Points for a comprehensive report on the learnings from the pilot program.
As part of the Initiative, the Wikimedia Foundation trained Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors and Wikipedia Online Ambassadors, who in turn helped guide students as they became Wikipedians. Campus Ambassadors provide in-person training, including Wikipedia editing lessons. Online Ambassadors are Wikipedians who serve as virtual mentors to the students, helping them on-wiki and with online chat tools. For more information, see the Wikipedia Ambassador Program page.
Wikipedia Teaching Fellowship
The Wikipedia Teaching Fellowship program is being designed in concert with the Public Policy Initiative. Professors who agree to commit a significant portion of course and assignment time to Wikipedia, with the assistance of Campus and Online Ambassadors, are awarded the designation of Wikipedia Teaching Fellow in recognition of their commitment to using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education.
Our Initiative is generously funded by a grant, so one important facet of our undertakings with this project is to create a report that describes how our Initiative has changed the public policy articles on the English Wikipedia. Amy Roth, the Public Policy Initiative's research analyst, has been working on a Public Policy Initiative Evaluation and Research plan. We are assessing the quality of the public policy articles on Wikipedia at several points throughout the Initiative to track changes to the article quality.
A full list of Fall 2010 participants, including professors, Online Ambassadors, and Campus Ambassadors, is available here. See the Spring 2011 participants in action at WikiProject United States Public Policy.
The Public Policy Initiative's Advisory Board, with eight members from the academic, policy, and Wikimedia communities, helps guide the Initiative. Advisory Board members provide feedback on the work we're doing, help us answer the big questions, and look for opportunities for research based on the work we're doing.
- WikiProject United States Public Policy – the Initiative's on-Wikipedia home.
Internal media coverage
- Wikipedia on Campus Facebook page
- Press release
- "Wikipedia heads to school" Foundation blog post
- "Wikimedia registers for classes" Foundation blog post
- "Public Policy Initiative experiments with article assessment" Signpost article
- "The Public Policy Initiative midterm" Foundation blog post
- "Wikipedia Ambassador Program growing, adjusting" Signpost article
- "Report Card for the Public Policy Initiative" Foundation blog post
- Peter Elliott, Syracuse University
- Nicole Anderson, Georgetown University
- Graham Rogers, Syracuse University
- Abbie Taylor, Georgetown University
- Adrian Bien, Georgetown University