- The Wiki Education Foundation welcomed LiAnna Davis as the Head of Communications and External Relations. In her new role, LiAnna will be responsible for key communications with news media and other Wiki Education Foundation stakeholders (including the Wikipedia community), and for building educational materials targeted at instructors and students. Also, LiAnna will be responsible for building long-term strategic partnerships with educational institutions in the U.S. and Canada. LiAnna comes to the Wiki Education Foundation with a deep knowledge of the Wikipedia Education Program. She was part of the team that ran the pilot program in the United States, and she’s supported educational activities of Wikimedia chapters and individual volunteers in more than 60 countries worldwide.
- Classroom Program highlights:
- A student editor in Dr. Becky Carmichael’s Natural Disturbances and Society course at Louisiana State University created the Snow in Louisiana article, which appeared in the Did You Know section of Wikipedia on April 4th.
- A student editor in Dr. Anne Chao’s Human Development in Global and Local Communities course at Rice University significantly expanded the HIV/AIDS in Malawi article, which achieved Good Article status on April 22, 2014.
- A student editor in Professor Amanda Hollis-Brusky’s Introduction to American Politics course at Pomona College significantly expanded the Federalist No. 70 article.
- A group in Dr. Rosie Redfield’s Human Ecology course at the University of British Columbia created the Stanley Park Ecology Society article in the students’ effort to develop content on Wikipedia related to their geographic region and course discipline.
Current status of the Classroom Program
Current status of the Classroom Program (spring term 2014) in numbers:
- 65 courses (42 or 65% are led by returning instructors)
- 1,770 students enrolled
- Status: Student editors in 55 courses have been editing in the article namespace at this point in the term. The majority are expanding existing articles and stubs, though student editors have created at least 85 new articles so far.
- Media contributions: Student editors have added 773 files to Wikimedia Commons. Highlights:
- Kettleman City Protest: added from an environmental justice course at the University of California, Berkeley
- Southern Pine Beetle: added from a natural disturbances course at Louisiana State University
- Ida May Mellen, Shiva Nataraja (Lord of the Dance), and Joseph Mozier: added from a communications course at American University
- Initiators for free-radical polymerizations and Insertion mechanism for polyacetylene: added from an organic chemistry course at the University of Michigan
The spring 2014 term will be wrapping up over the next month. We have seen a trend of student editors drafting articles in their sandboxes, posting on existing article talk pages to open up a dialogue with interested Wikipedia editors, and adding well-sourced content – mostly to stub articles. These assignments reflect our best practices and that instructors are developing assignments that set their students up for success.
Many of our instructors are experienced in teaching with Wikipedia now, and we believe this instructor retention positively correlates to the quality of contributions from student editors. They iterate their assignments each term, they are willing to engage when they need to help resolve an incident, and they need less support from Wikipedia Ambassadors and staff members. Instructors have also given very positive feedback this term that their students are having good learning experiences, which is the main reason we expect to retain them in the future.
World Literacy Summit
Between April 14 and 16, Frank Schulenburg attended the World Literacy Summit in Oxford, UK, as a speaker. The World Literacy Summit is an international conference, held for the second time in 2014. The Summit aims to build awareness of the global literacy crisis and provides opportunities for the attendees to discuss the latest developments in how to increase literacy around the world. Frank had been invited in 2013, at a time where he was still with the Wikimedia Foundation. In Oxford, he presented about Wikipedia Zero (one of the Wikimedia Foundation’s programs he was overseeing during his time at the WMF) and the Wikipedia Education Program. Delegates from different countries showed a high level of interest in how Wikipedia Zero offers people in the Global South the opportunity to access Wikipedia on their mobile phones free of charge. Also, in a number of subsequent meetings with educators, Frank discussed how the current Classroom Program increases students’ media literacy, one of the key skills of the 21st century. At the end of the conference, Frank joined government representatives, humanitarians, academics, and literacy advocates in signing the 2014 Oxford Declaration, a document that promotes greater literacy worldwide (see photo).
- Expenses for the month is $44,955 versus plan of $53,023, primarily due to a postponed in-person board meeting. This was partly offset by us catching up with spending in the programs area.
- Year-to-date expenses is $87,929 versus plan of $105,560, primarily due to delayed spending in operations and governance.
- Cash position is $46,997 as of April 30, 2014.
Office of the ED
- Current priorities:
- Find office space
- Fill open positions
- In April, Frank hired LiAnna Davis as Head of Communications and External Relations. As a former member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Education Program team, LiAnna brings a wealth of experience and deep knowledge of Wikipedia and Education to our organization.
- Also in April, Frank worked with different real estate managers on finding appropriate office space for the staff in San Francisco. After narrowing down the existing options, staff went on a first tour and visited two potential offices that fit the existing criteria. It got decided that the search should continue and further options should be evaluated during the month of May.
- As part of his trip to the UK (see section “World Literacy Summit” above), Frank met with Wikimedia UK staff as well as with board member Simon Knight to discuss possible future collaborations between the UK Wikimedia chapter and the Wiki Education Foundation.
- The Wiki Education Foundation mourned the loss of board member Adrianne Wadewitz, who passed away on April 8. Adrianne touched the lives of countless instructors, students, and volunteers in our community. Frank Schulenburg and Diana Strassmann released a statement in honor of Adrianne’s contributions to Wikipedia and the Wiki Education Foundation, and Frank spoke at Adrianne’s service in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on April 24.
- Press release: “Wiki Education Foundation receives grant to support programmatic activities” (April 14, 2014)
- In May, LiAnna will speak to librarians at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, about Wikipedia and the Wiki Education Foundation.
- In May, Jami and LiAnna will meet with representatives of the Association for Psychological Sciences, National Communication Association, and American Sociological Association to evaluate the current status of their Wikipedia initiatives.
- In May, Jami, LiAnna and Frank will travel to New York to participate in WikiConference USA May 31–June 2.