Changes to Classroom Program for Spring 2015

Wiki Ed will be rolling out a new system for connecting volunteers and courses this week. As part of this shift, Wiki Ed will no longer accredit individual volunteers as Wikipedia Ambassadors. Instead of a complicated application process, we want to make supporting students more Wikipedia-like and open to anyone in the community. We want to give volunteers tools to contribute in ways they find satisfying and meaningful. From now on, Wiki Ed staff will handle onboarding and be the liaison between the course and the editing community, freeing community volunteers to focus on the aspects of helping with the class they like most.

As we’ve grown, the pace of our understanding of best practices has accelerated. We’ve been developing new tools and resources, too. It’s unfair to expect volunteers to keep up with all these changes. And no volunteer wants to deal with criticism from other editors when a course has problems that could have been avoided if the course design had followed Wiki Ed’s current recommendations. All these reasons have factored in to this change.

We’ve developed ways to make volunteering easier: we’ve set up a new category system for student work. We will tag student work with specific suggestions for how to improve them. If you enjoy copyediting or wikifying articles, you’ll find pages to copyedit or wikify. If you want to provide feedback on a draft, you can find student drafts awaiting feedback. If you like finding freely licensed images for articles, you can see student articles that would benefit from images. For an example of the new system, check out our central portal for tagged articles.

This system is designed to work with the organic spirit of volunteerism that built Wikipedia. Community volunteers can help with the tasks they enjoy helping with most; they can spend 5 minutes with one article or several hours with many articles. We hope that by providing more staff support for each course, we can ensure the course design meets our best practices, and our student editors have productive contributions to Wikipedia.

LiAnna Davis
Director of Programs


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