The Wiki Ed Dashboard is at the center of our technology work. Since March, I’ve been working with our development partner WINTR on transforming http://dashboard.wikiedu.org from a straightforward course monitoring tool into something much more — a complete platform for creating, running, and monitoring Wikipedia course projects (traditional courses as well as other projects, such as our pilot with student clubs).
By the Fall 2015 term, we’ll roll out new features, which will make our programs independent of the limited EducationProgram MediaWiki extension — the course page platform we’ve been using to date. So far, the surface changes are minor: you’ll see a “Login” link to sign in with your Wikipedia account and see the courses you’re a part of.
This summer, we’ll start opening up the new course page system for testing. The project is still far from complete. But based on the design work so far, I’m excited about the new user experience. It will be a breath of fresh air for anyone who has been using the legacy course page system.
Functionally, our priority is to let users do everything they could do with the old system, and to keep it just as transparent to the rest of the Wikipedia community. Our strategy for that will be updating Wikipedia pages based on actions people take within our system. When an instructor creates a course, their account will also create a project page on Wikipedia. When a student joins a course, their account will update the project and their user page.
All this prepares the foundation for our longer-term goal: a suite of tools that helps instructors, student editors, and others to make a major positive impact on Wikipedia, without stretching the resources of the Wikipedia community beyond what it can handle. Later this year, we’ll begin work on “just-in-time help”. We’ll use the Dashboard platform to find just the right time to send each student editor relevant help material, and to actively check edits for plagiarism. If you’re interested in our technical progress — or if you want to help out — you can follow our day-to-day work on GitHub.
Photo credit: Paper prototyping of our course page design. “Paper prototype of website user interface, 2015-04-16” by Sage Ross – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.