Monthly Report for October 2016

Wiki Education Foundation Monthly Report, October 2016


  • Wiki Ed staff attended WikiConference North America, a three-day annual event that took place in San Diego this year. We presented on several aspects of our programs, received helpful feedback, met with collaborators, and engaged with dozens of Wikipedians, librarians, educators, and other Wikipedia enthusiasts.
  • Wiki Ed formalized a partnership with the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM). The organization will sponsor a Visiting Scholar to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women mathematicians.
  • In collaboration with University of California, San Francisco faculty, Wiki Ed released a series of videos about motivations to teach with Wikipedia and how we can help.
  • Wiki Ed received a two-year operating grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant, which totals $500,000, was awarded through the Foundation’s Open Educational Resources program.


WikiConference North America

Jami Mathewson and Ryan McGrady lead a session on the Visiting Scholars program at WikiConference North America.

For the third year of the conference, Wiki Ed staff attended WikiConference North America, a gathering of Wikipedians, librarians, educators, and others in the Wikimedia community. This three-day event in San Diego was an opportunity for Wiki Ed to meet face-to-face with important collaborators in expanding free knowledge on the English Wikipedia. Wiki Ed’s Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson, Director of Programs LiAnna Davis, Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady, Data Science Intern Kevin Schiroo, and Product Manager Sage Ross all led sessions.

Many of our program participants led sessions, as well. They showcased how students improved Wikipedia, and talked about the learning experiences Wikipedia assignments bring to their classes. Several of the sessions were submitted through a new peer reviewed academic track of the conference, which served as a kickoff event for the new Wiki Studies journal founded by Wiki Ed board member Dr. Robert Cummings.

Educational Partnerships

In October, the Wiki Education Foundation formalized a partnership with the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM). The organization aims to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women mathematicians, including past recipients of AWM honors and awards. AWM will sponsor a Visiting Scholar to focus on this topic area in their volunteer editing. We’re excited to get started on this collaboration that will extend our focus on women in STEM beyond the Year of Science.

At WikiConference North America 2016, Jami presented to attendees about the impact our collaboration with the National Women’s Studies Association has had on Wikipedia. Since beginning our partnership two years ago, Wiki Ed has surpassed 100 courses related to women, gender, and women’s studies, activating nearly 2,500 students to help close the gender content gap on Wikipedia. They have added 1.3 million words to Wikipedia, and we haven’t reached the busiest part of this term yet. As the number of courses in this partnership steadily increases, we look forward to seeing an even greater impact on Wikipedia.

Women’s studies courses supported by Wiki Ed

While in San Diego, LiAnna and Jami visited the University of California, San Diego to recruit local instructors into the Classroom Program. At our UCSD workshop, we asked attendees whether they were inspired to collaborate on Wikipedia because of the opportunity to share knowledge with the world or because of the skills students develop through the process. Unsurprisingly, most people saw value in both outcomes. That’s what makes a Wikipedia assignment so special: students give knowledge to the world while gaining skills they need to thrive in it.

This month, Outreach Manager Samantha Weald participated in three outreach events to promote involvement in Wiki Ed’s programs. On October 6 she traveled to Sacramento to meet with participants in the Puente Program, a community college initiative that aims to promote college readiness for students as they prepare to transfer to four year institutions. On October 21, she spoke virtually with instructors, librarians, and instructional technologists at the University of Michigan. On October 26 she virtually joined a Writing for Wikipedia event at Fordham University.

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, an initiative that honors the contributions of the first computer programmer and encourages women to participate in STEM fields, we collaborated with the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), who ran a series of Wikipedia edit-a-thon events. AWIS is encouraging its members and chapters to organize edit-a-thons to write women back into science history as part of the Year of Science. AWIS chapters convened in their communities during the month of October to kick off the events.

Classroom Program

Status of the Classroom Program for Fall 2016 in numbers, as of October 31:

  • 260 Wiki Ed-supported courses were in progress (126, or 48%, were led by returning instructors)
  • 5,616 student editors were enrolled
  • 55% were up-to-date with the student training.
  • Students edited 2,520 articles and created 151 new entries.

With our largest number of courses in progress to date, the Classroom Program is thriving. With 260 courses in progress, Classroom Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal has been thinking of ways to engage instructors and provide them with timely and relevant support. In addition to Wiki Ed’s regular suite of tools and resources, Helaine hosted two webinars this term to provide instructors with new opportunities to learn about Wiki Ed and its current programmatic work.

At the end of September, along with Samantha and Wikipedia Content Experts Adam Hyland and Ian Ramjohn, Helaine invited instructors teaching with Wikipedia during the Fall 2016 term to the Making the Most of Your Wiki Ed Support webinar. The program was well-attended, and instructors had the chance to interact directly with Wiki Ed staff.

This month, along with Dr. Becky Carmichael of Louisiana State University, Helaine and Samantha presented on the Wikipedia Year of Science and how students are bridging the gap between scientific expertise and public knowledge through Wikipedia. You can view the full program here.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming Naniette Coleman, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Megan Osterbur, professor of political science at Xavier University, to our San Francisco office. During their visit, Megan interviewed Naniette, Helaine, and Research Fellow Zach McDowell about teaching with Wikipedia for a pedagogical podcast run through Xavier. We’re grateful they were able to stop by, and excited for future collaborations.

With just a few months left in the Wikipedia Year of Science, we still anticipate significant contributions from our Year of Science cohort. So far, over 5700 students from 279 courses have contributed over 2.5 million words to Wikipedia, edited over 3500 articles, created 295 new entries, and had their work viewed almost 100 million times during the term alone. This term, our Year of Science students are tackling fields ranging from Geology to Women in STEM and from Language in Hawaii and Pacific to Social Computing. Our Year of Science students have made valuable and critical contributions to Wikipedia, and in doing so, they have gained indispensable communication skills that they can use in their future academic and professional endeavors.

With many classes hitting their stride this month, we saw a lot of excellent work. Here are a few highlights:

  • Students in Amy Carleton’s Advanced Writing in the Business Administration Professions are writing about a range of topics. Most of the time when we hear about globalization, it’s in the context of trade and the movement of capital, but it also applies to freer movement of people. A 1995 court ruling removing caps on the number of foreign-born soccer players and making it easier for players to transfer between clubs had a significant impact on the football (soccer) transfer market. A student created an article on the globalization of that market that delves into the issue in some depth, at least as it applies to European clubs. Another student created an article on the international entrepreneur rule, a proposed USCIS regulation that would make it easier for foreign-born entrepreneurs to settle in the United States. While success in sports or entrepreneurship may require long hours, working overtime can have physical, mental, and social effects on a person. A student in the class delved into the issue with a newly created article on on the effects of overtime. Other good work by the students included the philanthropreneur article, and the entry for corporate social responsibility.
  • The 1969 Connecticut College Black Womanhood Conference is believed to be the first conference of its kind at an American college campus, but it was absent from Wikipedia until a student in Ariella Rotramel’s Feminist Theory created an article about it, drawing upon resources in the college archives to help flesh out the article. Mary Foulke Morrisson was a pioneer in the women’s rights movement in the United States in the early 20th century. After working to help secure passage to the 19th Amendment (which gave women the right to vote in the United States), she seconded the nomination of Herbert Hoover for at the 1920 Republican convention. Once again, her achievements remained undocumented on Wikipedia until a student in the class created a biography for her. Ruth Jury Scott was an environmental activist and a colleague and friend of Rachel Carson. Her Wikipedia biography was also created by a student in the class. Other contributions by the students in this class include an expansion of the biography of Chase G. Woodhouse, who was the second woman elected to the U.S. Congress from the state of Connecticut, and the article about the Woman’s Land Army of America, a civilian group organized during the First and Second World Wars to work in agriculture while men served in the military.
  • Amanda Foster’s LIB100 Accessing Information in the 21st Century class has created articles about women physicians, African American educators, and Native American leaders. Mary T. Martin Sloop was a physician who worked to improve healthcare and education in the mountains of North Carolina. Hilla Sheriff was a physician who worked to improve the health of the poor and marginalized in rural South Carolina. Maggie Axe Wachacha was an Eastern Cherokee woman who revived and reinvigorated indigenous culture and traditions. Born a slave, Simon Green Atkins went on to found and serve as the first president of Winston Salem State University in North Carolina. These are just some of the fascinating people whose biographies were created by students in this class.

Community Engagement

The article about the Cleveland Centennial half dollar, which was written by George Mason University Visiting Scholar, Gary Greenbaum, was promoted to Featured Article. Photo: 1936 50C Cleveland.jpg by Heritage Auctions (coin by the U.S. Mint), CC-AT 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady traveled to San Diego for WikiConference North America 2016. He presented and held a workshop with Jami to learn more about Wikipedians’ perceptions of the Visiting Scholars program. It generated great feedback, some of which has already been implemented in the form of messaging adjustments on Wikipedia.

Ryan also spent time this month recruiting for current openings and working with institutions at various stages of getting involved with the Visiting Scholars program. Meanwhile, current Visiting Scholars continued to make a significant impact. George Mason University’s Gary Greenbaum’s article about the Cleveland Centennial half dollar was promoted to Featured Article status, marking it as one of Wikipedia’s best entries. The article he wrote about lawyer and onetime Presidential candidate Wendell Willkie was highlighted as “Today’s Featured Article” this month, as well. M2545, Visiting Scholar at Rollins College, continued to be one of Wikipedia’s most prolific timeline writers. One example is the Timeline of Havana, Cuba, which she has been developing along with dozens of others for the last several months.

Program Support


This month, we’ve released a series of videos made in collaboration with faculty from the University of California, San Francisco. Wiki Ed instructors Dr. Tina Brock and Dr. Amin Azzam offer their motivations for teaching with Wikipedia, and Samantha summarizes our Classroom Program and support resources.

Blog posts:

External media:

Digital Infrastructure

This month, Sage continued supporting our collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation Community Tech team to improve the flexibility of the Dashboard. With the foundation now in place, we anticipate launching a set of new “Campaigns” features in November that will make it easier to organize and track series of specific courses, edit-a-thons, and other events.

Sage’s main focus this month has been on software upgrades, bug fixes, and performance improvements. As the term has gotten underway, the Dashboard server has seen more intense usage than ever — both because we have more students and instructors than in previous terms, and because the Dashboard is doing more to help us monitor these courses. For large courses, and for Wiki Ed staff working with many courses at once, some Dashboard pages had become noticeably slower as more courses became active. Sage’s performance optimizations this month put the Dashboard in a secure position to scale further, and key pages — such as the students tab of a large, active course — now load much more quickly. At the beginning of the month, we also made a major upgrade of the web framework the Dashboard is built upon: it now runs Ruby on Rails 5. That upgrade, complemented by continual work to make our codebase easy to understand and improve, are part of our effort to ensure the long-term viability of the Dashboard platform.

Research and Academic Engagement

In October, we finalized the components for the post-course surveys. These surveys were then tested, refined, and released to students as they began to complete their Wikipedia-based assignments.

Results from the incentive program look promising. We rose from 10% to 16% response rate, with continued incentive to not drop off during the post-assignment phase.

Zach has coordinated with professors in New England, New York, and New Jersey, and is continuing to schedule focus groups from early November through late December. Currently nine focus groups are scheduled, with four more in the works, and another ten contacted on top of that.

As many of the aspects of the research design are complete, Zach has turned much of his attention to planning the dissemination of the research. Zach has been accepted at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative annual meeting conference, is shortlisted for SXSWedu, and has submitted now for two more conferences with plans to submit for three more. Zach is continuing to work with Matthew Vetter on a co-authored publication (preparing for preliminary analysis), and is also now working with an Information Literacy Librarian, Kate Freedman, from UMass Amherst on a paper in on teaching information literacy with Wikipedia-based assignments.

Finance & Administration / Fundraising

Finance & Administration


For the month of October, expenses were $139,588 versus the approved budget of $197,045. The variance of $57k continues to be due to staffing vacancies ($26k); the timing of professional services ($5k) and savings in travel related ($20k) expenses.

Our year-to-date expenses of $586,704 was also less than our budgeted expenditures of $803,676 by $217k. The year-to-date variance closely follows the areas generating the monthly variances – staff vacancies ($72k); delayed professional services ($59k); and the savings and cutbacks in travel and marketing expenses ($76k).

Wiki Education Foundation October 2016 expenses
Wiki Education Foundation October 2016 YTD expenses


In October, the Wiki Education Foundation received a two-year operating grant totaling $500,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant was awarded through the Hewlett Foundation’s Open Educational Resources program.

Also in October, Wiki Education Foundation Board Member Lorraine Hariton and Director of Development Tom Porter met with representatives of Philanthropy New York in Manhattan to discuss learnings and outcomes of the Year of Science and the Simons Foundation – Wiki Education Foundation partnership. The three organizations are exploring ways to present a case study of the Year of Science to the wider Philanthropy New York membership. While in New York, Tom Porter also met with prospective corporate and foundation funders as well as peers from the New York Academy of Sciences.

Planning is underway for the Wiki Education Foundation first individual donor appeal campaign, which will take place in late fall 2016.

Office of the ED

Current priorities:

  • Securing funding
  • Preparing for the strategic planning process

In October, Executive Director Frank Schulenburg supported Wiki Ed’s fundraising efforts by researching additional development opportunities, and reviewing grant proposals. Tom and Frank started to deep-dive into data-driven approaches in donor outreach in preparation for the upcoming year-end giving campaign.

Frank also met with Jon Cawthorne, Dean of Libraries at West Virginia University (WVU), and Kelly Doyle, Wikipedian in Residence at WVU. Together with Jami, they discussed the general state of Wikipedia-related efforts at WVU and possible paths for the future.

In preparation of the strategic planning process, Frank discussed the proposed timeline and desired outcomes with board members. He also prepared an analysis of Wiki Ed’s external environment and an assessment of the current strengths and weaknesses of the organization.

Frank met with Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher and discussed Wikimedia’s upcoming strategic planning process and the relationship between the two organizations. As one of the results, Katherine and Frank agreed to have regular consultations in order to keep each other informed about ongoing and future developments.

On October 11, Frank officially joined the board of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG). HRDAG is San Francisco-based non-profit, non-partisan organization that applies rigorous science to the analysis of human rights violations around the world. In his new role, Frank will support HRDAG with his expertise in the areas of governance, financial oversight, HR, and fundraising.

Visitors and guests

  • Kelly Doyle, Wikipedian in Residence, West Virginia University
  • John Sadowski, Wikimedia D.C.
  • Naniette Coleman, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • Megan Osterbur, professor of political science at Xavier University



One thought on “Monthly Report for October 2016

  1. I was glad to read «126, or 48%, were led by returning instructors»: it’s not common to find this information, which however does provide some useful clue; I also see this is one of your highest reported numbers for this figure so far, except perhaps “113, or 50%” the other month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.