Wiki Education’s Board of Trustees approved our Annual Plan and Budget for Fiscal Year 2017–2018 at their June meeting. I’m pleased to share the full document here, which both recaps the work we did last year as well as highlights what we plan to do next year (Wiki Education’s fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30).
Last fiscal year was one of enormous growth for Wiki Education. Among our achievements:
- Our Year of Science initiative culminated with more than 6,300 students engaged in improving Wikipedia’s underdeveloped science content while improving their writing, information literacy, critical thinking, collaboration, and online communications skills. The science students enrolled in our Classroom Program created 637 articles and improved more than 5,670.
- With more than 65% of the students being female, our Classroom Program continues to be single most effective tool for boosting women’s authorship on Wikipedia.
- Students in our program have now added the equivalent of 75% of the last print edition of Encyclopædia Britannica to Wikipedia.
- Our technical investments in our Dashboard platform have enabled us to scale our impact without staffing additions.
- Our research study results showed that both students and instructors value the Wikipedia-based assignment overwhelmingly over a “traditional” paper assignment in developing learning outcomes for every category queried: critical thinking, digital literacy, technical skills, online source reliability, about the class topic, and writing for a general audience. Moreover, students found themselves motivated, more satisfied, and generally were very positive about the Wikipedia assignment.
We look forward to continuing to expand our impact next year. Among our key initiatives laid out in the plan:
- Wiki Education will kick off a multi-year Future of Facts campaign. We will dedicate distinct resources to recruiting, onboarding, and supporting higher education courses in politically relevant subject areas like public policy, political science, law, history, sociology, and environmental science, as well as interdisciplinary courses that will work on these topic areas. Students in these courses will write Wikipedia articles in these topic areas, citing reliable sources, thereby improving the public’s access to information on topic areas relevant to an informed citizenry. We will also recruit and support Visiting Scholar positions in these subject areas, in which we pair an experienced Wikipedia editor who writes in politically relevant topic areas with a university who provides access to sources in that subject.
- We will begin to develop technology for what we’re calling Guided Editing. One of the biggest pain points about our student editors for existing Wikipedia editors is that sometimes they struggle to get the tone right for an encyclopedia article. Issues with plagiarism, too few citations, and failure to meet the manual of style on Wikipedia also frustrate existing editors. We want to create a Guided Editing experience that uses artificial intelligence to review students’ edits as they make them, making suggestions to avoid plagiarism, citation issues, tone problems, and manual of style errors, before the students’ edit is made on the live article namespace on Wikipedia. Creating this Guided Editing system will enable us to address many of the most common challenges student editors face. In 2017–18, we will begin the early stages of what we expect to be a major technical project.
To read more about our work last year and this year, I encourage you to read our Annual Plan, which describes our plans in more detail. As always, we will also continue to share our progress through monthly reports to our board, which we also share on our website.