In Fall 2017, Wiki Education supported 318 courses and almost 7,000 students. Those students improved more than 7,000 articles and created 635 new ones. In total, they contributed 5 million words to Wikipedia this term. That’s equivalent to almost 9 copies of Tolstoy’s War and Peace or about 11.5% of the last print edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Wow.
We paid special attention to recruiting courses that did great work in the past, working to retain instructors who have been successful with us before. We also continued to support courses in the sciences, carrying on the impact of the 2016 Year of Science through our ongoing initiative, Communicating Science.
Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson worked with a data scientist in October to do a deep dive into data from the last many years of our Classroom Program. Our data show that conferences are the most reliable way to produce active courses. When those conferences are related to one of our educational partners, they’re even more effective. The academic associations’ support of our work is meaningful, and it’s effective to find instructors where they already are: academic conferences. We also found that consistently since we started Wiki Education in Fall 2013, 44.5% of the new instructors joining the Classroom Program return to teach again within the academic year. We’ve spent those years increasing the number of students and instructors we support, even though we’ve had approximately the same number of staff members supporting the Classroom Program. To see that the same number of instructors have a good experience and choose to incorporate Wikipedia into another course shows our success in the attempts to scale up the Classroom Program’s impact to Wikipedia.
Wikipedia Content Expert Ian Ramjohn developed a sample grading rubric this fall that instructors were able to incorporate into their end of term processes. So far, instructors are really liking the new resource. Wiki Education also collaborated with learning platform Osmosis, as well as University of California San Francisco Professor Amin Azzam to create a new resource for medical students editing Wikipedia. And Outreachy intern Candela Jiménez Girón has been making improvements to the Dashboard for the benefit of Art + Feminism 2018 and future students.
We’ve had a number of success stories from last term that instructors have shared on our blog. Dr. Kathleen Sheppard shared what it’s like engaging engineering students in the humanities through a Wikipedia assignment. For Dr. Ariella Rotramel, a Wikipedia assignment continues to be a uniquely engaging experience for students in her Gender and Women’s Studies courses. Not only are students able to contribute to public knowledge, but learn valuable skills in the process. And for Dr. J. Wesley Leckrone, a Wikipedia assignment emphasizes the importance of fact-based rhetoric. “As a political science professor,” he writes, “this is particularly important given the current environment of fake news and partisan media.” We’ve begun to feature particularly notable student work from the fall, which you can explore here.
We’re proud of the impact students have had last term and are looking forward to seeing what they do this spring!
Interested in learning more about the free resources we offer through our Classroom Program? Visit teach.wikiedu.org for more information, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.