This spring, Wiki Education ran a pilot program called Wikipedia Fellows to train subject-matter experts in three disciplines on how to edit Wikipedia. Over a three-month structured course that included weekly meetings, nine academics in political science, sociology, and women’s studies improved Wikipedia articles in their fields of expertise. We’re excited to declare the pilot a success, and we are actively recruiting additional cohorts as we attempt to scale the impact of the program.
How do we know the pilot program was a success? The team of Wiki Education staff who worked on the pilot — Program Manager Will Kent, Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson, Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady, Senior Wikipedia Content Expert Ian Ramjohn, and Wikipedia Content Expert Shalor Toncray — spent extensive time reflecting on every aspect of the pilot program. The team documented what they did and what their learnings were along the way, and since the pilot wrapped up at the end of March, they have been busy creating a full evaluation report of the program, which we’ve published on Meta-wiki, the central organizing hub for the Wikimedia movement’s documentation.
Following in the trends of other evaluation reports we’ve published, the Fellows pilot evaluation report provides an in-depth overview of what we did during the preparation phase, the selection phase, how we created the curriculum, how the meetings went, what our staff roles were, and the outcomes from the pilot. We identified our theory of change and key questions, and then reflected upon them in a conclusion. All of these are documented extensively in the report on Meta.
While Wiki Education believes in transparency, which is part of the reason we publish reports like this, we are also hopeful that this information can be useful for other Wikimedia movement partners globally who may want to pursue a similar program in the future. Trying to engage subject-matter experts to contribute their knowledge to Wikimedia projects has been an ongoing goal of many in our movement for the last 17 years. While only time will tell if we actually retain these new experts as long-term editors, the English Wikipedia and its readers have already benefited from the contributions these nine experts made during their time as Wikipedia Fellows.
To read the full evaluation report, visit Meta. We’ve also published a short blog post outlining the outcomes from the pilot, and participants in the Fellows program are blogging about their experiences on our blog.