Monthly​ ​Report,​ March 2018


  • Wiki Education was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education this month, thanks to a great interview with the National Women’s Studies Association’s Allison Kimmich about our Classroom Program. It was an opportunity to show off the great work students have done and the impact of our partnership with NWSA. Courses through our NWSA partnership have added over 3 million words to Wikipedia! The article is also a great visibility effort, and could attract more instructors or partners to our programs.
  • We officially broke our record for the largest number of courses we have supported at once! (387) Additionally, this spring has made this the first full academic year where we have a greater number of returning instructors than new instructors. This means that we’re successfully scaling our outreach, our retention efforts are working, and instructors are happy with their experience in our programs.
  • Outreachy intern Candela Jiménez Girón wrapped up her project in early March. Internships like Candela’s are not only great experiences (read Candela’s glowing reflections here), but also really help improve the Dashboard’s functionality. Meanwhile the next round of internships is nearly upon us!
  • Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson was joined by Wikipedia Fellow (and now Classroom Program participating instructor) Dr. Jenn Brandt at the National Women’s Studies Association’s regional meeting of department chairs in Denver. It was great to hear from Jenn that her recent participation in the Wikipedia Fellows pilot was such a positive experience. And Jami and Jenn could share that success with NWSA, a sponsoring partner of the pilot, as well!
  • New Visiting Scholar Textaural will be improving articles about topics like cross-border culture, First Nations history in the Essex county/Detroit River area, early French History of the Detroit River area, Windsor/Sandwich’s Underground Railroad, and First Nations sports history thanks to the University of Windsor. His efforts to expand Wikipedia’s coverage of underrepresented histories is a great step toward closing this content gap. We’re excited to see what he accomplishes.
  • Some student work has received Good Article status this month, including the articles about the Eldana and Small heath butterflies. We’re excited that these students have been recognized for their hard work by the Wikipedia community.


Educational Partnerships

In March, Jami attended the National Women’s Studies Association’s (NWSA) regional meeting of department chairs in Denver. The meeting offered the opportunity to present to more than 50 women’s studies department chairs and ask them to join the Classroom Program. Wiki Education appreciated the opportunity to meet with more women’s studies instructors and scholars, including several of our current program participants, and we look forward to future collaborations. One of NWSA’s Wikipedia Fellows, Dr. Jenn Brandt, joined Jami to share her experience in the Wikipedia Fellows pilot cohort. Dr. Brandt is teaching in the Classroom Program for the first time this term, so she also reflected on the value of asking students to learn how to contribute to Wikipedia while she was in the process of doing so herself.

Dr. Jenn Brandt presents about her experience a Wikipedia Fellow at NWSA 2018 regional meeting.

Outreach Manager Samantha Weald worked this month to finalize the on boarding of our new Spring 2018 courses. As of March 31, 2018 we had 168 courses taught by new instructors scheduled for the term! She also ran a webinar for the Deep Carbon Observatory to broaden our work with them into the Classroom Program. They currently support a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar.

Classroom Program

Status of the Classroom Program for Spring 2018 as of April 4, 2018:

  • 387 Wiki Education-supported courses had course pages (214, or 55%, were led by returning instructors)
  • 7,226 student editors were enrolled
  • 51.4% of students successfully completed the online training
  • Students have edited 4,480 articles and created 314 new entries.

We officially broke our record for the largest number of courses we have supported at once! Additionally, this spring has made this the first full academic year where we have a greater number of returning instructors than new instructors. It is both encouraging and exciting that instructors are enjoying this assignment so much that they want to do it for more than just one quarter or semester. We held another set of office hours in March and fielded some fantastic questions about our Dashboard, curriculum tips, and other troubleshooting matters. We are also entering the time of the year where both Spring semester and Spring quarter classes are running which keeps Wikipedia Content Experts Ian Ramjohn and Shalor Toncray very busy. Next month Classroom Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal will return to the program in full-swing, with thousands of students participating in nearly 400 courses.

Student work highlights:

March is Women’s History Month, which recognizes the achievements made by women throughout history. It is only fitting that some of our best contributions this month are edits to articles (some of which are new) about truly remarkable women. In Mount Allison University professor Christiana MacDougall’s Gender and Science class, two articles that stood out: those on Kaye Wellings and J. Mary Taylor. Wellings is a sexual and reproductive health educator. Her research on risk practices relating to drug use in prison populations, as well as the taboo of birth contraceptives, earned her a spot as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. She also helped launch the first National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, which surveyed people in Great Britain and was the largest survey of this type in the world at the time. Taylor is a mammalogist who pioneered the way for women and served as President of the American Society of Mammalogists from 1982 to 1984. She developed a mammalogy program at Wellesley College and was also the first woman to hold a professional position in the Biology Department at the University of British Columbia when she accepted a position at the university in 1965. This was far from the only course to work on an article about a woman; Amanda Foster’s Wake Forest University class on Accessing Information in the 21st Century wrote about several women, one of which was the amazing Millie Dunn Veasey. Veasey was an American veteran who served from 1942 to 1945 in the Women’s Army Corps and the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. She was also active in the civil rights movement, serving with the Raleigh-Wake Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which she became President of in 1965.

Other new contributions include one by a student in University of Arizona professor Christopher Sloman’s POL150C2 class. This student expanded the Wikipedia article about philanthrocapitalism, a form of philanthropy that has some similarities to how business is done with for-profit outlets through methods such as venture philanthropy. Students in University of Chicago professor Anjali Adukia’s class on Violence in the Early Years contributed to the article on internet addiction disorder. This disorder is marked by excessive Internet use that interferes with the person’s daily life. Students expanded this article by adding information that includes that this disorder is not currently recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), which notes that it needs more research. They greatly improved the article, adding almost 12,000 words!

Last month students uploaded images to Wikipedia but two in particular stood out. The first is a painting uploaded by a student in Stanford professor Jessica Riskin’s History of Evolution class. The image is “Wanderer in the Storm”, a painting by the German artist Julius von Leypold. This was one of his most well known works and for good reason. It’s atmospheric and the painting’s themes of man’s loneliness and nature’s transience are ones that resound in all of us.

Image: File:Wanderer in the Storm.png, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The second is a picture uploaded by one of Shonn Haren’s California State Polytechnic University students in her Information Literacy for the Digital Age class. The picture shows a scene from the Ramona Pageant, an outdoor play staged annually in Hemet, California, since 1923. It depicts how the play uses its outdoor surroundings in its storytelling to help draw in viewers more effectively.

Image: File:A Scene from Ramona Pageant.jpg,Chris Jepsen, Konrad Summers, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

These articles by students received Good Article status in March:

These articles were nominated for Good Article status:

These articles were approved for the Did You Know section of Wikipedia’s Main Page:

Community Engagement

This past month saw us finalize a Visiting Scholars partnership with the University of New Mexico. The Visiting Scholar would ideally focus on the American Southwest, the Heath Care of Native Populations, Latin Culture of the Southwest, or food. We also announced a new Visiting Scholar this month. Thanks to source access provided by the University of Windsor, Textaural will develop articles about topics like cross-border culture, First Nations history in the Essex county/Detroit River area, early French History of the Detroit River area, Windsor/Sandwich’s Underground Railroad, and First Nations sports history.

Visiting Scholars have created or improved 35 articles this quarter. Here are some of those articles: Essex County, Windsor, Ontario, Diamond – In Space, Rose Chernin.

We featured the work of Northeastern University Visiting Scholar Rosiestep, aka Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, on our blog this month. Rosie has accomplished a lot since she joined the Visiting Scholars program last March; read all about it here!

Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady has been introducing all of the Visiting Scholars to Program Manager Will Kent in anticipation of his leave, which will begin April 1. Will has been following up with the Scholars with more introductions and conversations.

Program Support


KPFK LA interviewed Dr. Benjamin Karney, his doctoral students at UCLA, and Wiki Education’s Director of Programs and Deputy Director LiAnna Davis about teaching with Wikipedia. They discussed improving Wikipedia in the classroom and the impact student work can have, especially when editing psychology topics. You can listen to the March 19 segment here, starting at 1min, 45sec into the clip.

We featured a number of instructor testimonials on our blog this month. Dr. Jessica Roberts shares how to engage media students in service learning with a Wikipedia assignment. Dr. Clare Talwalker spoke to the passion that students bring to their work when they learn to improve Wikipedia. And Dr. Jennifer Butler Modaff writes how a Wikipedia assignment situates student learning in broader contexts.

March was Women’s History Month, which was a great opportunity to show off some great work students in our Classroom Program have done to close the gender gap on Wikipedia. Students have improved Wikipedia’s coverage of women directors, women in STEM, women in academia, and more.

We were also featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education this month, thanks to a great interview with the National Women’s Studies Association’s Allison Kimmich about our Classroom Program. A number of other publications featured stories about Wiki Education, as well, including Yes Magazine, The Washington Post, HerCampus, AOIR, and KPFK LA.

Blog posts:

External media:

Digital Infrastructure

Outreachy intern Candela Jiménez Girón wrapped up her project in early March, and wrote some wonderful reflections on the experience. Meanwhile the next round of internships is nearly upon us, with Google Summer of Code and Outreachy applicants making a large number excellent contributions ahead of the late March proposal deadlines.

Product Manager Sage Ross implemented several new email-based features for instructors:

  • an email when students start enrolling, which highlights the Dashboard’s tools for keeping track of student training and contribution progress;
  • en email when students become substantially active on live Wikipedia articles, which highlights the Dashboard’s authorship highlighting and ‘Diff Viewer’ features; and
  • automatic emails whenever a student’s work is flagged as possible plagiarism.

In support of the global Wikimedia Programs & Events Dashboard, we also substantially updated the Dashboard’s system for updating course statistics on a continual basis. Long-running events with very active participants no longer bring the update speed for typical events to crawl, and most events will have accurate estimates of when to expect updated stats — with one-day edit-a-thons updating every ~5 minutes while they are going on. The Dashboard also now supports labels for Wikidata, so that events that involve Wikidata contributions can see the names of the Wikidata entities in their own language (instead of just the entry’s Q number).

Finance & Administration / Fundraising

Finance & Administration

For the month of March, the total expenses were $152,000, ($59.000) under the budget of $211,000. Each of the departments: Fundraising, General and Administrative, and Governance were on target to meet the budget. The ($59K) under budget relates directly to Programs in the following areas: Personnel ($32K), Professional Services ($16K), Travel ($8K), and budgeted Software ($3K) that was not pursued. The gap in the Programs budget is also due to project hiring for Guided Editing, which was budgeted for the beginning of January, but has not yet been spent. We will not begin that spending until we receive the grant for the project, as indicated in our plan.

The year-to-date expenses were $1,404,000, under the budget of $1,756,000. The variance of ($353,000) is understood seen mostly in Programs due to the budget assumption of an increase in Personnel and Professional services that did not occur and is compounding the difference overtime. Resulting in Program variances: ($101K) Personnel expenses, ($115K) Professional services, ($31K) Travel, ($20K) combined marketing and administrative costs, and ($20K) indirect costs relating to Program Occupancy. As mentioned in previous months, the year-to-date Fundraising disparity of ($21K) is due to a shortage in Travel in December and January, but has been on track for the last two months. The General and Administrative department had been under budget due to Personnel changes in Q2 and has corrected itself for the last two months and is on target to stay within budget for the remaining months of the Fiscal year.


In March, Wiki Education’s Director of Development and Strategy, TJ Bliss, continued to cultivate relationships with funders who we think might be interested in Wiki Education because of our Future of Facts, Guided Editing, and Sustaining Science initiatives. We submitted a proposal for a $100K grant from a large private foundation interested in supporting our Sustaining Science initiative. We are also being actively considered for funding at two other major foundations. We continued to reach out to funders who we think may be interested in sponsoring specific topic areas that we support in our Classroom Program and are developing an infographic to explain this program to potential funders. We also continued conversations with two non-profit organizations who are interested in a co-fundraising approach related to areas of common interest.

Office of the ED

  • Current priorities:
    • Finalizing the first draft of our new Strategic Plan 2018–21 document
    • Drafting the first version of next fiscal year’s budget
    • Preparing annual reports for funders

March has been a busy month, as we’ve been working on two larger projects: our annual plan and budget for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as the strategic plan that outlines our key focus areas for the time between 2018 and 2021. Both projects are on target, with the first version of our new strategic plan document scheduled to be sent to our board in mid-April and the budget draft to be ready for review by our new financial and accounting service SFBay Financials at about the same time.

Executive Director Frank Schulenburg also worked with TJ and LiAnna on preparing reports for Simons Foundation and Stanton Foundation. SFBay Financials provided invaluable financial analysis that will be integrated into the reports.

Also in March, Frank and TJ worked closely with external consultants Tyton Partners on refining a proposal for our upcoming exploration of our new “Selling Services” model, which aims at investigating whether universities would be willing and able to provide financial support for our services, a strategy to make our revenue model more sustainable.

In mid-March, Frank participated in a meeting of leading journalists and scientists from Germany in Palo Alto as part of a program sponsored by the German National Academy of Sciences, the Robert Bosch Foundation, and Johns Hopkins University. Interest in how Wiki Education is working with universities in the United States and Canada on making scientific topics more accessible to the general public through Wikipedia has been high.

Frank also provided advice to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which was seeking his input on how to set up organizational processes and policies in order to increase organizational effectiveness.

Finally, Frank wrote a new “Work habit and office hours policy” that he shared with staff at the end of the month.

Visitors and guests

  • David Peters, EXBROOK


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