Monthly Report, August 2018


  • We announced our upcoming collaboration with the National Archives (NARA) to run a course to train scholars how to edit Wikipedia. We’re thrilled about working together to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women’s suffrage in the United States and related topics. David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, also published an announcement about the opportunity on his own blog.
  • At the end of the month, we attended the American Political Science Association’s conference in Boston to recruit participants for the NARA course. The conference offered an excellent opportunity to meet with current participants in Wiki Education’s programs, particularly from the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), and learn about their experiences as they improve Wikipedia’s coverage of their disciplines.
  • Google Summer of Code student Pratyush Singhal wrapped up his internship building the Article Finder, which students and instructors in Fall 2018 will be using to more easily search for articles that are ripe for improvement. And Outreachy intern Urvashi Verma finalized her improvements to how the Dashboard handles image uploads. Both projects yielded highly useful new features of the Dashboard.
  • Fellows are moving work live and improving articles related to women scientists, the midterm elections, science topics, and much more. They are making high-quality contributions and giving glowing feedback about the Fellows program as a beneficial professional development opportunity. We’re excited to take our learnings from these rounds of Fellows and apply it to our future professional development program.


Educational Partnerships

This month, we attended the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia. There, we presented alongside Wikipedia Fellows alumnus Dr. Michael Ramirez to share with sociologists why we believe Wikipedia is one of the most important sources for informing the public.

We announced our upcoming collaboration with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to run a course to train scholars how to edit Wikipedia. We’re thrilled about working together to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women’s suffrage in the United States and related topics.

At the end of the month, we attended the American Political Science Association’s conference in Boston to recruit participants for the NARA course. The conference offered an excellent opportunity to meet with current participants in Wiki Education’s programs, particularly from the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), and learn about their experiences as they improve Wikipedia’s coverage of their disciplines.

File:Will Kent with Wikipedia Fellow at American Political Science Association's 2018 annual meeting.jpg
Program Manager Will Kent and MPSA Wikipedia Fellow Tyler Steelman.

Classroom Program

Status of the Classroom Program for Fall 2018 in numbers, as of August 31:

  • 228 course pages were in progress (132, or 58%, were led by returning instructors).
  • 1,721 student editors were enrolled.
  • 82% of students were up-to-date with their Wikipedia training.
  • Students edited 38 articles and added 3,220 words.

The Fall 2018 term has just begun and already, close to 2,000 students have signed up for their Wikipedia assignments across almost 230 courses. While most of our students don’t move their contributions to the article mainspace until much later in the term, these early weeks are critical.

In order to make those more substantial contributions later on, students gradually familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of Wikipedia through our interactive training modules and host of general and subject-specific handouts. We’re especially excited to have students use our newly updated Dashboard timeline that is both more concise and targeted in providing students with the background information they need in order to become contributing Wikipedians.

We look forward to another productive and meaningful term!

Student work highlights

Health care has and still remains a hot button topic in the United States for multiple reasons. A sizable portion of the country’s population lacks health insurance and the ability to obtain Medicaid, Medicare, or private health insurance. These individuals, termed medically indigent adults by the health care system, often cite cost as one of their main reasons for not obtaining insurance. Many also state that they make too much to qualify for state aid, despite not being able to afford insurance or obtain it via an employer. While some charitable organizations offer assistance, they are unable to completely meet needs. The Affordable Care Act was also unable to resolve the issue of medically indigent adults, as undocumented immigrants weren’t covered under the act and as such, remained without insurance. Thanks to a student in Clackamas Community College professor Nicole Rosevear’s English Composition class, this article was greatly expanded.

Another student in Rosevear’s class expanded the article on the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, which requires that some Federal contractors and all Federal grantees provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition for receiving a contract or grant from a Federal agency. The act was passed by President Ronald Reagan to address and combat drug abuse in the military. Under the act, all federal employees are prohibited from using illicit substances regardless of whether or not they are on-duty.

Community Engagement

Visiting Scholars

Dora Knowlton Ranous
Uploaded by User:Rosiestep
Image: File:Dora Knowlton Ranous.png, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Our Visiting Scholars have been hard at work adding references, new sections, removing content, retitling, and providing substantial edits to many articles this past month.

Here are a few:

Margaret Manton Merrill
Uploaded by User:Rosiestep
Image: File:Margaret Manton Merrill.png, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Wikipedia Fellows

Cohorts started in June

As the weeks pass by, current Fellows keep making regular improvements to several significant articles. They are overhauling already existing articles, creating new ones, and making small edits to many additional articles as they acclimatize themselves to Wikipedia policy, style, and tone. Here are some highlights from this past month:

  • The Fellows cohort tasked with improving midterm election-related articles has been hard at work defining several common terms in political science related to voting and policy. Look to the Authority article for more precise definitions and examples. The American Woman Suffrage Association article has seen several improvements, including additional citations, a streamlined history section, as well as additional distinctions from similar organizations. Fellows have worked hard on the articles for Protest vote, minority group, power (social and political) to have clearer definitions and a more logical organizational structure.
  • Our second cohort working on midterm-related topics has taken a different approach, focusing more on individuals running for office. Chrissy Houlahan and Fayrouz Saad are both new articles about individuals who ran in primaries earlier this year. Previously these individuals had no representation on Wikipedia. The article about the shooting of Antwon Rose Jr. demonstrates the importance of documenting details in police shootings. This shooting inspired several protests and marches, which were previously not represented in this article.
  • Fellows in the general topics cohort are selecting articles that demonstrate their areas of expertise. The article about postcolonial literature has been updated to reflect updated sources, changes in terminology, and new critical approaches. One Fellow has been spending lots of time on the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance article, creating a section for Activities and Archives and significantly improving the content of this article. We had a Fellow add a missing feminist perspective to the article about hypertext fiction.

Cohorts started in July

These three cohorts are moving ahead with the editing process and have started moving their content live this past month. As a reminder, two of these three cohorts are themed: Women in Science focuses on improving Wikipedia’s coverage of women in science (especially biographies) and Communicating Science focuses on improving coverage of scientific topics in general. Here are some highlights from the high-quality work that these three cohorts are producing:

  • The Communicating Science cohort, covering all areas of the sciences, has been producing some excellent results. One Fellow has spent some significant time on the phonetics article, adding citations, expanding sections, and reorganizing the article’s structure. Another Fellow has substantially updated the Gladys Reichard article by providing more details on her work. The hemagglutinin (influenza) article has also seen several updates from one of our Fellows. They provided new details and expanded the subtype, structure, and antiviral treatment sections. The prenatal development article has seen changes in many sections, including modified environmental toxins, as well as the modified risk factor sections. Lastly one of our fellows added some fundamental content to the N,N-Diisopropylethylamine article, clarifying definitions, reactions, headings, and adding a new introductory paragraph.
  • Coming from many different backgrounds, Fellows in the general topics cohort have selected a broad set of articles to improve. One Fellow has enriched the close reading article by adding citations, new paragraphs, and creating some entirely new sections. Another Fellow has made some careful removals and additions to the Mary Osborn article. There are major updates to the references, awards section, and more information about her role as a scientist. The article about Audrey Lorde’s work, Your Silence Will Not Protect You, now includes a more detailed description of its contents, an image, and a refined infobox. One Fellow updated the origin of the term “information overload“. The Fellow significantly expanded several sections of the article, providing more links, citations, and examples of the term.
  • In the Women in Science cohort we are specifically adding content to create or improve biographies of women scientists and their accomplishments. We have several Fellows working on the list of inventions and discoveries by women. One Fellow added several references to the Laura Kiessling article, expanding her research, awards, and removing less detailed content. Another Fellow created the article for Kathleen Merikangas entirely from scratch. The same is true of the article for Bi Bi Monajemeh Nishaburi, as well as the article for Candice Renee Price.

Program Support


This month, we announced our collaboration with NARA in an upcoming skills-development training course. To read more about the scope and focus of the course, view our official announcement here. David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, also published an announcement about the opportunity on his own blog. He contextualizes the importance of inviting scholars to contribute to Wikipedia within NARA’s mission. Read it here.

Blog posts:

External media:


This month we wrapped the summer projects by interns Urvashi Verma and Pratyush Singhal, both of whom created highly useful new features.

Urvashi, whose project focused on better support for image contributions, shipped these key improvements:

A completely redesigned ‘Uploads’ tab (example) that lets you switch between several different layouts and filter by user

  • A shortcut from the list of editors to the gallery of images contributed by a particular editor
  • An image gallery integrated into user profile pages (example)

Pratyush built the Article Finder, which students and instructors in Fall 2018 will be using to more easily search for articles in a particular topic area that are ripe for improvement. Some highlights from Pratyush’s project:

  • Students can reach it from the ‘Home’ tab, and use it to mark the article(s) they’ll be working on.
  • Instructors can reach it from the ‘Available Articles’ section of the Articles tab, and use it to compile a set of topics for students to choose from.
  • Results can be filtered by estimated quality/completeness and by average page views.

We made several improvements to the system for creating and updating training modules for the global Programs & Events Dashboard, and drafted a training module for volunteer admins. We also added a new monitoring feature to the Dashboard: Wiki Education staff will be alerted whenever a program participant gets blocked on Wikipedia. Work continued this month — and is now nearing the final stretch — to upgrade the core React framework that powers most of the Dashboard’s user interface.

Finance & Administration / Fundraising

Finance & Administration

Overall, the total expenses in August were $152K, $37K less than was budgeted. The main difference comes from Programs, which is $36K under budget. This difference directly relates to the Program Director’s leave, as funds were budgeted for a project that has been put on hold until their return, staff development ($9K), volunteer development ($12K), travel ($7K), payroll costs ($7K), and indirect costs. The remaining $1K under budget comes from Technology under $5K due to Fringe benefits ($2K) and travel that had been pushed out ($3K) whereas General and Administration was over budget due to an unbudgeted Marketing Expense.

File:Wiki Education expenses 2018-08.png
Wiki Education expenses for the month of August 2018

The year-to-date expenses are $290K, $87K under budget. Programs is under budget by $72K. Payroll expenses ($16K), professional fees ($10K), volunteer development ($12K), travel ($13K), printing materials that got pushed out ($10K), indirect expenses based on occupancy ($11K). Technology is under by $6K due to outside services that have been pushed into fall. General and Administration are under by $5K mainly due to deliberately pushing non-essential costs forward.

File:Wiki Education expenses 2018-08 YTD.png
Wiki Education’s expenses, year to date through August 2018


In August, Wiki Education received a one-year renewal of our current general operating support grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The renewal grant includes an additional $50,000 above the prior grant amount, and totals $425,000. We continue to move forward on offering some of our services for a fee, resulting in a more stable and predictable revenue stream in the future. In particular, Executive Director Frank Schulenburg traveled to Boise, ID to meet with Director of Development and Strategy TJ Bliss and external consultant Laura Kvinga in a two-day retreat focused on our business development planning and execution. Laura, who has business development and marketing expertise, helped us successfully launch our pilot with NARA.

TJ traveled to the East Coast for meetings with potential funders and partners in Washington, DC and New York City. In DC, TJ attended the MisInfoCon, representing Wiki Education, and had meetings with program officers at the National Science Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. He also had face-to-face meetings with key people at NARA. In NYC, TJ met with leadership at the New York Academy of Sciences and with the Executive Director of the Library of America. He also had a meeting Peter Kaufman of MIT to discuss the potential of Wiki Education contracting directly with institutional partners.

Office of the ED

  • Current priorities:
    • Change management: adjustments to Wiki Education’s revenue model

In early August, Frank traveled to Boise and met with TJ and Laura for a two-day retreat focused on business development planning. Together they created different scenarios for the mechanism, entities, and relationships involved in our new revenue model.

On August 10th, Frank, together with Eric Youngstrom, Yen Ling Chen, and Mian-Li Ong participated in the symposium “Opening Up Psychology to Give It Away – Open Platforms to Bring Psychology to all People” at the 126th Annual American Psychologists Association Convention at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Frank presented about “Pedagogical benefits and challenges of assigning psychology students to contribute to Wikipedia.”

File:Frank Schulenburg presents at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting, August 2018.jpg
Frank presents at APA 2018

Also in August, Frank coordinated the work of our internal task force for our NARA pilot. The task force continued to meet on a weekly basis and engaged in exercises related to topics like risk analysis and mitigation strategies, and details of the planned rollout end of the month. As a result, we saw a successful announcement of our collaboration on August 22nd.

Visitors and guests

  • Samantha Kao, Wikipedia Fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)
  • Margeigh Novotny, Wikimedia Foundation
File:Wikipedia Fellow visits Wiki Education's office, August 2018.jpg
AWM Wikipedia Fellow, Samantha Kao, visits Wiki Education in San Francisco

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