- Chief Programs Officer and Deputy Director LiAnna Davis attended the Wikimedia Summit in Berlin, Germany at the end of March. The gathering of representatives of Wikimedia organizations was an opportunity to give feedback on the Wikimedia strategy process to working group members. LiAnna met up with many members of the global Wikimedia community, gaining valuable insight she has brought back to our organization.
- Since January we have been running our third Wiki Scholars course to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women’s suffrage. The courses are the result of a collaboration between Wiki Education and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in advance of their May 2019 exhibit Rightfully Hers, which celebrates the centennial of women’s right to vote in the United States. This month, the nine participating academics, librarians, and independent researchers wrapped up their contributions.
- It’s not every day that a student takes the time to officially thank their professor for a great project. But that’s what Madeleine Hardt, Dr. Jennifer Glass’ student at Georgia Institute of Technology, did after learning how to write Wikipedia articles as a class assignment. The thank you came in the form of a certificate of appreciation issued through Georgia Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Read more in our blog post.
LiAnna attended the Wikimedia Summit in Berlin, Germany at the end of March. The gathering of representatives of Wikimedia organizations was an opportunity to give feedback on the Wikimedia strategy process to working group members. LiAnna met up with many members of the global Wikimedia community, gaining valuable insight she’s brought back to our organization.
On March 19, Scholars and Scientists Program Manager Ryan McGrady presented about Wiki Education’s programs at a Pratt Institute faculty event in Brooklyn. As we spread the word about Wiki Education’s new professional development offerings, we are consistently excited by the enthusiasm people have for the idea. The courses with NARA, improving women’s suffrage articles on Wikipedia, have been particularly popular.
Wikipedia Student Program
Status of the Wikipedia Student Program for Spring 2019 in numbers, as of March 31:
- 374 Wiki Education-supported courses were in progress (221, or 59%, were led by returning instructors)
- 7,169 student editors were enrolled
- 61% of students were up-to-date with their assigned training modules.
- Students edited 3,350 articles, created 203 new entries, and added a total of 1.76 million words.
As our winter quarter courses wound down and our spring quarter courses started up, the vast majority of our courses really got going with their Wikipedia assignments in March. Students finalized their topics and began drafting their work. The next few weeks will see a flurry of student activity as they begin to move their contributions into the article main space.
We were happy to welcome long time instructor in our program, Professor Cecelia Musselman of Northeastern University, to our SF office in early March as she made her annual pilgrimage to the Bay Area. We all enjoyed chatting with Cecelia and finding out what makes her courses so successful.
Finally, in March we launched a newly revamped version of our end of term instructor survey. We’re looking forward to learning what our instructors have to say about the Student Program.
Student work highlights:
Are you a fan of true crime? Do you find yourself fascinated by not only the pursuit and capture, but also the trial and legal issues that may pop up as the case runs its course through the legal system? If so, then you may find yourself intrigued by the Buried Bodies Case, an article that one of the students in Beth Williams’s Advanced Legal Research class at Stanford Law chose to expand for their assignment. The Buried Bodies Case refers to the mid-1970s criminal trial of Robert Garrow, Sr., who was charged with the murder of 18-year-old college student Philip Domblewski while he was camping in the Adirondacks with his friends. Defense attorneys Frank H. Armani and Francis Belge were chosen to represent Garrow, who confessed that he had not only murdered Domblewski but also two other women unrelated to the case and informed the attorneys where he hid the bodies. Upon locating the bodies, Armani and Belge chose to keep this information a secret despite an ongoing search for the women. When this was discovered during the Domblewski trial, Armani and Belge faced not only public criticism but also criminal and ethical proceedings. They were eventually cleared in both cases, as the People v. Belge and its appeal confirmed that their actions had protected the Fifth Amendment constitutional right concerning self-incrimination, although the judge did note that attorneys should “observe basic human standards of decency.” Although they were now cleared of wrongdoing, the aftermath took a large toll on both attorneys as Belge abandoned his profession while Armani suffered a heart attack that temporarily destroyed his practice. As the case occurred during the Watergate scandal, this contributed to the case’s attention and the American Bar Association began reconsidering attorneys’ ethical obligations. Law schools also began to reconsider how legal ethics were taught and the case is still a touchstone of legal ethics classes today.
Another student in Beth’s class chose to create an article for the U.S. Supreme Court case of Hudson v. Palmer, which started with a search of Russell Palmer’s cell at the Bland Correctional Center in Bland, Virginia, on September 16, 1981. After the search Palmer stated that officer Ted Hudson destroyed some of his personal belongings, which included legal materials and letters, as part of a targeted attempt to harass him and violate his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. The ruling of the District Court was that “intentional destruction of a prisoner’s property is not a violation of due process, when the prisoner has an adequate remedy under state law” and that even if the search was non-routine and meant to harass Palmer, it did not have “constitutional significance” under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. An appeal filed at the Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision on due process but ruled that Palmer “had a limited privacy right which may have been violated” if the search was undertaken because of “a desire to harass or humiliate him.” This was again appealed and it went to the Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled that “Prison inmates have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their cells under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and destruction of property did not constitute a Due Process violation under the Fourteenth Amendment because Virginia had adequate state law remedies.” Based on a privacy test derived from the Katz V. United States case in 1967, prisoners had no right to privacy due to the need for prison security to detect and remove drugs and contraband, maintain sanitary surroundings, as well as to ensure institutional security. They also found that Fourth Amendment protections did not cover prisoner restrictions, as “imprisonment carries with it the circumscription or loss of many significant rights”. Justice John Paul Stevens filed an opinion on behalf of four justices that disagreed with the Fourth Amendment holding, as they felt that “inmates must retain some “slight residuum of privacy” in their cells and because the Seizure Clause “protects prisoners’ possessory interests even assuming the absence of any legitimate expectation of privacy” and that safety concerns don’t eliminate all civil rights of prisoners. He further wrote that the Court’s decision “declares prisoners to be little more than chattels” and that Chief Justice Burger’s assessment that society would not recognize privacy rights for prisoners as legitimate was faulty, as this was at odds with the general agreement by the lower courts that prisoners retain some privacy rights, and that prison officials also shared a “near-universal view…that guards should neither seize nor destroy non contraband property.” Following the case many state courts that had previously not ruled that incarcerated persons had some limited amount of Fourth Amendment protection have changed their state constitutions to follow the Hudson ruling, with Vermont serving as the only exception. The case was cited in the 2012 Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, where it held that strip searches of pretrial detainees entering a general jail population do not violate the Fourth Amendment as it struck a balance between “inmate privacy and the security needs of correctional institutions,” not by holding that pretrial detainees have no Fourth Amendment privacy rights.
If you asked people to name a painter, many would name Claude Monet, a French painter well known as a founder of French Impressionist painting. A student in Inga Dorosz’s Art 200 course at Cuesta College chose to improve the collection of Monet paintings on Wikimedia Commons by uploading an image of the beautiful 1886 painting Champs de Tulipes, which is currently on display at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Depicting a beautiful, lush tulip field filled with many different colors, the flowers are overlooked by a windmill standing next to a house. A blue sky filled with fluffy clouds crowns them all. It’s a beautiful painting and a wonderful addition to Wikipedia’s article on Monet.
It’s been said that protesting is the new brunch—trendy and fashionable. But protests can be the fulcrum by which people leverage massive changes, as the students in UCLA professor Jennifer Chun’s Protest and Social Change in East Asia course demonstrated. Students contributed more than 30,000 words to Wikipedia, almost all in the form of writing about topics that hadn’t been covered on Wikipedia yet. When South Korean President Park Geun-hye was being impeached, her supporters staged the Taegukgi rallies to show their opposition to the proceedings. The number of reported attendees, however, may have been greatly exaggerated. Students created an article about the Anti-incinerator movement in China, as residents were concerned about the health effects of living next to trash incinerators. Similarly, students wrote about the 2005 Huashui protest, which was also by Chinese citizens concerned about the effects of pollution. With the Wikipedia assignment, students not only learned about the political complexities of protests and demonstrations, but they also learned how to convey them to a general audience, backing up their work with dozens of citations.
Usually, when we think about the carbon cycle, we think about the processes that happen in the atmosphere, the biosphere, and the upper layers of the Earth, but tied to that is a deep carbon cycle that involves carbon present at much deeper layers — in the Earth’s mantle and core.
A student in Simon Klemperer’s Journey to the Center of the Earth class created an article about this far less familiar carbon cycle. Another student in the class created an article about the deep water cycle, a similar portion of the water cycle. Other students in the class created articles about the mantle, including one on the lower mantle, another on the mantle oxidation state and a third about core-mantle differentiation, the processes by which the core and mantle differentiated as the Earth cooled. Another student created an article about inner core super-rotation, the theory that the inner core of the Earth rotates faster than the outer core. Other students expanded related articles about more general topics, including one who expanded the planetary core article and another who expanded the lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary, an article that was created by another student editor in 2015.
Students in Amy Carleton’s Advanced Writing in the Sciences class created a range of new articles which included fascinating areas related to biotechnology and health like tissue engineering of heart valves, extremophiles in biotechnology, Bilophila wadsworthia, Boston University CTE Center and Brain Bank and food safety in the United States.
Scholars & Scientists Program
Since January we have been running our third Wiki Scholars course to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women’s suffrage. The courses are the result of a collaboration between Wiki Education and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in advance of their May 2019 exhibit Rightfully Hers, which celebrates the centennial of women’s right to vote in the United States. This month, the nine participating academics, librarians, and independent researchers wrapped up their contributions. Here are some of the highlights:
- A Wiki Scholar made substantial improvements to the article about the woman suffrage parade of 1913, a large march organized by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns which was the first suffragist parade in Washington, DC.
- Another scholar started an article about Carrie Langston Hughes, an African-American writer, actress, and mother of Langston Hughes.
- The article on Mabel Ping-Hua Lee was doubled in size, with more than double the number of citations. Lee was a Chinese advocate for women’s suffrage and head of the First Chinese Baptist Church in New York’s Chinatown. In particular, the Scholar built out Wikipedia’s coverage of Lee’s education, career, and suffrage-related activities.
- Mary Birdsall‘s article is now triple the size it was before a Wiki Scholar started working on it. Notably, the number of citations in the article grew from only 5 to 69!
- After the 19th Amendment passed, one of Alice Paul‘s primary activities and historical contributions was the Equal Rights Amendment. This received a single short paragraph in the article before a Wiki Scholar expanded it substantially to be one of the more well developed sections of her biography.
- A Wiki Scholar substantially expanded the article on Emma Barrett Molloy, an American journalist, lecturer, and temperance and women’s rights activist from Indiana.
We were also excited to kick off a Communicating Science on Wikipedia Wiki Scientists course with 8 scientists from both academia and industry. The participants bring a diverse range of expertise to Wikipedia, from seismology, chemistry, and astronomy to food science and STEM education. It is too soon to highlight good work, since the group has only just started editing in their sandbox, but we are excited about the fascinating subjects they plan to improve.
Visiting Scholars Program
This month, the George Mason University Visiting Scholar, Gary Greenbaum, brought the article on the Apollo 15 mission up to Featured Article status. Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the United States Apollo program and the fourth to land on the Moon. The 1971 mission had a greater focus on scientific research than had previous missions, and it was the first use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle. David Scott and James Irwin spent 18.5 hours on the surface, collecting 170 pounds of material to bring back for research purposes. Another first from the mission was on the way back home, when Alfred Worden performed the first spacewalk. Although it was a great success, it was tainted by a controversy involving unauthorized postal covers. If that sounds familiar, it is because Gary brought that article up to Featured Article recently, too, and we mentioned it in a previous monthly report.
Gary had another Featured Article with the Norfolk, Virginia, Bicentennial half dollar, adding to a long list of extremely high-quality numismatics articles. The half-dollar was minted in 1937, but the year on the coin said 1936, as it was intended for that year’s 200-year anniversary of Norfolk being designated a royal borough.
Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University, added 12 more articles about women writers to her ever-growing list (more than 440!). For example, Cordelia Throop Cole (1833-1900) was a social reformer who lectured, wrote, and edited on behalf of the temperance crusade and social purity movement. Mary Elizabeth Wilson Sherwood (1826-1903) wrote under the names M. E. W. S., M.E.W. Sherwood, and Mrs. John Sherwood. She wrote short stories, poetry, several books, and etiquette manuals. She was also a translator of poems from various European languages. Emily Lee Sherwood Ragan (1839-1916), also known as Jennie Crayon and E. L. S., was an author and journalist in Washington DC. She was a charter member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and involved in writing and research at the Library of Congress. She also served as press superintendent of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.
In March, the Advancement Team worked hard to identify potential new funders, had several good conversations with potential partners, traveled to several association meetings, and developed a budget and began drafting an annual plan for the next fiscal year.
No new grants were awarded in March, but we submitted several proposals for funding. One proposal was invited by one of our current funders to support our Communicating Science efforts. Chief Advancement Officer TJ Bliss worked with senior leadership and the Programs team to develop and submit a proposal in response to this invitation. Customer Success Manager Samantha Weald conducted desk research and identified two new potential funders with goals aligned to our purpose and strategy. Samantha worked with TJ to develop and submit Letters of Intent to each these funders. TJ also had several conversations with our current funders, including the Stanton Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation. During the Wikimedia Summit, LiAnna met with our program officer to discuss the status of our Annual Plan Grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. Finally, we worked with our colleagues at Wayne State University to develop plans for raising money to support an effort we are developing together around Wikidata.
It’s not every day that a student takes the time to officially thank their professor for a great project. But that’s what Madeleine Hardt, Dr. Jennifer Glass’ student at Georgia Institute of Technology, did after learning how to write Wikipedia articles as a class assignment. The thank you came in the form of a certificate of appreciation issued through Georgia Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Read more in our blog post.
In their newly published research analysis of the Wikipedia assignment, Dr. Ariella Rotramel, Rebecca Parmer, and Rose Oliveira of Connecticut College conclude that the assignment works well with feminist curricula, prepares students for careers, and fosters effective collaboration among faculty. Read more here.
Chelsea Sutcliffe completed our recent professional development course in order to improve Wikipedia’s representation of women in STEM. She shared her three take-aways on our blog: The gender gap is real – bridge it. Imposter syndrome is real – be bold. If time is money – donate it. Read more here.
Emilee Helm, a student at the University of Washington, wrote about how much the Wikipedia assignment she completed in Nathan TeBlunthuis’ course affected her. “I could not have imagined I would be so satisfied with my experience. I was able to gain confidence and develop a final product that I am undoubtedly proud of.” Read more here.
- Why this professor will “never go back to term papers” (March 1)
- Wikipedia is the ultimate open educational resource (March 4)
- The Wikipedia assignment: praxis as pedagogy (March 6)
- Experimenting with Wikipedia as a woman in STEM (March 6)
- Information science students participate in Wikipedia’s living archive (March 7)
- Wikipedia offers a solution for teaching critical media literacy (March 8)
- Make sure every woman in science has a Wikipedia bio (March 8)
- Monthly Report, January 2019 (March 8)
- Why Wikipedia often overlooks stories of women in history (March 11)
- Student’s perspective “completely altered” after Wikipedia assignment (March 12)
- Wiki Education publishes program evaluation update (March 12)
- Students write 50 Wikipedia biographies of women in STEM in less than a year (March 13)
- Radical African thought, revolutionary youth culture, and Wikipedia (March 14)
- Teaching students how to communicate science (March 18)
- Fulfilling your potential (March 20)
- When students become experts and experts become students (March 22)
- Telling the whole story of US women’s suffrage (March 27)
In March, the Technology department started work with Salesforce consultants Common Voyage to update our data infrastructure for our Scholars & Scientists Program and create flexible interest and application forms for the Advancement team. We also started work on a streamlined system for responding to help requests, as a replacement for the Desk.com ticketing system that will be shut down next year. This new system, which we’ve dubbed TicketDispenser, will be rolling out in April.
Following the preliminary process mapping we conducted during the February All-Staff meeting, we created a set of editable process maps for both the Scholars & Scientists Program and the Wikipedia Student Program; these provide a framework we can continue using to identify the most important technical needs for scaling our programs as they continue to evolve.
Outreachy intern Cressence wrapped up her project this month, with an updated course creation interface for both Wiki Education courses and global programs on Programs & Events Dashboard.
Finance & Administration
The total expenses for March were $172,000, just ($2K) below the budgeted $174,000. All departments were either on target, or very close to their target. Programs was over by $4K due to a known payroll overage of $7K while under ($3K) in printing costs, fundraising is under ($1K) by only using half of the travel budget for March. General & Administrative was under by ($4K) due to indirect cost reallocation. Technology was under ($1K) in rent and internet. And the board was right on target.
The year-to-date expenses are $1.56M ($246K) under budget of $1.8M. We expected that fundraising would be under by ($157K) due to a change in plan for professional services ($149K) and deciding not to engage in a cultivation event ($10K) and ($1K) in travel this month. Programs are under ($49K) due to a few changes in processes – professional services ($13K), travel ($37K), printing and software ($15K), communication ($5K), and indirect expenses ($25K) while reporting an overage of $42K in payroll and $4K in furniture and equipment. General and Administrative are under ($20K) due to a reduction of payroll ($16K) and professional fees mostly relating to audit and tax prep ($4K). The board is entirely on budget. Technology is under budget by ($20K) as there was a change in plans in utilizing the budgeted professional fees ($17K) and additional rent ($7K) and instead $4K increase in furniture and equipment.
Office of the ED
- Coordinating and overseeing work on the Annual Plan & Budget for FY 2019/20
- Preparing the annual Leadership Team retreat at the Green Gulch Zen Center
- Providing support during the development of our new Wikidata training
As part of the work on next year’s Annual Plan, Executive Director Frank Schulenburg started reviewing the individual departments’ budgets. We’re currently at a point where all different parts of the new plan get pulled together so we can see the whole picture and determine whether all elements work well with each other and everything makes sense. Big picture is that we’re well on track with our annual planning process work. We expect to deliver the first draft to our board on time.
Given the strong need for high-quality training materials that empower new users to engage in Wikidata, the structured open data repository for facts, we decided to kick off work on Wikidata trainings earlier than initially planned. When you Google a topic or ask Alexa a question, the answer you get often comes from Wikidata instead of coming from Wikipedia – that’s why our strategic plan calls for expanding our programmatic offerings to Wikidata. We’re planning on accepting applications for this new and unique offering within the next few months, with the goal to start the first courses in July.
We have known for a while that the librarian community would be a great target for such a Wikidata training, given the already existing interest of librarians in everything related to “Linked Open Data” (structured data published under an open license which is being made available in a way that allows it to be interlinked and become more useful through semantic queries – think of Linked Open Data as the precondition for the internet to become a global database that is freely available to everyone). Also, with the Association of Research Libraries’ (ARL) task force on Wikimedia and Linked Open Data having asked for public comments on its white paper “Wikidata: Opportunities and Recommendations” on November 30, 2018, we could foresee that the interest in Wikidata among librarians in the United States would only increase in 2019. In this context, Wiki Education will play the important role of being the intermediary between the world of librarians and Wikidata. Our goal is to empower and encourage librarians to contribute to Wikidata so they can advance and enrich the discovery of locally curated collections on the web.
In order to prepare for a launch in July this year, we established an internal task force that will be dealing with all aspects of scoping, developing, and marketing our new Wikidata training within the next couple of months. Given that librarians have large amounts of high-quality data at their hands, we’re really looking forward to seeing numerous exciting ideas and projects coming out of this engagement that will allow the general public better access to reliable and rich information.
Professor Cecelia Musselman of Northeastern University, a long time instructor in our program, visited our SF office in early March. We all enjoyed chatting with Cecelia and finding out what makes her courses so successful.