- Wiki Education’s board of trustees unanimously approved our plan & budget for 2019/20 at our board meeting this month. The senior leadership team was excited to report the organization’s already substantial progress toward its three-year strategic plan and we all look forward to continuing our work to actualize it.
- In June we not only received notification that our grant proposal to the Heising-Simons Foundation was approved, but that they will triple their support of our Communicating Science initiative this year. With this $300,000 grant, we will expand our impact on the scientific content on Wikipedia, with a particular focus on three topic areas of interest to the foundation: astronomy, physics, and biographies of women scientists, in particular astronomers and physicists.
- This month we developed brand new training modules for our Wikidata professional development courses, which roll out next month. The trainings cover an introduction to linked data, orientation to Wikidata, how to work with Wikidata’s community, querying, and more. We hope they will be useful teaching tools and create a space for new editors to have a meaningful impact on Wikidata.
- Our newest Wiki Scientists course registration went live with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). The course is open to members of the NYAS community, mostly graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and will begin in September. It’s a great opportunity to further engage scientists in our expanding course offerings, providing them with the expertise needed to leverage Wikipedia as a science communication and public education tool.
- Director of Partnerships Jami Mathewson and Customer Success Manager Samantha Weald joined employees at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in a recruitment workshop, as a first step to hopefully launching a Wiki Scientists course to add biographies of scientists to Wikipedia. The event allowed interested employees to get their feet wet on Wikipedia and start exploring LANL’s rich archives.
- In June, our Google Summer of Code and Outreachy interns completed the first stages of their summer projects. Khyati Soneji updated the Dashboard to import more complete data about each tracked revision, which is the foundation for including “references added” as once of the Dashboard’s statistics; as a result, users of our software now know how many references were added or removed in each edit (as an indicator for the verifiability of content added to articles)
Wikipedia Student Program
Status of the Wikipedia Student Program for Spring 2019 in numbers, as of June 30:
- 400 Wiki Education-supported courses were in progress (237, or 59%, were led by returning instructors).
- 8,345 student editors were enrolled.
- 66% of students were up-to-date with their assigned training modules.
- Students edited 7,800 articles, created 839 new entries, and added 6.6 million words to Wikipedia.
The Spring 2019 term has officially come to an end, and Wiki Education is incredibly proud of this cohort of dedicated students and instructors. 6.6 million words is no small feat, but it’s business as usual here at Wiki Education.
Though the term has come to a close, Wikipedia Experts were still busy reviewing the work from our more than 8,000 students. They’re making sure good work gets moved out of sandboxes and that each of our courses is internally closed out. Wikipedia Student Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal begun to comb through the results of our newly revamped instructor survey and will be making program recommendations based on this invaluable instructor feedback. She was also busy getting in touch with instructors about the coming Fall 2019 term.
Though the summer is relatively quiet for us, we are currently supporting 39 courses — a veritable break for the Student Program team!
Student work highlights:
Personification of the Americas, an article created by a student in Calvin College’s Baroque and Rococo Art course, was featured on Wikipedia’s main page as a Did You Know! The day that it was featured on the main page it received nearly 12,000 unique page views!
If you’ve ever parked in a city, college, or any place where your parking is timed, you may have noticed some chalk markings on your tires. These marks allow parking enforcement officers to determine how long you’ve been parked and whether or not you have stayed longer than the allotted time. However were you aware that the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that this constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution? A Stanford Law School student in Kevin Rothenberg’s Advanced Legal Research class saw that there was no article on the case of Taylor v. City of Saginaw and chose to edit this for their class assignment. During 2017 Alison Taylor filed suit against the City of Saginaw in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleging that the City violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches when it chalked her tires without her consent or a search warrant. The case was dismissed, as the courts found that while chalking did constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment, the search was reasonable. Taylor successfully appealed the decision and the Court of Appeals ruled that “The practice of marking the tires of parked vehicles with chalk to track the duration of time for which those vehicles have been parked, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” This was not the only article created by the class; another student created an article on the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018. This aims to create an effective system suited for the unique nature of child pornography crimes by adding four key protections for victims of child pornography offenses. The protections includes a floor of $3,000 in restitution that defendants must pay to victims, creates a Child Pornography Victims Reserve Fund within the federal Crime Victims Fund, clarifies that the “full amount of the victim’s losses” for trafficking in child pornography cases, and allows child pornography victims to enjoy equal rights with criminal defendants to review the child pornography in question in the case.
In the same class, another student saw that the article for prosecutorial vindictiveness was severely underdeveloped, as it was only a paragraph long, and chose to flesh it out into a larger, more comprehensive piece. For those unaware, prosecutorial vindictiveness occurs where a prosecutor retaliates against a defendant for exercising a constitutional or statutory right by increasing the number or severity of the charges against them. This is a major issue, as the United States Supreme Court has held prosecutorial vindictiveness to constitute a violation of a defendant’s right to due process. Prosecutorial vindictiveness was predated by the establishment of judicial vindictiveness, which the United States Supreme Court established in 1969 as a result of the case of North Carolina v. Pearce, and can be proven in one of two ways: actual or presumed prosecutorial vindictiveness. With actual prosecutorial vindictiveness the defendant must produce objective evidence showing that the prosecutor intended his actions punish a defendant for asserting a right, whereas when it’s presumed they may show that the circumstances of the prosecutor’s charging decision posed a realistic likelihood of vindictiveness.
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 capturing the world’s attention, it’s no surprise that one of Timothy Henningsen’s Research, Writing, and the Production of Knowledge students at the College of Dupage chose to write about a soccer player. The athlete in question is Zoey Goralski, who plays for the Chicago Red Stars. Born in Naperville, Illinois, on January 22, 1995, Goralski began playing soccer at a young age. This interest would continue to grow and while she was enrolled at UCLA, played for the UCLA Bruins, and brought the UCLA team to the national championship game in 2017. During her professional career she was a part of the U-15 and U-17 player pool for the women’s national team and played for the U-20 women’s national team and the U-23 women’s national soccer team. Her dedication and talent eventually caught the eyes of the Chicago Red Stars, who drafted her as a third team pick in January 2018.
Mars has long loomed as a figure in human mythology and art. In the age of space exploration, though, Mars has taken on a new role: potential destination. It’s possible that, someday, humans may live on the Red Planet. To prepare for such an adventure, we must understand the ways in which Mars differs from our own planet. A student in University of Washington’s Planetary Atmospheres course drastically improved Wikipedia’s coverage of the Atmosphere of Mars, nearly doubling the article’s size. The student is also responsible for four out of every five words on the article, which is viewed 500 times per day or more. Not only did the student meet their educational goals by researching and learning about Mars’s atmosphere, but they were able to enhance public knowledge by sharing their knowledge on one of the web’s biggest platforms.
Scholars & Scientists Program
Chief Programs Officer LiAnna Davis wrapped up a project where Wiki Education brought in instructional design consultant Michael Atkinson to evaluate the content and teaching in our Scholars & Scientists Program. Michael created both best practices documentation for us around things like running courses, using virtual learning environments, and hiring new trainers, as well as offering content suggestions and a framework for improving the content of our trainings based on competencies we’re teaching. The project has been helpful in giving us a roadmap for quality improvements we can make to our existing Wikipedia products as well as a framework we can use to create high-quality products as we build out Wikidata courses and expand our Wikipedia course offerings.
This was a busy month for the Scholars & Scientists Program with the start of four new courses. The first group joins us via the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, a non-profit consortium of 16 libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Wiki Education has long understood the vital role librarians play in the higher education ecosystem, and value the opportunity to help representatives of the Alliance’s member institutions better understand Wikipedia. Two other courses continue our relationship with the National Archives and Records Administration. Spurred on by their exhibit Rightfully Hers, celebrating the centennial of women’s right to vote in the United States, Wiki Education has been training historians, archivists, educators, and independent researchers to contribute to Wikipedia’s articles on women’s suffrage. In the past, we have run three courses as well as an Advanced Wikipedia course on this theme, and planned to run one more. However, interest was substantial enough that we decided to add a fifth, concurrently. Finally, we launched the first course in partnership with the Society of Family Planning. In this course, Wiki Education staff are working with medical practitioners and communicators to improve Wikipedia’s articles on abortion and contraception. Medical articles on Wikipedia can be challenging to edit, given not just the technical subject-matter but the special rules for evaluating sources and content. For these reasons subject-matter expertise can be very valuable, and we are excited to help these extremely knowledgeable professionals improve articles in these high-traffic areas.
Since all four courses just started this month, the Wiki Scholars and Wiki Scientists are still working up to making substantial contributions. Here are some of the articles participants have selected to improve:
- Florence Knoll
- Black Girl Magic
- Research question
- Women’s suffrage in Virginia
- Timeline of women’s suffrage in the United States
- Texas Equal Suffrage Association
- Lila Meade Valentine
- Late termination of pregnancy
- Abortion clinic
We have been busy marketing and announcing our new Wikidata offerings. We plan to facilitate a one-day workshop in New York City and launch two virtual Wikidata courses next month – a beginners course and an intermediate level course for participants with more experience with linked data. Each of these virtual courses will last six weeks, consisting of an hour-long class session each week and assignments lasting a few hours in between classes. In launching a new program, we are curious whether or not participants will be more interested in our traditional approach of facilitating courses online or if in-person workshops will prove to be another option for these kinds of opportunities.
The curriculum for the workshops and online courses is designed for participants with little-to-no experience with linked data as well as for participants with some experience. We want these Wikidata offerings to speak to different levels of familiarity of Wikidata in libraries to reach as many people as possible.
These courses will feature seven new training modules (in addition to a brief course orientation module). The training will cover an introduction to linked data, orientation to Wikidata, how to work with Wikidata’s community, querying, and more. We hope they will be useful teaching tools and create a space for new editors to have a meaningful impact on Wikidata. We’ve also been making tweaks to our Dashboard to have it better track Wikidata items in addition to the Wikipedia articles it already tracks. Encouraging the library community to join the Wikidata community will have a positive impact on both Wikidata and library collections. We’re looking forward to sharing out trainings, and monitoring the impact these new editors will have on Wikidata!
Visiting Scholars Program
Regular readers of our Monthly Report will recognize the name Gary Greenbaum, Visiting Scholar at George Mason University, as a frequent writer of Featured Articles. Most Wikipedia editors have not written one Featured Article, a designation reserved for the highest quality content on the project. This month, Gary added not one but three Featured Articles to his collection. Two are about coinage: the Maryland Tercentenary half dollar, issued in 1934 honoring the 300th anniversary of the arrival of English settlers in Maryland, and Grant Memorial coinage, a gold dollar and silver half dollar from 1922, commemorating what would have been Ulysses S. Grant’s 100th birthday. The third article was Apollo 9, which receives almost 1,000 views a day. It was the first flight of the full Apollo spacecraft, with both the command and service module and the Lunar Module. James McDivitt, David Scott, and Rusty Schweickart were in space for a ten-day mission largely in preparation for a later moon landing.
Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University, wrote several great biographies of women writers and suffragists this month. Lizzie Holmes (1850–1926) was an anarchist, writer, and key figure in Chicago’s labor movement. Celeste M. A. Winslow (1837–1908) was an author known for her poetry and contributions to periodical literature. Martha McClellan Brown (1838–1916) was a lecturer, educator, reformer, newspaper editor, and a leader in Ohio’s temperance movement. As usual, Rosie’s contributions are too numerous to cover in this report. She keeps track of some of them on Wikipedia here.
In June we received notification that our grant proposal to the Heising-Simons Foundation was approved. With this $300,000 grant, we will expand our impact on the scientific content on Wikipedia, with a particular focus on three topic areas of interest to the foundation: astronomy, physics, and biographies of women scientists, in particular astronomers and physicists. We will engage in this work in both our Student Program and our Wiki Scientists Program.
We also received a request this month to meet with the President of the WITH Foundation regarding our proposal submitted in May.
We received verbal confirmation from our Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation that our general operating support grant will be renewed later this summer.
We also provided a brief report and had a productive check-in call with our Program Officer at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Our primary fundraising goal is to confirm renewal of this grant in November.
Late in the month, Chief Advancement Officer TJ Bliss had a productive phone call with contacts at the United States Department of Agriculture. We are requesting funding from USDA to support a Wikidata competition related to agricultural topics in the heartland of the United States. This request was warmly received and a follow-up phone was scheduled for July.
Finally, we identified several new funders in media and civic engagement that we intend to reach out to in the coming months.
This month, our newest Wiki Scientists course registration went live with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). The course is open to members of the NYAS community, mostly graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Scholars and Scientists Program Manager Ryan McGrady will begin teaching the course in early September, guiding the participants through their first Wikipedia edits as they add scientific content to Wikipedia.
Jami and Samantha joined employees at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in a recruitment workshop, as a first step to hopefully launching a Wiki Scientists course to add biographies of scientists to Wikipedia. The event allowed interested employees to get their feet wet on Wikipedia and start exploring LANL’s rich archives.
Student Program news
We featured quite a few guest authors on our blog this month.
Sarah Mojarad, who teaches science communication at the University of Southern California, wrote a blog for us about her pedagogical motivations for conducting Wikipedia assignments and the impact it has on her students.
We also featured Dr. Gardner Campbell, who says teaching Wikipedia writing assignments at Virginia Commonwealth University has “far exceeded” his expectations. He offers an inspiring reflection on overarching, human lessons to be gained through working with Wikipedia.
Kitty Quintanilla, a medical student at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, shared her personal story for why she’s passionate about increasing access to free information.
And Dr. Amy Carleton was honored this month with MIT’s Teaching With Digital Technology Award. Read our write up about it here!
Scholars & Scientists news
We also wrote about a particular success story to come out of our professional development course with the National Archives: before six Wiki Scholars began working on the Nineteenth Amendment article as part of the course, the narrative focused on white, male change-makers. It now tells a much fuller story. Read all about the improvements here!
In another post, Wikidata Program Manager Will Kent described how Wikidata is becoming the next big tool for library staff to utilize. Our new Wikidata professional development courses help newcomers see how Wikidata best supports their needs and projects.
- Why is Wikidata important to you? (June 3)
- Wikipedia: Impactful science communication in higher education (June 3)
- Wikipedia didn’t tell the full story of the 19th Amendment… (June 4)
- Welcome interns Amit, Khyati, and Ujjwal! (June 5)
- Making healthcare more accessible through translation (June 7)
- Last chance to sign up for July Wikidata courses! (June 10)
- When students write women scientists into Wikipedia (June 20)
- Catalyzing deeper learning in the Humanities with Wiki Education (June 21)
- MIT awards instructor for utilizing Wikipedia in the science classroom (June 24)
- Monthly Report, May 2019 (June 26)
- Crowdsource: Wiki Wisdom. Mark Athitakis. Associations Now. (June 2)
In June, our Google Summer of Code and Outreachy interns completed the first stages of their summer projects. Ujjwal Agrawal converted his prototype Dashboard Android app into the Kotlin programming language, laying the groundwork for a maintainable codebase, and built many of the core features in preparation for a first release. Khyati Soneji updated the Dashboard to import more complete data about each tracked revision, which is the foundation for including “references added” as once of the Dashboard’s core statistics; after more than a day of continuous data importation, both the Wiki Education Dashboard and the global Programs & Events Dashboard have backfilled data for all current and previous courses about how many references were added or removed in each edit (as an indicator for the verifiability of content added to a Wikipedia article). Amit Joki completed an update of the Dashboard’s interface for selecting a wiki, in preparation for a clear way to choose which wikis to track for each course or program.
We worked with the Advancement and Programs teams to deploy new trainings modules for our professional development courses. Software Developer Wes Reid also created application and interest forms that integrate with Salesforce to automate key steps of the sales and onboarding process for these courses.
Our major medium-term project, an overhaul of the student user experience focused on the core stages of an article-writing assignment, saw some significant developments this month as well. With our early planning, we discovered that many of the things we need to change are compatible with an incremental rollout, which means we can build and deploy many of these changes without needing to wait for the start of a term. Wes began work on the interface for students to assign themselves, in preparation for a rollout of these first improvements in July.
Finance & Administration
The total expenses for June were $214,000, $3K below the budgeted $217,000. General and Administrative was under $2K due to shifts in expenses +$8K for professional fees including 990 preparation, +$7K in other direct costs, while underspending in employee related costs ($2K), Rent ($2K), Furniture ($2K) and Indirect Cost allocation ($11K). Governance was over +$3K due to timing. A portion of Board Meeting costs were budgeted for May, and fell in June +$5K, while annual dues were budgeted for June, but were allocated for the following Fiscal Year ($2K). Fundraising was under by $19K as there was a decision not to add another member to the department ($10K), reduced travel ($7K), and reduction in staff training ($1K). Programs was over budget by +$20K, as expected, with the decision not to reduce staff +$6K, the addition of outside professional work +$6K, increase in travel and conference costs +$3K and Indirect expenses +$8K, while deciding against printing a publication budgeted in June (3K). Technology was under budget by $4K, a combination of Travel ($6K) and increase in Indirect Costs +$2K.
The Year-to-date expenses are $2.143M, $275K under budget of $2.418M. It was known that Fundraising would be under by $212K due to a change in plan for professional services ($149K) and deciding not to engage in a cultivation event ($10K) and subsequent travel ($21K) as well as being under budget in payroll ($27K) and associated rent ($3K). Overall spending for Programs were right on track, just over +$2K for the Fiscal Year, however due to a few changes in processes-Professional Services ($5K), Travel ($27K), Printing and Reproduction and software ($18K) Communication ($7K) and Indirect expenses ($17K) while reporting an overage in Payroll +$72K and furniture and equipment +$4K. General and Administrative are under $27K due to a reduction of payroll ($21K), Occupancy ($15K), and furniture ($8K), while over +$2K in Communication and +$11K in Indirect Costs. The Board is under budget by $6K with a reduction in Board Meeting Costs ($6K) with an uptick in Payroll +$1K and Travel +$2K while under in Software costs ($4K), as it is accrued to next Fiscal Year. Technology is under budget by $32K as there was a change in plans in utilizing the budgeted professional fees ($19K) and payroll ($10K) and additional rent ($10K) and instead increased Furniture and equipment +$4K, Travel +$3K, and Communication +$2K.
Office of the ED
- Current priorities:
- In-person board meeting in Tiburon, California
- Getting the organization ready for the next fiscal year
In June, the members of Wiki Education’s board of trustees met in the small town of Tiburon, north of San Francisco. The meeting started with Executive Director Frank Schulenburg’s report of the organization’s progress towards its three-year strategic plan. Then, senior leadership reported on the highlights of fiscal year 2018/19 and presented the annual plan & budget to the board. After a short discussion, the board unanimously approved the plan & budget for 2019/20. The first day ended with an Audit Committee report and a number of administrative items. On the second day, board and senior leadership discussed new ways of broadening Wiki Education’s donor pipeline, followed by a discussion about the recruitment of new board members. After the renewal of board terms and committee membership, the meeting concluded.
Also in June, TJ and Frank met with Prasad Ram, founder and CEO of non-profit education technology start-up Gooru. Ram, who previously led Google Books for Education, described Gooru’s approach of empowering students with real-time data about their proficiencies and choices of learning activities, so they can choose their own best learning path and pace.
- Prasad Ram, founder and CEO of non-profit education technology start-up Gooru
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