As higher education plans for a potential virtual term in Fall 2020 in the United States and Canada, Wiki Education is expecting to have an extremely high demand for our Student Program, where we support faculty who assign Wikipedia editing as a class assignment.
While we would love to support everyone who’s interested in teaching in our program, the financial realities of being a small, grant-funded nonprofit means we have limited staff capacity to support classes. Therefore, for the first time ever, we are instituting an application process for Fall 2020. If you are interested in teaching with Wikipedia during the Fall 2020 term, you must submit your course page by July 26, 2020.
We anticipate that we will be able to support the vast majority of courses that apply and are instituting these new procedures to ensure that we can provide meaningful support to all of our students and instructors.
Who does this apply to?
Any instructor who wishes to teach with Wikipedia through Wiki Education’s Student Program in fall 2020 must apply to participate. This application process applies to both returning instructors who have taught with our program in the past, and those new to the program.
What do I need to do to apply?
- Returning instructors: Log on to dashboard.wikiedu.org, and either create a new course page or clone one of your previous course pages. Be sure to submit it by July 26. Your submitted course page serves as your application.
- New instructors: Visit dashboard.wikiedu.org, go through the new instructor orientation, and then follow the prompts to enter our assignment design wizard, which will guide you through the creation of a course page. Your submitted course page serves as your application.
What is the timeline?
All course pages must be submitted by July 26, 2020 for consideration in our Fall 2020 cohort. Your submitted course page is considered your application. We will evaluate all applications and let applicants know if they’ve been accepted or not by August 7, 2020.
Any course pages submitted after July 26 will be accepted only on a space-available basis. We anticipate high demand; we strongly encourage anyone who is interested in teaching with Wikipedia in Fall 2020 to submit your course page prior to July 26.
What if my course starts before August 7?
We have heard some universities are considering early start dates. You will receive a confirmation email after submitting your course page application; this confirmation email contains contact information for you to reach out if there are extenuating circumstances and you need a decision prior to August 7.
What if I am submitting a course page for a term other than Fall 2020?
The above deadlines apply only for the Fall 2020 term. If you are submitting a course page for Summer 2020 or a future term, your course page will be reviewed on a schedule based on your course’s start date.
How will Wiki Education decide which courses will receive a spot for Fall 2020?
We expect to support the vast majority of courses that apply, and our intent is to turn away as few courses as possible. However, given that anticipated demand may exceed our capacity, we are instituting this application process to ensure we can have as many instructors and students have a positive experience on Wikipedia as possible. Factors we will consider when reviewing course submissions will include: number of students in the course, course subject, and expected outcomes to Wikipedia. We hope this new application process will enable us to better evaluate and assess our capacity so we can provide the support necessary to ensure all of our students can make meaningful contributions to Wikipedia.
Does submitting a course page by July 26 mean that I will be guaranteed a spot for Fall 2020?
No. Submitting your course page by July 26 ensures that we will review your application, but will not guarantee you a spot for the Fall 2020 term. We will make every effort to accommodate all interested courses.
If I do not get a spot for Fall 2020, can I still run a Wikipedia assignment without Wiki Education’s support?
If we are unable to offer you a spot for the Fall 2020 term, you will not be able to use Wiki Education’s Course Dashboard to keep track of your Wikipedia assignment. You will also not receive any staff support from Wiki Education. While we cannot prevent you from running the assignment, we strongly recommend that you find an alternative project. Running the assignment without our support will be challenging for you and your students, and we want your students to have a meaningful and productive experience when editing Wikipedia.
If I don’t receive a spot for Fall 2020, does that mean I will not be able to get Wiki Education’s support in future terms?
No. If we are unable to offer you a spot for Fall 2020, this will not preclude you from future Wiki Education support.
Will there be any changes in the support I receive from Wiki Education?
Potentially. In order to support the most number of courses possible, we will be asking a percentage of our participating courses to have students keep content in Wikipedia’s drafting area, known as “sandboxes”, until after the conclusion of the term.
Wiki Education’s commitment to the English Wikipedia community is that we are responsible for content added by our program participants. Without this goodwill from the community, we would not be able to operate our program at all. We want to uphold our end of the bargain while also supporting as many courses as possible. Most courses in our program are on roughly the same calendar, meaning we have a few very busy weeks toward the end of the term when everyone is working at once. In order to not overwhelm our capacity, we will ask a percentage of the classes we support to not move work live until we’ve had a chance to review it, which will likely happen in the weeks following the conclusion of the term.
We recognize that moving work into Wikipedia’s live article space is an exciting feature of the Wikipedia assignment, but this measure will enable us to support more courses that we might otherwise have to turn away. We will consider a number of factors when making this request, such as course size, course level, and course topic. If we do ask you to not have your students move work live, we will flag this to you as a condition of acceptance into our Fall 2020 cohort, and provide more details about what this means practically for your course page.
Why is Wiki Education asking some classes to keep student work in sandboxes?
In June, Wiki Education unfortunately underwent a round of layoffs due to the pandemic. The move to online classes has also greatly increased demand for the Wikipedia assignment. To support a larger number of courses with our reduced staff capacity, we’re asking some courses to keep work in sandboxes. We know how important the Wikipedia assignment is to many instructors, and our goal is to support the vast majority of courses who wish to do the assignment. The sandbox measure will allow us to do this by pushing back some of the work our staff does during the term to after the term is complete.
What does it mean for my course if my students must stay in sandboxes?
Your students will be able to participate in the Wikipedia assignment experience. They will do every step of the project except the final one of moving the work to the article main space. We know that seeing their work live is a very exciting component of the project, but be assured that students will still have opportunities to interact, either with other members of your course or on Wikipedia talk pages. Students will still obtain all of the skills that make the Wikipedia assignment pedagogically valuable — digital and media literacy, online communication, research, writing, and critical thinking.
Is there anything I need to do?
To ensure that students do not accidentally move their work into the article main space, we’ve removed the relevant training modules and steps from your course timeline. We ask you to remind your students that they should not move their work into the article main space and that their final grade will be based on their sandbox draft.
What if one of my students moves their work into the article main space anyway?
We understand that students do not always follow instructions. If a student does move their work to the live main space, we can easily return it to their sandbox. Please remind your students throughout the term that they will not be moving their work live.
How and when will Wiki Education review and move work into the article main space?
At the end of the term, Wiki Education staff will begin to review student sandboxes. If the work in question is sufficiently developed and of good quality, we will move it into the article main space. We will also attempt to do this in such a way to preserve the content’s contribution history. This means we’ll try to ensure that your students will show up as the contributors in Wikipedia’s version history.
Why was my course chosen to stay in sandboxes?
We used a variety of factors to decide which courses should stay in sandboxes. Over the past ten years of running the program, we’ve learned a great deal about the types of issues students encounter and in which courses they do so more frequently than others. Our job at wiki Education is to help your students when they run into tricky situations on Wikipedia. Due to our reduced staff capacity, we’re trying to minimize the types of situations that require staff intervention. Based on our experience, we’ve asked some courses to stay in sandboxes to help us avoid some of the challenges that arise when students move their work into the article main space.
What if I have additional questions?
You can reach out to Wikipedia Student Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. We will update this page with additional questions as we receive them.