Wikipedia Fellows is an interdisciplinary pilot to improve public knowledge about the most politically relevant topics.
The public learns through Wikipedia
In a time when terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news” have become shorthand for a wide range of political, educational, and epistemological challenges to public knowledge, it’s crucial that we ensure the quality of our most popular source of information.
We often hear from academics that there are many important topics that remain underdeveloped, uneven, poorly explained, or simply neglected on Wikipedia. We have years of experience supporting students in navigating Wikipedia norms and processes in classroom assignments that address these gaps. And now, subject-matter experts have asked for a similar infrastructure for their own work. Our new pilot, Wikipedia Fellows, provides just that.
2018 Wikipedia Fellows pilot
In Fall 2017 we worked with three of our partner associations to recruit a small number of their members to collaborate in our pilot cohort.
From January through April 2018, participants learned how to contribute to Wikipedia and, by the end, make a substantial improvement to at least two articles on subjects important to the initiative: public policy, political science, law, history, sociology, and environmental science. Our staff of Wikipedia experts provided training and guidance throughout the process, through both structured group settings and personalized one-on-one communication. Meet the nine scholars from our pilot cohort here.
Wikipedia Fellows is an interdisciplinary project and participants are encouraged to collaborate both as learners and contributors, sharing insights from each of their backgrounds and perspectives.
Wiki Education is the bridge between academia and Wikipedia
Wiki Education has a track record of supporting new editors as they contribute to Wikipedia, and we have built the necessary infrastructure to train them. Through the Wikipedia Fellows program, Wiki Education trains participants as Wikipedia contributors.
Wikipedia Fellows can take advantage of Wiki Education’s training infrastructure, supplemented by staff support in both one-on-one and group settings. Participants use Wikipedia, but also video conferencing and Slack, a free cloud-based chat/collaboration tool, to share ideas, offer suggestions, and otherwise share in the process of learning and contributing to Wikipedia.
In addition to facilitating the learning process and providing support as Fellows edit Wikipedia, Wiki Education tracks metrics about Fellows’ impact and publicizes results through our website, social media, and Wikipedia. For Wikipedia Fellows related news, click here.
- Time commitment: Wikipedia Fellows are asked to commit 3 hours/week for the duration of the program. At first, most of the time will be spent on learning how to contribute, including scheduled small group meetings. Structured training sessions will become increasingly infrequent over the course of the pilot as more time is dedicated to making Wikipedia contributions.
- Technology use: Fellows will be asked to sign up for a free video conferencing and group messaging service, which will be used to ask questions, share experiences, share resources, and collaborate on articles.
- Goals: By the end of the pilot, all participants should have made a significant improvement to at least two articles.
- Reflection: Towards the end of the pilot, participants will be asked to write a short reflective blog post about their experience.
- Feedback: In the beginning and at the end of the program, Fellows will be asked to respond to a short survey about their experience.
If you have questions about Wikipedia Fellows, please email Program Manager Will Kent at email@example.com