Two of my four meetings yesterday were with people at the Wikimedia Foundation (the other two were with instagrok, and google). I had a chat with Tilman Bayer about Wikimedia research, and LiAnna Davis about the WMF Education program.
With both Tilman and LiAnna I talked about some of the evaluation stuff they’re doing, most of which is at a ‘wikipedia’ level – i.e., it’s not about individual contributors, but about the movement (which is fair enough!). I’ve blogged about some wiki research before so I won’t cover that stuff again. However, I’ve talked less about the education program, which is doing pretty well (!) with positive evaluations and lots of new articles created as a result of work with individuals, universities, and organisations such as the Association for Psychological Science and ‘instituitionalisation’ partners like Georgetown which has trained a large number of people to run wiki-assignments. Taking a somewhat closer look, because the assignments are, well, assignments they have a 26 point rubric for pre-post editing metrics to give some sort of quality assurance (and grade to the student). I love that this program has been successful, and I can imagine setting wiki-assignments being a (rather difficult!) great first year assignment with brilliant potential for providing semi-automated feedback to individual students.
WMF is an interesting organisation for lots of reasons including its structure, the movement is volunteer led…with WMF giving guidance and support for the movement’s goals (and of course, involved on those), there are also regional chapters (such as WMUK, and the largest – Wikimedia Deutschland) which are separate organisations with their own goals and facilitative capacities, to which the WMF gives some funding. At least…that’s how I understand things.
Anyway, upshot of that is it’s interesting having talked to both WMF and WMUK about some projects with ostensibly similar aims (concretely – WMUK is building a training VLE, WMF has developed training materials).
- http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Charles_Matthews and http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Learning_Environment contain discussion on the VLE
- http://modulewiki.wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Main_Page provides access to materials on the VLE
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Training is the training materials which I talked about with LiAnna
However, the problem with both systems (insofar as I remember, I can’t seem to access the VLE right now) is:
- The training materials are really nice, but they don’t tie in to actual user edits (in either a training wiki space or the real wikipedia sites), and I don’t think they have quiz functionality or anything like that – the only way we know users have ‘completed’ training is that they’ve clicked through all the pages and completed a feedback
- The VLE materials provide quizzes (as per moodle) but again, I don’t think there was any tie in to real editing (although of course you’re encouraged to do that as you go along)
So one thing I’m interested in is whether we can get finer grained wikipedia analytics and badges. Analytic tools tended to focus on tracking editor trends, we want skills tracking -did our training get students to add a reference? Successfully? Etc. There’s great scope here for a feedback loop/formative assessment to support effective editing (and, collaborative knowledge building).
Another thing I talked about was the idea of a wiki-editing training space – as in both other meetings that day, raising the possibility of seeding a wiki with a) some other pages, and b) some known (and evaluated) sources to draw from in a ‘multiple document processing’ task. I’ll blog more about that here http://sjgknight.com/finding-knowledge/2013/06/wiki-editing-adventure/ where I’ll also discuss the wikipedia editing adventure game (which is basically a point and click game with activities and quiz style questions, but again I don’t think any data-feed in). Essentially the idea in the (at time of writing, in draft) post is that a dummy wiki could support both learning how to edit wikipedia (using some of the analytics described in the badging post linked above), and provide a research and teaching platform to support student’s evaluative skills and credibility judgements.
Unsurprisingly, the Foundation has also talked about potential for developing mooc resources on editing and using Wikipedia…again, analytics and course design would be fundamental here.