Grants:APG/Proposals/2018-2019 round 1/Wiki Education Foundation/Proposal form


1. In order to support community review, please provide a brief description of your organization's work in the upcoming funding period.

Wiki Education Foundation will collaborate with students and subject matter experts to improve the representation, accuracy, and completeness of knowledge on Wikimedia projects.

2. Name, fiscal year, and funding period.
  • Legal name of organization: Wiki Education Foundation
  • Organization's fiscal year: July 1 – June 30
  • 12-month funding period requested: January 1 – December 31, 2019
  • Currency requested: US Dollars
  • Name of primary contact: LiAnna Davis, Chief Programs Officer & Deputy Director

3. Amount requested.

Table 1

Currency requested US$
Total expenses for the upcoming year $2,606,242 $2,606,242
APG funding requested for the upcoming year $400,000 $400,000
Amount of funding received from WMF for the current year $400,000 $400,000

4. How does your organization know what community members and contributors to online projects need or want? Does your organization conduct needs assessments or consult the contributors and volunteers most involved with its work?
We hosted a focus group of our faculty who were at WikiConference North America in October in which we asked about their experiences and what we could do better.

We run extensive surveys of our program participants, asking our Student Program instructors and our Wiki Scholars & Scientists editors about their experiences in our program, what worked well, and what we could do better next time. We also ask our participants to craft blog posts reflecting on their experiences, which we use to shape our understanding of the needs of program participants. For our Student Program, we also hosted a focus group for any of our participating faculty who were attending WikiConference North America in Columbus, Ohio, in October, asking questions about their experiences in our program and how we could better meet their needs. For our Wiki Scholars & Scientists Program, we are currently working with Tom Caswell, a well-known figure in the open educational resources movement, who is an instructional design consultant. Tom is in the middle of evaluating our curriculum and giving us pointers on how we can better meet the learning needs of our participants.

5. Please provide a link to your organization's strategic plan, and a link to your separate annual plans for the current and upcoming funding periods if you have them.

Annual plan summaryEdit

In 2019, we're focusing on making significant progress on the strategic objectives under our strategic goals of Equity, Quality, and Reach from our current strategy. In terms of equity, we are focused specifically on improving content and bringing on board contributors who are currently under-represented in Wikimedia projects. For quality, we aim to improve the accuracy of content in underdeveloped areas. And our reach goal speaks to the need to improve the quality of information on Wikidata as well as Wikipedia, as more and more people access knowledge through intelligent personal assistants like Alexa or Siri, who are using Wikidata as a key source. Underpinning all of our programmatic efforts in 2019 is a drive to make Wikimedia content more representative, accurate, and complete, in line with our new strategy.

Key programs and activitiesEdit

Student ProgramEdit

Our Student Program currently has one branch: the Wikipedia Student Program. In 2019, we will maintain the Wikipedia Student Program at its current level, while focusing our efforts on preparing for a 2020 launch of a new Wikidata Student Program branch and aligning our curriculum within the existing Wikipedia program around our equity strategic priority.

What we're continuing to do and why
Wiki Education will continue to support university students who are editing Wikipedia as a class assignment.

We've had a lot of success with our Wikipedia Student Program (formerly known as the Classroom Program; we've recently renamed our programs to better speak to their primary audience) in 2018, and we want to continue that success in 2019. We will continue the key work of this program:

  • attend academic conferences in underdeveloped topic areas to recruit new instructors
  • provide assignment design resources through our Dashboard software to onboard new faculty
  • support faculty and student editors who are participating in the program, intervening if there are any problems
  • encourage student editors to improve Wikipedia's knowledge equity, such as improving articles on topics like undocumented immigrants' rights in the United States, Montreal's Black Power Movement, and social justice topics
  • measure the impact of our classes, and focus on how to retain the best instructors

Since we've been running this program for more than eight years, we know what works, and we're confident that we'll be able to maintain the same level of output from the program, as we shift our growth into new areas.

What we intend to do that is new and why

We have two new projects within the Student Program: a new Wikidata branch and a curriculum project to speak to knowledge equity.

Wiki Education is collaborating with Wayne State University's University Library System (ULS) and School of Information Sciences (SIS) on a proposed pilot to create a model for integrating Wikidata assignments into library science classrooms. Wayne State, a public university in Detroit, has a diverse student body and deep resources on topics related to social justice, organized labor, and urban affairs. In 2019, we will create a suite of Wikidata training materials, curriculum design, and other support resources to plan for a pilot program beginning in January 2020 with five Wayne State library courses. The goal of the program will be to develop resources to support Wikidata assignments more broadly, determine best practices for integrating Wikidata editing and querying into library science curriculum, and creating a model that can be replicated at other library science schools. Given the general state of help materials for Wikidata, we also see this pilot as contributing to the broader Wikimedia movement by creating a suite of newcomer-friendly Wikidata editing and querying resources.

Wikidata is a core element in our strategic plan, and this pilot has been developed in direct response to our new strategy: (1) Equity, in that by deliberately partnering with Wayne State, we are explicitly targeting an institution committed to a diverse student body in library science that has a collection focused on underrepresented topics; (2) Quality, in that we're engaging libraries in improving Wikidata quality; and (3) Reach, in that we're looking to improve the information on Wikidata used by smart devices like Alexa and Siri. Presuming our pilot in 2020 is successful, we expect to move the Wikidata Student Program into our core suite of programmatic offerings.

For our existing Wikipedia Student Program, we are also starting a project to improve the equity elements in our program. We're working with Dr. Alexandria Lockett, a professor at Spelman College (the top historically black women's college in the U.S.), who has taught in our program for many years and has a deep understanding of both Wikipedia and equity. Dr. Lockett will engage in a project to evaluate our current resources for areas where we can include a deeper focus on knowledge equity for all courses — e.g., encouraging students to consider how many women or people of color they are citing, or creating discussion prompts about structures of power and privilege that have influenced their topics. While we're proud of our work in recruiting classes specifically looking to improve race, gender, and sexuality articles on Wikipedia, we believe this project with Dr. Lockett will help us increase the engagement of equity topics for students in all disciplines.

What we intend to discontinue and why

After four solid years of programmatic growth in the Wikipedia Student Program, we're planning to level out our support at around 750–800 classes this year, same as in 2018. We want to instead focus our staff efforts on creating the materials for the Wikidata Student Program, evaluating the equity elements of our assignments, and expanding our Wiki Scholars & Scientists Program.

Wiki Scholars & ScientistsEdit

What we're continuing to do and why
Zoe Brigley Thompson and Amy Dye-Reeves, two Wikipedia Fellow participants, with Wikipedia Fellows Program Managers Will Kent and Ryan McGrady at a presentation at Wiki Conference North America 2018.

In our 2018 progress report and pilot evaluation report, we described how our new Wikipedia Fellows program has shown great promise at systematically engaging subject matter experts and getting them to improve Wikipedia articles in their area of expertise through their participation in a three-month course. Additional Fellows cohorts in the second half of 2018 have only confirmed our belief that this program has the potential to answer one of the big questions facing the English Wikipedia: How can we improve content that requires subject matter expertise, especially in knowledge equity areas that are underdeveloped due to our existing editing community?

For example, in our summer 2018 cohorts, 99 participants added an average of 1,600 words each, to high-traffic articles like activism, authority, and phonetics, and to knowledge equity articles like postcolonial litearture, cyberfeminism, Paula Giddings, and more than 30 biographies of women scientists. Our courses specifically targeted at biographies of women scientists have been big draws, and participants in our program respond well to discussions about how their work can address historical inequities. As participant Michelle Gohr wrote: "By understanding the Wikipedia back end and skills needed to edit, academics and educators have the potential to make critical changes. Not only can we enrich the content within Wikipedia itself, but we can use it as a powerful tool for teaching through a learning community. Through the lens of an academic and librarian, this to me is the true power of Wikipedia and academic involvement in it. Because anyone can edit, we can disrupt knowledge gatekeeping and production which has, for a long time, privileged and primarily reflected white, wealthy, cis, hetero, male thought and histories. We can reconstruct and re-contextualize authority and decolonize knowledge systems by incorporating strong feminist and indigenous epistemologies, and we can do this by participating. While we do this, our students will be watching, reading, and maybe even participating themselves, and we’ll know that the content they’re getting is (or can be with some help and edits) well rounded, representative, and maybe even radically transforming." We are confident in our ability to continue to engage subject matter experts to contribute meaningful content in areas we seek to fill through the Wiki Scholars & Scientists program.

While keeping the initial structure of the program, we're making some big changes to the program in 2019.

What we intend to do that is new and why

In 2019, we are directing our outreach efforts into growing a modified version of our Fellows program, one we think also has the potential to answer one of the big questions facing Wiki Education: How can we sustainably fundraise for our organization?

As the FDC noted in our last review, a fee for service model could help support Wiki Education's budgetary growth. We've spent much of 2018 investigating different models, in conjunction with a consulting firm, and we have determined that we do not think charging for our Student Program, where students edit as a course assignment, will generate sufficient revenue. But the Fellows program, with a model tweak and rebranded as the Wiki Scholars & Scientists program, has the potential to be a revenue-positive program for Wiki Education, while still maintaining our ability to target specific topic areas on Wikipedia with subject matter experts as editors. In the second half of 2018, we've begun testing this model, with our first cohort of Wiki Scholars in conjunction with the U.S. National Archives. Participants are asked to pay a course fee and will receive a professional development certificate jointly issued by Wiki Education and one of our institutional partners upon successful completion of the course. We identified an initial funder who is offering scholarships to cover the costs of participating for anyone who doesn't have access to professional development money through their employer, but the pilot has already generated a handful of paying participants. We are eager to explore expanding this program, as it fits two key criteria: (1) Engaging experts in improving Wikipedia content, especially in high-profile and knowledge equity content areas where expert engagement is needed; and (2) Creating a fee-for-service model by fulfilling professional development needs for employees of universities, GLAMs, and other educational institutions.

In 2019, we are expanding this program, testing different models (e.g., individuals pay vs an academic association or university sponsors 20 slots for their members). Throughout this program, we expect to generate enough revenue to offset the costs associated with it in 2019, with a goal of evaluating our business model to determine if the program could also generate enough revenue to offset some of our other organizational expenses. Throughout this effort, we are committed to ensuring that the participants in our professional development course are making positive contributions to Wikipedia.

We see this program as fitting into all elements of our strategic plan: (1) Equity, in that we have already seen great engagement in courses themed around improving knowledge equity on content; (2) Quality, in that we are partnering with knowledge institutions to engage experts; and (3) Reach, in that we are explicitly guiding experts to improve content that attracts large page views, but that is difficult for a non-subject matter expert Wikipedian or student editor to improve.

What we intend to discontinue and why

As described above, we will be discontinuing offering this program for free, in favor of the professional development model that includes a certification. We expect the payment barrier will initially dampen the numerical impact this program has, but we think the potential for the fee for service model to help address our sustainability question for the future, so we intend to move forward with it this year.

Other projectsEdit

We will improve the usability, fix bugs, and add features to our Dashboard software.
  • Our technical work on our Dashboard platform will accelerate, as we hire our first developer. We plan to improve the Dashboard's flexibility in support of Wikidata programs and the Wiki Scholars & Scientists program, as well as fixing bugs and improving usability for the global community. We expect our platform to remain a key piece of technology for Wiki Education and other Wikimedia organizations who use the Program & Events Dashboard for tracking and managing their work.
  • In the second half of 2019, we expect to begin a research project to meet our strategic objective 2.1: "Develop and implement a method for assessing Wikipedia content quality on a regular basis, so that we and others can easily identify and target areas that need improvement". This objective is directly in line with feedback we received from the FDC in our last proposal, and we are eager to engage on this topic.
  • As mentioned in our 2018 progress report, we are significantly reducing our efforts for the Visiting Scholars program. While we'll still attempt to fill open slots and find positions for qualified Wikipedia editors who request a Visiting Scholars placement, we are not actively recruiting for this program in 2019, nor are we directing much staff time to it. Thus, our metrics for the program reflect this lower attention to the program.
  • Our development, finance, administration, human resources, and governance work will continue to ensure our organization runs smoothly, so we can make headway on our strategic plan in 2019.


Program name Q1 - 2019 Q2 - 2019 Q3 - 2019 Q4 - 2019 Total
Student Program $108,618 $112,612 $151,947 $136,947 $510,123
Scholars & Scientists $142,592 $140,765 $211,720 $185,720 $680,797
Technology $102,060 $105,060 $101,867 $101,867 $410,854
General/HR/Finance/Admin/Board/Fundraising $232,701 $248,616 $265,867 $257,284 $1,004,468
Total $585,971 $607,052 $731,401 $681,818 $2,606,242
Revenue $591,000 $370,000 $879,000 $895,000 $2,735,000


In 2019, we will continue to measure editors, articles edited, amount of content added, and quality articles using ORES, the same grantee-defined metrics as we used last year. Per our discussion in last year's progress report form, we've learned a lot about how measuring quality articles using ORES played out this year, and so we've made some adjustments to how we're setting our goals for the programs based on an additional years' experience with it. While we still believe ORES isn't perfect, we do think it's the best stand-in for quality to date in our organization. As mentioned above, we hope to kick off an article quality assessment project in 2019 that we hope will lead to us being able to measure change in article quality in a topic area in future years.

Program name Total Participants Newly Registered Content Pages Improved Quantity1 Quality Articles2
Student Program 16,000 15,500 19,200 11,200,000 4,500
Scholars & Scientists 175 155 525 250,000 100
Visiting Scholars 10 0 750 500,000 100
Total 16,185 15,655 20,475 11,950,000 4,700

1Number of words added to the article namespace.

2Number of articles that have at least a 10-point improvement in an ORES-based quality prediction score, which indicates significant improvement of the "structural completeness" of an article.

Verification and signatureEdit

Please enter "yes" or "no" for the verification below.

The term “political or legislative activities” includes any activities relating to political campaigns or candidates (including the contribution of funds and the publication of position statements relating to political campaigns or candidates); voter registration activities; meetings with or submissions and petitions to government executives, ministers, officers or agencies on political or policy issues; and any other activities seeking government intervention or policy implementation (like “lobbying”), whether directed toward the government or the community or public at large. General operating support through the FDC may not be used to cover political and legislative activities, although you may make a separate grant agreement with the WMF for these purposes.
I verify that no funds from the Wikimedia Foundation will be used
for political or legislative activities except as permitted by a grant agreement

Please sign below to complete this proposal form.

IMPORTANT. Please do not make any changes to this proposal form after the proposal submission deadline for this round. If a change that is essential to an understanding of your organization's proposal is needed, please request the change on the discussion page of this form so it may be reviewed by FDC staff. Once submitted, complete and valid proposal forms submitted on time by eligible organizations will be considered unless an organization withdraws its application in writing or fails to remain eligible for the duration of the FDC process.
Please sign here once this proposal form is complete, using four tildes. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 18:19, 28 November 2018 (UTC)