Grants:APG/Proposals/2019-2020 round 1/Wiki Education Foundation/Proposal form

Proposal by Wiki Education Foundation to support its annual plan with Template:Usamountrequested/2019-2020 round 1/Wiki Education Foundation.

Template:Summary/2019-2020 round 1/Wiki Education Foundation

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A few terms used in the form:

FDC proposal form terms Wikimedia terms Learning & Evaluation terms


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

The Wiki Education Foundation will collaborate with students and subject matter experts to improve the representation, accuracy, and completeness of knowledge on Wikimedia projects, and support outreach programs globally through the Program & Events Dashboard.

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, 2020
  • 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 $2,351,690 $2,351,690
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?
Occasionally, professors like UC Berkeley's Naniette Coleman (second from right) and her students (far left and far right) visit Wiki Education's offices to meet with our staff (Wikipedia Student Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal, second from left), an opportunity for us to get in-person feedback.

At Wiki Education, we spend significant time and resources to survey our program participants about their experiences, including a large survey of all instructors who teach with Wikipedia through our Student Program as well as individual post-course surveys of all participants in our Wikipedia and Wikidata Scholars & Scientists Program. We ask questions about how we could improve their experience, and what advice they’d give to other participants. We use this information to shape our plans for programmatic changes. We also ask for feedback from students at the end of every training module, and regularly review the feedback and make edits based on this feedback. For feedback that we think would be helpful more widely, we also write blog posts summarizing the feedback.

We routinely take suggestions from English Wikipedia and Wikidata community members into account, as they interact with our program participants. And we present our learnings at conferences like Wikimania, the Wikipedia & Education Conference, Wikidata Con, and WikiConference North America, to ensure others in our community can benefit from our experiences. These venues are also, of course, opportunities for us to learn from others in the community as well. In particular, in preparation for our Wikidata program, we invited conversations from many experts in the GLAM and Wikidata space around the world, which helped us ensure our program took into account existing learnings.

This year we worked with instructional design consultant Michael Atkinson to do a learning evaluation of our course materials for our Scholars & Scientists program. Michael was instrumental in helping us revise our curriculum, track specific learning objectives, and refine how we approach instruction generally. We believe we have a pedagogically stronger offering now based on changes we’ve implemented from this feedback.

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 Summary

Wiki Education Staff, February 2019

This year is the true heart of our current strategic plan, as we work to tackle Wikipedia’s equity, quality, and reach. Through our Wikipedia Student Program, and the Wikipedia and Wikidata branches of our Scholars & Scientists Program, we’re actively improving the representativeness, accuracy, and completeness of Wikimedia content.

Student Program


In 2020, we will continue to keep our Student Program running strong, as it is a major driver of content and new editors on English Wikipedia.

What we're continuing to do and why — Support 16,000 new student editors as they improve Wikipedia, with a focus on science and equity content areas
Senior Wikipedia Expert Ian Ramjohn presents at the Ecological Society of America conference.
California State University at Sacramento faculty Rachel Miller and Julian Fulton present about teaching with Wikipedia to a group of colleagues.

Wikimedia Foundation data scientists uncovered a remarkable statistic about our program: Student editors in our program represent 19% of all new editors to the English Wikipedia, and 9% of all new editors, across all languages and all Wikimedia projects. In the 2018–19 academic year, we supported more than 16,000 students as they edited Wikipedia, mostly for the first time. We are on track to repeat these numbers in the 2019–20 and 2020–21 academic years, as a steady influx of new courses entering our program due to word-of-mouth and visibility work we’ve been doing easily replaces the courses that don’t return (due to sabbaticals, different course schedules, leaving academia, etc.). Each new class brings new students from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. Wiki Education’s Student Program is incredibly valuable to the Wikimedia movement because of our ongoing work to bring in new editors on a rolling basis throughout the year. Wikipedia’s content is enriched by the steady stream of new voices that Wiki Education brings to the project. To date, we’ve successfully taught more than 66,000 students how to edit Wikipedia, and we look forward to increasing those numbers with another 16,000 students next year.

We will continue to do some recruiting for new courses, but with a narrow focus on two topic areas: equity and science. As part of our strategic plan, it’s important for us to explicitly invite new courses in topic areas related to race, gender, and sexuality. Our years-long Communicating Science initiative is also an important source of foundation support for us, so we will continue to bring in new courses to improve the scientific content on Wikipedia.

Sometimes our equity and science initiatives even overlap, such as when a student created the article on geologist Andrea Dutton — an article whose pageviews spiked months later when Dr. Dutton was named one of the MacArthur “Genius” grant award winners. Dr. Dutton’s isn’t the only biography of a woman scientist students improved; so far in 2019, our student editors have tackled more than 200 biographies of women scientists, helping address English Wikipedia’s gender gap in coverage.

What we intend to do that is new and why — Refresh instructional materials based on equity consultant’s feedback

In 2019, we worked 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 issues surrounding equity. Dr. Lockett evaluated our current resources for areas where we can include a deeper focus on 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. In 2020, we will update our materials based on Dr. Lockett's recommendations. We’re excited to tackle equity by improving our instructional materials as well as through our ongoing efforts to recruit a more diverse contributor base and by tackling underrepresented content on Wikipedia.

What we intend to discontinue and why — Delay start of Wikidata Student Program

We had initially planned to launch a Wikidata Student Program in 2020, but we’ve had an unexpectedly difficult time finding foundations interested in supporting this work. We still believe that students — especially in courses like Library and Information Sciences, Digital Humanities, or Data Science — will find course assignments where they learn how to contribute content to and query Wikidata very meaningful. But in order to start a new program like this, we need new funding to support it. At this point, we are still seeking funding, and it is highly unlikely we will launch the program in 2020 as planned.

Wikipedia Scholars & Scientists

We conduct these courses using Zoom.
What we're continuing to do and why — Generate revenue while teaching subject matter experts to improve Wikipedia

In 2019, we transitioned this program to a fully fee-for-service model. No longer did we offer courses for free; instead, we used this program to generate revenue for our organization. We are proud that we’ve found a model that both brings in money to Wiki Education and makes a positive difference in terms of content on Wikipedia. In 2020, we will continue to expand the program.

We’ve been testing three sales models for the program: (1) Individual payer, in which we offer a course at a set time, and invite participants to individually sign up; (2) Institutional payer, in which a particular organization purchases an entire course for their membership or staff; and (3) a hybrid of the two, where an organization partners with us to recruit participants who individually pay from their network. In 2020, we will continue to test each of these models to determine what has the most opportunity for success in the future as we grow the program.

We're particularly pleased not only with the revenue we’ve generated from the courses, but also the impact to Wikipedia course participants have made, especially in content areas related to equity. For example:

  • In our collaborative courses with the National Archives about women’s suffrage, we’ve made significant impacts on telling the story of suffragettes of color on Wikipedia, a major knowledge equity content gap. Our Scholars have added biographies of Helen Appo Cook, Maud E. Craig Sampson Williams, and Myra Virginia Simmons, as well as improving stub and start class biographies of many other articles related to suffrage for women of color.
  • In one of our courses in partnership with the Society for Family Planning, a medical expert noticed the article on tubal ligation included citations to an advice column rather than medical journals. She overhauled the article, and is now responsible for 89% of the content of an article about women’s reproductive health that gets more than 500 page views a day.
  • In our course in partnership with the Colorado Alliance of Research Librarians, one participant expanded the article on the Black Girl Magic social movement, more than doubling the article’s size.
What we intend to do that is new and why — Add more advanced courses
Edits to the 19th Amendment article thanks to our one previous advanced course.

In 2020, we’re planning to launch new Advanced courses. We piloted this once in 2019, with a short course for alumni of our National Archives collaborative courses about women’s suffrage in the United States where the group collaboratively improved the article on the 19th Amendment, which is currently in a Good Article review. In 2020, we plan to experiment with other Advanced-type courses, where alumni of our existing courses collaborate to make an even more meaningful contribution to Wikipedia.

What we intend to discontinue and why — Reduce staff time spent on each course

As we scale the program, we are looking for ways to spend less staff time (our most limiting resource) per course. Throughout 2020, we’ll be looking for ways to remove the most time-intensive elements of our courses, so we can support more courses efficiently, with the same number of staff members. For example, we plan to experiment with more group activity; this will enable us to support more people at once, and participants have requested more in-group collaboration. We’ve successfully followed this model with the Student Program, and we look forward to doing this again with the Scholars & Scientists Program.

Wikidata Scholars & Scientists

Participants edit Wikidata during a Wiki Education Wikidata workshop.
What we're continuing to do and why — Generate revenue while teaching subject matter experts to edit Wikidata

In July 2019, we launched our new Wikidata Scholars & Scientists Program courses. Initially targeted at librarians, we offered two types of courses: one-day in-person workshops, and six-week virtual courses. We’re really excited to continue these courses in 2020. We’ve been astounded by how much content our program participants added to Wikidata items — as well as by some of the other contributions they’ve made.

For example, one of our Wikidata course participants wanted to work on criminal justice items, an important equity topic area in the United States context. The editor discovered that Wikidata lacked the property for “exonerated of” a particular crime. In the United States, recent social justice attention has been on identifying the systemic biases within the criminal justice system that have led to defendants of color being erroneously convicted of crimes; many people have been exonerated later. Our editor submitted a property proposal to add this important element to Wikidata.

We’ve seen a lot of interest for our Wikidata courses to date, and we’re interested in expanding the number of courses we offer in 2020. Already, our participant base has extended beyond librarians to representatives of museums, Wikimedia Switzerland, and a research company. We’re excited to see how we can both bring in revenue for our organization as well as improve the quality of content and representation on Wikidata with this program.

What we intend to do that is new and why — Create self-directed Wikidata course

In 2020, we expect to create a self-directed course. Our current course offerings are all synchronous, in which one of our staff leads an in-person or a virtual course. We see great potential for scaling, however, in a self-directed offering, where participants go through our courses and receive a certificate of completion at the end. We’re looking forward to exploring this in more detail in 2020.

What we intend to discontinue and why — Stop in-person workshops

In 2019, we kicked off our Wikidata program with an in-person workshop in New York. Having that in-person workshop before our regular courses was incredibly valuable to us in getting live, real-time feedback about our course materials, and helping us understand what works and what’s missing in our curriculum. We learned a lot from this workshop, but we don’t intend to pursue in-person workshops again in the future.


Software Developer Wes Reid at the Wikimedia Hackathon in 2019.
What we're continuing to do and why — Improve Dashboard

Improving the performance, usability and flexibility of the Dashboard — both Programs & Events Dashboard and Wiki Education Dashboard — is an ongoing priority. The Dashboard needs to keep up with our evolving and diversifying programs, now including Wikidata. Programs & Events Dashboard will track more programs in 2019 than in any previous year (1734 programs in 2019, as of October 4). Our Outreachy and Google Summer of Code projects were very effective this year, addressing the biggest usability problems for programs that span multiple wikis and also adding support for tracking ‘references added’ and integration with PetScan for tracking specific sets of articles.

What we intend to do that is new and why — Test an Android App

In 2020, we will field test an Android app for accessing the Dashboard. Through a Google Summer of Code project, we developed a beta version, which we think may be useful for editathons in particular, to provide a convenient way for organizers to get new users signed up and keep track of the pulse of the event. This is an exploratory project, but we’re excited to see if there’s an audience for it.

What we intend to discontinue and why — Consider pulling data from MediaWiki API instead of Toolforge API

No final decision has been made yet, but we will evaluate discontinuing use of our custom-built Toolforge API for retrieving edit data from replica databases, in favor of pulling edit data directly from the MediaWiki API. Dashboard usage by prolific editors, combined with reduced performance of our particular Toolforge database queries, has led to a number of technical problems which would be solved by relying on MediaWiki APIs — although this would require significant changes to the Dashboard’s data import system.


Program name Q1 - 2020 Q2 - 2020 Q3 - 2020 Q4 - 2020 Total
Student Program $85,360 $80,080 $93,766 $89,765 $348,971
Wikipedia Scholars & Scientists $113,103 $111,443 $116,450 $114,849 $455,844
Wikidata Scholars & Scientists $78,267 $77,607 $81,775 $80,173 $317,822
Technology $95,502 $105,502 $95,082 $102,432 $398,517
General/HR/Finance/Admin/Board/Fundraising $221,865 $196,265 $205,295 $207,112 $830,536
Total $594,096 $570,896 $592,367 $594,331 $2,351,690[1]
Revenue $477,000 $538,500 $862,575 $598,500 $2,476,575

[1] In comparison:
2018 actual spending: $1,953,218
2019 projected spending: $2,249,346



In 2020, 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 the last two years. However, it does not capture our work on Wikidata. Determining what kind of metrics will best measure our impact to Wikidata is a priority in the coming year.

Program name Total Participants Newly Registered Content Pages Improved Quantity[1] Quality Articles[2]
Wikipedia Student Program 16,000 15,500 15,500 12,500,000 4,500
Wikipedia Scholars & Scientists 175 120 700 300,000 120
Wikidata Scholars & Scientists 150 100 2,000 15,000 n/a
Total 16,325 15,720 18,200 12,815,000 4,620

[1] Number of words added to the article namespace for Wikipedia programs, and number of statements improved for Wikidata.
[2] Number 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 signature


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) 23:08, 15 October 2019 (UTC)