Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Alliances Fund/WikiGraphers:Visualizing Open Knowledge/Midpoint Report
Report Status: Under review
Due date: 2022-09-20T00:00:00Z
Funding program: Wikimedia Alliances Fund
Report type: Midterm
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General information edit
This form is for organizations receiving Wikimedia Community Funds (General Support) or Wikimedia Alliances Funds to report on their mid-term learning and results. See the Wikimedia Alliances Fund application if you want to review the initial proposal.
- Name of Organization: Investigative Journalists NGO
- Title of Proposal: WikiGraphers: Visualizing Open Knowledge
- Amount awarded: 60000 USD, 28984356 AMD
- Amount spent: 13806634 AMD
Part 1 Understanding your work edit
1. Briefly describe how your strategies and activities proposed were implemented and if any changes to what was proposed are worth highlighting?
- "WikiGraphers: Visualizing Open Knowledge" project aims at improving the visual content of Wikipedia. With a wiki community that primarily improves or creates textual content, we need editors who create visuals to present Wikipedia content to readers in a more accessible way. For this purpose, some Wikipedians who are also part of the Investigative Journalists NGO came up with an initiative aimed at equipping a group of people with various visualization skills through a long-term educational program, instilling in them the values of Wiki ideology, open knowledge, and the importance of its creation and dissemination.
The project started on April 1, 2022, but the course announcement was made earlier in March to have more time to attract a larger audience. After two selection phases (shortlist and interview), the selected 20 participants were divided into four groups according to their visualizing skills. Among participants, there were also members of wiki community. The involvement of non-editor contributors helps the project to take a fresh look at the visuals created for Wikipedia articles, they generate new ideas, offer approaches that are creative and make information more accessible to the public.
As an effective method of learning, we chose the “learning by doing” method that enables us to use the acquired knowledge and skills in practice at once.
The project activities include a two-day hackathon as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience between content creators and visual creators under one roof. To strengthen the community—project participants' interaction, the hackathon working groups were composed of proportionally experienced Wikipedians and project participants, who worked together on the visual and content improvement of the most viewed educational articles on the Armenian Wikipedia. During the hackathon, two trainings were organized by the project lecturers to develop the visual skills of experienced wiki editors.
2. Were there any strategies or approaches that you feel are being effective in achieving your goals?
- One of the keys to the effectiveness of the program is the collaboration of the project team and professional instructors who are experts in their field. Knowing well the peculiarities and needs of Wikipedia, as well as the policies and guidelines, the educational program was designed by combining the wiki experience of the project team with the professional experience and practice of the instructors.
Working in small groups (5 people in each) allows the instructor to show an individual approach to each participant, discuss his/her work, and make the educational process more practical and effective.
To ensure and control the quality of the visuals, the following steps are taken: idea generation for the given article → data collection (if not available in the article) → creation of the visual → approval of the visual by the instructor → quality assurance by visual production coordinator → the uploading of the visual to the Wikimedia Commons and usage on Wikipedia.
To ensure the effectiveness of the educational program, the team and instructors decided to devote the first month of the education process only to the acquisition of knowledge and skills and not to expect high-quality visuals from students. That is the reason why students did not upload visuals during the first month.
The hackathon as an effectively organized event is evidenced by the anonymous survey among the participants. The participants emphasize the importance of the project to improve the visual content of the Wikipedia. They expressed their satisfaction with the hackathon, the agenda, the trainings conducted by the instructors, as well as the network opportunity. Through an anonymous survey, the participants evaluated the organizational work, clarified what they liked or did not like, and what they would advise to make the event better. In addition, we asked them to share their ideas about what kind of projects can be done to improve and develop Wikipedia and its visual content.
3. What challenges or obstacles have you encountered so far?
- The admission process of the "Wikigraphers: Visualizing Open Knowledge" project went smoothly, the participants were selected based on their motivation, their appreciation of the importance of free knowledge creation and dissemination, and their desire to contribute to this idea. The first challenge that is predictable when organizing educational programs is that some participants refuse to participate in the program before the classes start. Since in this case, we had a waiting list, which was made based on the results of interviews with applicants, we recruited two new students instead of the two who refused to participate in the course.
One of the other problems that arose during the first semester was the changes in the working hours of one of the participants, as a result of which she did not have time to come to Hetq Media Factory to attend one of the classes. As a solution, only that day, she participates in the course online.
Due to initial budget cuts, we had to buy fewer laptops (two laptops) instead of the planned five laptops, and sometimes the problem of co-sharing arises when participants want to stay after the classes and work on their visuals. We are trying to solve this issue by providing them with additional laptops of Hetq Media Factory which are not being used at the moment.
As we have already mentioned, to ensure the effectiveness of the educational program and to acquire fundamental knowledge, it was decided that during the first month of the course, the participants will focus their attention on learning the tools. To fill the gap of visuals not created during the first month, it was decided that during subsequent months the participants will create more visuals.
4. Please describe how different communities are participating and being informed about your work.
- Having been active editors of Wikipedia and its sister projects for more than ten years, as well as being Wikimedians, it was easier to carry out the project (from the planning stage to its implementation) for the three team members of the project, who have worked towards the development of the wiki community in Armenia for years. To increase the visibility of the project and to involve the wiki community members, the announcement was spread not only in the Village Pump of the Armenian Wikipedia but also in the groups of social networks that unite Armenian Wikipedians. To target the audience correctly, advertising was enabled on Facebook to engage the audience interested in visualization tools.
To increase the visibility of the project, as well as to contribute to the dissemination of the project, it was presented at various meetings and events held at Hetq Media Factory, within the framework of which the participants got acquainted with Wikipedia, its ideology, the essence and goals of the project.
The hackathon was a very good opportunity to once again strengthen our ties with the wiki community, which makes our future cooperation with Armenian Wikipedia editors even easier. The Wiki community got to know the goals, format, and participants of the project. Several trainings were also conducted for them by the instructors of the project: Katya Mamyan told about the features of infographics creation, visualization tools, and data collection methods, and Aret Poztash talked about modern visualization tools and methods for illustration and animation creation.
“Wikimedians of Western Armenian language” user group leader was also invited to the hackathon to share the experience gained within the project. She was actively participating in the hackathon and trainings and will transfer the acquired knowledge and skills to the Western Armenian Wikipedia community.
5. Please share reflections on how your efforts are helping to engage participants and/or build content, particularly for underrepresented groups.
- While designing the program, the organizing team did not introduce any restrictions that would prevent the participation of underrepresented groups in the program. We have tried to involve as diverse people as possible having different gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, social statuses, etc. The course was open to all interested people who wanted to acquire visual content creation skills within eight months, promote the creation and dissemination of free knowledge, and share its values. We designed the study plan in a way to engage equally in the education process of all the participants, regardless of their initial knowledge base.
Most of the participants of the program are female (17 female and 3 male). They live not only in the capital Yerevan, where the program is implemented but also in the regions of Armenia. Participants vary in age, we have students, representatives of the NGO sector and various institutions, as well as Wikipedians. The socio-economic status of the participants is also different, many of the participants want to use the knowledge and skills gained at Hetq Media Factory not only to contribute to the visualization of free knowledge but also as an advancement in their professional life. There is also a participant who does not have her laptop and spends more time at Hetq Media Factory, mastering her skills and doing homework.
6. In your application, you outlined your learning priorities. What have you learned so far about these areas during this period?
- By implementing the project, we have improved and learned the following:
- We got convinced that the methods we use are effective in delivering the knowledge to students with different educational backgrounds. Our instructors constantly master methods of effective teaching skills, ensuring that the students having various knowledge bases get equal attention. An anonymous survey of the educational program conducted in July 2022 showed that students highly value the quality of education received within the framework of the program. They also noted that their technical skills have significantly improved during the project.
- In recent years, we all have learned to live with the COVID-19 and to design and implement our projects in such a way that the pandemic affects their implementation as little as possible. During the project, by keeping all the safety rules, we were able to avoid COVID-19 cases among students. In addition, military clashes were regularly registered on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, which, however, did not affect the normal course of the project.
- The project made it possible to bring together all those people who are interested in the creation and development of the visual content of Wikipedia. We strongly believe that the continuation of the project will contribute to the formation of a community of volunteers creating visual content in Armenian Wikipedia, thanks to which Wikipedia will be enriched with various infographics, illustrations, and animations.
7. What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your work?
- The educational process will continue in the second part of the program. From October, instead of the “Infographics” course, the participants will study GIS.
To increase the visibility of the project, we are making a video that tells about the goals, values, and importance of creating visual content. Filming has been completed, currently, the editing is underway. Since the participants already have enough skills, the second part of the program is expected to have a greater number of visuals.
Part 2: Metrics edit
8a. Open and additional metrics data.
|N/A||N/A||N/A||135||135 articles out of 200 are visualized. The participants are working on the creation of visuals for the rest of the articles.||The list of articles.|
|N/A||N/A||N/A||127||127 visuals out of 500 have already been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. The students are working on the visualization of the rest of the articles.||Wikimedia Commons category.|
|Number of editors that continue to participate/retained after activities||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Number of organizers that continue to participate/retained after activities||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Number of strategic partnerships that contribute to longer term growth, diversity and sustainability||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Feedback from participants on effective strategies for attracting and retaining contributors||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Diversity of participants brought in by grantees||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Number of people reached through social media publications||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Number of activities developed||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Number of volunteer hours||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
8b. Additional core metrics data.
|Number of participants||Students. 20 students will study at WikiFactory during one year.
Instructors and team. In the metrics, we count as participants not only the students but the instructors and the organizing team as well. We will have 4 instructors and 4 team members.
Hackathon. It is planned to involve ten active editors of the Armenian Wikipedia in the hackathon to be organized after the first term of the classes.
|38||20||20 students study at WikiFactory during one year.||Participants list, excel sheet.|
|Number of editors||Students. WikiFactory admission call will be open for all the interested participants. 20 students will be selected to study at WikiFactory.
Instructors and team. Two of the four team members and one of the instructors are experienced wiki editors.
Hackathon. The hackathon will be attended by 20 students from WikiFactory, 10 Wiki community members, 4 instructors and 4 team members.
|33||33||This is the number of editors (both from community and project participants) participating in the program activities without the team.||Activities attendance lists.|
|Number of organizers||“WikiGraphers: Visualizing open knowledge” project team will consist of program staff and instructors. The staff will include the Project Manager, Education Team Coordinator, Visual Production Coordinator and Accountant. Instructors will include Wiki instructor, Illustration/animation instructor, Data visualization instructor and GIS mapping instructor. More details about each team member and instructors can be found in section 22 (“Do you have the team needed to support this proposal?”).||8||7||This number includes the team and the instructors.|
|Wikipedia||Within the framework of the “WikiGraphers: Visualizing open knowledge” project, it is planned to visualize 200 of the most viewed educational articles on the Armenian Wikipedia.||200||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Wikimedia Commons||As already mentioned above, the 200 most viewed educational articles of the Armenian Wikipedia will be visualized within the framework of the project. Depending on the topic, articles can have a variety of visuals. Therefore, we give an approximate number of 500 visuals for all the 200 articles.||500||N/A||N/A||N/A|
9. Are you having any difficulties collecting data to measure your results?
- To track the process of creating visuals by the participants, a Task Management excel sheet was created, where students periodically post their current visuals, receive feedback from instructors, and continue working until the final visual is ready. As a means of daily fast communication, Slack is used by the team and the participants.
We did not have any difficulties in the process of data collection, all data are systematically collected in Excel.
10. Are you collaborating and sharing learning with Wikimedia affiliates or community members?
10a. Please describe how you have already shared them and if you would like to do more sharing, and if so how?
- As we have already mentioned, the hackathon was a unique opportunity to tell the experienced Wikipedians about “WikiGraphers: Visualizing Open Knowledge" project. The latter gave positive feedback to the project, stressing the importance of creating the necessary visuals, as most of the community members lack the technical skills needed to deliver the textual content to readers through infographics, illustrations, and animation.
Taking into account the positive experience of the hackathon, the project team decided to organize a one-day hackathon in Hetq Media Factory in the coming months with the participation of both experienced editors of Armenian Wikipedia and program participants.
Many active editors of Armenian Wikipedia follow Hetq Media Factory's social network pages, where regular publications are made about the project and the visuals created within its framework. To share our experience with the international community, it is planned to have an article in the Education Newsletter of the Wikimedia Foundation in the near future.
11. Documentation of your work process, story, and impact.
- Below there is a section to upload files, videos, sound files, images (photos and infographics, e.g. communications materials, blog posts, compelling quotes, social media posts, etc.). This can be anything that would be useful to understand and show your learning and results to date (e.g., training material, dashboards, presentations, communications material, training material, etc).
- Below is an additional field to type in link URLs.
- The visuals created within the program are added in the following category on the Wikimedia Commons: Category:WikiGraphers: Visualizing Open Knowledge project visuals in Armenian
Part 3: Financial reporting and compliance edit
12. Please state the total amount spent in your local currency.
13. Local currency type
14. Please report the funds received and spending in the currency of your fund.
- Upload Documents, Templates, and Files.
- Provide links to your financial reporting documents.
15. Based on your implementation and learning to date, do you have any plans to make changes to the budget spending?
15a. Please provide an explanation on how you hope to adjust this.
16. We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being a grantee has been so far.
- Overall, we can say we have had a positive experience as a grantee. During developing the grant proposal, we have had several questions which we have directly addressed via the Alliances Fund mailing list and received a quick answer from the team. Also, they were very kind in supporting us after the application submission when there were some questions to clarify.
We were very happy for this opportunity to use our skills for the benefit of the Wikimedia community. Our project helps not only to visually improve the Armenian Wikipedia but also to give a long-term education to 20 participants and form a community of WikiGraphers.
The continuity of the project with the support of the Alliances Fund will allow us to engage more participants and increase the impact of the project because, in this visual era when people perceive information through images, especially graphical images, it is necessary to package the knowledge in line with the needs and requirements of the time.