Wikipedia & Education User Group/2020 Annual Report

Wikipedia and Education User Group Logo (with text).svg

2020 was a challenging year for many groups in the Wikimedia ecosystem, and the Wikipedia & Education User Group was no exception. Our work in 2019 had set us up for a planned in-person conference in fall 2020, the EduWiki Conference 2020, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

GovernanceEdit

For the first two-thirds of the year, our board was stable:

  • Filip Maljkovic, chair
  • Susanna Mkrtchyan, vice-chair
  • Krishna Chaitanya Velaga, secretary
  • LiAnna Davis, treasurer
  • João Alexandre Peschanski, membership admin

Our board met 11 times in 2020 to discuss our activities and move projects forward. We also met an additional 8 times with the Wikimedia Foundation’s Education Team to coordinate our efforts.

In late 2020, Krishna stepped down due to personal reasons. At our General Assembly on October 1, Filip, Susanna, LiAnna, and João were all re-elected to additional board terms. Ziko van Dijk was elected to serve in the fifth slot. At the end of the year, the board shuffled some positions around. Our board for 2021 is:

  • LiAnna Davis, chair
  • Susanna Mkrtchyan, vice-chair
  • Ziko van Dijk, secretary
  • Filip Maljkovic, treasurer
  • João Alexandre Peschanski, membership admin

MembershipEdit

Our user group has experienced an increase in its membership. It now has 191 members and has had the support of 19 affiliates. A challenge has been to create more engagement in our open meetings, as only a small number of our members normally join them.

ActivitiesEdit

Open Meetings: Showcasing member activityEdit

In 2020, the User Group hosted six public, open meetings:

  • In January 2020 (video on YouTube), we welcomed two guests: Shani Evenstein Sigalov, one of the leading innovators in the Wikimedia & Education movement globally, presented on on her work with Wikidata and education, and Andrews Lartey, Project Manager for Growing Open and Eco-friendly Skills for the Youth (GOES), spoke about how Wikimedia projects can be used outside the classroom to create social impact, using his project in Ghana as a case study.
  • In April 2020, (video on YouTube) we focused on Covid-19 responses. Nichole Saad and Melissa Guadalupe Huertas from the WMF Education Team discussed their strategy, and User:TiagoLubiana, a graduate student in Computational Biology from the University of São Paulo, and a leading editor at Wikidata:WikiProject COVID-19, discussed Wikidata's work around COVID-19.
  • In June 2020, based on the results of our technical needs survey (more on that later), we hosted the developers of two of the most used tools in the Wikimedia & Education space (video on YouTube). Magnus Manske, creator of PetScan, and Sage Ross, creator of Program & Events Dashboard, both spoke about how to use their tools and answered questions from attendees.
  • In October 2020, we held our General Assembly. Filip as chair reported on our two-year activities, and we elected our new board.
  • In December 2020, in lieu of an open meeting, our group met to identify our priorities for the Wikimedia 2030 Strategy Process. The outcomes of the meeting are documented on Meta.

Calls for meetings were actively disseminated on social media --especially the Wikipedia & Education Facebook page-- and the education mailing list. Our members, particularly our board, have been some of the most active participants in these movement channels, which aim at becoming a hub for inquiries on Wikimedia and education for affiliates, educators, volunteers and the general public.

These open meetings gave board members a chance to present what they've been up to among the members who attended the meeting, enabled potential new members to be welcomed into our community, and gave a chance for different members to present their work.

EduWiki 2020: Planning to bring our community togetherEdit

A major focus of the early months of 2020 for our user group was beginning to plan the EduWiki Conference 2020. As a global group that helps coordinate educational efforts in the Wikimedia movement, we are the natural host for future international conferences about Wikipedia and education. We are grateful to the Basque User Group for their efforts in hosting the 2019 edition! Shortly after its conclusion, we began planning a 2020 edition, which we decided would be in fall 2020.

We distributed a community engagement survey, which formed the basis of our conference grant proposal. We had answered follow-up questions about the event and were awaiting a funding decision when the pandemic struck. Like all Wikimedia groups, we put our plans for an in-person event on indefinite hold until it is safe for our community. We hope to host the event in the future.

Working Groups: Organizing to address our needsEdit

In 2019, we had set up our Working Groups: Mentorship, Resource development, Tech infrastructure, Global outreach, and Greenhouse. Much of this work has stalled, and we had hoped the EduWiki Conference 2020 would be an opportunity for us to restart the work. We hope it still will be whenever we are able to meet in person again.

In the Tech infrastructure group, we spent some time preparing a survey of the education community to determine what the technical needs our community has are. We found the Programs & Events Dashboard was the most used technical tool, followed by PetScan, and many of the needs people had could already be met by both tools with more how-to information, so we scheduled an open meeting directed specifically at training on use of both these tools, with Magnus Manske (the creator of PetScan) and Sage Ross (the creator of the Programs & Events Dashboard) speaking (see the Open Meetings section for a link to the video of the sesion).

Username collection driveEdit

In early 2020, we undertook a project to collect usernames of all student editors that came from education programs to determine what percentage of global new active editors came from the education program work. We received usernames from 17 different education programs, totaling 24,457 usernames. The Wikimedia Foundation’s analytics department ran those against the global new active editor totals for the period of July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, and found that 1,887 out of 18,168, or 10.4%, of the average monthly new active editors come from education program work globally. This means our global programs are having an incredible impact on the Wikimedia community’s goal to grow our new contributors, with more than 10% of all new contributors coming through education programs worldwide!