Monthly Report for August 2015


  • Executive Director Frank Schulenburg and Senior Manager of Development Tom Porter discussed Open Educational Practices and the upcoming Wikipedia Year of Science with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. They also met with representatives of the National Science Foundation.
  • We have formally announced our partnership with the American Society of Plant Biologists, a professional society dedicated to advancing the plant sciences. Our work with ASPB will increase public access to plant biology research, and create positive learning experiences for their university students.


Educational Partnerships

Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson represents the Wiki Education Foundation at ASPB 2015

Wiki Ed formed a partnership with the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), which will bring more science students to Wikipedia during 2016’s Year of Science. We’ve engaged several plant biologists to teach in our Classroom Program for upcoming terms. These plant scientists and their students will add important research to Wikipedia, making information available to people outside of the discipline.

Wikipedia Content Expert Adam Hyland attended the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) national meeting in Boston. He and Dr. Ye Li, University of Michigan’s Chemistry Librarian, presented the benefits of Wikipedia as a teaching tool during a symposium on Wikipedia, collaboration, and education. That symposium attracted speakers from the Wikipedia community, academia, and government. We’re working with ACS to expand our impact on chemistry articles in the Year of Science.

Outreach Manager Samantha Erickson and Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson have been recruiting instructors for our Classroom Program. This term, 47 instructors have joined through educational partnerships, conference presentations, or targeted outreach, compared to 26 instructors last term.

Classroom Program

Status of the Classroom Program for the Fall 2015 term in numbers, as of September 1:

  • 84 Wiki Ed-supported courses had Course Pages (33, or 39%, were led by returning instructors)
  • 493 student editors were enrolled
  • 281 students successfully completed the online training
  • Students edited 85 articles

This month has been busy, as we’re bringing new courses in through our improved course dashboard. By simplifying the course creation and tracking process, we can better support our oncoming courses. We’re already pleased to see that in less than a month, more than half of enrolled students have already completed the online training. We think that’s a result of the dashboard’s tracking features, which allows instructors to easily track students as they complete the training.

Though most students haven’t started editing Wikipedia, Content Experts Adam Hyland and Ian Ramjohn have been helping instructors choose articles for their students to work on. They’re also helping Classroom Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal review assignments to ensure that each class follows our best practices.

Student work highlights:

We saw good work from Growing Up Girl at Michigan State University. By focusing on female film-makers of color and their films, students in this summer course helped to expand underrepresented subjects on Wikipedia.

  • Caucasia (Novel) was expanded from 868 to 2109 words.
  • Connie Porter was expanded from 232 to 1172 words.
  • Students created the new article A Map of Home consisting of 660 words. They did a particularly good job of avoiding original synthesis, which can be challenging for articles on books and films.
  • In addition to expanding Red Doors from 385 to 585 words, students added sourcing where the article had none.
  • Jean Kwok was expanded from 356 to 745 words.

Community Engagement

Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady spent August researching potential Visiting Scholars sponsors, and working with Jami and Samantha to develop outreach strategies tied to the Year of Science.

There has been good news from sponsor institutions throughout the month. In light of a strong applicant pool, the University of Pittsburgh has decided to sponsor two Visiting Scholars. These Scholars will work with the University’s Archives Service Center, Special Collections and Center for American Music to develop articles related to Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania history, including Pittsburgh-focused articles related to urban renewal, childhood during the industrial era, music composers, theater, or significant literary figures; Colonial American history; historic American songs; or Philosophy of Science.

Meanwhile, George Mason University, a 2014–15 pilot program participant, will sponsor its scholar for another year. Sponsors of the other four open positions are at various stages of the selection process, which is going smoothly.

Program Innovation, Analytics, and Research

Summer Seminar pilot

With the Summer Seminar in Psychology complete, we’re evaluating the program with an eye to future pilots. Twenty psychology experts enrolled in the course, and 13 completed the student training. In three weekly sessions, Ian and Helaine reviewed the basics of editing Wikipedia. They discussed particular challenges of editing in the psychology field. We’re awaiting responses to the survey distributed to participants to guide our final report.

Participants created eight articles and edited 24 in August. User:Glorytohypnotoad added 260 words to Self Expansion Model as part of the seminar. We appreciate the enthusiasm and input from participants in the course!

Summer Fellowship

Andrew Lih wrapped up his summer fellowship at Wiki Ed’s office in late August. While in San Francisco, Andrew helped us determine a strategy for collaboration with galleries, libraries, archives, and museums on university campuses to improve Wikipedia’s coverage. Andrew’s expertise in teaching, universities, museum collaborations, and Wikipedia provided much insight to staff discussions. We’re also excited to collaborate with Andrew in the coming months on a proposedpanel session at WikiConference USA. Thank you to Andrew for the hard work this summer!

OpenSym 2015 evening reception and poster session

Wiki Ed’s Adam Hyland talks with OpenSym 2015 attendees during a poster session and evening reception held at the offices.

As part of OpenSym 2015, Wiki Ed hosted a reception and poster session at our offices on Wednesday, August 19. Attendees showcased six posters and one live demo in our house, with more than 60 attendees enjoying hors-d’œuvres, drinks, and interesting discussions about open collaboration, wikis, Wikipedia, education, and more.

Program Support


Communications Manager Eryk Salvaggio created a final plan for restructuring the Wiki Education Foundation website this month. The new site will serve as a more intuitive portal with added context around each of our programs, and offers new pages for fundraising, partnerships, and support.

Eryk has also compiled and shared preliminary text for a new guidebook, Editing Wikipedia articles: Biographies, which has been posted to Wikipedia for input from Wikipedia editors. Feedback will be compiled into the final draft.

Blog posts:

Digital Infrastructure

As instructors and students put the new dashboard system through its paces, Wiki Ed’s Product Manager, Digital Services Sage Ross and the WINTR development team have been fixing bugs and user experience problems.

We started work on a new ‘just-in-time help’ feature. That feature, testing now, will highlight student work that needs attention. The first iteration identifies drafts that may be eligible for Wikipedia’s Did You Know process. Planned features include: identifying articles that are ready to move into mainspace; flagging suspected plagiarism; and providing content experts and instructors a way to send help material to editors whose work needs attention.

We’re planning a new system of training modules that will integrate into the dashboards. That tool would replace the on-wiki student training. Eryk completed a report that outlines needs and improvements for that system, based on staff feedback and instructor surveys.

Finance & Administration / Fundraising

Finance & Administration

For the month of August, expenses were $235,920 versus the plan of $234,472. The slight overage was primarily due to catching up on expenditures that had been budgeted for the previous month.

Year-To-Date expenses are $499,942 versus the plan of $525,891. The $26K variance is the result of savings in “Promotional Items” ($7K), our “All Staff Meeting” ($4K) and timing delays on “Audit” fees ($10K) and “Staff Development” ($7.5K).

Our current spending level is averaging at 95% of planned.

Wiki Ed Expenses August 2015
Wiki Ed YTD Expenses August 2015
Wiki Ed YTD Expenses August 2015


Frank and Tom at the West Wing of the White House on August 20, 2015
Frank and Tom at the West Wing of the White House on August 20, 2015
  • In late August, Frank and Tom met with Dipayan Ghosh, Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) of the White House. During our visit at the White House, we discussed Wiki Ed’s role in Open Educational Practice and the how the White House could support the upcoming Wikipedia Year of Science. Later that day, Frank and Tom met with representatives of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington to discuss future funding opportunities.
  • During the month of August, Tom and Development Associate Victoria Hinshaw developed numerous internal processes that leverage the functionality of Wiki Education Foundation Salesforce fundraising module. Use of this technology will help the fundraising staff gauge effectiveness as the fundraising team’s work continues to develop a sustainable funding base.
  • Also in August, the development team planned the first Wikipedia Year of Science awareness-building event, currently scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. in early October. Several Wiki Education Foundation board members are now actively engaged in fundraising activities.


Office of the ED

  • Current priorities:
    • Securing funding for upcoming major programmatic initiatives
    • Filling the Director of Programs position
  • Supported by m/Oppenheim, a local nonprofit executive search firm, we narrowed down the list of potential candidates for our Director of Programs position. As a result, the interview process will begin in early September and we expect the position to be filled within the next two months.
Delegation of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research led by State Secretary Cornelia Quennet-Thielen (second from right) visiting Wiki Education Foundation's office in the Presidio
Delegation of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research led by State Secretary Cornelia Quennet-Thielen (second from right) visiting Wiki Education Foundation’s office in the Presidio
  • Also in late August, a delegation of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research led by State Secretary Cornelia Quennet-Thielen visited Wiki Education Foundation’s office in the Presidio. Frank gave a presentation outlining the current and future work of Wiki Ed and answered questions about Wikipedia and open licenses. Subsequently, Frank attended a evening reception at the German Consulate General and connected with high-ranking officials in German research, university administration, and science policy.

Visitors and guests

  • Andrew Lih, associate professor of journalism at the American University School of Communication in Washington D.C. and Wiki Education Foundation Summer Research Fellow
  • Haitham Shammaa, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Dirk Riehle, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Open Source Research Group, Applied Software Engineering, and about 60 OpenSym conference attendees
  • Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, State Secretary and Department Head at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Frank Petrikowski, Unit International Exchange in Higher Education, German Federal Ministry for Education and Research
  • Karsten Hess, Science & Technology Attaché, German Embassy, Washington D.C.
  • Antje Metz, German Consulate General San Francisco


One thought on “Monthly Report for August 2015

  1. ASPB is excited to be on board! It was wonderful to have Wiki Edu at our annual meeting in July. Our members were quite interested in the course development options presented there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.