The Wikipedia Education Program has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception last year, as part of the Public Policy Initiative. In 2011, the program ventured beyond the United States into Canada and India, making the measurements of the program’s impact even more important. We want to use these metrics (some of which are outlined below) as tools that help us understand and improve the Wikipedia Education Program as a whole, while also understanding individual pieces of the system better.
a. Fall 2011 Numbers and Growth
In Fall 2011, almost 2,000 students are using Wikipedia as a learning tool as part of the Wikipedia Education Program. More than 800 of these students are in the United States, where the number of student contributors has grown four-fold since Fall 2011. We also have almost 500 students in the Canada, and more than 600 in India, where the program made its debut this academic term.
These students are spread across 98 graduate and undergraduate-level courses in 51 universities. A large group of volunteers known as Wikipedia Ambassadors is working to support this group of students, including 108 Campus Ambassadors who give presentations in-class and 92 Online Ambassadors who assist students on-wiki. In the United States, we are also supported by 9 Regional Ambassadors, who coordinate the recruitment and training of new participating instructors and Campus Ambassadors.
As the figure on the right illustrates, there has been significant growth in the number of people and institutions associated with the program. One of the challenges for the program going forward is to gather more support for students from the community, either in the form of dedicated Online Ambassadors or editors who can lend a helping hand when they stumble across a student editor.
b. Gender Representation
One of the most important outcomes of the Wikipedia Education Program has been the increased participation of women. About 12% of the Online Ambassadors are women, which is slightly better than the 9% estimated women editors on Wikipedia (via the 2011 Editor Survey). The in-person element of the Campus Ambassador role, which was specifically created for this program, has attracted women’s interest. In the current academic term, 47% of the Campus Ambassadors in North America are women and 38% of the Campus Ambassadors in India are women. Since we do not track gender for registered student users, we don’t have these numbers for students.
c. Wikipedia Education Program Metrics and Activities Meeting
We are currently in the process of establishing other methods of assessing various aspects of the program. For instance, we will conduct a survey for students currently involved with the program. It will gather information about demographics, motivations, learning outcomes and experiences with Ambassadors and the community as a whole. We plan to conduct similar surveys for professors, Campus Ambassadors and Online Ambassadors. In addition, we plan to track Ambassador-to-student ratios, retention rate amongst professors and more.
We discuss these statistics and other learning points at a monthly Wikipedia Education Program Metrics and Activities Meeting. Please join us for the next Metrics and Activities Meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, November 22, 8 a.m. PT (16:00 UTC – times around the world), where we will talk about these metrics and other initiatives that we are currently working on.