A new MediaWiki extension released today on the English Wikipedia will streamline course pages for professors, students, and Ambassadors participating in the Wikipedia Education Program.

Course pages are key sources of information about students editing Wikipedia articles for class, including who is teaching, mentoring, and signed up for the course, as well as what articles each student is working on. Previously, professors, students, and Wikipedia Ambassadors compiled this information by hand, and course pages were often missing key information. With the new MediaWiki extension, simply known as “Education Program“, a database-style functionality will control the entire course page setup and editing, leading to greater transparency about the program and its participants.

The Education Program MediaWiki extension:

  • Helps identify which users are participating the Wikipedia Education Program
  • Keeps the course listings up-to-date, automatically archiving finished classes
  • Streamlines campus and online ambassador profiles
  • Makes it easier for students to list themselves and their articles on their course page
  • Shows instructors what students have been editing
  • Enables easier searching for a course by university or term
  • Adds several new user access levels with permissions related to the extension
  • Adds specialized “Course” and “Institution” namespaces

The code is the handiwork of developer Jeroen De Dauw. Several volunteers from the community kindly helped test the extension, which will be in use on the English Wikipedia beginning in the fall 2012 term. The extension can be added to other language Wikipedias once it has been translated into those languages.

Rob Schnautz, Wikipedia Education Program Online Communications Contractor