Jeph Paul and I (Netha Hussain) conducted a workshop on Wikimedia projects for students at Startup Village, a non-profit business incubator based in Kochi, Kerala, India. The workshop event page can be viewed here.
It was scheduled from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on January 18th. We were told that the participants would mostly be undergraduate students of engineering. So, we planned on talking about the Mediawiki API in the second half of the session. Sandboxes with wikipedia articles were created to demonstrate the editing of the articles. The sandboxes were used by the participants to get familiar with the wiki markup. Prior to the event, a post was created on Startup Village’s blog to introduce the participants to editing.
On the brighter side, there were many interesting and engaging queries from few of the participants who had already edited articles on Wikipedia. It was nice to discover that some of the participants wanted to connect with the local Wikimedia community. Some of the participants and the organizers wrote to thank us for conducting the workshop. The event was a success in that it introduced the audience to various ways of getting involved with the Wikimedia movement, thereby changing the perception that the only way to get involved is by writing articles online.
One of the best lessons we learned from the event was that it is very important to know the audience well in advance and to structure the workshop accordingly. The participants seemed to prefer the visual editor over editing the wiki markup.
The workshop was a good learning experience for us. Shortcomings were identified, which is the first step to constructing a better program. Startup Village has invited us to conduct similar workshops in future.
Netha Hussain, Wikimedian
Jeph Paul Alapat, Wikimedian