June 5, 2011 12:51:56 am
The Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors Project,which involves volunteers providing face-to-face support to university students on how to edit Wikipedia and work with professors to incorporate Wikipedia assignments into classrooms,will see its pilot project in the country take off from Pune.
The project that will start in tandem with the academic year has been implemented successfully in the US. Hisham Mundol,consultant,India Programs,said,Pune was chosen because of the large number of colleges and universities and the student population. The programme in the US has been successful in terms of both the amount of information added to the English Wikipedia (1.4M characters – 900 pages – in March alone) as well as quality of information (an estimated 60 per cent increase in quality on edited articles).
While the execution and format of the programme might differ,similar success in India is the objective,said Mundol. Given the strength of the education system and the drive of students and faculty alike,we are confident of thoughtful,quality contributions, he said. The project will cover a wide range of subjects and train volunteers to work on them. Mundol cites the vast opportunity for volunteers to contribute to Wikipedia. He says,This way,as the programme grows,professors from any subject area will have the opportunity to enhance their curriculum with a tool to teach their students to contribute information. The initial Campus Ambassador training programme will take two days,but ongoing training is provided if the ambassadors stay involved from semester to semester. As of now,there is no set number of Campus Ambassadors for the programme.
Mundol said this will be determined both by the quality of applicants as well as the number of classrooms that will pilot the programme.
The project will not be going beyond Pune till September. The campus programme has great potential,but we also want to make sure to start the effort in a manageable way in order to ensure proof-of-principle and to iron out details. A more controlled programme at the outset will help ensure that supports are properly established and will also help provide opportunities for programme evaluation, he added.
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