During the last days of May, through the cooperation of okfn-gr with the greek wikimedia community, an editathon on mathematical articles was organised as an assignment for the students of the Mathematical School of AUTH. Information about this and earlier activities was given in Wikimedia Foundation’s blog. In this post we’ll analyze the outcome of this activity with the help of some statistics and the opinions of the students.
The project followed the guidelines of the official Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Education Program.
There were created or improved 79 articles.
56 of these articles were of highest priority.
The first material for starting or improving the articles was the equivalent articles from english wikipedia (except 2 articles). Out of these articles, 22 were featured articles.
There is a significant improvement to the sum of 79 articles. The most important is that there were created or improved articles of highest importance that were missing from greek wikipedia. Also, these and other articles provide good ground to build with a little more work, featured articles. Some articles, are already in a very good level. The rest can be improved very easily.
Beyond the value of the contribution in content, through this assignment there was given the chance more people to learn about the way of contributing to Wikipedia.
In a questionnaire that was given to the students, the overwhelming proportion found found the assignment very interesting, while others found it difficult and others a piece of cake. 71% consider that it is easier to translate a foreign language article in relation to write an article from scratch (something that was found easier by 12%) but that 54% finds it more interesting.
88% believe that they really learned something on the mathematical topic they wrote about. 95% prefer such an assignment than a typical university assignment and tends to hooray! in case they encounter a similar assignment in the future (there is a 2% who replied: ouch! )
Apart from one or two student, no one had previously contributed to Wikipedia. At least half of them did not even knew they could do it. The rest have just never thought about it.
Currently, 98 % said that throug this assignment they understood the main guidelines for contributing to Wikipedia, with 83 % of them saying that if in the future they will see a mistake while reading an article they will attempt to correct it. 78-80 % said that they will likely return and improve their own and other articles.
Things that can be taken into account for the next similar activity is the fluency of students in a foreign language such as English and also the timing: This task was given just before the start of the exam period, and as it was indicated by the students themselves they did not have the necessary time to deal with the articles.
Despite the difficulties, the views of the students were from generally positive to enthusiastic. Several of them highlighted that their assignment seemed very useful to learn the mathematical terminology in English, as there is no such course in their school. They also commented that they felt good from the fact that from what they wrote, enough people will be informed by visiting their articles. Someone wrote excited that ” [instead of typical assignment that] very likely end up in a stack of paper in a drawer, this is preferable and in a short time AUTH will enrich wikipedia to a huge extent !”
It is obvious that the overall activity was beneficial to Wikipedia in that it was enriched with necessary content, but also in the sense that the students learned the possibility to contribute to Wikipedia. We thank the students but mostly Online Ambassadors who helped as able in this work, and in most cases their contribution was significant.