Wikipedia:Education noticeboard

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Purpose of this page Using this page

This page is for general discussion of items that relate to student assignments and the Wikipedia Education Program. Please feel free to post, whether you're from a class, a potential class, or if you're a Wikipedia editor.

If you wish to report or discuss a specific incident relating to the Education Program or student editing that may require the intervention of experienced editors and/or administrators, please go instead to the Incidents page.

Topics for this board might include:

Of course, we should remain civil towards all participants and assume good faith.

There are other pages more appropriate for dealing with certain specific issues:

  • Click "Click here to start a new discussion thread" below to start a new thread.
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  • You should generally notify any user who is the subject of a discussion. You may use {{ping}} or {{tiny ping}} to do so, or simply link their username when you post your comment.
    It is not required to contact students when their edits are only being discussed in the context of a class-wide problem.
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See also
  • Special:Courses (a list of courses using the Education Program extension)

Noticeboard archives

Nominations for WEF Board

As well as a new RFC, I think it's high time that we started nominating members for the WEF Board.

As the WEF has constituted itself, it has suggested that there are three slots on the board reserved for Wikipedians nominated by the community. I propose two names below, and hope that they would accept these nominations. I would be interested to hear others. Self-nominations are welcome. Once we know how many nominees there are, we can decide how to proceed (via elections or whatever).

Update: following User:Wadewitz's appointment to the board, while this community process was ongoing, it's not clear if the WEF Board sees there as being two or three "Wikipedian" slots open. In the end, however, I suggest that this is really down to the community not to the WEF. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 09:23, 29 November 2013 (UTC)


  • User:Colin. Colin is, as we all know, passionate and informed about the Education Program. He is critical of the way in which it has been implemented, but I think the Board needs to integrate constructive criticism into its procedures. He is also an editor who has focussed on Medical articles, and it is obvious that such articles are a particular flashpoint for discussions about the program. Finally, he is eminently rational and reasonable, thoughtful and articulate. His contributions the discussion of the program on Wikipedia are always well-judged (and I say this as someone who doesn't tend to agree with them). I think he would be a splendid addition to the board. Proposed by --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 18:40, 22 November 2013 (UTC)


  • Support. Knowledgeable editor who can produce featured content. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 12:34, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Suppport As has been very involved and done much analysis of the output from this effort. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 13:38, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. I think that he would bring a helpful perspective. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:55, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, I've not been able to keep up with this board this week. And that's my main problem. I just don't have the free time needed for this. Also, my passion is no substitute for experience and I have no experience helping with these classes and directly dealing with students and profs. -- Colin°Talk 09:05, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Understood. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 09:23, 29 November 2013 (UTC)


  • User:Biosthmors. I don't think that anyone, on the WEF board or off it, has shown more enthusiasm and energy for discussions of the Education Program on Wikipedia. He is an experienced online ambassador, who has a long history of working with the program. He is continually and tirelessly making proposals and engaged in debate. Again, this is not somebody with whom I find myself consistently in agreement, but I feel that the WEF urgently needs board members who are active and energetic, on Wikipedia as well as off. I think that he, too, would be a splendid addition to the board's ranks. Proposed by --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 18:40, 22 November 2013 (UTC)


  • Comment. I just saw this and haven't even had the time to read it all because I'm replying to another discussion about the education program, but at this point I'm not sure how I feel about being nominated. I'll have to think about it. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 11:54, 24 November 2013 (UTC)


  • User:Wadewitz is a Wikipedian almost without equal in her production of Featured Articles and her reviews and feedback on others. She is also, by common consent, among the most successful (if not the most successful) of educators who have integrated Wikipedia into their classes. Moreover, having Wadewitz on the board provides a link to other important initiatives such as HASTAC and FemTechNet. She is, finally, a person of utmost integrity and good sense--with whom I personally find myself almost always in agreement. I fear she may not accept this nomination, but very much hope that she does. She would be an important and game-changing member of the WEF Board. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 18:57, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I am committed to finding ways to bridging the gap between academia and Wikipedia, so I would be happy to do my best in this role. Wadewitz (talk) 22:19, 22 November 2013 (UTC)


Appointed by the WEF Board on November 25, 2013.

Kevin Gorman

  • I'm one of few people to have participated in almost every aspect of the program; I've been a CA, an OA, an instructor, and a Wikipedian. This year I'll be embarking on a project at UC Berkeley to better integrate Wikipedia in to higher education, specifically in underrepresented disciplines. I believe this program has phenomenomal potential to set a functional model for other schools to emulate - a model that would shift the burden of the program to the schools, and away from the community. I see the problems the educational program has caused the community - especially the medical editors - and I want to figure out how to sort them out while still having a productive EP. I look at the WEF as the surface of contact between academia and the Wikipedia community rather than the USEP's controller, and I believe (and have always believed) that the ENWP community has the potential to sanction education program classes. At times, I have strongly supported such measures. I've interacted with all groups involved in the program including educational technologists, senior administrators, instructors, professors, various bureaucrats, the education folks at the Foundation (including Jami who is now WEF,) and the community at large. I've consistently been a presence at ENB, and although some people have not always liked my answers, I've at least always been here. Kevin Gorman (talk) 17:35, 26 November 2013 (UTC)


Doc James

I am interested in joining the board of the WEF. Have been involved with student editing projects in a number of capacities including speaking at half a dozen universities on Wikipedia and Medicine over the last three years.[1] Am involved with the efforts at UCSF [2] and am on the clinical faculty at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Emergency Medicine.[3] Additionally was one of the founding members of Wikimedia Canada and Wikiproject Med Foundation so have a bit of experience with non profits. Additionally I attend Wikimania self funded every year and plan to continue to do so. Would be good to have face to face meeting their. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 07:14, 26 November 2013 (UTC)


  • Strong, enthusiastic support. I am very enthusiastic about this nomination. He is very knowledgeable, and understands both "sides" of the issues. I think it would be very important to have him as a member. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:58, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Add Nominations and Self-Nominations here

General Discussion

  • Medicine is a hot topic on Wikipedia generally and in the education program especially. I hope that there is thoughtful consideration about any candidate who is familiar with the work of WP:WikiProject Medicine. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:53, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Jbmurray, thanks for starting these nominations -- we are actively considering these and other candidates. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 15:17, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

I presume you're not considering any other candidates for the Wikipedian slots. But it's good to hear that you're working on getting the other slots filled, too. Presumably you'll explain the transparent process that you've decided on for how to fill these other slots when the time comes. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 15:34, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
We have been sent other names as suggestions; and others have self-nominated -- in both cases I'm referring to the Wikipedian slot. Having names suggested and supported by the community is important, even if we don't have an elections process yet, and I'm glad to have this section here. We're also looking at the non-Wikipedian slots, and are considering the names you suggested there. The short version of the process for next summer is that it will probably be some kind of on-wiki election. Speaking strictly for myself, since the board hasn't discussed this in any detail yet, I'd like to use self-nomination with either a simple vote of support process, or, if there's a reason to do so, something more like the Arbcom process, which has secret ballots. Haven't given any serious thought yet to which is better but would like to see discussion here. Also I suspect there should be some minimum activity level to be able to vote or run, as there is for ArbCom. If you have any thoughts on how the elections should be run, please share them. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:58, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, I'm presuming that the process by which nominations take place is decided on Wikipedia, by Wikipedians. I see no reason why the WEF Board should determine this. That would be totally bizarre. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 23:14, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

See below -- Wadewitz has been elected to the board of the WEF. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 05:09, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Notifying someone when you approve a course in their area

@OhanaUnited, Neelix, Ktr101, Pharos, Pongr: @Sleuthwood, Etlib, Biosthmors, Kayz911: @Jami (Wiki Ed), Rjensen, Bluerasberry, Kevin Gorman:

A lot of previous experience has shown that courses are more successful when they receive in-person support. California at least has finally gotten to the point where we have the ability to provide direct in-person support in most major metropolitan areas. We've also recently found a few classes in areas that we could've been providing physical support to earlier in the semester, but that we had not noticed. Unfortunately I frequently have days come up where I don't have time to check all the pings on ENB for instructor rights etc (or when I'm completely on vacation etc.)

As a request: when you grant instructor rights to a professor in someone else's region, could you make sure they know about it? Whether via an additional ping, a user talk message, an email, etc - anything works, just so long as the people potentially in place to provide direct inperson support are definitely aware of the course Best, Kevin Gorman (talk) 20:33, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Sure, Kevin. I can notify any time someone posts, too! I will ping on-wiki and via email. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:36, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I can commit to trying to do this but I do not want it to be a hard rule. Additionally, I would like to know about any classes related to human health wherever they are, and would appreciate anyone pinging me if those arise. Yo Ktr101 a couple of weeks ago I snuck into your hood and presented to this class at a medical school in Boston. Blue Rasberry [[User talk:|(talk)] 20:41, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: Blasphemy! Regardless though, I'm glad that someone was able to help address that area, as I don't think any of the people up here are as qualified as you are. I am supportive of keeping this regional though, and only because it can help us show up in person. Kevin Rutherford (talk) 21:13, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Edits under the Education Program

I had a look at the Education program page and see that it recommends expansion of stub articles. This appears to be the source of some problems in recent article edits. Stub articles are often that way because there is little information available through secondary sources. Copying and pasting information from the subject's website isn't the recommended way to expand them, and this should be pointed out in the guidelines to these education projects. It often results in plagiarism and the introduction of promotional language. The obvious solution to this issue is just to revert the changes, which is a waste of effort on everyone's part. Who's in charge of the way this page is written? Pkeets (talk) 18:15, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Pkeets I nominate you, you seem to have good ideas and ought to be in charge. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:43, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't know anything about this other than having encountered edits that students are doing. Isn't there an education project? Who made up the instruction pages for this? Pkeets (talk) 16:12, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Do you mean WP:ASSIGN? If so, that's a community-written page, and if you feel you can improve it, please go ahead. Or are you referring to another page? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:12, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
The main place I can think of in the student training that deals with article choice and stubs is here: Wikipedia:Training/For students/Choosing articles 3. That page makes it explicit that the availability of good sources is a key factor.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 15:56, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Pkeets Despite Wikipedia being deeply ingrained in every education program everywhere, and despite thousands of participants in the specific program at this page, there are merely dozens of people looking over this content and most of it has been written by volunteers. The documentation is confusing everywhere and the best that we can say is that it seems to work well enough in most cases for most people. I assure you that if you are thoughtful enough to have an idea for improvement then you know enough to make changes where you see fit. Other people are watching all the pages - just do as you think is best and it would be appreciated. If you want feedback or other opinions then post here, but if you saw a space where there should have been a link or more instruction then add what you think is best. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:53, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
@Pkeets: Is there a specific class (or classes) where you observed this trend? If you click on an editor's contributions and they are a part of the Wikipedia Education Program, it should have a notice at the top that discloses the class they're in. If you have a specific class as an example and it's one of the classes we work with, I can take a look and send some recommendations to the Ambassador or instructor. If it is a problem with a particular class or two, it will probably be more effective if I reach out to them with some advice rather than edit various guideline pages (which, as User:Bluerasberry points out can be confusing). So please let me know any specific instances so I can dig into it more. Thanks for bringing your concerns here! Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:52, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
When I asked about this problem at the Help Desk, I was referred to this page and went from there to here where I see brief information for students, including the recommendation they work on stub articles. Christina Kubisch is an example of a recently student-edited article. I had an exchange with this student to ask about the program. While it is a laudable effort to expand stub articles, especially on Music Encyclopedia and Women's History subjects, there is very little information available on Kubisch through secondary sources. This is why her article remained a stub, not the fact that she is neglected as a woman composer in Wikipedia. The only way to expand the article (apparently the goal of the class) is to use large amounts of information from her website, which is not considered an appropriate source by Wikipedia--it is plainly promotional. Therefore, asking the student to expand this article for a grade requires that she use an inappropriate source. There is no way around this. So, if I am trying to maintain Kubisch's article, am I to continually revert these good-faith edits? What will this do to the students' grades?
I know there's currently an effort ongoing to increase the coverage of women in Wikipedia, but the problem of coverage for women is structural in society, not just in Wikipedia. The fact that there are few appropriate sources restricts the size of their articles through Wikipedia reference guidelines. Pkeets (talk) 00:29, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Although I agree with you that this particular composer may not have been an awesome choice to have a student edit, it's worth noting that Wikipedia has a categorical problem with how we cover women that is much more severe than that of society as a whole. To use the example I always trot out recently, Alison Jaggar didn't have an article until I wrote one recently, despite the fact that she's one of the more famous living feminists, her most cited work getting >3200 hits, and her work literally being mentioned in >37,000 books. Also worth noting that although that article is far from awesome, using a WP:SPS is acceptable in a bio as long as it's not exceedingly laudatory. Guiding students towards the right articles is important and didn't happen in this case, but that doesn't mean guiding them away from stubs. Kevin Gorman (talk) 01:58, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with Kubisch as a subject. She's an established composer and considered acceptably notable. The article is also a Music Encyclopedia article, which cements her quality and benefit to Wikipedia. The point is that there are a large number of articles on women composers, for example, that suffer from stubness because of lack of appropriate sources. Notice how much of the article currently comes from her website. The same problem is likely to be repeated elsewhere. I've fought numerous battles over this question in my own experiences in Wikipedia. You are recommending a relaxation of policy regarding sources to expand the articles? Pkeets (talk) 03:38, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting we relax any policy; WP:SPS makes it clear that it's acceptable to use someone's own website as a source for non self-aggrandizing claims about themselves. Given the lack of source material about Kubisch, she probably wasn't a great article to give a student, but that's not because stubs (let alone stubs about women) generally lack good source material for expansion - it's because Kubisch lacks good source material for expansion. Kevin Gorman (talk) 04:02, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Are you having the same problem with sources on Jaggar? Pkeets (talk) 04:24, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
With more than 37,000 books that deal with her work, I'm pretty sure I won't when I do eventually significantly expand her article. There are maaaaaaaany books/encyclopedia articles/etc that deal with her life and career. I haven't expanded it yet because I've been on a stub creation rampage. Kevin Gorman (talk) 04:26, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Maybe you should recommend the job to a student. Pkeets (talk) 05:05, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Location of active WEF page

There is a discussion about the appropriate location for an actively updated Wiki Education Foundation (WEF) page that I would like to invite editors interested in the education program to comment on. The question is whether to soft redirect that page to m:Wiki Education Foundation, where the WEF will be maintaining active pages about its activities, or leave it as it currently stands. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 17:27, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

I'd be temped to do a soft redirect (so people can find the current stuff), but archive all the current content first so it's not hidden from people looking for the history. Stuartyeates (talk) 22:59, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Sandbox/AfC issues

Short of just removing them manually or with awb, is there a way to stop the afc stuff from appearing in the sandboxes of students enrolled in courses? I've had a few students click through on it thinking it was how they submit their work when it doesn't fit with the structure of our assignment, and AfC is a really broken process anyway. The button looks so inviting though... Kevin Gorman (talk) 01:10, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Maybe redirect student sandboxes somewhere as part of the standard student welcome process? Stuartyeates (talk) 02:05, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, that would work, I think... maybe an invisible guided tour that posted a different template to their sandbox at the beginning of the student training, which would pre-empt the loading of the standard sandbox preload. I'm not keen on doing this myself right now—I just finished some frustrating guided tour work, and I'm a little burnt out on staring at javascript—but if someone else wants to try their hand at it, I'll help out. Ultimately, given that this is a problem that's not specific the education program, it's probably something better addressed by changing Template:User sandbox for all new users.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 14:16, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

There's definitely a reason I'm not a coder, but, although students aren't assigned to a new particular usergroup, since the contribs page displays if someone is a student or not - I think using Ep-user-roles-message-main-student - if it's possible to pull that role, it should be easy to substitute a student specific template in to the sandboxes of all enrolled students. Of course, the only easy way I can find to pull that role is with the API, and I'm not about to try to implement an API call in a template with 90,000 transclusions for something that is a relatively minor issue. Oh well, I'll probably either just semimanually substitute it for my students or just deal with the 3-4 at a time who accidentally submit to AfC. Kevin Gorman (talk) 18:31, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

btw, "really broken" process? WP:SOFIXIT. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:16, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Saying go fix AFC is like saying go fix our editor retention issues. I patrol AfC on occasion, and have engaged in multiple serious discussions in various places about how to go about improving our article creation process multiple times. I doubt you'll find all too many people who disagree with me that AfC is broken, it's just not an easy fix, or a top priority for me currently. Kevin Gorman (talk) 02:55, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm currently doing a reasonable job of welcoming all students as they appear on Special:Log/student. I use the twinkle student welcome thing. Maybe that could be extended? Stuartyeates (talk) 20:49, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Globalising focus

Being in the Southern hemisphere it is somewhat confusing to see courses described by "Winter 2014" and "Summer 2014", and I'd ask in the future that there is a guideline changed to make this a date. The 10-12% of us humans down here would certainly appreciate it. Kind regards, --LT910001 (talk) 03:49, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I refer here to Special:Courses --LT910001 (talk) 03:50, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
LT910001: I tried to standardize hemisphere-neutral course terms (2014 Q1, etc) when we first started using this course page system, but it's a Sisyphian task, since instructors usually go with either the terminology used at their own institution or whatever is already in the system that is close to that. For the system that eventually replaces the current course pages, I anticipate that sorting by actual dates rather than an arbitrary "term" parameter.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 14:23, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

::: So don't use the word 'Term' use 'start date' and 'end date' Stuartyeates (talk) 20:40, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I see. Couldn't the form of input be changed, eg from text to a calender or drop-down menu? That is one way this problem could be solved. --LT910001 (talk) 02:50, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

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