Proposal:2013 Wikimedia in higher education symposium

This page is a proposal approved by the committee.  The proposal was moved by John Vandenberg and seconded by Kerry Kilner. If you are not a member of the organisation, you may request an account on this wiki using special:RequestAccount, and discuss this proposal on the discussion page.

This is a proposal to start on the path towards a Wikipedia Education Program in Australia with a symposium at University of Sydney. This item was included in the 2013 Annual Plan.

This one day symposium will bring these academics together, along with Australian Wikipedia editors, to discuss best practise for using Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects as a platform for education within the Australian higher education system.

Frances Di Lauro is a lecturer at the University of Sydney, who has run a unit with approximately 180 students using Wikipedia as part of their learning outcomes. John met with Frances on 11 January 2013, where the date of 5 April was selected for the symposium as it was in the non-teaching week of most Australian universities.


The Wikipedia Education Program has had mixed success in the countries where it has been run under the auspices of the Wikimedia Foundation. In India it was plagued with problems; in the United States and Canada it has been mildly successful at engaging students and resulting in new and valued content contributions but has had limited success in converting students to long-term contributors; in Arabic speaking countries there are early signs of the program being considered a success in terms of both content and longer-term contributors.

There are numerous instances of "Wikipedia in education" course-work already being run in Australia, without incident; however they are either not disclosed or not well advertised, and invariably there has been little opportunity to discuss these in an academic setting within the Australian academic community. There is also a course which has successfully integrated Wikinews into learning outcomes; however there are concerns about the scalability of this idea.

Draft Program

Date: Friday 5 April 2013

Venue: University of Sydney, Camperdown Campus, Teachers College Building (A22)

  • 8:30-9:00 Registration & Session Sign-up, Writing Hub Common Room, 329
  • 9:00-9:10 Opening and welcome, Teachers College Lecture Theatre 306
  • 9:10-9:30 Opening guest speaker: Toby Hudson, University of Sydney (USYD) representing Wikimedia Australia (WMAU)
  • 9:30-10:15 Keynote: Kerry Kilner, University of Queensland (UQ), Teaching Research Methods Using Wikipedia, Q&A
  • 10:30-10:45 Morning Tea, Writing Hub Common Room, 329 (TC)
  • 10:45-12:00 Teachers College Lecture Theatre 306, Presentations (20 minutes each, with 5-minute Q&A)
    • 10:45 Liam Wyatt, Queensland University of Technology
    • 11:10 James Neill, University of Canberra
    • 11:35 Matthew Todd (USYD)
  • 12:00-1:00 Interactive Sessions
    • Writing Hub Tutorial Room, 330 (TC), Option 1: Workshop led by Rebecca Plumbe, Arts eLearning:
    • Tutorial Room 331 (TC) Option 2: Roundtable discussions led by Leigh Blackall, La Trobe University: Leigh Blackall, Toby Hudson, Frances Di Lauro, Steven King,Angela Shetler (USYD) and audience,
  • 1:00 Lunch
  • 2:00-3:30 Presentations (25 minutes each, with 5-minute Q&A), Teachers College Lecture Theatre 448
    • 2:00-2:30 Salvatore Babones (USYD)
    • 2:30-3:00 Stuart Fraser (USYD)
    • 3:00-3:30 Kathryn Barwick and Mylee Joseph (State Library of New South Wales)
  • 3:40-4:30 Panel Discussion
    • Kerrie Henderson, Policy Manager (USYD)
    • John Vandenberg, President WMAU
    • Salvatore Babones (USYD)
    • James Neill (UC)
    • Stuart Fraser (USYD)
  • 4:30 Closing and refreshments, Writing Hub Common Room, 329 (TC)


University of Sydney

The University of Sydney has offered to host the event for an estimated 75-100 attendees, covering the cash contribution for catering and providing an in-kind contribution of venue and organising staff.

  • Catering: $4000 ($40 pp inclusive of GST x 100 people)
  • Conference packs for all participants: TBD
  • Project management including communication with speakers/contributors/participants, event running, planning and overseeing schedule on the day
  • Conference Registration
  • Venue hire
  • Facilitators for breakout sessions
  • Event evaluation and report

Catering includes:

  • Morning tea
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon tea
  • Refreshments all day

The contribution from the University of Sydney is estimated to be well above $10,500; however the precise amount will depend on the venue selected, which can also impact the catering price as some venues only permit food provided by preferred caterers.

The University of Sydney may charge a registration fee; however if that is deemed necessary it will be waived without question for up to fifty people upon request.

Wikimedia Australia

As an event hosted at University of Sydney, one of Australia's oldest and highly-respected universities, it is expected that many academics will be able to obtain funding for expenses to attend. However there will be academics who are active in this area and Wikipedians who dont have the ability to obtain funding. To this end, Wikimedia Australia will allocate $10,000 for funding to cover travel expenses of Australian Wikimedians.

Wikimedia Australia also reserves $2,500 to be available for other expenses, including invited speakers, to be made available only by a separate resolution of the committee.

Travel assistance program

Registration will include the ability for an applicant to specify that they can attend but require travel assistance.

The travel assistance program will be managed by the University of Sydney staff, with a selection panel consisting of members of Wikimedia Australia and faculty of University of Sydney, and anyone else that the University of Sydney wishes to include on the panel. Kerry Raymond will represent the Wikimedia Australia committee, and the committee will seek a Sydney based member of Wikimedia Australia to also be on the selection panel.

The panel will be selecting Australian applicants based on their ability to contribute to the program as educators and/or Wikipedians, and where they are unable to obtain funding from other sources. Preference will be given to those Australian Wikimedians who are using Wikimedia in their classrooms, followed by academics who are planning to utilise Wikimedia in their classroom.

The panel will initially approve applicants with expenses totalling no more than $10,000, providing the Wikimedia Australia committee with a list of approved applicants and expected budget. The panel may also provide the Wikimedia Australia committee with a list of additional attendees, which the committee may fund using the additional $2,500.

Additional meetings at University of Sydney

In the lead up to the symposium, Frances Di Lauro will host a few meetings in the Old Teachers College. Wikimedia Australia will advertise these meetings and the symposium to residents of Sydney to allow locals in community to make contact with Frances Di Lauro and other Wikimedians before deciding whether to be involved in the symposium.


  • Engagement of academics who are already using Wikimedia in education.
  • Expertise shared with academics who are interested but are not yet using Wikimedia.
  • Report on the symposium to be provided by USyd. and released as creative commons share-alike to provide :
    1. evidence-based recommendations on best-practise for education using English Wikipedia in Australia,
    2. suggested list of ways to integrate other Wikimedia projects into higher education,
    3. recommendation on how to navigate between commonalities in student confidentiality policies and the disclosure expected by English Wikipedia.
    4. summary of other legal issues regarding using Wikimedia projects within Australian higher education,
  • Journal articles written by attendees about the use of Wikimedia in education to be submitted to relevant journals/conferences
Medium term measures of success
  • Two well-advertised instances of English Wikipedia being used in the classroom in the second semester of 2013.
  • 100 Australian students as new English Wikipedia contributors, with pseudonyms known to by least the Wikimedia Australia membership, and more publicly if legally possible.
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