Wikipedia Ambassadors update
Hi! You're getting this message because you are or have been a Wikipedia Ambassador. A new term is beginning for the United States and Canada Education Programs, and I wanted to give you an update on some important new information if you're interested in continuing your work this term as a Wikipedia Ambassador.
You may have heard a reference to a transition the education program is going through. This is the last term that the Wikimedia Foundation will directly run the U.S. and Canada programs; beginning in June, a proposed thematic organization is likely to take over organizing the program. You can read more about the proposal here.
Another major change in the program will take effect immediately. Beginning this term, a new MediaWiki education extension will replace all course pages and Ambassador lists. (See Wikipedia:Course pages and Help:Education Program extension for more details.) Included in the extension are online volunteer and campus volunteer user rights, which let you create and edit course pages and sign up as an ambassador for a particular course.
If you would like to continue serving as a Wikipedia Ambassador — even if you do not support a class this term — you must create an ambassador profile. If you're no longer interested in being a Wikipedia Ambassador, you don't need to do anything.
- Please do these steps as soon as possible
First, you need the relevant user rights for Online and/or Campus Ambassadors. (If you are an admin, you can grant the rights yourself, for you as well as other ambassadors.) Just post your rights request here, and we'll get you set up as quickly as possible.
Once you've got the ambassador rights, please set up at a Campus and/or Online Ambassador profile. You can do so at:
Going forward, the lists of Ambassadors at Special:CampusAmbassadors and Special:OnlineAmbassadors will be the official roster of who is an active Ambassador. If you would like to be an Ambassador but not ready to serve this term, you can un-check the option in your profile to publicly list it (which will remove your profile from the list).
After that, you can sign on to support courses. The list of courses will be at Special:Courses. (By default, this lists "Current" courses, but you can change the Status filter to "Planned" to see courses for this term that haven't reached their listed start date yet.)
As this is the first term we have used the extension, we know there will be some bugs, and we know the feature set is not as rich as it could be. (A big wave of improvements is already in the pipeline. And if you know MediaWiki and could help with code review, we'd love to have your help!) Please reach out to me (Sage Ross) with any complaints, bug reports, and feature suggestions. The basic features of the extension are documented at Wikipedia:Course pages, and you can see a tutorial for setting up and using them here.
- Communication and keeping up to date
In the past, the Education Program has had a pretty fragmented set of communication channels. We're trying to fix that. These are the recommended places to discuss and stay up-to-date on the education program:
- The education noticeboard has become the main on-wiki location for discussion of the Education Program. You can post there about broad education program issues as well as issues with individual courses.
- The Ambassadors Announce email list is a very low-traffic announcements list of important information all Ambassadors need to be aware of. We encourage all Ambassadors (and other interested Wikipedians) to subscribe to the list; follow the instructions on the link to add your email address.
- If you use IRC regularly, or need to try to reach someone immediately, the #wikipedia-en-ambassadors connect IRC channel is the place to find me and fellow Ambassadors.
- Ambassador training and resources
We now have an online training for Ambassadors, which is intended to be both an orientation about the Wikipedia Ambassador role for newcomers and the manual for how to do the role. (There are parallel trainings for students and for educators as well.)
Please go through the training if you feel like you need a refresher on how a typical class is supposed to go and where the Ambassadors fit in, or if you want to review and help improve it. If there's something you'd like to see added, or other suggestions you have for it, feel free to edit the training and/or leave feedback. A primer on setting up and using course pages is included in the educators' training.
The Resources page of the training is the main place for Ambassador-related resources. If there's something you think is important as a resource that's not on there, please add it.
Finally, whether or not you work with any classes this term, I encourage you to post entries to the Trophy Case whenever you see excellent work from students or if you have great examples from past semesters. And, as always, let students (and other editors!) know when they do things well; a little WikiLove goes a long way!