Training/Basic Commons training

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This is a first draft: not yet the product of consensus

This is a syllabus for a training session that can be given in a half day or an evening. It would normally be given by one trainer/presenter at the front of the room and a number of helpers depending on audience size. For specifics on how to deliver this training, see the resources below.

Objective: Newcomers will understand which media files can and can not be shared through Wikimedia Commons and will start to share their own files.

This page is for people looking to deliver this workshop. If you are interested in being trained yourself, see training.


  • Participants should each come with a digital file that is their own work (e.g. a self portrait digital photograph that has been transferred to their computer).
  • Participants have basic computer ability (use of a mouse, filling in web forms, editing word processor documents or similar).
  • Basic Wikipedia training is useful but not necessary for this session.
  • Participants should register accounts on Commons in advance, as creating more than six new accounts from one IP address can cause problems.
  • Everyone should have an internet-connected desktop or laptop computer; using tablet devices or even a mobile phone, is possible, but it is not recommended.
  • The internet connection in use should not block, though a firewall or other tool, connections to Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons (always check in advance!)
  • The session will involve making a minor change to an existing image, e.g. cropping, so participants need access to software or an online tool that can do this.

Learning goals

  • Understanding Commons as a repository of free media content for use across all the Wikimedia projects and beyond.
    • Look at the top of the Commons main page to see the official number of files uploaded so far.
  • Understanding what is meant by "free content" in the Wikimedia context
    • Don't go through all the different kinds of CC licence, but explore the term "ShareAlike" and explain that not all Creative Commons licences are "free".
    • Decide collectively what licence will be used for the session's new contributions (e.g. CC-BY) and write it prominently on a flip chart so that users don't forget it when first encountering a large list of options.
  • Logging in to Commons
  • User's own user/ talk pages
  • How to "read" a page - history, diffs, discussion
  • Uploading a new image (e.g. a self portrait)
    • Choosing a meaningful filename, adding a description, selecting the licence and categories. Recommend the category "Wikipedians in the United Kingdom" or "Users in the United Kingdom" for self-portraits.
    • Include a Wikipedia link in the description - can be the subject's home town, or, if anonymity is preferred, their favourite food, sports team or colour.
    • Step slowly through the upload interface ("new" or "old"?)
  • Uploading a modified version of the new image
  • Including an image in a wiki page
    • Clicking on their own user page, clicking the image icon in the toolbar and pasting in the correct file name
    • Get everyone to add to their User page 1) the image they've just uploaded, 2) an image from elsewhere on Commons that they like (such as the Picture of the Day from the main page)
  • Uploading a derivative work (e.g. a map cropped to highlight a particular area)
    • Taking the largest resolution version of the original, not the one shown in preview
    • It should be uploaded as a new work, not as a new version of the original.
    • Select "It is a derivative work of one or several files from Commons" from upload menu. This activates a separate upload interface called DerivativeFX
    • Need to understand that the licence given to the derivative work is constrained by the licence of the original
    • Have everyone stop before finalising upload so that trainer or assistant can quickly check what they are doing.
  • Finding all one's own contributions (via the My Contributions link in the top right of any page)
  • Knowing where to find answers to questions
    • The Help button on the left of the screen leads to a very large number of links, which can overwhelm new users. Highlight the Frequently Asked Questions, Project Scope, and Help desk



Can I upload it?

This paper exercise can come after the initial discussion of copyright and scope. Hand out cards with short scenarios, e.g. "I've made a scan myself of a diagram in a textbook." "I've taken a big batch of photos of my family on holiday". "I've photographed a statue in my local high street." "I've scanned an image whose original creator died recently and so can't object it to being shared." Have each person read out their card and say whether or not they think the file could be shared through Commons and if not, why not. It may help reinforce the lesson if you have flip chart sheets for "Yes", "No: out of scope" and "No: not free" and each person sticks their card to the relevant sheet once you've discussed the answer.


There is no need for an assessment for this level of training: if a user has successfully uploaded and labelled files, it will be evident from their contribution record.