Education Committee/Education Committee meeting January 2013/Minutes
Education Committee meeting, 30 January 2013
- Doug Taylor (DT)
- Stevie Benton (SB)
- Daria Cybulska (DC)
- Mike Peel (MP)
- Charles Matthews (CM)
- Martin Poulter (MLP)
- Jon Cummings (JC) (attending as guest)
Fabian Tompsett had planned to attend the call from the Wikimedia UK offices. However, due to an administrative mix-up the office was closed when he arrived. Fabian remains a committed member of the committee.
Form of committee
Should there be formal roles on this committee? MLP: Chair and no others.
MLP suggested having an external representation on the committee (e.g. from an educational institution/ the broader Open Education movement) when the committee has had a chance to mature.
DT kindly agreed to facilitate the running of the meeting.
MP mentioned the Governance Review and whether to have formally recognised Chair for the committee. DT suggested we hold this over until the review is completed.
DT views the committee as having a flat structure with two functions: 1. to make recommendations to the Board on education matters. 2. To help the implementation of strategic decisions related to education, disseminating them as widely as possible to enable coherent programming. DT discussed the difficulty that could happen with regards to conflict of interest and wants to avoid this being applied to volunteers in an onerous way. DT would like to share responsibility for budgets so that the EC can work effectively. Doesn't want the EC to "carry the can" for decisions like this. Responsibility should rest with the board but the EC would help make decisions.SB said that he would take responsibility if appropriate. Felt that budgetary responsibility shouldn't be placed on volunteers. MP said that he felt the Board still needed responsibility and needed to remain properly informed. DT pointed out that members of the committee would be expected to recuse from conversations where necessary, such as perhaps applying for education-related work linked to WMUK. JC mentioned that Lane Rasberry (User:BlueRasberry) is setting up a review for external outreach projects that may be useful here.
Do we have enough people? MLP suggested we have about the right amount and that any more may become unmanageable, though this shouldn't preclude guests attending meetings to talk about specific topics. DT agreed and said that our meetings should remain open, albeit with a core membership, and for people able and welcome to attend as guests. SB said there is a lot of expertise in the community that we have not yet tapped into, and guests at these meetings are to be welcomed.
The meeting noted the Education Committee Charter and more detailed General Committee Charter.
At this point we moved the meeting on at DT's suggestion.
The Virtual Learning Environment
SB found it useful when he visited Cambridge to discuss with CM the VLE. SB has produced a report. There are 3 levels of the programme, SB was willing to help with adding videos, images, etc. particularly for the Introductory modules to make them more attractive to newcomers.
There was some discussion about logins to the two parts - a wiki and a Moodle environment. For the moment, the VLE is independently hosted, so can't make use of the WMF SUL.
The next step is probably to do some testing on the material. MLP suggested that we could devote effort to making a few of the modules as complete as possible to encourage volunteer development and participation. At present, the VLE is more like an electronic book: MLP advocates making use of other core features of the VLE such as self-assessment questions. SB observed that it is easy to activate these features once you have a Teacher login. CM warned against making the project too "multidimensional". DT agreed that having a handful of fully-developed modules would motivate community contributions.
ACTION: CM to work with DT to sort out members' access and rights on the system. (1 week). MLP, SB, JC -editor request.
Thanks to be recorded to CM for all the work he has done. Backups and upgrades: hand over to Tech committee to sort out.
CM has a quote of £1190 +VAT for a skin for the Moodle. DT will raise this with the Board.
Train the Trainers
DC referred at this point to the draft TfT agreement at http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Training_the_Trainers/Agreement_for_trainers and began the discussion. This is an outline of what is expected from the trainers by WMUK. There's a need to have this in place (if possible) before the next session in Manchester.
DT began to read through the agreement point by point. Point one is an outline of what the agreement is. DT suggested softening the language to an understanding rather than an agreement. MLP pointed out this would make it entirely non-binding. DT agreed and said this was a good thing. SB pointed out that while understanding this it may leave WMUK vulnerable to accusations of teaching people to do paid editing. DT replied that the point of WP is making content available for free to do whatever they wish with it. On point 3 MLP suggested this wasn't necessarily a problem as long as people from the TfT programme continue to engage with the voluntary programme. MP looked at the point that trainees could sell this to PR people teaching them to circumvent WP policies. DT and MLP both pointed out that the knowledge is already there anyway and if people want to do this enough they can. A key point is whether these trainers sell themselves as WMUK-approved (pointing to points 2 and 4). MP asked if we want to have the power to say to trained trainers "don't deliver this session"? MLP pointed out that we can't, we can only do this if they are saying they are acting on behalf of WMUK. CM said we would prefer to know who is delivering the training to preclude these kind of things happening. MP suggested that we develop metrics to show that the investment in providing TfT to volunteers is worthwhile and show that there is a return. DC will make some changes to the draft agreement based on the conversation, including a truncated version of Leutha's suggestion for point 3 of the agreement. DT will raise this as a proposal to Board for approval and noted that DC did the right thing by raising it for discussion.
ACTION: DC will add this to any education report which goes to board ( Done).
JC added a point to this conversation that WikiVoyage is a Wikimedia project and that any training related to WV may attract a different kind of editor as opposed to those interested in WP. DT asked that if anyone made formal requests for training related to this to refer it to DC at the office. DT would like to be involved in any initial training courses in person as it is essential to prepare new material for WikiVoyage training.
As JC needed to leave not long after this point, DT moved him forward from any other business. JC took the floor.
DT raised this for conversation. MLP explained that the conference budget was focused on HE last year but it was suggested to him that schools may be a way in. He has hence saved the conference budget this year to look at a schools conference.He would like a school teacher Wikipedian to take something like this forward.At this point nobody has volunteered. DT suggested this could be good for the Education Organiser to pick this up and that DC could help. MLP reminded us that DC is excellent at organising conferences like this, and just needs to be partnered with someone who knows the target audience and appropriate speakers. SB suggested outlining a conference could be a good task for the interviewees for the Edu Organiser role. DC wondered when would be a good time to run the event as we need to start making arrangements now. DT suggested that October half term would be the best time for this to happen as teachers are swamped pre-term. This was added as a possibility. MP asked how this fits in with the schedule for laying out courses for the year. DT commented that if it wasn't done by then it would be too late! Also that teachers would need a 12 month lead in to integrate these things to courses anyway. MLP agreed and said the main role of the conference would be to inspire and it would give teachers time to build things in for the following academic year. October half term was accepted to use as a working assumption.
SB gave a background to this digital literacy project (looking at issues of online critical thinking, trust & skepticism etc.), which began at a meeting in October 2012. A loose group has been formed to carry the project forward. (link to UK wiki on background to project).
Group will be looking to external funding (not WMUK) for the project.
SB added this to the agenda more as a matter of course than anything to see of there were any specific questions. MLP has pledged to spend a day on the interview panel and a day helping to train the successful applicant. MP is available for the panel and DT has added himself to the list as a reserve if needed. SB outlined the current panel as MLP, DC and SB. DT offered thanks to MP for offering to take part and he was happy with the composition of the panel. MP is happy with this too.
MLP informed the committee that he has created an outline for a day workshop for Campus Ambassador training (at http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Campus_Ambassador_training ). Comments or improvements welcome. MLP intends to offer this on a regional basis in UK universities. There is an emphasis on things that have gone wrong and how to avoid them. DT offered to support this training.
DT thanked everyone for attending and was pleased with the amound of ground covered. He also thanked SB for arranging the meeting and picking this up.