Trainer training Oxford 2017

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On 27 January 2017, Martin Poulter and Academic IT Services ran a session for IT trainers on how to run a Wikipedia editathon.


Slides from the event, improved in light of post-event feedback. An editable version of these slides can be downloaded from Google Docs.

An objective of the current Wikimedian In Residence placement at the University of Oxford is to accredit trainers and embed in the university the capacity to run Wikipedia events. This event involved trainers from IT services- seven attendees in total. None of them had edited Wikipedia before, so part of the session involved creating an account and making test edits in sandboxes. The bulk of the two-hour session was an active learning exercise in which participants, in pairs, had to research a question and report back to the group what they had found.


I enjoyed this workshop.

3 5 4 4 4 4 4 Mean: 4.0

I learnt new things in this workshop.

3 4 5 5 5 5 4 Mean: 4.4

The pace was about right.

3 4 3 5 4 5 4 Mean: 4.0

I would recommend other people take a workshop like this.

3 4 4 4 4 5 4 Mean: 4.0

I am confident I could run or support Wikimedia events in future.

5 3 2 4 4 4 2 Mean: 3.4

What is the most surprising thing you learnt about in this workshop?

  • Talk
  • The Talk function :)
  • Listen to Wikipedia site - very impressive
  • So many people are in the process of editing WP at any time
  • The world around the entry pages. I've been missing so much.
  • how easy it is to edit
  • How easy it is to edit Wikipedia articles

Tell us at least one thing which would have improved this workshop for you

  • Editing a real article
  • Could make more of the pairs activity, interesting
  • First hour excellent. Editing up to Sandbox also good. Lost a little focus near the end, but maybe we had covered the essentials.
  • more attendees
  • Perhaps 30 mins shorter
  • [2 blank]

Any further comments to add - either positive or negative?

  • Tasks good- however would be better to be clearer about looking up the code!
  • Thanks Martin. I feel confident to take my first steps in a new and very interesting world.
  • Really interesting session!
  • [4 blank]


  • Realising that all the audiences were complete beginners to Wikipedia, I took the second half of the session in a different direction to anticipated: rather than go into a lot of detail about running and preparing for an editathon, I took them through the basics of Talk page messages and editing. I was thinking on my feet and this came through in a less confident presentation towards the end.
  • My instructions for the interactive exercise were a bit cryptic and should have been spelled out explicitly. I checked verbally with each pair during the exercise, and so discovered the problem. The trainees actually made good use of my mistake by answering the question from more than one angle.
  • I rushed through the exercise where I raise things that can go wrong and we discuss how to avoid them. It could have been cut down to focus the discussion, and more audience involvement, on a few specific points: maybe even handing over to pairs to discuss.
  • As I've written about before in the context of the Jisc project, people in universities often just haven't looked "under the bonnet" of a Wikipedia article, at the Talk page, page history, page view statistics. When you show them those hidden features, it totally transforms their view of Wikipedia and makes them much more positive about the project.