Dear all,

Four campus ambassadors conducted a 2-hour intro to wikipedia session as
part of an all-day workshop I was facilitating on Gender and Technology at
the Dept of Women's Studies, University of Pune. We had about 20
participants - more women than men, and an even mix of Marathi and English
speakers.

The 4 CAs who conducted the session were: Abhishek Suryawanshi, Devanshi
Tripathi, Arnav Sonara and Nikita Agarwal - between them they too
represented a good mix of genders and languages. I had earlier invited
Ashwin Baindur from the Pune community to conduct the workshop; the timing
didn't work for him.

The participants were introduced to both English and Marathi wikipedias,
where they tried to locate Sharmila Rege, dalit feminist and sociologist,
who heads the department. Since she didn't have a page on English wikipedia,
one was created - and this process of creation was used as an opportunity to
demonstrate key principles: references, citations, NPOV, verifiability, as
well as how to edit. Larger conversations around reliability and
authenticity were had, and the CAs cited their own experiences to answer the
question: Why edit?

I was particularly impressed by the way the CAs shared the workload among
themselves and by the way they pitched wikipedia to a bunch of newcomers:
inside out (from a newbie perspective) rather than outside in, anticipating
what a newcomer needs to know at each step - to be motivated and to progress
to the next step. They also suggested easy ways to edit at the start.
Judging by the last question from participants: "How can we contact you'll
if we need help?" it worked.

This was the first time undergrads had taught postgrads in this department -
a nice role reversal. And this was the first time the CAs had stepped
outside the India Education Program to do a non-program workshop. The
student-to-student thing really worked.

So many thanks Abhishek, Arnav, Devanshi and Nikita. It was great!

And thanks a ton, Hisham, for putting so much together at such short notice.

Cheers
Bishakha
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