Very Valid Points Aswin & pune community. This is extremely useful. Putting blame on students and educational system does not help us to study from this experience . In addition , i was always wondering how we omitted addressing copy-vios from the programme plan, since it is always expected in "assignment" based IEP model .
Anivar On Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 9:13 AM, Ashwin Baindur <ashwin.bain...@gmail.com>wrote: > *On Sun, Nov 13, 2011 at 4:28 PM, Srikanth Lakshmanan <srik....@gmail.com> > wrote:* > *I would also request people not to fork any more new threads on this > with same thoughts, * > > CAMPUS AMBASSADOR SETBACK - The Local Community Viewpoint > > The recent hiatus in the Campus Education program proved what the Pune > Community knew. That the statue had feet of clay. For a long time we have > kept quiet, not wanting to disturb the boat but the time has come to tell > the tale. So it helps all concerned to revisit the previous decisions, > actions and provides for better opportunities for improvements in future. > > Hisham first came to Pune in February to our meetup on his trip around the > country to meet communities. He is smart, very likeable, intelligent, > focussed and erudite. We were impressed and happy that a suitable person > would support communities through the India program. > > In his subsequent visits over the next two months, whenever we met, there > was no mention of the campus ambassador scheme or of a pilot project. The > ambassador project was launched without any intimation and/or consultation > with the community. The launch of the pilot project in Pune came as a > complete surprise to the Community who read it from news reports. > > Ignoring the slight, on the basis of an email received rather late in the > day, we looked forward to participating and hoped to make a meaningful > contribution. We felt that with our contacts, experience, knowledge of > local language, customs, etc. It would be a mutually beneficial partnership > with campus ambassadors, which would result in adding to the strength of > the very small community in Pune. We had no illusions that we could add > great editting power to the venture because of the size of our community. > Instead, we hoped to play the role of friend, philosopher and guide. We > hoped to bring the following to the venture: > > * Wiki editting experience - we had a small handful of veteran editors > including an admin (Srikeit). Whereas Hisham had none and little knowledge > of the environment or knowledge of the way Wikipedians think. > > * Huge experience in event management, FOSS, crisis-management in wide > fields of experience etc. > > * Intimate life-long knowledge of the educational system in Pune. One of > our communities member Harshad is a notable cog in the academy machinery. > Sudhanwa has been instructor in half a dozen colleges and has a valuable > network of contacts in Pune as well as insight into attitudes, local > politics, expectations etc. The Community also has well-wishers such as Mr > Lalit Kathpalia, Director SICSR besides others. > > * A permanent long-term continuing presence in Pune (which Hisham or his > staff do not have even today). > > * Capacity to act as mentors to campus ambassadors and provide moral and > other kinds of support to CAs. > > * Capacity to act as “train the trainers”. > > * A limited capacity to edit the offerings of the students (which we > considered, the least of the value that we could bring to the table). > > * Expertise for the Indic wikipedia aspects of the initiative, especially > Marathi Wikipedia. > > > Somehow, I do not know why, involvement of the community itself was > bypassed, not wanted or not required by the program team. We were always > asking for information, it was not directed purposefully towards us. The > time came for the first Campus Ambassador. When we suggested that it was > time to develop the syllabus, we were sent the American syllabus used to > train the CAs which had a different setting to ours. We were wondering how > such a thing was to be implemented. We prepared our draft points for how > the training should be organised and waited to discuss the issue but by the > time we could meet again, it was just a few days away from the training. > > To our surprise, we came to know of an airlift of PPI bigwigs from America > - Frank Schulenberg, Annie Lin and PJ Tabit (an American CA on sabbatical > to Pune). When we met just two days before the training became, we were > told that Annie was driving the show. When Annie was asked what role she > expected us to play, she asked Ashwin to give an opening address and we > played some part in some discussions and case studies. Sudhanwa and Ashwin > were there on Day One and Madar Kulkarni on Day two. Srikeit was there on > both days (we came to know he is being co-opted into the CA program on a > fellowship). > > Mr Lalit Kathpalia, a well-wisher of the Wikipedia Pune Community and > Director, Symbiosis Institue of Computer Science and Research and Mr > Harshad Gune, Deputy Director and member of Pune Wikipedian community > provided the facilities for conduct of the CA program. > > During the training, the CAs were eager, excited and charged up. Frank, > Annie, PJ did a great job in the training, even though it was clear to us > that what was the need of the moment was not being taught. Without even the > know how of how to do a single meaningful edit, CAs were being motivated to > be effective campus ambassadors - the horse was put before the cart. > > During the training, we felt there was a disjunct between what the Pune > community was propagating as the points for immediate action and the > message being given in the training. For example, the need for being a > competent editor was being glossed over, in fact we felt that the message > was that editting and Wiki experience is over-rated, that newcomers do a > better job than Wikipedians. > > After the training, Ashwin wrote a note of dissent on the talk page of the > CAs at the time: > > > http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_-_India_Programs/India_Campus_Program_Reports > > In the light of how the community perceived itself, we gave address on a > number of issues, which were voiced to Hisham over a period of time. At > that point of time, the involvement of the Pune community in the > WikiConference work had not yet started. A large number of issues were > raised. These included: > > * Need for a project management approach, with deliverables, stages, > identification of scaling resources, check-backs, etc was emphasised. > > * Attitudes of local college managements and how to function in Pune > academic environment were given. > > * Intricacies of academic systems in the colleges, universities in Pune > were explained. > > * Cultural differences between colleges, their goals and priorities, as > well as their mutual relations were told. > > * It was indicated that this was the wrong timing to start the program > from point of view of forthcoming exams and vacations. > > * We asked an important question - what is the take home for the stake > holders? There were adequate take-homes for the CA (a certificate, a T > shirt, learning experiences. opportunities in Wikiworld, recognition and > some marks for the exam). The participating students were only getting > wiki-knowledge and assignment marks. Was that enough to motivate them? > There was no formal training for the actual editors. > > * Most important of all, what is there in return to the stake holders like > colleges? This question is still unanswered. There has to be something for > all the stakeholders (CAs, students, college teachers, college management, > community, IEP program team) in the program. Right now, only Wikipedia is > the ultimate beneficiary. and partly CAs and some students. For a win-win > situation, everybody must have something reasonable for take-home. > > * We repeatedly emphasised the need for the staff person to be recruited > from Pune and function from Pune 24x7, who should preferably be > Maharashtrian, and having local contacts, rather than be from Delhi, > stationed there and fly in here for a few days a week (as we were told it > would be). > > * The need for rigorous training of campus ambassadors and formal training > for student editors. > > The community felt that it was not quite being listened to. Slowly contact > with Hisham dwindled. We never came to know except through grape-vine when > Hisham was in town. It appeared to us that the community mattered no more > and the IEP (India Education Project) was the whole-soul focus. Our contact > with local CAs was not encouraged. When a request was made for at least one > Pune community member to be on the CA mailing list so that we could be in > the loop and available for ready support and advice, it was not agreed. > > This led to the community being effectively excluded from CA. Hisham had > never seriously advocated interaction of CAs with us and only a few > Wikipedian CAs and some other interested CAs interacted with us > sporadically. Some of CAs turned up at our last monthly meetup only after > they got a bashing about the copy-vios asking for some help. And then > vanished again when some suggestions and action plan was given. > > There was one exception. One of the Pune community members, Prof Radha > Misra is running a quiet, efficient IEP in her department and college. The > community was invited by her to conduct two wiki-academies in different > workshops in her College which were successfully conducted. We thank her > for the support to the community. > > Reluctantly we came to the conclusion that the local Pune community had no > role to play in IEP. We decided to support the initiative passively. Soon > the WikiConference planning started and our attention and energies were > drawn away. > > From time to time some news leaked through and we got the idea the CA > program was being grilled by the world community. Out of sheer lack of > interest, we had stopped inquiring into CA affairs, we no longer watched > IEP pages though we came across some activity going on from time to time. > Because of this, the true state of affairs and scope of the setback came to > us only with the latest Signpost. > > Now a lot of blame has been put on the educational system, students > attitudes etc. That is true that they are a contributory cause but the > blame must also lie with those responsible for planning. If the priorities > in training CAs were got wrong, it takes no leap of imagination to imagine > other decisions may not have been optimal either. The Campus Ambassadors, > God bless them, are mostly blameless. > > The Pune Community had a clearer idea of what was involved right in the > beginning than the India Programs office. Its decades of experience in > academicia (Harshad & Sudhanwa), FOSS (Sudhanwa), industry (Mandar), > teaching (Sudhanwa & Ashwin), marketing (Mahitgar), retired marathi expert > (J), business (Suhel), armed forces (Ashwin), Wikipedia experience (in > en:WP, mr:WP, Commons) and the general management experience and detailed > on-site knowledge etc were a very valuable human resource, and these were > made available to Hisham. He chose to sip sparingly. Perhaps, just perhaps, > if he had drunk deeply - recognised that the miniscule Pune community was a > true well-wisher, and had made us a true partner, the outcome may have been > different. > > The purpose of this feedback is to educate people about the need to engage > local communities. Communities are not easily engaged. Each has its own > complexities. Their capacities to help you forward your plans may be > limited and nuanced. They cannot be taken for granted either. Often you > have to prove your worth to them. Some communities may even be of nuisance > value unless engaged. But if properly engaged, they can bring you unique > viewpoints, opportunities; they will stand by you in difficult times, > sometimes a critical breakthrough may come from them. They are an important > stakeholder, no matter what your opinion of them is and they will play a > role in your activities. It is up to you to help make them an asset or a > liability and that, in our opinion, is a vital lesson to learn in addition > to all the others. > > We are really unhappy that the Pune pilot should falter and that all this > has to come out. But the lesson needs to be learned, so the story needs to > be told. > > Warm regards, > > Sudhanwa Jogalekar, Mandar Kulkarni, Ashwin Baindur and other members of > Pune Community > > > > > > > > _______________________________________________ > Wikimediaindia-l mailing list > Wikimediaindiafirstname.lastname@example.org > To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l > > -- "[It is not] possible to distinguish between 'numerical' and 'nonnumerical' algorithms, as if numbers were somehow different from other kinds of precise information." - Donald Knuth
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