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    Teaching translation through editing Wikipedia

    By Mira Vogel, on 15 December 2014


    UCL Centre for Translation Studies
    CenTraS Wikipedia Translatathon, Nov 2014 (CenTraS) recently held an event to learn how to contribute to Wikipedia, the encyclopedia anyone can edit. These kinds of events are known as ‘editathons’ – we called ours a ‘translatathon’ because it involved 36 postgraduate translation studies students, all new to editing Wikipedia, translating English women’s health articles into several different target languages. The event was jointly organised by CenTraS’ Rocío Baños Piñero, Wikimedia Gender Gap Project Worker Roberta Wedge, and me. In this account I’ll focus on practicalities, which I hope will help anybody thinking of running one themselves.

    Preparation

    For a translatathon the choice of subject needs to be something that is both underrepresented and that participants can relate to. Given that the people in this case were almost all women and enrolled on a programme with a technical and medical focus, women’s health was a good choice.

    To arrange refreshments and estimate the number of Wikimedian volunteers needed, we invited students from across CenTraS to sign up in advance on EventBrite (our event was restricted to CenTraS students, but for open events Wikimedia has Event Pages which can handle sign-ups, reminders, &c). Eventbrite also allowed us to ask students a few extra questions, allowing us to plan for their target languages. The invitation included the schedule so that students would know what to expect.

    Other preparation entailed booking a suitable computer room, arranging tea, coffee and biscuits (Wikimedia funded these), and organising logins for the Wikimedia volunteers. To learn the concepts, the editing basics, think through some edits and actually make them in the article, Wikimedia recommend a minimum of 4 hours. Our translatathon was organised around the students’ timetables between 2-7pm (5 hours went incredibly fast) divided between the basics of Wikipedia editing, choosing an article, a presentation on why translating Wikipedia matters, and a final round-up.

    Students were asked to complete an hour’s self-paced training from Wikipedia on the basics of editing, but were reassured that if they couldn’t, that wouldn’t be a problem.

    Learning to edit

    After a discussion about encyclopedias, Roberta introduced the basics of Wikipedia editing. She contrasted Wikipedia’s article pages with their respective Talk Pages (where editors discuss the content of the article), and each user’s own User Page (personal, no need for neutrality or referencing). The first words students wrote on Wikipedia were “I am learning to edit Wikipedia” on their own User Pages. This isn’t just a random sentence – it signals to other Wikipedians who may be watching out for disruptive acts or unusual practices that the author is inexperienced and should be treated hospitably. Another helpful thing for new Wikipedians to do on their User Page is to add the text {{new user bar}} and then save – this template then presents a list of links to help and general orientation which the user can remove once they know the ropes.

    There are some particular practices for translating Wikipedia. For example any Wiki user should include a brief edit summary before they save, but for translation this is the place to cite the original article. “Translated from [[:en:title of article]]” is the customary way of referencing. The Talk Page (something every article has, used by editors to inform each other about plans and discuss dilemmas) is useful for noting sources, too. By the end of that session, students knew how to get into edit mode, how to make a link, how to reference, and some Wikipedia etiquette.

    Translating Wikipedia

    Next students identified articles to work on from the English Women’s Health category. They checked whether the article existed in their target language Wikipedia, and whether it could helpfully be developed through translation. Then, to avoid working on the mainspace (live article), they copied  one section of the English article into their Sandbox (a sub page of a user’s personal page which can be used for for drafting and testing). It soon became clear that you need to work in the Sandbox of your target language Wikipedia so that when you make internal links in the usual way (surrounding that page’s title in double brackets) it will refer to that Wikipedia, rather than the English one (not all Wikipedias have a sandbox but it’s easy to create a bespoke one from your User Page by appending a forward slash (/) and the word Sandbox). Then, to avoid students inadvertently overwriting each others’ edits, the 30 or so students working in Chinese used a shared document to note which article and section they were working on (again, if we’d had a Wikimedia event page we’d have used that – but instead we used a Google Doc).

    It’s usual for Wikimedia editathons to include a presentation from a subject expert about the topic of the day. Ours was from Fabian Tompsett who introduced the 288  Wikipedias with reference to the article on ebola. Thanks to the work of Wikiproject Medicine, the ebola article emerged as a trusted source during the 2014 outbreak, with translation continuing to play a vital role.

    Discussing translating WikipediaThen we returned to editing. A number of translation-related queries were discussed, such as which were the best resources to find reliable medical terminology or how to deal with the translation of bibliographical references in across languages. There was marked trepidation when the time came to move the work from the Sandbox to the mainspace, because students were worried that their work wasn’t perfect. The Wikimedia volunteers reassured them that it’s in the nature of a wiki is for articles to start small and be refined over time, often by several different authors. Again, explaining works in progress is where the Talk Page and Edit Summary come in. Finally, Wikipedia articles each have a sidebar listing its counterparts in other languages, so the last thing we did was to make sure this included links to and from the new translated material.

    What students said

    I chatted with some of the students to find out what they made of the translatathon. One told me that she uses Wikipedia a lot when translating – particularly comparing the English version with the version in her target language – and that she wanted to “give something back”. She also mentioned that it was exciting to be able to publish something on such a prominent site. Being familiar with HTML, she found editing very straightforward. But as one of the students who had completed the self-paced training in advance she had found herself at a loose end during the first part of the session, and suggested providing more advanced training for people in her position.

    Another student who used Wikipedia very frequently was conscious that many of the articles in her language were inadequate and was interested in making improvements. Even as a self-described non-technical user she found Wikipedia editing straightforward. The one thing she said she’d like to change about the translatathon was more clarity about exactly what students would achieve at the end (for example “at least one paragraph translated”).

    A third student told me she felt very motivated to practice translation on Wikipedia in the future. As well as the realisation that some of the women’s health articles are underdeveloped on Chinese Wikipedia, she was excited about writing on such a visible site and inspired that people in China would be be able to read her work.

    Thanks, Wikimedia

    The Wikimedian volunteers were great. Contributing on the day with suggestions, one-to-one assistance and the occasional bit of troubleshooting were Jonathan Cardy (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums Organiser), Fabian Tompsett (Volunteer Support Organiser) from the Wikimedia UK Office, and the generous volunteer Wikimedians James Heald, Nicolas Webb, Zoe Millington and Raya Sharbain (UCL student and founder UK Wikimedia Campus Ambassador). Wikimedia evaluated the event with a feedback questionnaire – I’ll update here when I hear more.

    Wikimedia are supporting a working group on teaching translation through Wikipedia editing.

     

    UCL Engineering’s learning technologist initiative – one year on

    By Jessica Gramp, on 9 October 2014

    UCL Engineering’s Learning Technologists have been supporting rapid changes within the faculty. Changes include the development of several new programmes and helping the uptake of technology to improve the turnaround of feedback.

    In late 2013, the UCL Engineering faculty invested in a Learning Technologist post in order to support the Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP), as well as the other programmes within Engineering departments. Since then two Engineering departments, Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) and Management Science and Innovation (MS&I) have both employed Learning Technologists to help develop their e-learning provision. These posts have had a significant impact on the e-learning activities. To evaluate impact on the student learning experience we are collecting information and feedback from students throughout the academic year.

    These three roles complement the UCL-wide support provided by the E-Learning Environments (ELE) team and the Learning Technologists work closely with the central ELE team. This relationship is facilitated by Jess Gramp, the E-Learning Facilitator for BEAMS (Built Environment, Engineering, Maths and Physical Sciences) who co-manages these roles with a manager from each faculty/department. This arrangement enables both formal input from ELE to the departmental activities and plans; and for the learning technologists to receive central mentoring and assistance. Without this structure in place it would be difficult to keep these roles aligned with the many central e-learning initiatives and for the learning technologists to liaise with the technical teams within ISD.

    The initiatives developed by these staff include: designing and implementing Moodle course templates; ensuring adherence to the UCL Moodle Baseline; running training needs analysis and developing staff training plans; delivering e-learning workshops; working with staff to redesign courses, as well as developing them from the ground up, to incorporate blended learning principles; delivering one-to-one support; and working with academics on e-learning projects.

    Moodle Templates
    Engineering now have a Moodle template that provides a consistent experience for students using UCL Moodle to support their learning. This template is now being used on all IEP, MS&I and STEaPP courses and all new Engineering Moodle courses from 2014/15 onwards will also use this template. In some cases the template has been modified to meet departmental requirements.

    Engineering Faculty Moodle template (click to enlarge)

    Engineering Faculty template

    See how MS&I have modified this template and described each feature in their MS&I Moodle Annotated Template document.

    Moodle Baseline course audit
    In MS&I all Moodle courses have been audited against the UCL Moodle Baseline. This has enabled the department’s Learning Technologist to modify courses to ensure every course in the department now meets the Baseline. The template document that was used to audit the courses has been shared on the UCL E-Learning Wiki, so other departments may use it if they wish to do similar. You can also download it here: Baseline Matrix MSI-template.

    Training Needs Analysis
    In STEaPP a Training Needs Analysis was conducted using both a survey and interviews with academics to develop individual training plans for academics and run training workshops specific to the department’s needs. The survey used for this has been shared with colleagues on the UCL E-Learning Wiki.

    Staff e-learning training and support
    In STEaPP a Moodle Staff Hub course has been developed to support staff in their development of courses, including links to e-learning support materials; curriculum development advice; and links to professional development resources. This course has now been duplicated and modified to assist staff across Engineering and within MS&I. If any other UCL faculties or departments would like a similar course set up they can request this be duplicated for them, so they may tailor it to their own requirements. This and other courses are being used to induct new staff to departments and are supported by face to face and online training programmes. The training is delivered using a combination of central ELE training courses and bespoke workshops delivered by Engineering Learning Technologists.

    E-assessment tools to improve the speed of feedback to students
    In MS&I the average turn around for feedback to students is now just one week, significantly shorter than the four week target set by UCL. In order to support this initiative, the department has adopted a fully online assessment approach. This has been achieved predominately using Turnitin, a plagiarism prevention tool that also provides the ability to re-use comments; use weighted grading criteria to provide consistent feedback to students (in the form of rubrics and grading forms); and mark offline using the iPad app. The use of this tool has helped staff to reach the one week feedback target and to streamline the administrative processes that were slowing the feedback process. The Learning Technologist in MS&I has recently arranged workshops with the majority of MS&I staff (including those who are new to UCL) to demonstrate how Turnitin can be used to deliver feedback quickly to students. Several modules within the IEP are also using Moodle’s Workshop tool to enable peer assessment to be managed automatically online. The use of this and other e-assessment tools is saving academics and support staff significant time that used to be spent manually managing the submission, allocation and marking of assessments.

    Technical e-learning support
    While the ELE Services team continues to be the main point of contact for technical e-learning support within Engineering, the local Learning Technologists are able to provide just-in-time support for staff working on local projects. The Learning Technologists are also able to provide assistance beyond what is supported by the central E-Learning team. This includes any development work, such as setting up specific tools within Moodle courses (like the Workshop tool for peer assessment) and setting up groups in MyPortfolio. Development work like these activities fall outside the remit of the central E-Learning Environments team. Also, because the Engineering Learning technologists are based within the faculty, they obtain a better knowledge of local working practices, and are therefore better equipped to understand and support department specific requirements than the central team is able to.

    Project support and funding
    The local Learning Technologists have worked with academics within Engineering to develop bids for Engineering Summer Studentships and other projects, including the E-Learning Development Grants that are distributed yearly by ELE. The successful project proposals have been supported by the local Learning Technologists, which has meant a greater level of support has been provided to the grant winners than has been possible in previous years.

    Using technology to support scenario-based learning
    The Learning Technologist for STEaPP had a unique opportunity to work with staff during the development of their curriculum to ensure that technology was considered at the very outset of the programme’s development. In MS&I the local Learning Technologist has helped to develop a scenario-based, blended-learning course that is now being used as an exemplar of how other academics may redesign their own courses to empower students in their own learning (both electronically and face to face) and provide authentic learning experiences. Many Engineering programmes are already using project-based work to provide students with authentic learning experiences and assessments and this is something the Learning Technologists can work with academics to develop and enhance further.

    Trialing new technologies
    Several e-learning systems have been trialed within Engineering significant input from the Engineering Learning Technologists, including the mobile e-voting system (TurningPoint ResponseWare) for up to 1000 students; and peer assessment of upwards of 700 student videos within the IEP. The successful implementation of such large scale trials would have been difficult without the support of the Learning Technologists.

    E-Learning equipment loans
    One of the common problems with technology uptake is ensuring staff have access to it. Engineering have invested in a number of devices to enable (amongst other things) offline marking; video capture and editing; and presentation of hand drawn figures during lectures. Equipment is available for loan across Engineering and also within STEaPP and MS&I. These include laptops, video recording and editing kit (such as cameras, tripods, microphones and editing software) and iPads. The maintenance and loaning of these are managed by the local Learning Technologists. They are also able to provide advice and assistance with the use of these devices, especially in terms of multimedia creation, including sound recording and filming, and editing of videos to enhance learning resources.

    Working closely with E-Learning Environments and each other
    One important aspect of these roles is that they have close ties to the ELE team, allowing for important two way communication to occur. The Engineering Learning Technologists are able to keep abreast of changes to centrally supported processes and systems and can obtain support from the central E-Learning Environments Services team when required, including receiving train-the-trainer support in order to run workshops locally within Engineering departments. Similarly, ELE benefit by an improved understanding of the activities occurring within faculties and departments, and accessing the materials that are developed and shared by the Learning Technologists.

    Each week the Engineering Learning Technologists share any developments, issues, and updates with each other and the E-Learning Facilitator for BEAMS. The result is a strong network of support for helping to problem solve and resolve issues. It also enables resources, such as the staff hub Moodle course and Moodle auditing matrix, to be shared across the Faculty and more widely across UCL, enabling the re-use of materials and avoiding duplication of effort. The importance of the strong working relationship between the Engineering Learning Technologists became apparent during UCL Engineering’s How to change the world series. During an important final-day session all three Learning Technologists were involved in resolving technical issues to ensure the voting system operated correctly in a venue with incompatible wireless provision.

    Conclusion
    UCL staff and students today operate within a rapidly changing educational environment. Both staff and students are expected to understand how to use technology in order to operate within an increasingly digital society. There is a huge number of self directed online learning resources available (such as MOOCs and YouTube videos) and increasingly flexible work and study arrangements are being supported by enhanced technology use. As more staff see the benefits that technology can bring to the classroom, and true blended learning becomes the norm in many areas, it is going to be more important to implement appropriate support structures so staff have the resources to understand and work with these emerging technologies. It is equally important that students are supported in their use of these tools.

    The Learning Technologists within Engineering are in a unique position to understand the opportunities and issues arising in the classroom, and react to these quickly and effectively. We have already seen numerous outputs from these roles. These include a video editing guide to help academics produce professional looking videos for their students; the use of tools within Moodle and MyPortfolio on a scale not seen before with large cohorts of over 700 IEP students; and an exemplar of how scenario-based learning can be supported by technology in MS&I. While these outputs have been developed in reaction to local needs, they have been shared back for others to use and reference, and therefore they benefit the wider UCL community.

    As we see more of these roles implemented across UCL, we will begin to see more dramatic change than has been achievable in the past. One of the plans for the future involves running student focus groups and interviews to better understand how Moodle and other e-learning systems are helping students with their studies and how provision can be improved. The Engineering Learning Technologists will continue their work with local staff to help their departments to use technology more effectively and improve the student experience.

    Have you met BoB?

    By Natasa Perovic, on 9 October 2014

    Box of Broadcast

    Box of Broadcast

    BoB (Box of Broadcasts) National is an innovative shared online off-air TV and radio recording service for UK higher and further education institutions.

    Staff and students can record any broadcast programme from 60+ TV and radio channels. The recorded programmes are kept indefinitely in an media archive, which currently stores over 1 million programmes and are shared by users across all subscribing institutions. The archive also includes searchable transcripts and one click citation referencing.
    The recordings can be set before or after the broadcast (30 day recording buffer). The programmes can be edited into clips and shared with others. They can also be embedded into Moodle.
    To start using BoB, log in with your UCL user details http://bobnational.net/

    Lynda.com is now available at UCL

    By Jessica Gramp, on 7 October 2014

    Want to learn how to edit video on your iPhone or iPad, use excel to analyse your research data, or find a job online?

    UCL is currently trialling Lynda.com for 12 months and depending on the uptake this may be extended.

    Lynda.com contains online resources to help you improve your software, technology, business and creative skills. It can be used for staff development, or to help students learn new skills that are useful for university and the workplace.

    UCL has a premium subscription, which means you can download content to watch offline on your mobile device and you can also download any files required to complete the exercises.

    To access Lynda go to Lynda.com and in the top right hand corner click “log in“, then go to the “Log in through your organisation or school” box on the right hand side and enter “www.ucl.ac.uk” This takes you to the UCL Single sign on page where you have to enter your UCL credentials, once successful you are returned to Lynda.com.

    The direct link to the UCL login is here bit.ly/ucl_lynda

    ISD will be developing web pages and information for users over the next week. Please note that there may be some brief technical outages initially while the system is configured specifically for UCL, however, we do not expect this to stop people using the service overall.

    Take a look at the following ‘Moodle Essential Training’ to get an idea of what Lynda.com offers:

    Lynda.com

     

    Hype vs hope in e-learning

    By Clive Young, on 5 September 2014

    Across higher education there is a genuine feeling we are at some kind of tipping point in the use of e- learning. On the other hand practitioners are wary of the risk of over-hyping and point to the recent feverish marketing of MOOCs.

    At the Association for Learning Technology Conference earlier this week, for me one of the most thought-provoking sessions was the opening keynote from Jeff Haywood, University of Edinburgh. Jeff is both Professor of Education & Technology and VP Knowledge Management and has among many other things led Edinburgh’s pioneering initiative with MOOCs.

    The talk put the hype in perspective and looked forward to where higher education might be in the next decade, but Jeff was conscious of Terry Mayes’ notion of e-learning’s Groundhog Day phenomenon “the cycle of raised expectation followed by disappointment” (e.g. Groundhog Day again?, 2007)

    Looking back he concluded that although change was inevitably slow in universities, it was definitely occurring.  As an example he suggested much of students learning was nowadays facilitated by devices and applications not provided by the institution. General attitudes to online teaching and learning were also becoming more positive as students and staff were getting more familiar with them, the “socialisation of technology”, and many universities were seeing online delivery as a ‘worthwhile’ business supplement to existing residential provision.

    He suggested however universities had been using technology to improve the quality of what we currently do, rather than increase the efficiency of the underlying economics. One thing MOOCs had shown was that a reasonably effective learning experience can be delivered economically at a scale hitherto unimagined.  This raises  – though so far in my view doesn’t yet answer – the question of whether we can increase productivity while maintaining quality.

    Jeff asked if we use purposefully use technology to help students break out from the timetabled pacing of learning or enable staff to teach some parts of the programme to many more students.

    So what could higher education look like in ten years? Jeff’s person list was; on demand, self-paced, location-flexible, relevant to life/career now and in the future, global and local, personalised, affordable, high value added and covering a wide range of subjects.

    This vision is not about technology per se, but is unachievable without technology. Some kind of vision is necessary but we know universities as big complex organisations transform slowly so the vision must be combined with patience and persistence. To keep momentum and direction over a decade we therefore need a road map made up of systematically planned ‘modest, purposeful’ steps. These steps must be at the same time ‘agile’ and be adaptable to emergent change or evidence.

    An interesting and ambitious vision for the increasingly ‘off-campus’ University of Edinburgh was laid out. He suggested their 50 fully online Masters degrees and the well-subscribed continuing education programmes may be a better indicator of future core business direction than the 15 MOOCs currently running. He saw ‘on-campus’ and ‘off-campus’  provision becoming more integrated and balanced, “nobody would graduate from the university in any degree who had not taken one core fully online course” and that “all our teaching staff would have some experience of teaching online”. At Masters level he foresaw a 50:50 split of on/off campus students, with a steady blurring of the distinction at programme level. Continuing education would be enriched by technology and Edinburgh would continue to develop its ‘open’ components to increase the reach of and global/local engagement with the university – open will therefore become a “core part of the business’.

    To get there Edinburgh suggested a series of systematic ‘serious experiments’ in key areas (e.g as derived for example from the Horizon reports) which not just for local use but always with a view from the beginning of how to scale to an institutional level. This will introduce the key technical and digital literacy elements needed to achieve the University’s vision.

    The great Wikipedia controversy

    By Mira Vogel, on 11 August 2014

     

    wikipedia logoYou’ve been warned about Wikipedia.

    You’ve used it before but it would be pointless to cite it – anybody can edit so how can it be a credible source? Searching Google yields better sources for your work. You’ve never tried to edit Wikipedia – why would you?

    Comparing Wikipedia to Google’s search engine as sources of information, danah boyd sets out the differences. Google runs on private algorithms designed by a few software engineers. Though these algorithms are agnostic about the veracity or quality of the sites they reference, they are readily manipulable through search engine optimisation. Google’s commercial model has driven increased personalisation in these algorithms which in turn promotes social network homophily,  an encompassing network of like-mindedness also known as the filter bubble. As Tarleton Gillespie argues, “That we are now turning to algorithms to identify what we need to know is as momentous as having relied on credentialed experts, the scientific method, common sense, or the word of God.”

    In contrast, boyd explains, Wikipedia is produced through transparent protocols negotiated by its community of volunteer editors. Entries are debated in public on their respective Talk pages, sometimes passionately, towards resolving what is “legitimate, notable and of high quality”. The History page for each entry reveals who edited, when, and how often. Editors are encouraged to provide reasons, allowing biases to be identified. Where editors introduce false or inadequate information, Wikipedia has a transparent and systematic approach to address this.  As such, boyd argues, while Wikipedia may or may not be better than expert-vetted content, it makes a contribution beyond the “product of knowledge; it’s also a record of the process by which people share and demonstrate knowledge” and “a site for reflection on the production of knowledge”.

    Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales wonders why any student would rely on Wikipedia for their essay – “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia”. Producing Wikipedia entries, though, that’s different. This is where digifest comes in. Digifest is a community-organised festival of technological stuff planned for early November with the aim of bringing UCL’s digital literacies agenda to life.

    Digifest logoProposal

    The following proposal for digifest – just a sketch at this stage – focuses on contested Wikipedia entries, to which it brings a number of questions. What is the nature of argument in different disciplines? What can scholarship contribute in a controversy? What is a scholarly way to comport oneself when weighing into a controversy which has turned belligerent? How are these things to be boiled down into a Wikipedia article?

    To explore these, we propose an edit-a-thon. An edit-a-thon is an in-person events, over a finite period (usually a day or less), bringing interested people together to edit Wikipedia on a particular theme. Historically these have tended to focus on content. Perhaps they are addressing gaps on Wikipedia – Women in Science and Art + Feminism, for example. However, by focusing on a number of contested entries, and with facilitation, students and staff together could participate in editing, discussion and reflection on the process of negotiating an encyclopaedia entry. Suitable entries might be those which involve hoaxes, alternative medicine, the paranormal, feminism, racism, climate change, contested territories, and religious beliefs. Participants would bring the Wikipedia principles into their editing and discussion activity, and reflect on their own standpoint and modus operandi.

    There are plenty of resources available for planning an edit-a-thon including the expertise shared by Wikimedia education organisers like Toni Sant (University of Hull) and Sarah Stierch (Smithsonian). In addition this one would require suitable entries or subjects to be identified, steady and experienced facilitation around sensitive topics, and a programme of activities including editing, use of Wikipedia’s Talk page, and in-person reflection.  A further possibility is for teaching teams to incorporate these activities into assessment on an academic course – again, there are well-documented precedents.

    Get in touch

    Would you like to be part of this? Or do you have other ideas for bringing Wikipedia into digifest?

    Contact Mira Vogel in E-Learning Environments, or @TrabiMechanic.

     

     


    Video HT: @mattjenner