Education Committee/Education Committee meeting 14 January 2014/Minutes

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Comment Please note these minutes are currently in draft form


  • Stevie Benton (SB)
  • Charles Matthews (CM) - Chair
  • Doug Taylor (DT)
  • Toni Sant (TS)
  • Simon Knight (SK)
  • Fabian Tompsett (FT)


  • Martin Poulter

Agenda[edit | edit source]

Organisation of meeting[edit | edit source]

  • Welcome Simon Knight - Simon was welcomed by the committee.
  • Apologies
  • Minutes of previous meeting - These can be seen here. TS felt the biggest thing to discuss from the previous meeting was the educational priorities (linked below). DT said that the previous minutes were an accurate reflection.

Priorities discussion[edit | edit source]

See 2014-15 educational priorities discussion here TS said that he added a point at the end of this raising the significant amount of staff time that has gone into the 2014 activity plan which captured some initial ideas. CM noted this is some of the newest content and has added a table to the talk page to capture some of the things we want to do and how we are doing it. TS said the activity plan would be informed by the ongoing discussion, the first being about the educational outreach programme.

CM asked what the best medium would be to raise the use of Wikipedia with university senior managers. TS said this relates to some of the work that Martin Poulter is doing with Jisc. CM said that senior managers in universities would want to see what has been done and that therefore the case studies would be important. TS suggested a three person panel, introduced via Universities UK, may be a good way forward. SB explained that case studies are important because they help us to present evidence to those in universities to show how WP can be used and how that use can be successful. TS said that it would be good to focus on technical opportunities to broaden reach across the education sector. TS explained that the US model is to have university folk to run projects for assessment. He wondered if it is better to approach individual academics with case studies and other materials. He would like to see us work on capacity building and following up on things we've started previously, such as building on EduWiki I and II to inform EduWiki III. He feels this kind of activity to be a priority. FT mentioned the upcoming UCL event and how this may look. TS said that the idea of a whole week of events is something that, if successful, can be taken on elsewhere. He also said he wanted everything to be more joined up. SK said that this all sounds fine. He said that he and the board are keen to tie things together. He would like us to map our opportunities and how we can make the most of them. The board is, in two weeks, releasing a top level strategy document outlining how this will work, including the outcomes we are aiming for as a charity.

TS asked SK about the currently draft strategy document. He said that it would make sense to line up any priorities in any specific area so that they are aligned as closely as possible to the general strategy. SB pointed out that is what the board are actually doing. SK said there have been substantive changes to the plan, and the language, but still in the framework of the strategic priorities the Board agreed in 2013. It's a formalising of what we want to achieve and, in some cases, a broadening. Example: technology is now explicitly discussed as a way to engage people with open knowledge and open technology. TS said it is good that this is an ongoing conversation but we need to have something that we can work within sooner rather than later, allowing us to be specific about how we target our limited resources. He also mentioned that other chapters are looking at the EduWiki model, such as Switzerland which had expressed interest, and Serbia which is going ahead (final item).

There was then a conversation loosely looking at how education may fit in with Wikimania. CM noted this may be easier to discuss when the board has published its priorities. TS said we don't necessarily need to meet to discuss this, but we can use wiki pages. CM suggested an ACTION: for TS to review the wiki page as soon as the board has announced its priorities. FT said we would need to have an EduWiki in the autumn to pick up everything that will be raised at Wikimania. If that is decided upon today then TS can take this forward. FT also wanted to see how EduWiki would fit in with Wikimania. SK wanted to add two things: to point out that TS has access to the strategy (as have all staff) so encouraged him to get involved. Secondly, in regards to the educational priorities, he said it's not just a page for ideas, but also an operational page to feature things such as the events we are running. He also pointed out that it would be useful for the events to sit underneath the priorities and be guided by them.

DT wanted to highlight some things. Do we want to have an EduWiki? We have a budget for it. Where will it help us to refocus a page from operational to strategic matters? Who decides whether we have eduwiki and who should be making those decisions? There are things that need a certain amount of planning and that can't be switched on or off. Also wondered why we need priorities when we should be able to do this all? SB felt that the EduComm exists to make recommendations to Board who endorse. DT said he felt it's an operational decision that should be made by Jon Davies. SK explained that he agreed but would want to see that the decision to host EduWiki (or not) should fit in with the strategy. For this year, SK said that it's in the budget, people want to do it, so the chances are it will happen. He also pointed out we should think clearly about what the outcomes could be and why we are running the conference, and how we measure it. DT is interested in the model of the grassroots working up, rather than a top-down model. FT feels that we should run the conference in the autumn, using Wikimania as a starting point and EduWiki as a consolidation. We have a chance to generate lots of interest which we can then build on. This can then link up with the next intake of students, determine activities for them and prepare for them in an effective way. We can also make sure we measure the beneficial effects of these activities so we know what success is. TS said that we do need EduWiki and it should be informed by the events leading up to it.

TS also spoke about student societies. He used University of Stirling as an example because they have a) just received a grant b) a member of their body was at EduWiki and c) a trustee works there. CM pointed out that student societies need to be driven from the inside. TS asked whether we want to follow a WMF example and not work on these societies as they weren't getting a satisfactory return in terms of metrics. TS asked whether they should be a priority. CM said yes they should as the audience is young and keen, and the budget is small. DT said you can measure the outputs you're getting from student societies and there is value in being able to show to others what you can achieve through the encouragement of student societies. He cited Imperial College as a good example. CM said he hoped that Cambridge students will be volunteering for Wikimania. DT and SK both agreed that the metrics are going to be very important, especially with regards to the FDC.

DT noted that we should make a priority of engaging with the schools sector. He asked what progress has been done towards this. CM noted that there had been none. DT asked if this meant we are lacking cordination. CM said not necessarily as it would take a year to develop our own take on education. We're doing that. Through the VLE and badges we can get going on this. FT said that Tom Morton has been doing some work on that. SB raised that this may be a good opportunity to bring the Digital Disruption work around digital fluency and critical thinking work back on the agenda as the potential for impact is vast. SK noted that we could pick up the existing relationship but CM proposed that we develop a digital literacy strategy before progressing this. FT agreed, and mentioned that the theory of knowledge elements within the International Baccalaureate would be useful here. DT noted that links to Monmouth led to links with schools in Monmouth. CM suggested we link together people working in this area and really drive forward. DT agreed. SK added that he has an operational priority - the wiki needs to be really reworked to make it easy for people to find out how they can get involved. FT added that when we do things there are a series of questions we should be asking ourselves, so that we can answer them for others. He would like to see some way of being able to learn from ourselves about how to maximise outcomes so we can teach others. DT said that he hoped that what he has been talking about is broader picture stuff, with a view to bringing in more people to education committee and its work. Partly as a point of strategy, partly as a point of having volunteers to help with operational matters as the need arises. SK noted that changes to the wiki pages would help with that.

  • ACTION:: Include EduWiki conference on agenda for next time
  • ACTION:: SB to bring forward something concrete to next meeting about restarting the Digital Disruption work
  • ACTION:: TS to prompt committee mailing list when he has reviewed the strategy and highlighted things to work on. (He noted that it is unlikely to be before mid-February - provisional date of 25th February.)
  • ACTION:: CM to publish agenda for the next meeting as far ahead in advance to the UK mailing list to encourage wider participation.

At this point SK took over as Chair so CM could speak about VLE.

3. VLE[edit | edit source]

There is a three-month plan running for the VLE, see Virtual Learning Environment/Three-month plan Moodlemoot 2014 conference Proposal on "Moodle lite"

CM explained that there is now a three month plan for the VLE leading up to a rollout for Train the Trainers folks. Advised people to monitor the wiki page linked above for updates. SK happy to kick things on to the next meeting. CM suggested SB should report on this.

  • ACTION:: SB will check in with DT on Thursday 16 regarding the upgrade to the Moodle and SB will go from there.

SK happy it is being seen as a tech project as the Tech committee needs to have some ownership. He doesn't want the EduComm to have to go into extensive details regarding tech capacity. The committee was in broad agreement on this point.

CM then spoke about the Moodlemoot conference and suggested it would be worth sending some people along if we have the budget. SK said he felt this would be worthwhile and asked CM to assess how much money may be needed for this. Graeme Arnott was suggested as a good person who could attend. SK asked where the budget may come from and highlighted the need to decide what we would gain from it. CM suggested that if Tom Morton goes it could be worthwhile tech professional development.

  • ACTION:: SK to confer with SB to find the funding. £1,500 was suggested as a ballpark.
  • ACTION:: CM to identify elements he believes would be useful for himself and others.

CM moved on to "Moodle lite" explaining that Moodle is built for larger institutions and that explains why we are experiencing "feature creep". A lighter install would be of benefit in terms of performance and that we could take this to Tech committee. SK said that raising it to Tech committee would be a good step. DT pointed out that there are 298 plugins currently installed. SK said there are likely to be many dependencies involved. DT advised that the installation is much bigger than we need it to be for that reason.

4. EduWiki[edit | edit source]

Discussed as part of item 2 above.

5. Date of next meeting[edit | edit source]

TS suggests provisional date 25/02/2014

6. AOB[edit | edit source]

Wikimania[edit | edit source]

FT wanted to speak about Wikimania. He spoke to Ed Saperia about this at the recent London meetup. He asked whether the committee wanted to be involved. He suggested that we get involved, under Ed, and report back in that way. TS reminded us that he had a meeting with some WMF people on this topic and would share an update. DT mentioned that Ed needs help with the conference. He suggested that individual members of the committee approach Ed to offer support and help, and let him know we are available. DT has volunteered to help with the second - public - strand, teaching members of the public to get involved in editing Wikipedia. DT said it would be good to formally get in touch with Ed and make an offer. SB noted that DT was an excellent person to be working with the public. He also noted that one of the themes of the conference is the future of education. SK proposed this would be a good way to bring digital disruption back in, using Wikimania as a hook. FT noted that progress is being made on the conference. SK said we need to continue to be aware of this.

  • ACTION:: SB to make the offer to Ed Saperia on behalf of the committee.
  • ACTION:: SB to make contact with Digital Disruption to bring them back together with us with a view to participating in Wikimania.

EduWiki Serbia[edit | edit source]

TS said that the deadline for submissions has elapsed so he is happy to express his thoughts on the expressions of interest. There was an excellent candidate and the committee were very impressed. TS also noted that the candidate attended EduWiki. TS said the candidate writes excellent reports and we can get good outcomes from their attendance. The committee was in agreement that TS should go ahead and offer the candidate the scholarship.

  • ACTION:: TS to write and offer the scholarship to the appropriate candidate.

Approved[edit | edit source]

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