July Update

Got started this month!

Sage and I met to discuss the invitations to our content experts and plan the details of implementing our project. Our focus for this month is recruiting our team of experts for the brainstorming session and setting the date for it. We created a list and sent out individual invitations. How did we do it?

We primarily used our professional networks, recommendations, as well as ‘cold’ emailing to do this. For instance, Sage had introduced me to a faculty member who had edited with Wikipedia in her course, and she recommended one of her colleagues for our project. All six invitees were extremely enthusiastic. Five out of the six were around and available to accept the invitation. Which means, our team is in place! I met in person or had hour long phone calls with each expert to discuss the project, goals, interests, experiences, expectations, etc.

We initially thought we’d host the brainstorming session early in the summer, however that schedule didn’t take in to account the fact that many academics leave the area after finals in June. And that’s the case with our experts. Major take away: scheduling must happen at least two months – six weeks in advance for teams larger than two! I initially designed a doodle scheduling matrix to set a date over the summer. The only shared availability of our team is in early September, a few weeks prior to the start of the term at University of Washington. An early September meeting date was also prefered over having more than one expert join the meeting online, since the collaborative, hands-on, iterative nature of the brainstorming session can be best achieved when everyone is joined around a shared table, working face-to-face. We’re doing a second scheduling matrix to officially set the date and time for the session. This will finalize by August 3.

In the meantime, this month we’ve also exchanged emails with three experts to schedule second individual meetings or phone calls to discuss using Wikipedia in their undergraduate classes. Three of our five content experts expressed interest doing Wikipedia editing with their students in conjunction with our project — which is more than we anticipated! We had hope to recruit at least one instructor from our group, so we will be over the moon to have more than one of our experts participate in this fashion. Such participation may also change the way that the brainstorming session is run, which we will have to take in to account. These meetings will take place in August.


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