Wikiorientation at Dr.GR Damodaran College of Science

An orientation session on Wikimedia projects was held on 6-7 December 2019 at Dr. GR Damodaran College of Science. This talk was part of the “Hour of Code” event, which is an International event celebrated across the globe to encourage students to develop their knowledge on Computer Science. This event was supported by Open Knowledge movements like Wikimedia, Mozilla, etc.which would help students to share their knowledge in the form of volunteerships and contributions. The highlights of gender gap research and women based projects such as Women in Red were covered as part of a focussed group discussion.

Hour of code event

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The “Hour of Code” is an International event conducted across the globe to commemorate the birthday of Grace Hopper, a computer scientist. In India 1047 events were officially registered and were conducted region-wise. In Coimbatore, Dr.G.R. Damodaran College of Science initiated the first Hour of Code event in the city. The event was attended by 350 students, where 50% of the participants were identified as women, from various departments and 6 Open Source and Knowledge movements’ community members were invited as speakers. Among them were WikimediaMozillaGoogle Developers GroupsFacebook DevcirclesWomen Tech Makers and School of AI where all the community representatives pitched to the student gathering on how to contribute to these groups. The students were enthusiastic to initiate Open source clubs and also nominate a Point Of Contact with the guidance of the faculty members.

 

Wiki Orientation

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I was invited as a Chief Guest for the event to talk to students about how they may contribute to Wikimedia and its projects. I presented to the students the various  forms of Wiki which would be of interest to coders and non-coders. This also included discussions on WikidataWikisourceWikipediaWikimedia commons and Wikimedia in Education program. As the participants from the college were mostly from Tamil Nadu, I also emphasised how contribution in Tamil in the Wiki world will be of great help.  I discussed with students how contribution to an Open Knowledge movement not only enhances their intellectual stand but also benefits the whole world. Also the founder of Koval labs, Coimbatore was the co-speaker of the day who highlighted about importance of Open source and Computer Science in today's industries.

Bridging Gender Gap 

After the orientation, I invited a few participants to a focussed group discussion   about my research on “Bridging the Gender gap in Indian Wikipedia languages”.A majority of the participants were women, even though the  event was open to all. I discussed the research work and the necessity behind this. Apart from this I introduced the students to various women- focussed wiki-based projects such as Women In Red, WikiLoves Women, Wiki Women for Women Well Being (WWWW) etc.  I also asked the attendees to express t in the open discussion session on what are the major issues faced by women in technology taking examples from their own lives.

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The common and major issues with pursuing a career in technology discussed were the inaccessibility to internet and infrastructure to work at home besides the other household responsibilities. Also the freedom to pursue a career in this field is less  and not permissible for longer years in these women's lives.


Key observations/ learnings

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  • The key issues of women working on technology in a structured environment (such as an educational institution in this case).

  • The possibilities of initiating a WikiClub at the campus.

  • Almost 60% was interested in non/less coding contributions/subjects.

  • Discussed the kinds of projects students can contribute to on Wikipedia. 



Press coverage about the event can be seen  at Desathin Nambikai The Covai mail news , Prime Time Tamil ,  Covai news and  Updatenews360.com

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