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Kannada Wikipedia workshop in Dharwad

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Karantaka University, Dharwad

Photo: Hari Prasad Nadig

We were all quite excited - it was the first ever Wikipedia workshop in North Karnataka. Dharwad has long been a center of learning, a place famous for legendary scholars and musicians. Known for its literary activity as well, Dharwad/Hubli is easily a potential contributor to knowledge revolutions in Kannada of the digital world.

Plenty of efforts had gone into organizing the workshop. Getting banners readied, getting volunteers together in Dharwad and reaching out to the colleges and various departments of University were few among those.

Kannada Wikipedia workshop at Dharwad

Photo: Hari Prasad Nadig

The workshop was at the auditorium belonging to Journalism Department, located in 700 plus acres campus of Karnataka University. Getting there wasn't much trouble.
Harshavardhan Sheelavanth

Photo: Suma K A

Harsha introduced us to the audience and then I took over. The first session was an introduction to Wikipedia and related projects. The focus was on Kannada language projects.

Hari Prasad Nadig at Kannada Wikipedia workshop

Photo: Suma K A

The second session was about editing Wikipedia. Blogger, Wikipedian Supreeth who accompanied us from Bengaluru as volunteer for the event took lead on the second session. We demoed starting from the basic stuff like how to create an account on Wikipedia, how to search for articles. It was then about editing existing pages, creating new pages, adding images, finding way around the mediawiki interface. A volunteer from the audience was called to walk-through each of these steps, the session quite an interactive one with the audience clearing their doubts then and there. Problems with the Internet connectivity in between the sessions did not seem to bring down enthusiasm a wee bit, which was encouraging.
Supreeth K S at Kannada Wikipedia Workshop
Photo: Hari Prasad Nadig

What I liked about the second session was that it was as descriptive and nontechnical as possible. It was a good one. Several users here in India end up just reading Wiki as even the simplest things scare them off and they wouldn't know whom to ask. Although the session would have looked awfully slow for any technical user, it gave ample time for the audience to put up their questions right there and get those answered.

It was then the time to provide information about the campus ambassador program run by Wikimedia Foundation. Many students seemed interested, going by the attention it received when it was mentioned.

The workshop was entirely in Kannada, which is something that we had planned for. Personally for me, it brought back the memories of another workshop I had organized in Hubli years back.

We had 51 participants in all. The number of women participants was encouraging. It was quite an occasion for the local students as it was evident from their reaction. Some students walked towards us to say 'Thank you' for the workshop immediately after the concluding session. And while we were busy clicking the buildings of the University moments after the workshop ended, few more students caught up with us to say 'Thank you'. It was quite overwhelming.

It is rather sad that most workshops and activities seem to get concentrated in and around the capital city of Bengaluru. More workshops like these ought to happen in all cities, towns of the state outside Bengaluru. The thought while exiting the University campus was also that "more events like this should happen here". Now that we've sown the seed, with little steps of their own, the local volunteers could themselves be able to take up initiative the next time around. We'll all be around to help them when they need it.

This workshop was an idea cooked up over an instant messenger chat with Wikipedian Shiju Alex, who supported the idea and helped bring it to realization. Shiju also helped with some valuable input and feedback that contributed to the success of this workshop.


Kannada Wikipedia workshop at Dharwad, 28th May 2011

Photo by a volunteer.

The workshop wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for the invaluable help extended by Harsha (Professor Harshavardhan Sheelavanth) and without the help of volunteers Suma Addoor (who took charge of the banners and everything else that was to be readied prior to the event), Supreeth K S (who took charge of readying the FAQs and leading the second session). We were lucky to get encouragement and support of the Mass communication and Journalism department in organizing the workshop - special thanks to Professor Gangadharappa for allowing us to organize this workshop in their department. A 'thank you' to the local media and the media in Bengaluru who supported the workshop by covering announcements about the workshop.

 

Note: Some press clippings are attached.

All photos are available in high resolution at Commons.

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