Centre for Internet & Society
Introducing Odia Wikipedia to students of Utkal University, Bhubaneswar

Odia Wikimedians with students of Utkal University. Image by Jnanaranjan Sahu / CC-BY-SA 4.0

A four-hour-long workshop was organised at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha on February 25, 2016 for the students of Master of Computer Applications (MCA) and Master in Arts, Department of Odia-language.

70 participants consisting of 35 male and 25 female students from the two departments joined in this workshop. Three active Wikimedians; Mrutyunjaya Kar, Subas Chandra Rout and Jnanaranjan Sahu supported in mentoring the new editors. Two other Wikimedians; Chinmayee Mishra and Rajalaxmi Mishra, who are students in the university, organized the event.

During the introductory session, we introduced the students about Odia Wikipedia, the Wikimedia community, and the Bhubaneswar WikiTungi, a local user collaborative in the city of Bhubaneswar. Mrutyunjaya Kar, administrator of Odia Wikipedia and Odia Wikisource presented about the Odia Wikimedia projects, how the students enhance their skills while contributing to these projects and introduced the Wikipedia policies to the new editors. “Even though we announced that students can leave by 2 pm, most students stayed back over an hour. Even in a conservative expectation, there will at least be 3-4 students who will be actively contributing in the future. As Chinmayee is associated with us from before, she could lead the local activities in the university”, he adds. Jnanaranjan Sahu who has been active in building several tools and software for Odia Wikimedia projects introduced about Mediawiki and the Optical Character Recognition and its application in growing Odia Wikisource. He also suggests for regular follow-up outreach in the university so that the new editors get constant support and this enthusiasm does not stop here.

Out of the 70 participants, more than 50 participants managed to create their accounts and even made more than 200 edits during the workshop. They selected articles of their own interest and edited. Four faculty members from the MCA department participated in the workshop and were eager to learn how Wikipedia editing works. Rajalaxmi Mishra, who always wanted to edit but never edited Odia Wikipedia made her debut edit this day. She elaborates, “Chinmayee being a batchmate and a good friend always talked about Odia Wikipedia but I personally never did much beyond reading the English Wikipedia article. This workshop was more of a real starting point for me and I started writing about many renowned women like Annie Besant, Kalpana Chawla and Sudha Chandran. Being a student of Computer Science, I am also planning to write more articles in my own subject area. I have just finished writing about a popular bird of Odisha Chinmayee is my batchmate, was helping her”.

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