Online Communities & Crowds
Comm Studies 378
In this sequence of six lab assignments, you will learn about and contribute to Wikipedia. Together with the other members of your group, you will research, write, and publish a new article in Wikipedia on a topic of your choice. As part of this process you will interact with other Wikipedia community members who are not part of the class. You will also write a brief, individual reflection assessing your experience and connecting it to other material in the course.
You will begin working on these assignments during the class Lab sessions on Fridays and complete them by the corresponding deadline. The Wikipedia assignments are not synchronized with the rest of the course material, but should provide you with many opportunities to reflect on the other cases, dynamics, and challenges we are covering.
Only Task #6 (the reflection essay) includes anything that you will need to turn in via Canvas, you will need to participate in Wikipedia each week. The teaching team will be able to see this activity and help you where appropriate. The Lab sessions and regular class meetings will include time to discuss your experiences.
Please note: Since these assignments are stretched out over six weeks, I recommend that you take notes and reflect on your experience throughout. This will help you complete the reflection essay (Task #6) much more easily.
Due: October 17 (before class)
- Complete the Wikipedia Student Orientation. During this training, you will create an account, make edits in a sandbox, and learn about the basic rules of the Wikipedia community.
- If your group has an odd number try playing The Wikipedia Adventure and complete the seven different "missions."
- If your group has an even number try visiting the Wikipedia Teahouse; introduce yourself; create a profile; interact with the hosts; and read about the hosts, guests, & answers to recent questions.
Due: October 24 (before class)
- Create a user page. You might find it helpful to use the User_info template.
- Enroll in the Wikipedia instance of our course (hint: there's a big green 'enroll' button near the top.). The course enrollment token is "purple" (just the word, no quotation marks).
- Practice editing and communicating on Wikipedia by leaving a talk page message for Aaron, Sneha, and/or Emily, and at least one of your classmates.
- Work with your group to select an article you would like to create or a stub article you would like to significantly expand and improve (see below).
- Document your group's choice by adding it to the course Talk page under "Proposed Article Topics." Make sure that the proposal links to all of the group members' user names (or use the "ping" tag).
If there is a topic you know are interested in writing about that doesn't have an article, go ahead and suggest it. If you are having trouble coming up with a specific topic on your own, there are a few resources you might find helpful:
- Requested Articles — This is a list of articles that others have asked to be created. It is sorted into categories and sub-categories. When you're looking at the list, remember that it's possible that somebody else has "gotten" to them first and forgot to remove it. Remember that a red link indicates that there is no page with that name.
- List of Stubs — This is an extremely long list of articles that are currently stubs and which is also sorted into categories and then subcategories (sort of like what Krystle gave us for the wikiHow assignment). It might be a little bit out of date so be sure to click through before you decide on an article.
- List of WikiProjects, which you can use to locate lists of articles and sort them by class (i.e., find stubs) just like Emily showed us in class.
Due: October 31 (before class)
- Compile a bibliography of relevant research or sources for your article.
- Write a 3-4 paragraph summary version of your article — with citations — in the sandbox of one group member.
- Add your sandboxed article to the course page with the corresponding template.
Due: November 7 (before class)
- Move your sandbox article into the main name space.
- Fill out, refine, and polish your article.
- Select another group's article that you will (individually) peer review and copy-edit (no need to start reviewing yet).
Due: November 14 (before class)
- Individually, peer review another group's article. Leave suggestions and feedback on the article talk page.
- Copy-edit the reviewed article.
Due: November 21 (before class)
- Work with your group to read, discuss, and address the suggestions of your reviewers. Don't forget that you can look at the article history to see any copy-editing changes that were made.
- Complete further revisions to your article in response to the comments and suggestions you received.
- Write (individually) and submit via Canvas a brief (~750 word) essay reflecting on and assessing your experience in light of the course materials. A successful essay will do the following things:
- Comment on your experience in Wikipedia. What did you do and what did you learn?
- Asses your work. Discuss anything that went particularly well or poorly. Analyze anything you (or your group) might have done differently or better.
- Connect your experience in Wikipedia to relevant dynamics or challenges we have covered in other parts of the course. Which dynamic(s) or challenge(s) were most relevant or important? Why?
- Identify aspects of your experience that could inform changes to the course or this sequence of Wikipedia assignments in the future.