Education Program talk:College of Staten Island/History of Design and Digital Media (Fall 2013)/Grading

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Introduction to our use of Wikipedia[edit]

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, is an encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone. It has many millions (!) of editors (Wikipedians), many of whom are students like you. The vast majority of them are volunteers who find editing this site to be an enjoyable experience, even a hobby. Therefore I hope you will enjoy this exercise and the course! After all, there are not many exercises that tell you to do something that over a million people think is 'fun', nor are there many assignments that will help build a tool that is used by 1.5 Billion people.

Wikipedia:Tutorial is the best place to start your adventure with this wiki. Please familiarize yourself with instructions for students and if you have any questions, check the Wikipedia:FAQ/Editing or Help:Contents and if you cannot find what you are looking for, ask the friendly people at Wikipedia:Help desk - or just contact me.

Before making any major edits, it is recommended that you create an account (video tutorial). You definitely need to have an account before attempting to do any wiki-related coursework (otherwise we will be unable to confirm if you have completed the exercise). After you create an account, if you know your group already, add your name to the relevant section of this page.

Remember that Wikipedia is not a project limited only to our university. We are guests here and we should all behave accordingly. Please make sure you read Wikipedia:Wikiquette. Please try to think what impression you want other Wikipedians to have of our department, and of CSI — and of yourselves.

You should expect that the professor, other students, your friends, and even (or especially) other Wikipedia editors (not affiliated with our course) will leave you various messages on your talk pages. When working on the exercises below, you should log in to Wikipedia and check your messages as often as you check your email (I strongly recommend you read 'as often' as 'at least daily'). Whenever you have a new message and are logged to Wikipedia, you will see a large message, 'You have new messages', on every Wikipedia page you access. To make this message disappear, you should click on it and read the message. Note that it is customary to leave new messages at the bottom of the talk/discussion pages, and to reply to somebody's messages on their talk pages. If you want to leave somebody a message, make sure you are editing their talk page, not their user page. Remember to sign your talk and discussion messages (you should watch this tutorial on using talk pages).

Some other useful tips: whenever you are done with an edit and want to save a page, fill out the edit summary box and view a preview of the page after your edit to make sure it looks as you actually want it to look. Only then click the "Save Page" button. You may find the page history tool and watchlist tools to be very useful when you want to check what changes by other editors have been made to the article(s) you are working on.

Please direct any questions to my talk page. You are welcome to send emails, or drop by to see me during our office hours, and ask about Wikipedia how-to; but please try to find the answer first on the Help:Contents.

Term Project[edit]

Project overview[edit]

Your assignment is to choose an underdeveloped Design and Digital Media related subject to research and write about on Wikipedia. You will perform a literature search on that subject, and create a new article or expand an existing one, following any and all Wikipedia standards first and foremost. During the active project phase, you will monitor and respond to feedback on your article, and assist other students by reading and commenting on their work.

Project details[edit]

This assignment is worth 50 points.

In the first 1/4 of the semester, you will choose a Design and Digital Media related article to work on. Once you have chosen your article, you will write up a one page proposal, outlining important information about it, what points you will cover in your article, and a short list of resources. You will make an appointment to meet with me during class and discuss your proposal. The deadlines for this assignment are listed below.

Once you have gotten my approval, work to create an interesting, in depth article about your chosen subject. Make sure you familiarize yourself with encyclopedia-type writing before you begin. Writing for Wikipedia is very different from writing an essay, although not that far from writing a descriptive scientific paper, and you need to fit in with the proper format. Please read the following guidelines to get a handle on how you should write your article BEFORE you start writing:

  1. Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, which summarizes what Wikipedia is, and what it is not;
  2. Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, which describes Wikipedia's core approach to neutral, unbiased article-writing;
  3. Wikipedia:No original research, which explains what is, and is not, valid encyclopedic information;
  4. Wikipedia:Verifiability, which explains what counts as a verifiable source and how a source can be verified;
  5. Wikipedia:Citing sources, which describes what kinds of sources should be cited and the manner of doing so; and
  6. Wikipedia:Manual of Style, which offers a style guide.

Wikipedia maintains a high standard of writing, and has taken great pains to improve these standards. You need to follow their directions to the letter, since deviating from these standards will invite article deletion.

Regarding the length of the article, quality of sources used, please see these articles from COM 232 two years ago: Ladislav Sutnar, or The Hobby Horse. For work by students from other universities written during Wikipedia focused courses: here, here or here.

Feel free to include photos, but remember that not all pictures on the web are free for the taking. Familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's Copyright Policy to ensure you are not doing anything wrong (copyright violation, in the real, world, means what plagiarism in academia). Remember that any violation will be caught and dealt with by the plethora of editors on the site (and you do not want your group article to suddenly sprout a copyvio template like this 2009 group did...).

Your article must include at least 5 academic book or journal sources. However, keep in mind that this is a minimum requirement. On Wikipedia, every sentence or paragraph that makes a claim needs to be cited. You should also include a list of external links giving the reader more information on your subject, and link to your page from other Wikipedia pages, so your page is not an orphan. To answer that question in your head: yes, you can go on someone else's article and link to your own. That's the beauty of Wiki!

I encourage you to use Wikipedia:Peer Review and related tools (see tips section below) and seek creative comments on your article. In other words, if you can get other Wikipedia editors to help you, more power to you!

Once you begin writing your article, you are required to respond to any comments on your paper and act accordingly (make proper changes, defend your choices, etc). These comments will give you substantial feedback on your work, and allow you to make your final product better. (Besides, I'm going to spend the semester reading your work and commenting on it--if you listen to my feedback, you'll end up with a much better grade. It's like I'm pre-grading it for you!)

Finally, you will read and evaluate/comment on your classmates' articles. Please make your comments constructive and useful. You will not get credit for such comments as "good article!" or "I liked it!" Suggest something that can be realistically improved, compare their article to yours and see if your group has learned any tricks that can help them. Also refrain from any abusive or inappropriate language. Remember, you are part of the public face of CSI for the semester--make us proud.

At the end of the semester, you will turn into me the following items in a print-out version:

  1. A print out of constructive comments you made when reviewing the work of another group, so I can give you the points for reviewing other articles. Please highlight your user name for clarity. Label that page(s) as: Review of other group work.
  2. A print out of constructive comments you made on your own group article's talk page, and on the talk pages of other editors (if relevant). Label that page(s) as: Communication during our group work. Note that only on-wiki communication is accepted, off-wiki communication like emails and such will not be graded.

Term Project Grading[edit]

  • The term assignment is worth 50 points of the final grade.
  • 25 points are awarded for in progress work, including drafts, proposals.
  • 25 points are awarded for the final article

Here is a description of quality classes for an article. I will award up to 25 bonus points for progress beyond a B Class article, towards a GA class.

Article's quality class Course credit points earned
stub class 1
start class 12
C-class 19
B-class 25
Good Article class 50
Featured Article class beyond our scope

Here is a checklist for article quality.

  • Paper is on one of the subject that was approved by the instructor
  • Paper includes intro summary (lead in the Wikipedia terminology), at least 3 body paragraphs per group member, conclusion, and bibliography
  • There are no grammatical/spelling errors throughout the paper (that does include absence of spurious capitalization, like Sociology instead of sociology and so on)
  • Introduction summarizes the subject properly and does not include unique information not present in the main body of the article
  • Conclusion sums up the paper without ending abruptly
  • Paper is structured logically, and there are no weird gaps (Note: "weird gaps" occur for example when you chose to write about a historical trend, but your group "forgets" to research few centuries in the middle; or when you are presenting an overview by country, but decide that few random countries are enough, because you use an arbitrary "two countries per group" member rule instead of thinking which countries are important to cover for the subject discussed)
  • Sources used are reliable
  • In-paper citations are present and used correctly according to Wikipedia format see Wikipedia:Citing sources
  • In-paper citations are done in a consistent format, and provide all the necessary information (in brief: author's name, publication title, publisher information, page number if source has pages, URL if source is online, see ASA style for details)
  • Body of the paper explores the chosen subject in adequate detail. (Note: “adequate detail” means I shouldn’t be able to do a quick literature search and find information not included in the paper. I want you to search current and past literature, books, newspapers, websites, etc. and summarize all the information you find into an easy-to-read and understand paper. If you are missing major bits of information, or have included incorrect information without citations to back up your findings, you will lose major points here).
  • Paper should conform to Wikipedia writing standards (Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No original research)

I will grade your activity based on two primary factors:

  • Whether you contributed to your paper on a regular basis (every few days) or not
  • Whether you were active on the article's talk page. This means that I see that attempted to address and fix any and all comments/suggestions given by me, your colleagues, the reviewer and the Wikipedia community. If the change was not made, adequate explanation was given (which did not include "this is for an research assignment, so leave us alone")

How to fail the assignment:

  • plagiarism, or extensive quotations
  • missing deadlines
  • logging in an editing only at the very end of the course, where you discover you are not sure how to edit Wikipedia, and that your contribution does not really fit the articles your other members were working on
  • not participating in the talk page discussions

Article and Review assignments[edit]

This table will list each article that a student is working on, and which other students will be peer reviewers for the article.

User Name Article 1st reviewer 2nd reviewer
User:Theredproject Michael Mandiberg David Horvitz User:FirstReviewer User:SecondReviewer
User:Offensiveb Joel Ogaja Walter Herdeg open open
User:Allyscully Allison Scully Emil Ruder ZH92 TheShark93
User:Kpol1298 Kristopher Polanco Ed Fella TheShark93 ZH92
User:Magnifyit Sasha Altiery Joaquĺn Ibbara Moiselle4dreaa open
User:ZH92 Jenna Cozzolino Claude Garamond open Allyscully
User:TheShark93 Matt Quinn Ken Levine (game developer) Kpol1298 open
User:jfgx4 Justin Gaetani Joseph Blumenthal (printer) open open
User:Ag715 Annalisa Giordano Ludwig Hohlwein emariemag ACaccamo
User:kpervaiz komal pervaiz William Caslon jfgx4 open
User:emariemag Emilia Maggi Will Burtin ACaccamo open
User:johnmccarthyyy John McCarthy Jessie Wilcox Smith jfgx4 open
User:Af918 Anthony Ferrara Johann Fust Moiselle4dreaa open
User:Moiselle4dreaa Alison A. Lopez Philippe Pigouchet Allyscully open
User:ACaccamo Alexandrea Caccamo Daniel Berkeley Updike emariemag open
User:ng212 Max Miedinger open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open
User:YourUserName Article open open

Potential Articles[edit]

AIGA winners:

Important tips[edit]

RTFM! :)

Wikipedia:FAQ/Editing will give you all the information you need to edit pages and start your own. Read it! Help:Contents and Wikipedia:Tutorial are very useful, too.


I suggest doing some practice edits on various pages, just to get a feel for how things work. You can start by adding material to your user page, but try to edit real articles, too. If you add some constructive content to relevant Design and Digital Media related articles, you may be --Ericaray16 (talk) 22:27, 11 September 2011 (UTC)eligible for extra credit.

If you are drawing aBold text blank as to what you should edit for practice, there are many places you may want to check if you want to improve your Wikipedia-editing skills by editing Wikipedia. Feel free to check the following pages:

Create an account and sign in every time you edit

Whenever you edit, make sure that you are signed in (if in the top right corner of the screen you see "log in" button, you are not signed in!). If you are not signed in, course instructor (Michael Mandiberg) will not be able to verify that you were the person who made the edit and give you points for it.

When creating a new account, think about the nickname you want to use here. Consider:

  • this is a publicly viewable project – do you want to use your real name (or even your last name)?
  • you may want to keep editing Wikipedia in the future – chose a nickname that you won't find annoying in a few years...
  • or you may never want to edit again, and don't want to be associated with this work (which will remain public for years to come)
Talk pages

Whenever editing a talk page, add four tildes ~~~~ to the end of all comments you make on talk pages. This will let people know who is talking. You can also just press the signature button (you may want to watch this tutorial on using talk pages).

Selecting an article

You can chose to create an entirely new article related to Design and Digital Media, if the topic you'd like to write about is missing. You can also expand an existing Wikipedia article related to Design and Digital Media, if there is ample room for expansion (rule of thumb: if the article has only a few sentences, it is a good choice for expansion, if it has a few long sections, probably not). Most articles assessed as a "stub" qualify for this assignment. There are many Design and Digital Media related articles to chose from: see here.

If you are drawing blank on what article you could create or expand, there is a list above of example of an articles that should be created or expanded. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Important tip: try to chose a subject that you are interested in. It's much easier to write about something interesting than it is to write about something boring!

As soon as possible, your group should agree on a topic and get in touch (by email) with the course instructor (Michael Mandiberg) so he can verify it is a good topic. You may want to select one or more subjects and list them in the order of preference, in case your first choice is rejected, to save time.

What kind of an article are we writing?

We are not doing any original research. You will not be collecting data, analyzing it, or writing about your experiences. We will not be witting an essay with personal opinions or judgments. Instead, we will be writing an encyclopedic article, summarizing an existing, verifiable state of knowledge from a Design and Digital Media related area. See Wikipedia in brief for a short list of what an encyclopedic article we will be writing here is.


The simplest way to understand the style you are supposed to follow is to examine articles that have passed GA or FA. You can see Wikipedia Good Articles from the section "Arts and Architecture" here . Presently there is only one Design related Good Article: Design management, and one Typography one: Canons of page construction. We are going to change this.

The technical details are explained in the Wikipedia:Manual of Style, but I find just looking at already-written articles much more helpful then studying the collection of the rules.

If you want to learn how to write nicely, check this guide:

Getting the article assessed as a GA

At the top of this page you will find a "how to" for nomination. There is also a dedicated guide for nominating good articles. If you can nominate it sooner than the deadline, the better for you – every day gives you more time to read comments by the reviewers and address them. Remember: you may get max score (25%) even if you don't address all the comments of the reviewer in time (particularly if he posts them very late); but addressing them and passing through the GA process guarantees you the max score (25%) for this assignment. The assignment does not end with the nomination, you will likely have to fix various issues pointed out by the reviewer. If the reviewer posts useful comments, you should do your best to address them; of course this mean you may disagree with him if you think you know better (reviewers are not perfect).

Useful links:

We don't own the articles

Wikipedia is a project with millions of editors, who collaborate on all articles. We don't own the articles we work on. Don't be surprised if you receive comments from editors who are not part of the course, or if they do edit your article. All editors are here to help; don't hesitate to get extra help – Wikipedia has ton of places you can do so.

Expect to interact (politely) with others

It is likely that over the course of the project, you will receive messages from editors outside our course, and that they will make edits to your article. Be polite in replying, and don't hesitate to ask them to explain something.

Work on Wikipedia

A. Don't work on a draft in Microsoft Word. Work on a draft in the article on Wikipedia. This way your colleagues (and instructor) will be aware of what you are doing the instant you do so, and can comment on it sooner.

B. Don't exchange comments by email. Exchange comments by using article's talk pages, for the same reasons as above (unless you are certain that your discussion have to stay private). If you like to receive email notifications, you can monitor the article's talk pages (and your own userpage talk page) by subscribing to that page RSS feed (see Wikipedia:Syndication).

Remember: gaining experience with wiki software may be more important to your future career than detailed knowledge of the History of Design and Digital Media. In 2007, Technorati's chief technologist stated that in five years "knowledge of wikis will be a required job skill". Do the math.

Plagiarism and copyvio warning

Plagiarism is not only against the college and course policies, it is also against Wikipedia policies (see WP:PLAGIARISM). And attributing somebody doesn't mean cut and paste jobs are allowed (WP:COPYVIO). Violations of plagiarism/copyvio policies will result in lower grade and other sanctions (per university's policy). Please note that the course instructor is not the only person checking constantly for plagiarism and copyright violations; the Good Article reviewer will do so as well, and Wikipedia has a specialized group of volunteers specializing in checking new contributions for those very problems (you don't want your work to appear here or here!). In particular, note that extensive quoting is not allowed, and changing just a few words is still a copyvio (it doesn't matter if you attribute the source). Bottom line, you are expected to read, digest information, and summarize it in your own words (but with a source). For more info see: this plagiarism handout, Wikipedia:Copy-paste, Wikipedia:Quotations, Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing, a guide from Purdue University.

Getting extra help

You can always ask the course instructor for help. You should not hesitate to ask your fellow students from other groups for help, for example if you see they have mastered some editing trick you have yet to learn. We are here to collaborate, not compete. If you can lobby and get help/assistance/advice from other editors to improve your work (for example by using Wikipedia:New contributors' help page, Wikipedia:Requests for feedback, Wikipedia:Peer review, Wikipedia:Help desk or Wikipedia:Reference desk), I am perfectly fine with it. Be bold and show initiative, it usually helps. See also "how to get help" handout. <your policies towards getting extra help may differ...>

Advice from other students who have done this before

This is not the first time Wikipedia has been written in classroom before. Based on other students past experiences, here are practices that have helped other students increase their learning and increase their grades.

  • read the "getting extra help" tip above
  • try to complete the extra credit assignments outlined here
  • complete WP:TUTORIAL and edit some Wikipedia articles "for fun" early on; experience gained will be very helpful
  • work on a draft on Wikipedia, in the article; don't work in Microsoft Word or such
  • keep an eye on your userpage discussion page, and on article's discussion page, where other group members and other Wikipedia editors – and the instructor – may leave you tips, advice and other comment
  • remember its a collaborative assignments. Work with your colleagues from the first day on a single wiki-draft. Groups whose members work alone and try to combine their parts a day or so before the final submission don't do very well.
  • don't focus solely on your own sections. Help your teammates by proofreading their section, see if they have trouble with things you've figured out.
  • image questions? See this image uploading handout, this uploading image video tutorial, Wikipedia:Images, and in particular, the Wikipedia:Finding images tutorial and the Wikipedia:Picture tutorial. Try to avoid looking for images on "the web", focus on the Wikipedia's sister project, Wikimedia Commons, which has millions of images that can be used on Wikipedia without any restrictions.
  • reference questions? Revisit the Wikipedia:Tutorial/Citing sources and watch a video tutorial on how to add footnotes and proper references to your article.

Reflective Essay[edit]

Write a short (2-5 page) reflective essay on your experiences writing on Wikipedia during this class. Some of the questions you may choose to reflect upon include:

  • The ways in which writing for Wikipedia is different from writing regular papers for class.
  • What you learned about Wikipedia.
    • This could be a reflection on the technical or social aspects of editing. This could include a discussion of:
    • the Discussion page
    • the History page
    • the role of users
    • the role of collaboration.
    • Wikipedia's rules (which are slightly different than the rules of writing course papers)
  • Has your relationship to Wikipedia changed?
    • Do you see it differently?
    • Do you trust it more or less?
  • Did you learn new research methods in this course?
    • Did you put methods you already knew to use?
    • Was there more or less research involved for this Wikipedia entry then for your other writing assignments?
  • Did working on Wikipedia, with its insistence on citing every claim/sentence, make it easier or harder to insure that your writing was well researched?
  • Will this assignment change the way you complete other writing, and if so, how?
  • How do you feel knowing that the words you wrote are likely to be one of the very top search results for the person you were writing about?
  • How do you feel knowing that these words could be modified or rewritten by the next person to come along (with the hope that they would be making them better)?

(Click to return to your main course page and continue.)

(Click to return to your main course page and continue.)