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Emergency Management Planning
Collaborative Wikipedia Project
LocationEast Carolina University, United States
OwnerDr. Mukherji, Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning

Welcome to the EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANNING COLLABORATIVE WIKIPEDIA PROJECT. As a participant of the project, you are required to collaborate with the members of your group to create a new Wikipedia article. The final grade for each group will be based on the points received at each stage of the project. The project will take place over the course of 15 weeks and each assignment must be completed within the given time period to receive credit.

Your group will develop the article in a "sandbox", which is a temporary page for working on articles. Sandboxes that are subpages of this page have been created for this purpose. To access your group's sandbox, click on the appropriate group/article name in the box below. Your article will not be visible to Wikipedia readers while it is under construction. To understand more about "sandbox" see Wikipedia: About Sandbox.

Your goal in this project will be to bring your article to Wikipedia Good Article status or as close to it as you can within the time allotted. Articles that ultimately achieve at least a B-category grade will be transferred into the main article space. Your final submission is due at 2:00pm on Monday, April 30, 2012. There are no exceptions to this deadline.

Group Name Project Sandbox User ID
Aces /Emergency Response to Wildfires User:Scarbelc05; User:Patrickj05; User:Wpace3
Kings /Coastal Hazards User:Greench12; User:Bhack08; User:JamesCaryEMP; User:margauxbk
Queens /Emergency Management in American Universities User:Milesa09 User:sam082008 User:flowern10 User:Veneziano8
Jacks /Hurricane Recovery in North Carolina User:mstewartj User:atkinsonb08 User:moym11 User:CraverJ08
Tens /Pitt County Emergency Management User:cswells User:cindyjb User:farrellst User:JosASamuels
Nines /Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation in the Outer Banks User:higginsa06 User:Duffk08 User:portcity910 User:Charleshegler

Project Objectives[edit]

The objective of this assignment is to develop your knowledge of Emergency Management while at the same time fine-tune your skills in writing and research through contributions to Wikipedia. The project aims to strengthen your ability to think critically and evaluate the reliability of sources; develop your analytical writing skills while, at the same time, gain information and contribute your knowledge to a global audience. You will learn not only to consume information but will also help to create it. During the course of this assignment, you will learn how to work in a collaborative environment and gain insights into the creative process of text writing on Wikipedia, in turn developing essential skills in today's digital workplace.


Remember that we are guests in Wikipedia and should behave accordingly. We also represent our university (this is a university project which is being followed on Wikipedia) and keep in mind what impression you want other Wikipedians to have of our institution. Failure to obey the rules and standards of Wikipedia may result in your expulsion from Wikipedia or even the exclusion of our university from Wikipedia as a whole.

Assignment Overview & Tasks[edit]

It is important for you to follow instructions and not get behind in following the assignment timelines outlined below. This project is worth 100 points (50% of your final course grade) and will be evaluated in parts.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, is an encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone. It has many millions of editors (Wikipedians), the vast majority of whom are volunteers. Wikipedia maintains a high standard of writing, and has taken great pains to elucidate these standards. You need to follow their directions to the letter, since deviating from these standards will invite article deletion. Follow the Wikipedia directions 1st and mine 2nd (i.e., if I give contrasting information, obey Wikipedia).

You will be summarizing existing verifiable knowledge in your Wikipedia article project. Your article must be at least 12 paragraphs in length, and go into detail about your chosen topic. Take a look at some existing pages to understand the formatting and structure that is typically used in a Wikipedia article. The first paragraph typically is an introduction to the topic, followed by a "contents" box that lists the headings in your article, and then the actual bulk of the topic after that. Once you upload your new article, you are required to respond to any comments on your article 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. I will review your work frequently using the "View History" tab and the "Talk Page" of your group's "sandbox" to see your article progress, how you respond to editors comments, and what changes you made to your topic based on those comments. My general suggestion would be that you worry first about generating good content (doing the research and writing it up), and secondly about the technical aspects of Wikipedia.

WEEKS 1 & 2 (Jan 9 & 23) / Deadline: Jan 30 / 5 Points
1. Acquaint yourselves with the Wikipedia: Five pillars and Wikipedia: Etiquette.
2. Read the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure.
3. Read diverse articles in the field of Emergency Management to familiarize yourself with style and format of Wikipedia and search for topics for creating own articles. The following link Wiki Project Disaster Management can help you find areas for contributions.
4. Choose three possible topics for creating a Wikipedia article. Finalize topic with instructor during class on Monday, Jan 30.

WEEKS 3 & 4 (Jan 30 & Feb 6) / Deadline: Feb 13 / 5 Points
1. Read through Wikipedia: Tutorial on how to register as well as format and edit Wikipedia articles.
2. Create your own individual account and log in.

Creating an account for yourself is required so that everyone editing articles can be identified. If you are not logged in, I cannot verify who has done the edits, and will be unable to recognize your work and grade you on it. Please choose a user name that does not suggest a group – Do not choose a name like "User:2011Aces". Also, consider that this is a publicly viewable project and you may not want to use your real name. Moreover, you may want to keep editing Wikipedia in the future, so chose a nickname that you won't find annoying in a few years. To create an account, CLICK HERE. Once again, remember to log in each time before editing!

3. Create a user page by writing a welcome message and a paragraph on your group project.
4. Create a link from your User Page to your group's "sandbox' and its "Talk Page". For tips on creating and using a user page, refer to the following links: Wikipedia: User Pages and Wikipedia: Using User Space.

WEEKS 5, 6, & 7 (Feb 13, 20 & 27) / Deadline: Mar 1 / 20 Points
1. Familiarize yourselves with Wikipedia: Article Development, Wikipedia: Starting New Article, and Wikipedia: Manual of Style.
2. Create a one page outline for your Wikipedia article and post this on your group's "sandbox". Consider: What sections are required? What will be the article structure? What information is needed? What's on existing pages related to your subject (consider for linking)? Finally: Who in your group will write what? Outline should be 700-800 words. Identify 5 wikipedia links related to your article that you can link to.
3. Read Wikipedia: Identify Reliable Sources to learn how to find proper sources and references.
4. Conduct a literature search (ECU library and online) on your Wikipedia topic and create a list of 20-25 citations that you will use in your article. Post this list on your group's "sandbox". This step is vital. A wikipedia article is worth nothing unless it comprises verified research, appropriately referenced.
5. Do not forget the importance of the name/title you choose for your article. Some tips can be found on: Wikipedia: Naming Conventions.

WEEKS 9, 10, 11 & 12 (Mar 12, 19, 26; Apr 2) / Deadline: Apr 9 / 40 Points
1. Develop your Wikipedia article in your group's "sandbox". For help on editing your article, you can refer back to Tutorial/Editing and the Wikipedia: Wiki Markup. The Wikipedia: Cheatsheet is an excellant quick reference for help in the beginning. Further information on developing Wikipedia articles is given below in the "Editing & Formatting" section.
2. Don't copy copyrighted material. Develop your contribution out of scientific literature but as your own piece of work. Remember that any violation will be caught and dealt with by the plethora of editors on the site once you move your article to mainspace. Plagiarism can result in your article being marked for deletion from Wikipedia.
3. Make sure to edit your article while logged in to your personal account. As you assemble and add your referenced research to your developing article, ensure that it does not become baggy and disorganized, though there will be moments when it is obviously in transitional stage.
4. Feel free to include images, but note that not all pictures on the web are free for the taking. Familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's image use policy to ensure you are not doing anything wrong. See Wikipedia: Images. You may insert original artwork/diagrams/images if appropriate and of high quality. For help with inserting images see: Wikipedia: Picture Tutorial.
5. Make sure to cite your sources properly. For information on citing sources see Wikipedia: Citing Sources. A quick guide to citing is given in the "Sources & References" section below.
6. Each group member must write and edit at least three paragraphs. It is hard to quantify effort for writing/editing, but this should give you an idea of the amount of work you need to do.
7. Submit article for instructor review. This doesn't necessarily mean your work is done. Keep checking in daily to track comments by reviewers (which will include me), answering them and addressing them (if they are reasonable, when in doubt, ask me). This will happen continuously over the course of the next few weeks, as I and other editors (students and external) will review your article contributions.

Points Grading Criteria
5 Paper follows the standard Wikipedia structure for good, full length articles.
5 There is no more than one grammatical/spelling error throughout the paper (everybody gets 1 mistake for free!). Note that this includes unnecessary capitalisation.
5 Introduction summarizes the subject according to Wikipedia standards.
5 In-paper citations are present and used correctly according to Wikipedia format.
5 Bibliography includes at least 20-25 secondary resources, and is formatted correctly according to Wikipedia format.
10 Body of the article encompasses all reasonably researched information on the subject. Paper should conform to Wikipedia writing standards and explore 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 and summarize all the information you find into an easy-to-read and understand article. If you are missing major bits of information, or have included incorrect information without citations to back up your findings, you will lose points here).
5 Body includes a section on “current” or “future” research that touches on any on-going investigations in chosen area which may not be published yet, or are in the process of being published.
Losing Points You will lose points:
  • If you create a separate topic page in main space outside of your group "sandbox"
  • If there is evidence of plagiarism in your article
Extra Points You will get 15 points of extra credit if your article fulfills the Good Article quality criteria (according to your instructor and external peer review). This will be determined after your final submission on April 30.

WEEK 13 (Apr 9) / Deadline: Apr 16 / 10 Points
1. Review an article by another group and write a group peer review on it (300 - 500 words). Post your review on the "Talk Page" of that article's "sandbox". Please make your comments constructive and useful. You will not get credit for comments such as "good article!" or "I liked it!". Also refrain from any abusive or inappropriate language. For help on peer reviews, see Wikipedia: Peer Review.
2. Move your group article to main space from the "sandbox" (only after consent of instructor). Once you move your article to main space, immediately download a pdf of your Wikipedia article and email me a copy. For article submission help, see: Wikipedia: Article Wizard
3. Submit your Wikipedia article for external peer review (after approval by instructor).

WEEK 14 (Apr 16) / Deadline: Apr 23 / 10 Points
1. Prepare to present your Collaborative Wikipedia Project in class on April 16.

WEEKS 15 (Apr 23) / Deadline: April 30 / 10 Points
1. Respond to comments from student peer review, external review, and instructor review. Refine your article based on the reviews. All attempts should be made to address and fix any and all comments/suggestions given by your instructor, students and the Wikipedia community during peer review. If the change was not made, adequate explanation should be given (which does not include "this is for a class assignment, so leave us alone").
2. Finalize article. All articles are expected to reach at least a B-category of article quality.
3. Post (individually) a 300-400 words write-up of your individual and group experiences working on the Wikipedia project on your online blog.

Editing & Formatting[edit]

"Wikipedia: Tutorial, Wikipedia: Wiki Markup, and Wikipedia: Cheatsheet" are valuable sources to learn how to edit and format your Wikipedia article. Remember that you can edit any page on Wikipedia so if you don't know how to do something, find where someone else has done that and copy them. Some important things to note:

  • Verifiability: Content in Wikipedia articles must be verifiable. Make sure that you add references to back up statements.
  • Plagiarism: Do not plagiarize. This may amount to a breach of copyright, which violates Wikipedia Copyrights Policy. It will also violate ECU's Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Policy and will land you in trouble. Make sure that quotations, if any, are properly referenced.
  • Neutral Point of View: Articles should be written from a neutral point of view. You should represent fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources.
  • No Original Research. Wikipedia does not publish original research or thought, including unpublished facts, ideas, opinions and speculation; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position. Articles should summarize views that have already been published.

The three largest barriers to the Good Article status are:

A complete list of Wikipedia policies and guidelines can be found at: Wikipedia: Policies and Guidelines. Other helpful links are:

Sources & References[edit]

It is imperative that information is cited. Failure to do so can mean the disappearance of the page. Wikipedia: Quick Citations Guide is a valuable source of help in citing on Wikipedia. Note that Wikipedia citation is not the same as the citation you will use for other forms of writing such as your individual response blogs. Here is a quick guide to citing journal articles, books and newspaper articles. This table is created by and credited to User:Smuconlaw.

Reference Citation
Creating Reference List Section ==References== <references />
Journal Articles First time: <ref>{{citation|author=Randal N. Graham|title=A Unified Theory of Statutory Interpretation|journal=Statute Law Review|year=2002|page=91 at 92}}.</ref>

Subsequently: <ref>Graham, p. 95.</ref>

Books First time: <ref>{{citation|author=Ronald M. Dworkin|authorlink=Ronald Dworkin|title=Taking Rights Seriously|location=Cambridge, Mass.|publisher=[[Harvard University Press]]|year=1978|page=24|isbn=9780674867109}}.</ref> If there is no existing Wikipedia article about the author, you can omit the |authorlink= parameter.

Subsequently: <ref>Dworkin, p. 128.</ref>

Newspapers & Magazines First time: <ref>{{citation|author=Chua Mui Hoong|title=Turning of the second key went smoothly|newspaper=[[The Straits Times]]|date=20 February 2009}}.</ref>;

<ref>{{citation|author=Derrick A. Paulo|title=All the President's men|url=|newspaper=[[Today (Singapore newspaper)|Today]]|date=18 February 2009|page=4}}.</ref> For magazines, replace "newspaper" with "magazine".

Subsequently: <ref>Chua, "Turning of the second key went smoothly".</ref>

Website Links Online Report From Website: <ref>[ Greenville Police Department], Report #379: July 24, 2006. Suburban Emergency Management Project.</ref>;

OR Website Only: <ref>[ Greenville Police Department], Retrieved July 24, 2006.</ref>

Article Quality Criteria[edit]

Groups should aim towards fulfilling the Wikipedia Good Article criteria. There are seven main Quality Classes for an article (Featured Article; A-Class; Good Article; B-Class; C-Class; Start; Stub). Read carefully what the lower classes lack and make sure your article is better! Here are some examples of well-written Wikipedia articles in subject areas related to (not on) emergency management – they have achieved Good Article and Featured Article status:

Armero tragedy • 1968 Illinois earthquake • 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens • Hurricane Hilary (1993) • Hurricane Floyd (1987) • Effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans • 2001 India cyclone

Feedback & Help[edit]

Each group is required to communicate about their article on the "Talk Page" of their "sandbox" only. Don't exchange comments by email unless you are certain that your discussion has to stay private. Each group should create a talk page in their "sandbox" by following the instructions on Wikipedia: User Talk. They are also expected to look out for messages every day. Other Wikipedia editors (not affiliated with this course) or students and friends will leave you various messages on your Talk Page. Whenever you have a new message and are logged in to Wikipedia, you will see a large orange message saying - 'You have new messages' - on every Wikipedia page you access. To make this message disappear, you will need to click on it and read the message.

Please reply to the messages, even if only acknowledging the author’s feedback. 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 so that they will be sure to receive the message. If you want to leave somebody a message, make sure you are editing their talk page, not their User Page. Always sign talk and discussion contributions. Put four tildas ~~~~ to sign and date your contribution.

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, so don't hesitate to get extra help. Be polite in replying and don't hesitate to ask them to explain something.

If you have any questions, check the Help:Contents first, and if you cannot find what you are looking for, you can then refer to Wikipedia: Help Desk. The help live chat available on the help desk site is a useful resource. For continuous assistance see Wikipedia: Ambassadors for available mentors. As my knowledge is also limited, please ask me for assistance as your last resort on editing and formatting issues.

You can use the Talk Page of this page to discuss things relating to the project with me or come see me during office hours.

Common Mistakes[edit]

Based on experiences in other Wikipedia projects, here are some common mistakes that tend to lower students' grade:

Work in Wikipedia

  • Don't work on a draft in Microsoft Word. Work on a draft in your article's "sandbox" in 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.
  • Don't exchange comments by email. Exchange comments by using the talk page of your article's "sandbox". If you like to receive email notifications, you can monitor the talk page (and your own userpage talk page) by subscribing to that page. See Wikipedia: Syndication.
  • Make edits to your article draft regularly, preferably several times a week. Sign in every time you edit. Discuss the article with other group members on your article's talk page, where the instructor can see that you are actively engaged in planning and developing the article. It is therefore NOT recommended that some group members specialize in tasks such as library research or off-wiki writing, which the instructor cannot verify.

Wikipedia Writing

  • Try to chose a subject that you are interested in. It is much easier to write about something interesting than it is to write about something boring! Remember, you are not doing any original research. You will not be collecting data, analyzing it, or writing about your experiences. You will not be writing an essay with personal opinions or judgments. Instead, you will be writing an encyclopedic article, summarizing an existing, verifiable state of knowledge in emergency management.
  • Remember this is a collaborative assignment. 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 that you've figured out.
  • 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.

Ask 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 that 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 (See Wikipedia: New Contributor, Wikipedia: Help Desk or Wikipedia: Reference Desk), go for it! Be bold and show initiative, it usually helps.
  • Keep an eye on your userpage talk page, and your "sandbox" talk page, where other group members and other Wikipedia editors (including me) may leave you tips, advice and other comments.

Remember: Gaining experience with Wiki software may be more important to your future career than perhaps detailed knowledge of emergency management. Four years ago, Technorati's chief technologist stated that in five years "knowledge of wikis will be a required job skill".

Final Note[edit]

As this is a pilot project, it means that there might be unforeseen difficulties. Your grades will weigh heavily on the effort put into the research, writing and responding to peer reviews, both off-line and on-line. This must be documented through the weekly group reports. Difficulties with the technology are not an excuse for lack of participation or failure to complete the assignment. Remember to save your work through frequent print outs and saving screen shots!


I would like to credit the following Wikipedia School and University Projects for significant use of their assignment templates:

Instructor Wikipedia School and University Project
Prof. Stephanie Swartz-Janat Makan LLM English Project
Prof. Jack Tsen-Ta Lee Constitutional and Administrative Law
Prof. Joseph Burdo Introduction to Neuroscience
Prof. Tanya Tompkins Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
Prof. Mitch Harden Introduction to Psychology
Prof. Piotr Konieczny Global Societies