Wikipedia:Ambassadors/Courses/History of Design and Digital Media (Michael Mandiberg)

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Course description[edit]

An exploration of the work of major designers and the movements they started, from its origins in the printing press as well as the interrelationship of design and fine art. We will focus on mainstream uses of graphic design as well as countercultural/activist appropriation of design techniques.

Learning Goals[edit]

Course Requirements[edit]

Complete projects on time Participate in class discussions, and class critique Come to class prepared: do all reading before hand Maintain an email account, and browse the web Attend field trips

Materials and Texts[edit]

Text: Meggs' History of Graphic Design, 4th Edition, Philip B. Meggs, Alston W. Purvis, Wiley, ISBN: 978-0-471-69902-6 .

Suggested Text: Ellen Lupton, Thinking With Type, Princeton Archetectural Press, 978-1568989693.


If you have a disability that will affect your coursework, please work with the Office of Disability Services in 1P-101; (718) 982.2510,, and notify the instructor within the first two weeks of class to ensure suitable arrangements and a comfortable working environment.

Classroom Policies[edit]

Turn your phone off. Each and every use of phone or non-class related electronic communication during class will result in a 1 point grade reduction. No food allowed in class at any time.

Please be aware that technological failures such as printer errors, erased drives, email issues, computer crashes, network failure, viruses, etc. are not emergencies, they are facts of life. You must structure your workflow in anticipation of such scenarios. Backup, backup, backup! You have been warned.


In my ten years of teaching, I've noticed that increased reliance upon email has severely compromised the crucial student/professor relationship, and is very often entirely unproductive. As a result, I follow this policy regarding email:

  1. Please consult the syllabus and/or the related assignment before posing questions that may already be addressed there (i.e. due dates, length, etc)
  2. RTFM - everything Wikipedia related is heavily documented.
  3. If your question will take more than five minutes or five sentences to answer, it's not a question, it's a discussion topic. Please post it on a suitable forum on Wikipedia, in a discussion forum on Blackboard, bring the topic up in class, or come see me in my office hours.

Please be aware that the demands on Professors' time are great and emails will not be answered immediately or in the depth that they would in-person. Consequently, they are not the most productive way to communicate with me for matters that require more than a sentence or two to resolve.

Read for more on writing a good email

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 orange 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 work with an assigned group to 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 groups by reading and commenting on their work.

Project details[edit]

This assignment is worth 50 points.

In the first few sessions, you will be assigned to a group and given a group number. This is your Wikipedia assignment group, and it is composed of the people you work with for the duration of the semester. You will be given time during lecture to meet with your group and discuss options and schedules. You and your group 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 as a group. The deadlines for this assignment are listed below.

Once you have gotten my approval, work together 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, and such, see the articles other students have 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 one academic book or journal source per group member. However, keep in mind that this is a minimum requirement. 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.
  3. Each member of the groups should fill out the group percentages form to grade the other members of the group. Fill out the form (anonymously) and either place it in the folder, or hand it to me personally. Make sure you have your group's number on the form!

Instructor and Ambassadors[edit]

Theredproject (talk)
Campus Ambassadors
Nboffa (talk) Mappy1974 (talk)
Online Ambassadors
SMasters (talk), Piotrus (talk)


Week 1, September 1[edit]

DDM - Defining Design & The Origins of Writing
  • Egyptian Hieroglyphics
  • Chinese characters & paper
  • Roman characters
  • Illuminated Manuscripts
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapters 1-5. Chapters 1-4 will be review from lecture. Chapter 5 will be new material.

Wikipedia Essentials
In class
Assignment (due week 2)
  • Read Five pillars, a explanation of Wikipedia's basic rules and principles

Week 2, September 8:[edit]

DDM - The Printing Press, The Rennaissance & The Reformation
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapter 8

WP - Editing basics

In class
Assignments (due week 3)
  • Create a Wikipedia account, create a user page, and sign up on the list of students on the course page. The handouts here and here will help you in this process.
  • To practice editing and communicating on Wikipedia, introduce yourself to one of the class's Online Ambassadors (via talk page), and leave a message for a classmate on their user talk page.
  • Start. Get familiar with Wikipedia. Make some trial edits, however minor. Demystify the process. Leave behind any sense of intimidation. As Wikipedia puts it, learn to be bold. Learn basic editing skllls. The three students who have made the highest amount of constructive edits to Wikipedia before next Thursday (the 15th) (mainspace edits or constructive talk page comments count) will receive an extra two credit points (2P).
  • Before Thursday, September 15, everyone should have created a Wikipedia account, finished the Wikipedia Tutorial (including making an edit in the Wikipedia Tutorial Sandbox), made at least one constructive edit to a Wikipedia article (outside the sandbox - subject doesn't matter) (1P), make a constructive comment to a Wikipedia's article discussion page (1P) (make sure to add a constructive edit summary), and inform the course instructor (Michael Mandiberg - User:Theredproject (User_talk:Theredproject) about your account name, and the edit(s) you made (1P). You should do so before leaving a message on the course instructor talk page. Finishing this assignment on time is worth 5% of the course grade. If you successfully post a diff of your edit to the instructor's Wikipedia talk page you will earn one extra credit point (1P).

  • All students have Wikipedia user accounts and are listed on the course page.

Week 3, September 15:[edit]

DDM - The Enlightenment & Typography
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapter 9

WP - Exploring the topic area
In class
Assignments (due week 4)
  • Critically evaluate an existing Wikipedia article related to the class, and leave suggestions for improving it on the article's discussion page.
  • Research and list 3–5 articles on your Wikipedia user page that you think would make good articles for the main assignment, and you would like to work on. Link them (so they are blue links like this one). Share them with other class members by posting the link to your userpage on their talk pages, and ask your class's Online Ambassadors for comments. Posting this question to your instructor and five classmates or Online Ambassadors on their talk pages (don't forget to sign and link your userpage) is worth one extra credit point (1P)

Week 4, September 22:[edit]

DDM - The Industrial Revolution & The Invention of Advertising
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapters 10 & 11

WP - Using sources
In class
Assignment (due week 5)
  • Add 1–2 sentences of new information, backed up with a citation to an appropriate source, to a Wikipedia article related to the class.
  • Post a 4-5 paragraph summary of two different article choices from your initial 3-5 choices on your talk page, and post on my talk page to let me know it is been completed. You should evaluated each of the two for their historical relevance, and how much information is available about them. You should do a search in the CSI Library search for books, as well as looking for scholarly articles and newspapers/magazines. Please list 5 to 10 potential sources; make sure you have looked at each of these articles/books in order to confirm it is useful.
For next week
  • Instructor evaluates student's article selections, by week 5.

September 29 - NO CLASS[edit]

Week 5, October 6:[edit]

DDM - Arts and Crafts & Art Noveau
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapter 13

WP - Choosing articles
In class
  • Discuss the range of topics students will be working on and strategies for researching and writing about them.
  • Student groups and article assignments will be announced.
Assignments (due week 6)
  • Plan. Minor edits alone won't get us much closer towards Good Article status. We need to have a sense of what more needs to be done, and an overall plan for the article. Look at models and guidelines (e.g. Manual of Style or the Guide for nominating good articles). What sections are required? What will be the article structure? What information is needed? Who in your group will write what?
  • Compile a bibliography of relevant research and post it to the talk page of the article you are working on. Begin reading the sources.
  • Establish mechanisms for communicating, and plans for meeting in person.

Week 6, October 13:[edit]

DDM - Modern Art, Cubism, Conceptualism, an DADA.
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapter 14 & 15

WP - Drafting starter articles
In class
  • HOMEWORK: post 10 sources to the talk page of your article, and annotate these (note what is on them, and how you will use them). 4 points
  • HOMEWORK: Meet with research librarian (due Nov 3rd). 1 point
  • HOMEWORK: Input your article name and your username into the table of all students (that include the review schedule). Mandatory.
  • Q&A session with instructor and/or Campus Ambassadors about interacting on Wikipedia and getting started with writing
  • Video resource: Sandbox tutorial
Assignments (due week 7)
  • As yet another extra credit 5P (!) activity, before Wednesday, October 27, you can nominate your article for Wikipedia:Did you know. A key factor is that for DYK, a certain amount of the writing has to be done in a certain period of time, so time your submission according to your progress. All group members who were involved with significantly improving the article up to this point will receive 5P each IF the article is approved by the Did You Know reviewer. You are more then welcome to see me during the office hours to talk about how to get your article passed for the Did You Know. Getting an article to appear on the front page is cool, and it has been done many times by other student wikipedians. Why not give it a try? (Here is a link to a useful handout])

  • All student groups have started editing articles or drafts on Wikipedia.

Week 7, October 20:[edit]

DDM - Plakatstil
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapter 16

WP - Did you know
In class
Wiki assignments (due week 8)
  • HOMEWORK: Work on your summary and outline of the changes you will make to your page. This must be at least 250 words. Due Nov 3rd.
  • As another extra credit 2P activity, post a constructive question, related to your project, to Wikipedia:Reference desk. Report what answer you got on your article talk page and notify the instructor about your report with a diff. (Note: it may take a day or so for a reply to be posted to your question at the reference desk)
  • Also, revisit your first edits. Have they been retained? Have they been improved by others? Post a report on your userpage, and notify the instructor for another extra credit point (1P). If you improve the edit yourself and discuss it with other editors that might have disagreed with it previously, you may receive another extra credit point (1P).

Week 8, October 27:[edit]

DDM - The Bauhaus
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapter 18 & 19

WP - Adding Images

Tutorial on moving images from Flickr

In class or outside of class
Wiki assignments (due week 9)
  • HOMEWORK: Finish your summary and outline of the changes you will make to your page. Add 20 sources to talk page. This must be at least 250 words. Post this to the talk page for your article. 5 points

Week 9, November 3:[edit]

DDM - High Modernism
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapter 20

WP - Getting and giving feedback
In class
  • As a group, students will offer suggestions for improving one or two of class group's articles, setting an example for what is expected from a solid encyclopedia article.
Wiki assignments (due week 10)
  • HOMEWORK: Add at least 500 words to your article. This is the first quarter of your contribution to it. 5 Points

Week 10, November 10:[edit]

DDM - Corporate Identity Systems
Read for Next Week

Meggs, Chapter 23

WP -
Wiki assignments (due week 11)
  • Peer review one of your classmates' articles. Leave suggestions on the article talk pages.
  • Copy-edit the reviewed article.
  • You should read and comment on the feedback your article received. Incorporate constructive suggestions into your article.
  • 2 Points for all


Week 11, November 17:[edit]

DDM - Postmodernism
Read for Next Week

Chapter 24

Wiki assignments (due week 12)
  • Address issues from first review.
  • HOMEWORK: Add at least 1000 words to your article. 5 Points

Week 12 TUESDAY, November 22nd: Due date[edit]

DDM - Net.Art
WP - Perform second peer review of the article. (3 points)

November 24th, NO CLASS: Thanksgiving[edit]

Week 13, December 1st: Class presentations[edit]

DDM - The Power of the Database, and Computational Aesthetics
WP -
  • Add final touches to your Wikipedia article. Try to address issues from second peer review.
  • Finish the Wikipedia article. The word count range to be considered for full credit (25 points) is 1200-2000 words. Good Article will be closer to 4000-5000 words.

Week 14, December 8th[edit]

DDM - Social Media and Activism
WP -
  • Article Due!
  • 1200-2000 words added from the original state.
  • Students have finished all their work on Wikipedia that will be considered for grading, and have submitted reflective essays.
  • Course instructor (Michael Mandiberg) will do the final assessment of your work after December 15 (beginning of the finals week), but all work for credit on the articles must be complete by December 8th.

Week 15, December 15th: Final Exam[edit]

  • Exam will be administered.


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

User Article 1st reviewer 2nd reviewer
User:Rl081289 Creative Director User:Dalmazo User:X3Kimmie
User:HRJ21 John Henry Bufford User:M01022011 User:Fi89419
User: M01022011 Irma Boom User:cpm22 User:ellebrager
User:chcpal Antiqua (typeface class) User:fi89419 User:Rl081289
User:Nboffa Ladislav Sutnar Rox1286 open
User:Token718 Nicolas Jenson User:Sabinajm User:KatanaBeatsPaper
User:rox1286 Zuzana Licko User:Nboffa User:HRJ21
User:sha22357 Muriel Cooper User:MYoung1030 open
User:Dalmazo Jessica Helfand User:KatanaBeatsPaper User:Chcpal
User:Jckulas Lorraine Wild User:Nboffa open
User:CCCSSAA7 Hoefler & Frere-Jones User:ellebrager open
User:KatanaBeatsPaper N. W. Ayer & Son User:Token718 open
User:Fi89419 Ellen Lupton open User:Anonymous0123
User:cpm22 Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo User: Jckulas User:MYoung1030
User:ellebrager Katherine McCoy User:anonymous0123 User:aking174
User:anonymous0123 Paula Scher User: Sabinajm open
User:MYoung1030 *The Hobby Horse Rl081289 open
User:Sabinajm Emigre User:M01022011 User:X3Kimmie
User:X3Kimmie Piet Zwart User:Token718 open
User:AleMarie Ed Fella open User:Dalmazo
User:Aking174 Jonathon Ives open open
User:Example User Example article open open
User:Example User Example article open open
User:Example User Example article open open

Exercise 1

Add one graphic designer to this list of graphic designers

Main Article

Suggested Article Stubs related to Talk to Me

Suggested Article Stubs (from [Category:Graphic designer stubs|Designer Stubs]):

15th/16th Century Designers:

17th Century Designers:

19th Century

20th Century Designers:

Suggested Article Stubs about the forms and industry practices of design:

Additional Articles for supplementary work

Article banners

To mark each article the subject of a student project, add the following code at the top of the talk page for each article: {{ WAP assignment | course = Wikipedia:Ambassadors/Courses/History of Design and Digital Media (Michael Mandiberg) | university = College of Staten Island/City University of New York | term = 2011 Q3 | project = GLAM/MoMA }} That will result in the following banner (and make the articles easy to track):


We will be covering a great deal of information at a fast pace, so attendance is a strong determinant of your grade: without attending you will not have the knowledge necessary to successfully complete your assignments. Furthermore, College of Staten Island Attendance Policy states that on your 2nd absence your grade will be reduced by one full letter grade. On your 3rd absence, you will receive a WU (withdrew unofficially). Missing more than 50% of a class constitutes absence; missing 25%-50% of a class twice adds up to one absence.

Repeated tardiness will be cause for grade reduction: first tardiness is excused, all others result in a deductions. Perfect attendance will be rewarded with 3 extra credit points. If you know that you will be absent on a date that a project is due, you may submit your work before the deadline or arrange to have another student submit work for you.

Projects are due on the assigned date, at the beginning of class. NO EXCEPTIONS. Each day it is late your grade will be reduced one incremental letter grade. Assignments will not be accepted after one week from the date due without prior approval from the professor.

Grade breakdown:

  • 10%: Participation grade for early Wikipedia exercises (prior to starting main project)
  • 10%: Participation, Peer reviews and collaboration with classmates
  • 20%: Final Exam
  • 10%: Reflective essay
  • 50%: Quality of main Wikipedia contributions, evaluated in light of reflective essay
  • ~~%: Quizes (announced or unannounced) will be given throughout the semester. Incorrect answers will be deducted from the overall total.


Add your username to the list here using the format for Example User below:

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.


The term assignment is worth 50% of the final score. Out of that, you get 25% for finishing things on time, and 25% by the quality of your final work. We will not be doing the full good article review, as previously planned, as we are working in individual projects, rather than group projects. Your instructor will evaluate your work. The premise will be the same, except that the expectations will shift down one level. B-class will earn the full 25 points.

Here is a description of quality classes for an article. What we are aiming is is the GA-class (or above, but the GA-class will guarantee you max points). Read carefully what the lower classes (B, C, start, stub) lack and make sure your article is better!

Article's quality class Course credit points earned
stub class 1
start class 12
C-class 20
B-class 25
Good Article class 50
Featured Article class beyond our scope

Here is a checklist for article quality. If your article follows those guidelines, even if the the official Wikipedia reviewer fails to pass it as a Good Article, you may get your unweighted 25%:

  • 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)

With regards to getting the full activity score:

  • Your group members will expect you to be easily reachable to discuss the paper, and come to their meetings
  • Your group members will expect you to do "your share" of the work
  • 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
  • letting others do all the work and hoping you can still get some points
  • 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

Reflective Essay[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation has asked that all students complete short survey to help with further classes. Please do this.

Reflective paper

Write a short (2-5 page) reflective essay on your experiences using Wikipedia. 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 source, 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)?