Wikipedia:School and university projects/User:NeuroJoe/Fall 2009

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Specific introduction for students is in the next section.

As a part of the BI481, Introduction to Neuroscience course at Boston College, students are assigned the task of writing several articles in Wikipedia pertaining to neuroscience. The Society for Neuroscience has recently begun an initiative to update and improve incomplete neuroscience related articles here on Wikipedia. You will play an important role in this initiative through this assignment.

There will be approximately 20 groups of 3 students each. Each student will have a separate Wikipedia account, and each group will propose, write, edit, and maintain a new article or significantly expand upon an existing incomplete article (stub). They will be expected to expand their article to the level as close to Featured Article as they can.

Supervisors: I, Joseph Burdo will take care of introducing students to Wikipedia and ensuring they and the project are working within the bounds of Wikipedia guidelines.

Important dates: The project will begin on Friday, September 18th, 2009, and end Monday, November 30th, 2009.

Introduction for Students[edit]

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, is an encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone. It has over ten million registered users and 75,000 active contributors(Wikipedians) as of 2009, 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! After all, there are not many exercises that tell you to do something that over a million people think is 'fun'. :)

Wikipedia:Tutorial is the best place to start your adventure with this wiki. Please familiarize yourself with Wikipedia:School and university projects - instructions for students and if you have any questions, check the 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 starting this assignment, you need to create an account (Wikipedia:Why create an account?). You definitely need to have an account before attempting to edit any page (otherwise I will be unable to confirm if you have completed the assignment). After you create an account, share your user name with your group members, and link to that account from your name next to the topic you chose.

Remember that Wikipedia is not a project limited only to Boston College. We are guests here and we should all behave accordingly. Please make sure you read Wikipedia:Wikiquette. Our BI481 course is the first one at our university to use Wikipedia to such an extent, so please try to think what impression you want other Wikipedians to have of our university—and of yourselves.

You should expect that the teaching assistant, other students, your friends, even (or especially) other Wikipedia editors (not affiliated with our course) or I 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 into 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.

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 Wikipedia_talk:School_and_university_projects/BI481 or my talk page. You are welcome to send me emails, or drop by to see me during my office hours, and ask about Wikipedia how-to; but please try to find the answer first on the Help:Contents.

BI481 Assignment[edit]

Now that you are familiar with the Wikipedia environment, it is time to jump into your assignment. I suggest doing some practice edits on various pages, just to get a feel for how things work, and setting up your user page for extra practice. You may use the Wikipedia:Sandbox for practice or add a private user subpage to work on your edits before you make them live. To add a subpage, click here, click the "edit this page" tab, and then within double brackets type in whatever you want the name of your subpage to be (it probably should be your topic name in order to avoid confusion). For example, [[/BI481]] will put a subpage named "BI481" under your user page. You can edit this subpage as much as you'd like without anyone seeing it before you're ready to move it to the main Wikipedia space.

Important note: make sure you are logged into your account before uploading any work relating to this assignment. If you are not logged in, we cannot verify who has done the edits, thus we will be unable to recognize your work and grade you on it. In other words, if you do any work while not logged in, we will not count that work toward your grade in this course.

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:

Paper Requirements

Project Overview:

Your assignment is to choose one of the neuroscience related topics listed below and expand, refine and reformat as needed with the goal of bringing it up to Featured Article status. You will perform a literature search on that topic, and work with your assigned group on the article, following any and all Wikipedia standards first and foremost. During the active project phase, you will regularly monitor and respond to feedback on your article, and assist other groups by reading and commenting on their work.

Project Details:

This assignment is worth 100 points (20% of your grade).

During lecture, you had a chance to form groups. This is your Wikipedia assignment group, and will be the people you work with for the duration of the semester. To claim the topic you would like to write about, place your the names of your group members next to it in the list below. Once you have chosen your topic, write up a one page proposal, outlining important information about it, what points you will cover in your article, a short list of resources, and how you will divide up the workload. Make a subpage within your account page and post this information, then send me the link through my user page. 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 topic. Make sure you familiarize yourself with encyclopedia-type writing before you begin. Writing for Wikipedia is very different from writing an essay or 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 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)

The article must be at least 10 paragraphs in length, and go into detail about your chosen topic. 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. Remember that any violation will be caught and dealt with by the plethora of editors on the site. You may also insert original artwork and diagrams if appropriate and of high quality. In fact many of the stubs would greatly benefit from graphical information.

You must include at least 3 primary and 3 secondary references in the paper (see below for information on primary vs. secondary resources), and correctly cite your article. However, keep in mind that this is a minimum requirement. You won't be able to write a good article only using 6 references.

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!

You are welcome to use Wikipedia:Peer Review and related tools and seek creative comments on your article. If you manage to make your article a Wikipedia:Featured Article, you will receive 50 additional points. However, please refrain from voting for each other's articles during this process (note also that anonymous and new user votes are commonly disregarded during FA voting process to prevent any abuses.) In addition, please note that any attempt to cheat on Wikipedia will be regarded as seriously as academic plagiarism.

Once you upload your new 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.)

Finally, you will read and evaluate/comment on 3 of 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!" Also refrain from any abusive or inappropriate language. Remember, you are the face of Boston College for the semester--make us proud.

At the end of the semester, you will turn into me a final project folder containing the following:

  1. Your original proposal which I approved
  2. A printed copy of the article your group uploaded to Wikipedia on the first due date
  3. A printed copy of the final article, which is a result of peer review, comments from users, and comments from me or your T.A.
  4. A print out of constructive comments you made to your classmates, so I can give you the points for reviewing other articles. Please highlight your user name for clarity.
  5. 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 the names of everyone in your group on the form!

Primary vs. Secondary Sources[edit]

For this assignment, you will need to include AT LEAST three (3) primary and three (3) secondary articles. Keep in mind that you will more than likely use many, many more to get the information you need.

For the purposes of this class, a primary article is:

  • An article describing original research, presenting old data in a new way, or presenting a new case study

  • Written by the scientists who ran the study

  • Published in a peer reviewed journal

A secondary article is :

  • Any article that violates the above guidelines

Examples include books, unless they are bound copies of primary journal articles, as well as personal interviews.

If you are unsure if a resource is primary or secondary, you can ask me.

Important Dates[edit]

  • Monday, September 21st, 2009--Wikipedia assignment given during lecture
  • Friday, September 25th, 2009--Topic chosen by group and claimed on Wikipedia assignment page
  • Friday, October 2nd, 2009--One page proposal due posted to your user page subpage
  • Monday, October 26th, 2009--Article due on Wikipedia site
  • Monday, November 30th, 2009--Final project folder due to me at the beginning of class

Please keep track of these dates!

If you do not get the materials to me, do not choose your topic by the assigned date, or do not upload your article by the due date, you will lose 10 points per day (yes, including weekend days and holidays). If you and your group have an issue, please come to me as soon as possible to resolve it. If you come to me for help one day before the assignment is due, I may not be able to work something out. Come see me!


The project is worth 200 points total, and will be graded in parts:

  • Part 1: Proposal--20 points

As long as you post your proposal by 10/2, you will receive the points. If you do not get your subject approved, you will not get credit for any of the assignment.

  • Part 2: Written Article--150 points

I will grade your article according to a rubric. I will grade the final, peer reviewed article unless you tell me differently. (If, as a result of review, the Wikipedia community decides your article is not unique, or should not be a stand alone piece, just let me know and I'll grade your initial article.)

  • Part 3: Peer Review--30 points

Print out the pages showing your comments on other articles (these must be articles written by students in BI481) and include them in your final project folder. You will receive 10 points per adequate comment, for a maximum of 30 points. If you are worried that a comment is not "adequate," make sure you comment on multiple articles, just to cover your bases.

  • Group Percentages: Since you are working in groups, I need a way to know how well you worked together, and if you all contributed equally to the project. When you turn in your final folder, you will each hand into me a "group percentage" paper, telling me the percentage of work each group member lent to the project. Be honest; I will use all 3 assessments to determine if you shared the workload evenly. You will be marked down if you don't do your fair share.

Ways to Lose Points

As mentioned above, if you are late turning in any portion of the assignment, you will lose 10 points per day (including weekend and holidays) late. I will try and remind you of due dates, but turning things in on time is ultimately up to you and your group.

Writing Assignment Rubric[edit]

Note: This is the rubric I will use to grade the final, hard copy version of the assignment you turn in. This will not be used by any independent editors or evaluators when looking at your uploaded article.

Grading rubric Wikipedia Writing Assignment (200 points)[edit]

Format (30 pts):

  • Paper is on one of the assigned topics and was approved (5 pts)
  • Paper is at least 10 paragraphs in length of actual writing (5 pts)
  • Paper includes title, intro summary, at least 8 body paragraphs, conclusion, and bibliography (5 pts)
  • There is no more than one grammatical/spelling error throughout the paper (everybody gets 1 mistake for free!). Note that this includes spurious capitalisation, eg. Frontal Lobe Epilepsy rather than frontal lobe epilepsy. (15 pts)

Content (120 pts):

______ Introduction summarizes the subject according to Wikipedia standards (10 pts)

______Conclusion sums up the paper without ending abruptly (5 pts)

______In-paper citations are present and used correctly according to Wikipedia format see Wikipedia:Citing sources(15 pts)

______ Bibliography includes at least 3 primary and 3 secondary resources, and is formatted correctly according to Wikipedia format (10 pts)

______ Body of the paper encompasses all reasonably researched information on the subject. Paper should conform to Wikipedia writing standards (Wikipedia:Neutral point of view) 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, 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 points here). (50 pts)

______ 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. (10 pts)

______ All attempts were made to address and fix any and all comments/suggestions given by 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) (20 pts)

Ways to Lose Points

______ Minus 10 points per day late (-10 pts)

______ Evidence of plagiarism found (Please see BC's Academic Integrity Policy for more information)(-90 pts)

______ More than 2 direct quotes in the paper, minus 10 points per extra quote (-10 pts)

Extra Credit

______ If your article is chosen as a featured article, you will receive 50 extra credit points (+50 pts)

Project Topics and Links[edit]

Group and topic
1. Please put the names of all group members by the topic of your choice. If there is already a link to your topic, that just means someone has written a very short article which needs to be updated. Use the same page, just make it much, much better.

2. The articles which you are going to improve are listed below. Do not under any circumstances create separate articles, these are known as "forks" in Wikispeak and are usually speedily deleted.

  1. Amusia Ace Raney, Kate Haworth, Alyssa Daigle
  2. Anterograde tracing
  3. Antidromic
  4. Arachnoid mater
  5. Area postrema Lauren Tuccelli, Nicholas Homsy, Jessica Button, Danielle Barton
  6. Beta wave
  7. Cellular recording
  8. Central neurogenic hyperventilation Kathleen Soltis, Nicole Weston, Natalie Alvarez
  9. Delta wave
  10. Dysgeusia Katherine Cheng, Kathleen Doyle, Rikesh Gandhi
  11. Dysprosody Melissa Sprockel, Brianne Poynton, Jessica Toth
  12. Excitatory synapse
  13. Frontal lobe epilepsyKerri Liska, Cory Lavallee, Jared Miller
  14. G-protein-gated ion channel Royce Shou, John Bellamente, Michelle Maglio
  15. Glutamate receptor Justin Chien, Jeremiah WANG, Philip Mackson
  16. Great cerebral veinJessica Pierre-Francois, Alex Bodo, Rick Mills
  17. Long-term depression Patrick Bolan, Anastasia Berg, Patrick Raab
  18. Macropsia Phil Eliades, Zayn Hassan, Vikas Sunder
  19. Micropsia - Jim Semple, Christina Farnham, Chuck Cahalane
  20. Neurite
  21. Neurological malignant syndrome Josh Meidenbauer, Rabih Geha, Juergen Kloo
  22. P11 protein Krystal Marquis, Falen Demsas, Kristaq koci, Katherine Mohen
  23. Paroxysmal exercise-induced dystonia Emily Palmquist, Tucker Ruel, Paul McBride
  24. Premovement neuronal activity Dana Giannattasio, Alicia Ryberg,Molly Widrick
  25. Prostigmine
  26. Referred itch
  27. Summation (neurophysiology)
  28. Synaptotropic hypothesis
  29. VLDL receptor
  30. Virchow-Robin spaces
  31. Visual extinction Matthew Warman, Aaron Fishman, Marissa Hone

You can use the box below to create your project proposal. Simply replace YOUR_PROJECT_TITLE with the title of your project, click "Create project proposal", and follow the instructions given.

Contact Information[edit]

Please leave questions or comments on my user talk page or for a little more information about me feel free to visit my user page. My email is


I would like to sincerely thank Adrienne Brundage for her support in developing this assignment and for the use of her Wikipedia assignment template from her Entomology course at Texas A&M University.