Wikipedia:United States Education Program/Courses/Berkeley Sociology Poverty Course (Sandra Smith)

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Course description[edit]

Why, in the midst of great affluence, are people poor, and in some cases, persistently so? This question has captured the imagination of social scientists and social critics for over one century. In this course, we will become intimate with some of the key theoretical, critical, and empirical writings that seek to provide insight into this enduring problem. In the process, seminar participants will become familiar with the key issues and debates animating discussions of American sociologists: Is there a culture of poverty? Why does poverty persist in the face of economic growth? What accounts for the feminization and juvenilization of poverty? Does government intervention help, or does it just make matters worse? As seminar participants deepen their knowledge in these areas, they will learn to identify and interrogate key assumptions driving these interventions and the evolution of the field, generally, and hopefully they will begin to offer critical perspectives of their own.

Instructor and Ambassadors[edit]

Sandra Smith (talk)
Campus Ambassadors
Mattsenate (talk)
Katie (talk)
Online Ambassadors
Swarm (talk)


Week 1: Wikipedia Essentials[edit]

In class
  • Overview of the course
  • Introduction to how Wikipedia will be used in the course
  • Handout: Welcome to Wikipedia (available in print or online from the Wikimedia Foundation)
Assignment (due week 2)
  • Read Five pillars, an explanation of Wikipedia's basic rules and principles

Week 2: Editing basics[edit]

It is important to get students editing Wikipedia right away so that they become familiar with the MediaWiki markup ("wikisyntax", "wikimarkup", or "wikicode").

  • Read Five pillars, an explanation of Wikipedia's basic rules and principles.
  • Create a Wikipedia account, create a user page, and sign up on the list of students on the course page.
  • 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.

Week 3: Exploring the topic area[edit]

  • 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 will consider working on as your main project.

Week 4: Using sources[edit]

  • Add 1–2 sentences of new information, backed up with a citation to an appropriate source, to a Wikipedia article related to the class.

Week 5: Choosing articles[edit]

  • Select an article to work on, removing the rest from the course page.
  • Compile a bibliography of relevant research and post it to the talk page of the article you are working on. Begin reading the sources.

Week 6: Drafting starter articles[edit]

  • If you are starting a new article, write a 3–4 paragraph summary version of your article (with citations) in your Wikipedia sandbox. If you are improving an existing article, write a summary version reflecting the content the article will have after it's been improved, and post this along with a brief description of your plans on the article's talk page.
  • Begin working with classmates and Online Ambassadors to polish your short starter article and fix any major transgressions of Wikipedia norms.
  • Continue research in preparation for expanding your article.

Week 7: Building articles[edit]

  • Expand your article into an initial draft of a comprehensive treatment of the topic.

Week 8: Getting and giving feedback[edit]

  • Peer review one of your classmates' articles. Leave suggestions on the article talk pages. See "HOW TO SUCCEED AT YOUR WIKI PROJECT".

Week 9: Responding to non-substantive feedback[edit]

  • Make edits to your article based on peers' feedback.

Week 10: Substantive peer review[edit]

  • Substantive peer review. See *HOW TO SUCCEED AT YOUR WIKI PROJECT" and "The Perfect Wikipedia Article".

Week 11: Responding to substantive feedback[edit]

  • Substantive peer review. See *HOW TO SUCCEED AT YOUR WIKI PROJECT" and "The Perfect Wikipedia Article".

Week 12: Responding to substantive feedback[edit]

  • Add final touches to you Wikipedia article. Try to address issues from Good Article reviews.

Week 14: Present your article to the class[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 Article 1st reviewer 2nd reviewer
User:Shelly Steward Reservation poverty Helena Lyson Manuel Rosaldo
User:Amanda Cook The Working Poor Manuel Rosaldo Josh Seim
User:Beeberger The Feminization of Poverty
User:Leah Faw The Juvenilization of Poverty Aixle Aman Chris Herring
User:Joshseim [[underclass]] Amanda Cook Aixle Aman
User:Manuel Rosaldo Waste Pickers Jacob Seilo Amanda Cook
User:Yang Lor Temporary Assistance for Needy Children (TANF)[[1]] Josh Seim Jacob Seilo
User:Chris Herring [[Concentrated Poverty]] Julia Kite Ariel Bierbaum
User:Julia Kite Welfare Dependency Shelly Steward Helena Lyson
User:Jacobseilo Political Economy of Poverty[[2]] Chris Herring Leah Faw
User:Helena Lyson [Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)] Ariel Bierbaum Shelly Steward
User:Aixle12 Full-Service Community School Leah Faw Yang Lor
User:Ariel Bierbaum Mixed Income Housing Yang Lor Julia Kite

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:United States Education Program/Courses/Berkeley Sociology Poverty Course (Sandra Smith) | university = University of California-Berkeley | term = 2011 Q3 | project = WikiProject Sociology of Poverty }} That will result in the following banner (and make the articles easy to track):


Grading scheme:

   * 5% each (x3): Participation grade for early Wikipedia exercises (weeks 2, 3, and 4)
   * 10%: Non-substantive peer review 
   * 25%: Substantive peer review
   * 50%: Quality of main Wikipedia contributions


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