Wikipedia:United States Education Program/Courses/Housing and Social Policy (Rachel Kleit)

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Course description[edit]

This course focuses on the problem of affordable housing and its interrelationships with social problems in the United States. By the end of this class, you’ll be able to answer the following questions:

  • What’s the problem--what exactly do we mean by affordable housing?
  • What is the impact of housing on people’s lives? How is it variously shelter, an investment, an asset, a market commodity?
  • How does the devolved system of housing provision and finance in the U.S. deliver affordable housing? What is the role of the third or social housing sector?
  • What are and should be people’s rights with regard to housing?
  • How can housing enable or prevent access to opportunity for minorities and low-income individuals?
  • What are the equity implications of housing policies?

We begin with an analysis of the causes, extent, and social dimensions of affordable housing problems. In order to understand the current context, we trace the history of housing policy at the federal, state, and local levels since the beginning of the 20th century, analyzing the political perspectives that have shaped the debates concerning affordable housing policy in the past and will shape them into the future. We explore the refocusing of affordable housing policy on social problems rather than the provision of affordable housing, including examinations of mixed-income housing, poverty dispersal policies, low-income homeownership efforts, and maintaining the long-term affordability of housing. Together we will examine the complex delivery and finance system for affordable housing as it has evolved through changing federal priorities, including federal, state, and local programs, the non-profit and private sectors, secondary lending markets, and the tax system. We end with an exploration of promising strategies for the future.

Students of policy and management not only need to learn about subject areas like housing policy, but also be able to communicate about them to a broad, usually non-technical audience. Many of the readings for this class are freely available on the World Wide Web. Some come from books that you have purchased. Others come from peer reviewed journals that are protected from general use by password; only those who have a subscription can access this work. Often that work is very high quality—it has been vetted, most of the time, through a double-blind peer and expert review process. In short, as students and faculty at a major research university, we have at our fingertips a vast storehouse of knowledge about the world.

Wikipedia can link our storehouse of knowledge to the rest of the world. As an on-line encyclopedia, it is a tool for assessing and disseminating information about a huge variety of topics to the entire world. A community vets the articles through an on-line, open, peer review process. An article on Wikipedia is only considered quality if it is well-sourced and written for a broad audience (among other things!). However, for many topics no one has vetted the quality of the information; other topics are missing entirely. Therefore, as part of the work of this class, we will work to improve the quality of Wikipedia articles concerning affordable housing policy. In the process, we will make available that large store-house of knowledge to which we have access, learn how to assess the quality of information, how to cite sources clearly, write for a broad, non-technical audience, experience a peer-reviewed editing process (not too different from what you might experience in the workplace), and gain exposure to one of the most ubiquitous sources of information today.

For more about this course, please see the course website at the University of Washington.

Instructor and Ambassadors[edit]

Rachel Kleit Rgkleit (talk)
Campus Ambassadors
Julie Tanaka Jktanaka (talk) 05:27, 24 September 2011 (UTC) ; Erica Leigh Nelson Elnel84 (talk) 06:48, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Online Ambassadors

Alan Jump Alan the Roving Ambassador (User:N5iln) (talk)


Assignments for PBAF 564 Due Date
Class participation and acclimating Wikipedia Assignments
  • Create Wikipedia account; create a user page; add your name to the list of students on the course’s Wikipedia 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.
Oct 10 and Oct 12
Assignment 1: Characterize a housing problem. This is an opportunity to characterize the extent and causes of your choice of a housing problem and a related social problem, as well to assess the quality of information about one article on this topic on Wikipedia. There are two products: (1) a brief (3 pages, single spaced) memo characterizing the problem to a non-technical audience, including at least paragraph comparing and contrasting what Wikipedia has to say about the topic to what you learn about it from your review of the evidence and (2) suggestions for improving at least one article on that article’s discussion page. Oct 17
Assignment 2: Information about housing policy and problems. Work with one or two partners to select either a housing problem about which you would like to know more or a policy or program that addresses a particular housing problem (use the syllabus for ideas, if you want). Create an annotated bibliography on the topic and post to the course Wikipedia page. Include in your entry an assessment of 3-4 entries that are either are currently missing or poor quality on Wikipedia. Nov 3
Assignment 3: Communicating Information-the Draft. With your group from Assignment 2, choose a topic from among those nominated by the class, and list it next to your user name on the course Wikipedia page. Write a 3-4 page summary version of your article (with citations) in your sandbox; make sure it matches Wikipedia norms. Work with your on-line mentor to create your product. Nov 21
Assignment 4: Responding to Feedback. With your assignment live on Wikipedia, you will get comments from the campus ambassadors, regional ambassadors, classmates, and other participants in the on-line community. Continue to build the article, and revise according to the feedback you have received. When you feel like you are done, nominate your article for “Good Article” status. Dec 7
Final Assignment: Reflections on Housing Policy and Wikipedia. Put finishing touches on your article. Now that you’ve gone through the process of reviewing the literature and creating an entry, what have you learned about communicating information? About sources? About the process of writing and revising? About the quality of information? Write a 2-5 page reflective essay both about how the class has shaped your understanding of housing policy and what you got out of editing Wikipedia. Dec 12, 2:30pm


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 before editing 1st reviewer 2nd reviewer 3rd reviewer 4th reviewer
Katie & Janine Residential segregation [1] Will Allison Lovisa Adonis
User:krider07 Housing trust fund Greg Matt Michelle none
Greg & Lovisa Green Affordable Housing Michelle Kalle Will none
Michelle & Matt Non-Profit Housing Development in the United States (currently under review as an Article for Creation) Kelly Katie Kalle Allison
Allison & Kalle Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 [2] Elizabeth Katie Janine none
Elizabeth & Adonis Housing quality and health outcomes in the United States Lovisa Kelly Greg none
Will Discrimination in awarding Section 8 housing Matt Janine Elizabeth Adonis

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/Housing and Social Policy (Rachel Kleit) | university = University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs | term = 2011 Q3 | project = }} That will result in the following banner (and make the articles easy to track):


Assignments will be graded as follows:

Assignment Percent
Class participation and acclimating Wikipedia assignments 15%
Assignment 1: Characterize a housing problem 15%
Assignment 2: Information about housing problems and policy 20%
Assignment 3: Communicating information—the draft 10%
Assignment 4: Responding to feedback 30%
Final Assignment: Reflections on housing policy and Wikipedia 10%


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