Wikipedia:United States Education Program/Courses/Writing and Rhetoric II (Matt Vetter)

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Course description[edit]

Writing and Rhetoric II- Composing in the Digital Age: New Texts, New Literacies

While it's primary aim is centered on writing and persuasion, this course contextualizes that aim within the technological milieu of the 21st century. Accordingly, writing assignments are situated in online spaces in order to maximize rhetorical constituents of purpose and audience. Furthermore, while this course seeks to improve writing skills, there's also a heavy emphasis on writing studies, and the theoretical advancements of the second half of the twentieth-century which characterize the discipline. To this end, the course emphasizes four specific content areas: 1) texts as dynamic rhetorical constructs, created and given meaning by multiple authors and readers who bring multiple subjectivities or viewpoints to the act of interpretation and composition; 2)the rhetoric of new media, visual arguments-their analysis and composition; 3)the existence of multiple "literacies" rather than a single conception of literacy, and the various social, economic, and technological forces that influence those literacies; 4)discourse communities and the effect of social forces on the interpretation and composition of language/texts.Investigation of these core concepts will inform student writing and class content, providing opportunities to practice traditional academic writing skills within a writing-studies specific context.

Assignment description[edit]

Project 1: The Alden/Wikipedia Project

The Mahn Center for Archives & Special Collections at Alden Library boasts an impressive array of materials. The rare books, letters, manuscripts and other media available provide multiple opportunities for research. In some ways, however, these opportunities are hindered by the Center’s policies for the treatment and protection of rare materials. For Project 1, we’ll be working with Alden Library faculty to increase the presence of these materials on the web. We’ll accomplish this by editing and updating (and in some cases, creating) select Wikipedia articles and by promoting our work to the Ohio University community. This goal will also provide opportunities to engage in meaningful research, work collaboratively with Alden curators and other Wikipedia editors, and to examine the conventions of a specific discourse community (Wikipedia) and genre (encyclopedia entry). A final aim of the project is the documentation of your writing process. In addition to your Wikipedia edit/article, you’ll also turn in an electronic portfolio of writing produced in the course of this assignment. These texts aren’t expected to be polished or revised, but you’ll have to keep up with every stage of the process in order to accumulate portfolio materials.

Just to be clear, the products of this assignment are the following:

  • Proposal to Curator with outline
  • Proposal to Wikipedia community (post on Talk page and send to online ambassador)
  • A Substantial edit to an existing Wikipedia article or creation of a new Wikipedia article
  • Final product: a digital portfolio, which includes the above materials along with any drafts/free-writes/versions along the way.

Project Processes:

1. Attend an Introduction to the Mahn Center to get learn about the collections and how to use them (in-class).

2. Review the list of possible topics and choose one topic from each collection. Number your selections in order of preference. Submit the list to me by (date). I’ll e-mail you back your approved topic by (date).

3. Review the collection your topic pertains to and the Wikipedia article on your topic. Write 2 proposals (one for Wikipedia talk page, one for curator) in which you identify specific gaps or niches in the article and how you can fill those gaps by using specific archive materials. The curator proposal should also include an outline of the article.

4. Submit curator propsal via e-mail before (date). Submit Wikipedia proposal by posting it to talk page before (date). Save both drafts to your portfolio folder.

5. Meet with curator to discuss proposal. Additional research of collection.

6. Write up an outline of article/article edits and submit to curator for final feedback before going publishing edits. Save to portfolio.

7. Update/Edit Wikipedia article.

Instructor and Ambassadors[edit]

Matthewvetter (talk)
Campus Ambassadors
Matthewvetter (talk) 15:50, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Online Ambassadors
Buggie111 (talk), Sonia (talk)

Timeline for Wikipedia/Archives Project[edit]

Week 1: Introduction to Course and Project[edit]

Wednesday 1/4
  • Overview of the course, Academic Assumptions,Presentation Signup, Account Creations: Wikipedia and Blogger
  • Help Creating an Account: Video on creating an account, Account and user page creation handout
  • On Wikipedia, create a user page, and sign up on the list of students on the course page.
  • Introduction to how Wikipedia will be used in the course
  • Handout: Welcome to Wikipedia (available in print or online from the Wikimedia Foundation)

Week 2: Introduction to Archives and Topic Selection[edit]

Monday, 1/9
  • Meet in Library, Mahn Center
  • Brief Discussion of Readings
  • Introduction to Mahn Center; Students explore archives and consult topics list.
  • Topic Selection
  • Read "Argument as Conversation"
  • Read "What Is It We Do When We Write Articles Like This One"
  • 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.

Wednesday, 1/11
  • 3 Topic Choices due by by e-mail 10am
  • Topics assigned during class
  • Study assigned Wikipedia Articles/models for non-existing articles/Article Wizard. Consult Evaluating Wikipedia article quality brochure
  • Discussion and Presentations: Niche and Conversation in "Argument as Conversation" and "What Is It We Do"
  • Review/research assigned collection on student’s own time
  • Review Wikipedia Article for Gap or |Wikipedia: Your First Article
  • Write Wikipedia Proposal and post to discussion page/online ambassador.

Week 3: Proposals[edit]

Monday, 1/16

No Class. (MLK Day)

  • Proposals to Curators

Wednesday. 1/18
  • Proposals to Curators due by 9am.
  • No Class: Interviews with Curators.
  • Students complete additional research in Archives.

Week 4: Drafting Edits/Articles[edit]

Monday 1/23
  • Discussion and Presentation "Navigating Genres"
  • Discuss Wikipedia genre conventions: neutrality, third-person; “objectivity”
  • Draft Article Outline / Additions and Edits in Sandbox or Word
  • Complete Portfolios
  • Bring article/edit drafts to "go live."
  • Read "Intertextuality and the Discourse Community."

Wednesday, 1/25
  • Portfolios due
  • Discussion and Presentation "Intertextuality and the Discourse Community"
  • "Go live!" with Edits/Articles
  • Peer Edit on Wikipedia.

Additional Resources[edit]

Account Creation
Talk Pages


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
User:Timartin91 The Ohio University Marching 110
User: Sara Dorsten Murray Louis
User:Eatoussant Charles J. Ping
User:OliviaMarie91 Robert Gilliland Wilson
User:MeganNicole1991 Athena Cinema
User:Betsyshellhaas Green Goat
User:AConn110 Athens Lunatic Asylum
User: Bnfik26 Vernon Alden
User:christhompson131 Ohio University
User:Kyle Ranally George Kahler
User:dmk1510 Athens Lunatic Asylum
User:ian.hoogenboom Hocking River
User:mp233010 Ohio University
User:carolyn croft Alwin Nikolais
User:Kris2013 Ohio University
User:WillisRoberts Ohio University

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/Writing and Rhetoric II (Matt Vetter) | university = Ohio University | term = 2011 Q4 | project = }} That will result in the following banner (and make the articles easy to track):


Wikipedia Projects will be graded as follows:

  • 10%: Participation in Wikipedia discussions in class
  • 15%: Peer edits and collaboration with classmates
  • 25%: Proposals/Portfolio
  • 50%: Quality of article contributions, evaluated in terms of content, style (adoption of genre/discourse conventions), documentation (use of and citation of sources)


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