Wikipedia:WikiProject United States Public Policy/Courses/Spring 2011/Approaches to Development (Anh Tran)

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Course description[edit]

This seminar course aims to give you a firm understanding about developing economies and their pressing issues. It has three parts. Part I provides a global perspective of economic development and introduces a conceptual framework to analyze it. Part II goes deeper into critical domestic issues such as poverty, agriculture, immigration, urbanization, environment and governance. Part III extends the discussion to international and macro issues such as trade, foreign investment, foreign aid, debts, finance and fiscal policy. Upon the completion of this course, you should feel confident to discuss, analyze and work on topics relevant to developing economies. We will use Wikipedia as a vehicle and outlet for our research. The Wikipedia Foundation provides extensive resources in this course to make our work fun and rewarding.


The class topics will follow roughly the structure in the comprehensive book Economic Development by Todaro and Smith (Any recent edition is ok), the accompanying Lecture PowerPoint by Pearson Addison-Wesley, and Case Studies in Economic Development by Smith (Second Edition). The strength of this textbook is the inclusion of not only economic but also institutional, political and social perspective. The focus on this text will provide a coherent and systemic framework to understand economic development (and save you money on course packs too).

Learning plan[edit]

This is an active-learning course. It provides a platform for you to learn through conducting research, presenting your findings, learning from class discussion and sharing it with the world. Each student will conduct two research projects and make two presentations about them. The written output of the first project will be a mid-term paper (5-10 pages). The written output of the second project is a complete Wikipedia article. You need to conduct extensive research to do these tasks. You will receive support from your classmates, Wikipedia Ambassadors and the instructor. Students can team up to do these projects together if they like.

Assignment overview[edit]

We will devote Week 1& 2 to get an overall perspective of international development, discuss its major challenges and learn basic Wikipedia skills. Students might volunteer to make presentations on any trade topic in a class during these two weeks for extra credit. From Week 3 on, each student will be assigned to 2 of the above 13 themes. Students will select a real-world topic (or policy) relevant to each of the assigned themes and conduct research on them. Each class will consist of two sessions. The first session includes two presentations (about 20 minutes each) focuses on real-world topics or policies, which are presented by students and discussed by the whole class. The second session is an interactive lecture highlighting important points of the theme of the week, presented by the instructor and discussed by the class. In both sessions, students are encouraged to question, comment, disagree, and share views and experience. You have the freedom to identify and select any topic relevant to your assigned themes. The starting point for finding your case study can be:

Examples of appropriate topics: Poverty in Central Asia, Botswana’s development model , criticisms of the IMF, Definitions of Development, Women and children trafficking etc.

Assignment timeline[edit]

Wikipedia-related assignments

  • March 11: Article selection Post your article topic beside your username on your course's Wikipedia page.
  • March 25: Article Plan
    • For students creating a new article, write a three-to-five paragraph summary version of your article (with citations) in your sandbox and ask your mentor for suggestions.
    • For students editing an existing article, list five sources you plan to use on your article's Talk page and propose three changes you'd like to make to the article. Add the following banner to the top of your article's Talk page.
WikiProject United States Public Policy (Rated NA-class)
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject United States Public Policy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of United States public policy articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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  • April 17: Peer Review Review two of your classmates' articles.
  • April 24: Article Revisions Make changes to your article based on your classmates' suggestions and continue to work with your mentor and the Wikipedia community to finalize your article.
  • May 1: Anonymous Peer Review Submit anonymous peer evaluation of your classmates' articles


This is a list of the students in your class (or rather their Wikipedia usernames), along with their Wikipedia articles (which students will select at the appropriate time).