Wikipedia:Wiki Ed/George Washington University/Public Opinion about US Foreign Policy (Fall 2017)

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Course name
Public Opinion about US Foreign Policy
George Washington University
Rachel Stein
Content Expert
Shalor (Wiki Ed)
Course dates
2017-09-08 00:00:00 UTC – 2017-12-08 23:59:59 UTC
Approximate number of student editors

What do Americans think about U.S. foreign policy? How do they form their opinions about complex issues and events that they often know very little about? And how do those opinions influence the foreign policy-making process, if they do at all? This course will introduce students to the academic study of public opinion about foreign affairs as we explore these questions in several different policy areas including the use of U.S. military force abroad, international trade, foreign aid, and the environment.

Student Assigned Reviewing
Kent3tres NSA warrantless surveillance (2001–07)
Ryankoch4 Opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War
Peterwells99 Consequences of the attack on Pearl Harbor
Samindelicato U.S. Public support for the One China Policy
Sean Ruddy Rally 'round the flag effect
Alexanderhupp Foreign policy of the Bill Clinton administration
Gillian Bennett Popular opinion in the United States on the invasion of Iraq
Bridgetanzano United States foreign aid
Gracedonovan US opinion on Drone Strikes
Emilytorp Russia-United States relations
Tcevidanes North Korea–United States relations
Eliannalandau Marshall Plan
1lilrisse Cuba-United States relations Cuba-United States relations
Romaansheikh Foreign policy of the Donald Trump administration
Annehealy American Public Opinion on World War II
Alexlavin99 Popular opinion in the United States on the invasion of Iraq
Mckennahf Immigration to the United States


Week 1

Course meetings
Friday, 15 September 2017
In class - Introduction to the Wikipedia project

Welcome to your Wikipedia project's course timeline. This page will guide you through the Wikipedia project for your course. Be sure to check with your instructor to see if there are other pages you should be following as well.

This page breaks down writing a Wikipedia article into a series of steps, or milestones. These steps include online trainings to help you get started on Wikipedia.

Your course has also been assigned a Wikipedia Expert. Check your Talk page for notes from them. You can also reach them through the "Get Help" button on this page.

To get started, please review the following handouts:

Assignment - Get started on Wikipedia
  • Create an account and join this course page, using the enrollment link your instructor sent you. (To avoid hitting Wikipedia's account creation limits, this is best done outside of class. Only 6 new accounts may be created per day from the same IP address.)
  • It's time to dive into Wikipedia. Below, you'll find the first set of online trainings you'll need to take. New modules will appear on this timeline as you get to new milestones. Be sure to check back and complete them! Incomplete trainings will be reflected in your grade.
  • When you finish the trainings, practice by introducing yourself to a classmate on that classmate’s Talk page.

This week, everyone should have a Wikipedia account.

Week 2

Course meetings
Friday, 22 September 2017
Assignment - Evaluate Wikipedia

 It's time to think critically about Wikipedia articles. You'll evaluate a Wikipedia article related to the course and leave suggestions for improving it on the article's Talk page. 

  • Complete the "Evaluating Articles and Sources" training (linked below).
  • Create a section in your sandbox titled "Article evaluation" where you'll leave notes about your observations and learnings. 
  • Skim the article about the Foreign Policy of the US and choose an additional article on Wikipedia related to the course to read and evaluate. As you read both articles, consider the following questions (but don't feel limited to these): 
    • Is everything in the article relevant to the article topic? Is there anything that distracted you?
    • Is the article neutral? Are there any claims, or frames, that appear heavily biased toward a particular position?
    • Are there viewpoints that are overrepresented, or underrepresented?
    • Check a few citations. Do the links work? Does the source support the claims in the article?
    •  Is each fact referenced with an appropriate, reliable reference? Where does the information come from? Are these neutral sources? If biased, is that bias noted? 
    • Is any information out of date? Is anything missing that could be added?
    •  Check out the Talk page of the article. What kinds of conversations, if any, are going on behind the scenes about how to represent this topic? 
    • How is the article rated? Is it a part of any WikiProjects?
    • How does the way Wikipedia discusses this topic differ from the way we've talked about it in class?
  •  Optional: Choose at least 1 question relevant to the article you're evaluating and leave your evaluation on the article's Talk page. Be sure to sign your feedback with four tildes — Sean Ruddy (talk) 17:11, 27 October 2017 (UTC). 

Week 3

Course meetings
Friday, 29 September 2017
Assignment - Add to an article

Familiarize yourself with editing Wikipedia by adding a citation to an article. There are two ways you can do this:

  • Add 1-2 sentences to a course-related article, and cite that statement to a reliable source, as you learned in the online training.
  • The Citation Hunt tool shows unreferenced statements from articles. First, evaluate whether the statement in question is true! An uncited statement could just be lacking a reference or it could be inaccurate or misleading. Reliable sources on the subject will help you choose whether to add it or correct the statement.

Week 4

Course meetings
Friday, 6 October 2017
Assignment - Propose a topic

Getting started:

  • Review page 6 of your Editing Wikipedia guidebook.
  • Look up 3-5 potential topics related to the course that you might want to update on Wikipedia. If no article exists, consider whether topic is "notable" enough to deserve its own Wikipedia article. Consult our Wikipedia content expert if you need help. If an article does exist, review the contents and check the Talk page to see what other Wikipedias are already contributing. Think about what material you can add to the article as well as other ways you might improve it. 
  • Investigate the availability of sources that you can add or include in your article. 
  • Choose one topic and write a short proposal (no more than one page). The proposal should explain why this topic needs to be added or expanded and describe what sources you plan to use. E-mail your proposal to Professor Stein by 6pm on 10/6. 

Things to keep in mind when choosing your topic:

  • Your topic should be relevant to the course. In other words, it should relate to some aspect of public opinion about U.S. foreign policy. You may choose a contemporary or historical topic.
  • Your topic should be one that is underdeveloped or not covered at all on Wikipedia.
  • Your topic should have a sufficient number of sources. You should be able to add/include a minimum of 4 new sources, at least one of which must be an academic book or journal article. 

Week 5

Course meetings
Friday, 13 October 2017
Assignment - Finalize your topic / Find your sources

Finalize your topic:

  • You will receive feedback on your proposal no later than 5pm on 10/9. 
  • Once you have made any necessary revisions, go to the Students tab and assign your chosen topic to yourself. 

Find your sources:

  • Compile a list of relevant polling data, scholarly books and journal articles, or other sources. 
  • Post that bibliography to the talk page of the article you'll be working on, and in your sandbox. Make sure to check in on the Talk page to see if anyone has advice on your bibliography.

Please complete both parts of this assignment by 5pm on 10/13. 

Week 6

Course meetings
Friday, 20 October 2017
Assignment - Draft your article

You've picked a topic and found your sources. Now it's time to start writing.

Creating a new article?

  • Write an outline of that topic in the form of a standard Wikipedia article's "lead section." Write it in your sandbox.
    • A "lead" section is not a traditional introduction. It should summarize, very briefly, what the rest of the article will say in detail. The first paragraph should include important, broad facts about the subject. A good example is Ada Lovelace. See Editing Wikipedia page 9 for more ideas.

Improving an existing article?

  • Identify what's missing from the current form of the article. Think back to the skills you learned while critiquing an article. Make notes for improvement in your sandbox.

Keep reading your sources, too, as you prepare to write the body of the article.

Resources: Editing Wikipedia pages 7–9


Everyone has begun writing their article drafts.

Week 7

Course meetings
Friday, 27 October 2017
Assignment - Expand your draft
  • Keep working on transforming your article into a complete first draft. Get draft ready for peer-review. 
  • If you'd like a Wikipedia Expert to review your draft, now is the time! Click the "Get Help" button in your sandbox to request notes.

Assignment - Peer review and copy edit

By now, you should have a first draft of your new article or the content you plan to add to an existing article. In class this week, you will be peer reviewing one another's work. To prepare for this activity:

  • Take the "Peer Review" online training.
  • Bring a printed copy of your draft to class.

Every student has finished reviewing their assigned articles, making sure that every article has been reviewed.

Week 8

Course meetings
Friday, 3 November 2017
Assignment - Respond to your peer review

You probably have some feedback from other students and possibly other Wikipedians. It's time to work with that feedback to improve your article!

  • Read Editing Wikipedia pages 12 and 14.
  • Return to your draft or article and think about the suggestions. Decide which ones to start implementing. Reach out to your instructor or your Wikipedia Expert if you have any questions.
Assignment - Begin moving your work to Wikipedia

Once you've made improvements to your article based on peer review feedback, it's time to move your work to Wikipedia proper - the "mainspace."

Editing an existing article?

  • NEVER copy and paste your draft of an article over the entire article. Instead, edit small sections at a time.
  • Copy your edits into the article. Make many small edits, saving each time, and leaving an edit summary. Never replace more than one to two sentences without saving!
  • Be sure to copy text from your sandbox while the sandbox page is in 'Edit' mode. This ensures that the formatting is transferred correctly.

Creating a new article?

  • Read Editing Wikipedia page 13, and follow those steps to move your article from your Sandbox to Mainspace.
  • You can also review the [[../../../training/students/sandboxes|Sandboxes and Mainspace]] online training.

Week 9

Course meetings
Friday, 10 November 2017
Assignment - Continue improving your article

Do additional research and writing to make further improvements to your article, based on suggestions and your own critique.

  • Read Editing Wikipedia page 12 to see how to create links from your article to others, and from other articles to your own. Try to link to 3–5 articles, and link to your article from 2–3 other articles.
  • Consider adding an image to your article. Wikipedia has strict rules about what media can be added, so make sure to take Contributing Images and Media Files training before you upload an image.
Assignment - Polish your work

Continue to expand and improve your work, and format your article to match Wikipedia's tone and standards. Remember to contact your Wikipedia Expert at any time if you need further help!

Week 10

Course meetings
Friday, 17 November 2017
Assignment - Final article

It's the final week to develop your article.

  • Read Editing Wikipedia page 15 to review a final check-list before completing your assignment.
  • Don't forget that you can ask for help from your Wikipedia Expert at any time!

Everyone should have finished all of the work they'll do on Wikipedia, and be ready for grading by 5pm on 11/17.