Wikipedia:Wiki Ed/University of Maryland, College Park/Travel Writing in the Americas (Spring 2016)

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Course name
Travel Writing in the Americas
University of Maryland, College Park
David Sartorius
Content Expert
Adam (Wiki Ed)
Travel Writing in the Americas
Course dates
2016-01-26 – 2016-05-23
Approximate number of student editors

The Americas, like most parts of the world, would not exist as we know them had it not been for the writings and journeys of centuries of travelers; writing and travel have been closely connected. The twin goals of this class are to understand the role of travel writing in shaping the history of the hemisphere, and to understand the historical contexts and influences on various forms of travel writing. From European conquest and colonization to the African slave trade through the growth of tourism and migration, human mobility is perhaps the most significant common denominator connecting the intertwined histories of North and South America. We will read a wide variety of accounts describing travel to or through the hemisphere, as well as critical scholarship that helps us shed new analytical light on those primary sources. Ultimately, the course will allow students to contribute to those critical understandings on Wikipedia.

Student Assigned Reviewing
Cmartlover Frances Erskine Inglis, Life in Mexico
Pcooperterpmail A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, Hans Staden, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Travel literature
Kskim33 Distribution of justice, Hydrarchy, Pirate code
Terick34 Alexander von Humboldt, Catalina de Erauso, Human trafficking in the United States, Illegal immigration to the United States, Travel literature
Cjmallos Canal Boat, Erie Canal, Illegal Entry, Railroad Car, US Border Patrol
Cdfuller410 John Colter


Week 1

Course meetings
Thursday, 11 February 2016

Week 2

Course meetings
Tuesday, 16 February 2016   |   Thursday, 18 February 2016

Week 3

Course meetings
Tuesday, 23 February 2016   |   Thursday, 25 February 2016
In class - Wikipedia essentials

  • Overview of the course
  • Introduction to how Wikipedia will be used in the course

Handout: Editing Wikipedia

Week 4

Course meetings
Tuesday, 1 March 2016   |   Thursday, 3 March 2016
In class - Editing basics


  • Anatomy of Wikipedia articles, what makes a good article, how to distinguish between good and bad articles - READ AND REVIEW THE EVALUATING WIKIPEDIA HANDOUT.
  • Collaborating and engaging with the Wiki editing community 

Handouts: Using Talk PagesEvaluating Wikipedia

Assignment - Practicing the basics


  • Create an account and join this course page.
  • Complete the introductory training modules. During this training, you will make edits in a sandbox and learn the basic rules of Wikipedia.
  • Create a User page.
  • To practice editing and communicating on Wikipedia, introduce yourself to another student on their user talk page.
  • Explore topics related to your topic area to get a feel for how Wikipedia is organized. What areas seem to be missing? As you explore, make a mental note of articles that seem like good candidates for improvement.

All students have Wikipedia user accounts and are listed on the course page.

Week 5

Course meetings
Tuesday, 8 March 2016   |   Thursday, 10 March 2016
In class - Exploring the topic area
  • Be prepared to discuss some of your observations about Wikipedia articles in your topic area that are missing or could use improvement.

Handouts: Choosing an article

Assignment - Copyedit an article


  • Choose one article, identify ways in which you can improve and correct its language and grammar, and make the appropriate changes. (You do not need to alter the article's content.)
In class - Using sources
  • Be prepared to explain close paraphrasing, plagiarism, and copyright violations on Wikipedia.

Handouts: Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

Supplementary training: [[../../../training/students/sources|Sources and Citations]]

Assignment - Add to an article


  • 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 6

Course meetings
Tuesday, 22 March 2016   |   Thursday, 24 March 2016
Assignment - Choosing your article


  • Research and list 3–5 articles on your Wikipedia user page that you will consider working on as your main project. Look at the talk page for existing topics for a sense of who else is working on it and what they're doing. Describe your choices to your instructor for feedback.
In class - Discuss the article topics
  • Discuss the topics students will be working on, and determine strategies for researching and writing about them.

Supplementary training: [[../../../training/students/sandboxes|Sandboxes and Mainspace]]

Assignment - Finalize your topic and start researching


  • Select an article to work on, removing the rest from your user page. Add your topic on the course page.
  • Compile a bibliography of relevant, reliable sources and post it to the talk page of the article you are working on. Begin reading the sources. Make sure to check in on the talk page (or watchlist) to see if anyone has advice on your bibliography.

Week 7

Course meetings
Tuesday, 29 March 2016   |   Thursday, 31 March 2016
Assignment - Drafting starter articles - FIRST DRAFT DUE MARCH 22


  • 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, create a detailed outline reflecting your proposed changes, and post this for community feedback, along with a brief description of your plans, on the article’s talk page. Make sure to check back on the talk page often and engage with any responses.
  • Begin working with classmates and other editors to polish your short starter article and fix any major issues.
  • Continue research in preparation for expanding your article.

All students have started editing articles or drafts on Wikipedia.

Week 8

Course meetings
Tuesday, 5 April 2016   |   Thursday, 7 April 2016
In class - Moving articles to mainspace
  • We'll discuss moving your article out of your sandboxes and into Wikipedia's main space.
  • A general reminder: Don't panic if your contribution disappears, and don't try to force it back in.
    • Check to see if there is an explanation of the edit on the article's talk page. If not, (politely) ask why it was removed.
    • Contact your instructor or Wikipedia Content Expert and let them know.

Handout: Moving out of your Sandbox

Assignment - Moving articles to mainspace


  • Move your sandbox articles into main space.
    • If you are expanding an existing article, copy your edit into the article. If you are making many small edits, save after each edit before you make the next one. Do NOT paste over the entire existing article, or large sections of the existing article.
    • If you are creating a new article, do NOT copy and paste your text, or there will be no record of your work history. Follow the instructions in the "Moving out of your sandbox" handout.
  • Begin expanding your article into a comprehensive treatment of the topic.

Week 9

Course meetings
Tuesday, 12 April 2016   |   Thursday, 14 April 2016
In class - Building articles
  • Demo uploading images and adding images to articles.
  • Share experiences and discuss problems.

Resources: Illustrating Wikipedia and Evaluating Wikipedia

Assignment - Choose articles to peer review


  • Select a classmates’ article that you will peer review and copyedit. On the table at the bottom of this course page, add your username next to the article you will peer review. (You don’t need to start reviewing yet.)

Week 10

Course meetings
Tuesday, 19 April 2016   |   Thursday, 21 April 2016
In class - Group suggestions
  • As a group, offer suggestions for improving one or two other students' articles, based on your ideas of what makes a solid encyclopedia article.

Supplementary training: [[../../../training/students/peer-review|Peer Review]]

Assignment - Peer review and copyedit


  • Peer review two of your classmates’ articles. Leave suggestions on the article talk pages.
  • Copy-edit the two reviewed articles.

Week 11

Course meetings
Tuesday, 26 April 2016   |   Thursday, 28 April 2016
In class - Media literacy discussion
  • Open discussion of the concepts of neutrality, media literacy, and the impact and limits of Wikipedia.
Assignment - Address peer review suggestions


  • Make edits to your article based on peers’ feedback. If you disagree with a suggestion, use talk pages to politely discuss and come to a consensus on your edit.
Assignment - Complete first draft


  • Expand your article into a complete first draft.
Assignment - Prepare for in-class presentation
  • Prepare for an in-class presentation about your Wikipedia editing experience.

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

Week 12

Course meetings
Tuesday, 3 May 2016   |   Thursday, 5 May 2016
Assignment - Continue improving articles
  • Return to your classmates' articles you previously reviewed, and provide more suggestions for further improvement. If there is a disagreement, suggest a compromise.
  • Do additional research and writing to make further improvements to your article, based on your classmates' suggestions and any additional areas for improvement you can identify.
In class - In Class Presentations - THIS WEEK!

Week 13

Course meetings
Tuesday, 10 May 2016
Assignment - Final article


  • Add final touches to your Wikipedia article.

Handout: Polishing your article

Assignment - Wikipedia portfolio


  • Put together a Wikipedia portfolio.

Week 14

Course meetings
Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Students have finished all their work on Wikipedia that will be considered for grading.