Monday, December 01, 2008

final group project: editing USF’s wikipedia page

tomorrow, i’ll hand out the final group project to intro to media studies students.

Final Group Project: Editing USF’s Wikipedia Page
Intro to Media Studies
Professor Silver

Two weeks ago, we began reading and thinking about USF’s wikipedia page. In class, we talked about ways we would edit and add to the page. We brainstormed topics that could be researched and written, and discussed sources worthy of citing. Last week, with help from Phoebe Ayers, we learned how wikipedia works and how people like you and me can edit the pages. For your final project in Intro to Media Studies, you will work in groups to significantly add or edit the University of San Francisco and San Francisco Dons wikipedia pages.


1. You must join a group of two or more students.

2. You must create your own wikipedia account.

3. By the end of today, a member of your group must post a brief description of your topic to our USF WikiProject page.

4. Your group project assignment is to add significantly to the University of San Francisco and San Francisco Dons wikipedia pages. Your addition should abide by wikipedia’s three main rules: neutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research.

5. Your group contribution should also be interesting - to you, to your group, and to others.

6. Back up what you add and edit with at least five good references. If you are unsure about what makes a good reference, ask your group. If your group cannot decide, ask me.

7. At least three of your references must come directly from Gleeson Library. Please do not underestimate requirement seven. Group projects that do not adhere to this requirement will receive failing grades.

8. If you are lucky, other wikipedians will edit and interact with your work. This is a good thing. Work with not against them.

9. As a group, write a three page essay about your contribution, your references, and who did what. Group-edit your essay until it has zero errors.

10. Print out one copy of your paper and turn it in at the beginning of class on Tuesday, December 9th. Also, turn in your journals.


bck said...

I love this assignment! I hope you will post again after it is done. I want to hear how it goes!


Anonymous said...

thanks brenda - coming from you, that means a lot.

i have been documenting the process - my discussions with the students, discussions with colleagues, brainstorming topics, a workshop from a wikipedian, and the development of the actual assignment.

all that is left is the best part: the students' work. once that's done, i'll try to muster up a post about the whole process.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me if this question is naive, but did you have to get permission from university administration to do this assignment?

I know that the university does not own its Wikipedia entry, and clearly you are having students do a careful job with their editing/additions (using credible sources, etc.). But still, some schools might see this assignment as somewhat subversive--I imagine that most universities invest a good deal of effort tracking (and editing) their Wikipedia entries. That's why I'm interested to see if you had to vet your assignment at any level with administration.

laura_p said...

This is such a great idea. To address the anonymous comment, I think that USF currently has not been following its Wikipedia page, as there is very little content on there. Frankly, it's quite dull and doesn't show what a wonderful and unique school it really is. I can't wait to check it again in a couple weeks to see how it looks!

Anonymous said...

anonymous - your question is not naive and a number of people have asked the same question when i first began talking about this project. i did not seek permission from USF administration to do this assignment. i did, however, think a lot about the process of the project and i spoke with a number of USF colleagues about it. please let me know if you have follow-up questions.

laura - thanks for the comment! i agree with you - the current wikipedia page for USF does little to reflect the diverse array of things that happen here. hopefully my students will change that!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughtful answer to my question about vetting the assignment with administration (thanks to Laura P, too). And, like Brenda, I also want to see how the students do with it.

I heard you speak a year or two ago, at the Association of College & Research Libraries, in Baltimore. You were awesome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughtful answer to my question about vetting the assignment with administration (thanks to Laura P, too). And, like Brenda, I also want to see how the students do with it.

I heard you speak a year or two ago, at the Association of College & Research Libraries, in Baltimore. You were awesome!

Anonymous said...

David, David, David! You've bridged the gap between old pedagogy and current thinking keeping intact the fundamentals. I'd love to start my education all over again under YOUR tutelage.
Marian Gregory

Tommy Morahan said...

I second the positive comments. I'm curious about the size of the class and the ease/lack-of with which the students engaged in group work. And I too would like to see a post about the over all process.

Teresa and Grant said...

i've been telling a few of my friends who are not in our class about this assignment and they've all thought it's a really interesting idea.

our group's 4 main "sections/paragraphs" :
1) rankings 2) admissions 3) student demographics 4) "funky facts" related to the above 3 topics as well as interesting historical statistics about the student population.

if anyone has comments, suggestions, things you think we should include, or source recommendations, we would really appreciate it. my email is:

thanks a lot!
teresa garcia

Anonymous said...

dear marian - throughout this project, i've been reminding my students that this one is different: instead of writing a paper for their professor's eyes only, they are contributing their ideas and creativity to a page that is and could be read by thousands. "the stakes are high!" i keep telling them. well, yesterday, before the students began working in their groups, i loaded up this blog post and highlighted your comment and said, "hey! not only are you writing for potentially thousands of readers, you're also writing for marian gregory, aka mrs gregory, my first grade teacher!" they got a real thrill out of that (as i did) and we agreed that the stakes were even higher.

tommy - thanks for your comment. there are two sections of intro to media studies - the morning section has 37 students, the afternoon section has 40 students, so we're talking about nearly 80 students in total. getting them into groups was an interesting process, one that was made easier by the fact that we've done it before. in an earlier project, called election exhibit, students were asked to work in groups according to their individual and collective interests. so this batch of students already has some experience working in groups, collaborating, and harnessing collective intelligence. but on top of that, some students are working across sections - students enrolled in the morning section are collaborating with students in the afternoon section - making things pretty exciting. encouraged by you and other folks, i plan to blog the whole process of this assignment. thanks again for commenting and i hope we can foster some future collaborations between sf state and usf.

Anonymous said...

teresa - as i mentioned in class to your group yesterday, i'm really excited about your topic! your group, coupled with the afternoon group focusing on international students, has given me a new appreciation of the diversity of USF. we are truly an international campus smack in the middle of an international city. i look forward to reading what you and your group members research, write, and edit.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Silver,
After class yesterday and looking at the USF wikipedia page today, I wanted to tell you how excited I am that this is working! While posting, I found the whole process to be a lot more do-able than I had first imagined. And today, to see that everybody else was able to contribute to the site was very exciting. It has been great working with other students that are new to wikipedia as we are able to figure things out together. I can't wait to see the site completed!

Sarah Hobin

Tommy Morahan said...

I've heard great words referencing you from our mutual friend, M.Robertson. Would love to communicate (learn from you) more. The election assignment is really positive. (I do check in regularly but got busy for a few weeks there with my M.A. final)

Anonymous said...

sarah - i totally agree with you. i've been checking the page a few times a day and am amazed to watch it grow: a new section here, an excellent edit there, an added photograph over there. every time i visit the page, something has changed. it's as if the page is an organic being!

thanks for your comment. and i'm glad to hear that editing the page is more do-able than you previously thought.

Unknown said...

Professor Silver,
This is the USF campus dining morning group and we have a four page essay. Is that okay? Also, would you want us to have our Work Cited page MLA format? Or can we just list the sources at the end of our paper? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

hey kristina - try your best to keep it to three pages but if needs to be four, go with four. as for what citation method you use, it doesn't matter - as long as you select one method and stick with it throughout the works cited section. good luck!

Anonymous said...

The university Wikipedia page is full of awesomesauce! Great assignment, great students.