Technical Writing in the Digital Age: Wikipedia Editing and Collaborative Writing
Directions: For each lesson below, follow all links and read them carefully. All assigned readings not linked may be found on my server or in your assigned textbook. See your individual syllabus for due dates and additional instructions. Nothing needs to be done with resources, but they are added for your reference.
note: While this course discusses Wikipedia specifically, your class may be working on LitWiki, but most of the theory and practice about Wikipedia will apply to LW. If your course does use the latter, you may still want to have an account on both.
1: Introduction to Wikipedia and MediaWiki
Understanding Wikipedia, its history, and its significance in the digital age.
- To Do: Activate your wiki account and post a short bio on your user page. Include a photo if you want and include a link to your web site, if applicable. Remember what your persona is on the wiki and only provide details that support it. In other words: this is not a Facebook profile. (You might have a look at Broughton (2008), chapter 3).
- Optional Post: Write a short reflection on the role of Wikipedia in the digital era and its impact on information dissemination. (#wiki)
2: Wikipedia’s Core Principles
Explore Wikipedia's core principles, including neutrality, verifiability, and reliable sourcing.
- Optional Post: Analyze and critique a Wikipedia article based on the core principles discussed. (#wiki)
3: Collaborative Writing and Wiki Markup
Introduction to collaborative writing on Wikipedia, understanding wiki markup, and basic editing.
- To Do: Edit an existing Wikipedia (or LitWiki) article by correcting grammar, adding citations, or improving formatting.
4: Writing with a Neutral Point of View (NPOV)
Exploration of the NPOV policy, recognizing bias, and writing from a neutral perspective.
- Assignment: Rewrite a section of a Wikipedia article (or LitWiki) to adhere to the NPOV policy. (See Category:Articles with minor POV problems.)
5: Sourcing and Citations
The importance of reliable sourcing, citing academic and reputable references, and avoiding original research.
- To Do: Add a citation to your course’s collaborative wiki project.
6: Talk Pages and Collaboration
Effective use of Wikipedia's talk pages for discussions and collaboration with other editors.
- To Do: Engage in a discussion your collaborative article's talk page (see your syllabus), resolving an editing dispute or suggesting improvements.
7: Creating a Wikipedia Article
Applying the knowledge gained throughout the course to collaboratively write a new Wikipedia article.
- To Do: Students will choose (or be assigned) a topic related to technical writing, research, and write a new Wikipedia (or LitWiki) article following Wikipedia’s content guidelines. 
The following texts are available either on Archive.org (the linked sources) or in the ENGL 5106 Library on my server (see D2L for the password).
- Broughton, John (2008). Wikipedia: The Missing Manual. Sebastopol, CA: O'Rielly.
- Lih, Andrew (2009). The Wikipedia Revolution. New York: Hyperion.
- Optional blog posts are just that: optional. They will be considered in my evaluative process and provide additional opportunities for you to practice your digital writing. That said: you will not be penalized for not completing these posts.
- If you choose a Wikipedia article, be sure I have your user name. You an either mail it to me, or post it on my talk page.
- This is the same assignment as your collaborative project that you have likely been working on all semester. See your class syllabus.
|Written: 2002, 2022; Revised: 11-20-2023; Version: Beta 0.7|