NMAC 3108/Fall 2020/Lessons/2

From Gerald R. Lucas

 L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 

August 19 – September 1: WritDM Basics and MediaWiki
This lesson addresses how writing must change for the screen and will introduce you to MediaWiki.

I Call It My True Companion, by Coles Phillips.jpg

Welcome to weeks two and three of WritDM. In this lesson, we will set up our needed accounts and begin with some basics of writing and editing for the screen. Your first readings will address foundation concepts for digital writing. Pay close attention to these readings. All writing for digital media begins with strong writing and an understanding of audience.

Next, you’ll get an introduction wiki writing and to MediaWiki, the software that runs Wikipedia and Project Mailer. Writing on a wiki differs a bit from using a word processor. We have to be concerned with both the content and the code. The content is what the published article will show users; the code is what we use to arrange the content. This is the secondary literacy of WritDM: learning the codes that shape the content. In a way, it’s a bit like programming. The wiki code allows us to do all the interesting stuff, like bold text, link, insert images, and cite sources.

By the end of this lesson, you should have a grasp of the differences between writing for paper and writing for digital media; have an understanding of the working rules and basic concepts for editing Wikipedia. You will also have claimed your article on Project Mailer and made your first edits to your remediation project.

Lesson Instructions and Explanation

Generally to avoid confusion, I have tried to make all lessons work the same way. Each lesson will have its weekly section presented in a chart. Work your way from left to right. Open links in tabs, so you don’t lose track of this page.


This is the date this sections’s work is due. Complete everything in the row before 11:59:59 pm on this date.


These are the readings for this section. Read them carefully, taking notes as you do. I recommend reading from a book or on paper, as you can highlight an annotate as you progress. This will help you in the next sections.


This section will usually be a reading quiz on what you just read, so be sure to take it while the reading is fresh in your mind. However, it may also include other assignments or activities that must be accomplished.


Most writing will be on the class forum. This section will contain instructions and guidance for completing your writing. Often, this will link to a series of discussion prompts for the text you’re reading. Choose one prompt, or thread, to answer, or create your own post (especially if there are none there you can or want to respond to) by clicking + New Topic. I’m looking for your engagement here, so aim for a single longish post and a shorter response to someone else’s post. Using secondary sources correctly for support will always earn you more points. Be sure you’re following the conventions outlined in Writing in the Liberal Arts and the guidelines in Academic Forum Posts.


The test will be the last activity. It will test your knowledge of the entire lesson’s materials. Take this only after you have accomplished everything else in the lesson. The idea here is that you show me what you learned about the all of the lesson’s material. Please write in complete sentences and give enough detail to answer the questions. Your answers should convince me that you have learned and thought about the materials.

Due Read Do Write Test
  • Writing Today” discusses the differences between traditional academic writing and writing for digital media.
  • Carroll, chapters 1 (“Writing for Digital Media”) and 2 (“WDM Strategies”)
  • Writing Top Ten” offers ten strategies to keep in mind when writing for digital media.
Quiz Write -
Quiz Respond Test


  1. Read through the article, following any links that are interesting (no one could follow them all). The quiz will only address the linked page.
  2. Remember, for our first project, we are editing volume 2 of The Mailer Review. Send an email requesting the next available article to editor@projectmailer.net.
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