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Introduction to assignment

Introduction to assignment

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Published by Matthew Vetter

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Published by: Matthew Vetter on Feb 17, 2011
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09/05/2013

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ENG 792EMatthew Vetter2/17/11
Introduction to Assignment
In the early stages of composing this assignment, I first thought it might be applicable to English 151.However, as I began exploring the process of writing a new article on
Wikipedia
, I quickly realized thatsuch a project might be too advanced for freshman students. The assignment requires a personalcommitment and interest in digital writing, I think, and will involve a lot of trial and error, andfrustration. For these reasons, I think this kind of assignment is best suited to a course which isadvertised
as a “Writing in Digital Culture” or “Online Literacy” which might fit best in either
382:Rhetorical Approaches to Writing
or
284: Writing about Culture and Society 
 The assignment itself will need to be connected to another project earlier in the quarter in whichstudents explore the editing capabilities and limitations of 
Wikipedia
and familiarize themselves with the
platform’s policies and procedures. As I make reference to in the assignmen
t, this earlier project wouldconsists of an edit of an existing article most likely paired with a reflection essay.The justification of the assignment is perhaps expressed best in the pedagogical benefits acknowlegedby editors at the online encyclopedia itself:In contrast to traditional writing assignments, working with Wikipedia may offer severaladvantages for students:
 
students are held accountable to a global audience for what they are doing, and thus may feelmore devoted to the assignment as a whole;
 
students' work will likely continue to be used and to be improved upon by others after theassignment has ended;
 
students learn the difference between fact-based and analytical writing styles;
 
students strengthen their ability to think critically and evaluate sources;
 
students learn how to work in a collaborative environment
 
students gain insights in the creation process of texts on Wikipedia. This enables them to drawconclusions about the purposes for which Wikipedia is best used;
 
students gain insights in the creation process of texts on Wikis in general, an increasinglyessential skill in a modern IT workplace (that can be put on one's CV); and
 
students understand that they not only consume information, they help to create it.
(“Wikipedia: School and University Projects”)
 The most exciting (and problematic) aspect of this assignment is that the students produce a very
concrete, “real” product that will be subject to extra
-academic review. There are real issues involved,
however. I’m especially
worried about topic generation. A local-interest topic ensures (somewhat) that
Wikipedia
 
won’t already have the entry, but it also is risky in terms of notability. If the topic isn’tdeemed significant enough, it’s subject to deletion.

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