This semester long project has a multiple goals: 1) to introduce you to doing some basic research, 2) to expose you to wikis, which are collaborative online writing environments, typically written with a specific audience and interest in mind, so you can see how they work and better understand the advantages and disadvantages of them, 3) to have you write thoughtfully for an audience. For all our other assignments, you will be supposing an audience, but for this one you will have a real audience: the Berry community and the World Wide Web, 4) to learn and share something more about the history and culture of the institution you chose to spend four years of your life attending.

Last semester, all four of my ENG 101 classes worked together to create and maintain content on Marthapaedia, a wiki about the history and culture of Berry College, prominent figures in its history, locations on campus, important events, and so forth. This semester, you are tasked with revising and improving what they started and adding content on your own.

With this assignment, you will apply the lessons you’ve learned in this class about the writing process, writing well developed paragraphs, and writing to suit your audience to an environment for which you more than likely write all the time: the Internet. But beyond just the writing tools normally emphasized in any rhetoric and writing course, you will also have to be able to use the tools that make wikis effective: hyperlinks to other relevant articles within the wiki and to cited material if online, audio-visual information where appropriate and useful, and visually appealing headings, sections, and organization on the webpage. You will also get an introduction into archival research.

Rules & Guidelines

A point of this assignment that is exciting to me is that you will have a great deal of leeway in shaping how Marthapaedia develops from here. So use your best judgment as writers to maintain a site that is a navigable, coherent, and useful resource. That is our ultimate goal with this assignment. My student assistant and I will be monitoring and moderating the wiki, but you will be creating the content. That said, there are some rules and guidelines by which you should abide.

1) This wiki is public. Only you and your peers can edit it, but I have been gradually inviting the entire Berry community to check out your efforts, and Google is free to index our site for searchers all over the World Wide Web. Therefore, do not post or create content that is libelous or disrespectful to individuals, and do not post personal information.
2) Please respect the privacy of living members of the Berry community and do not create biographical articles or articles otherwise solely about them.
3) Write for the appropriate audience. Your audience consists of the Berry community (other students, faculty, staff, and alumni) and any other individuals who are interested in learning more about Berry College.
4) All articles must be written with strong analytical paragraphs. You may be thinking that the type of writing featured on a site like this is mostly informative and expository, not argumentative. Perhaps, but your writing must still be analytical: demonstrate to your readers why the content you are presenting is significant and worth knowing as a member of the Berry Community. This work will require you to interpret and evaluate primary resources in the College Archives.
5) You must conduct research in the College Archives and cite your sources using MLA parenthetical citation and Works Cited list at the end of articles.
6) You may not cite information from the Internet unless you have a good reason to do so cleared by me.
7) Before you start a new article, search to be sure it does not already exist.
8) As soon as a page is created, anyone can edit it except group pages.

I will delete articles, in part or in total, that I deem to be not about Berry College, cite unapproved web sources, contain personal information, libelous or disrespectful, or negligent towards the privacy of individuals within the Berry community.

Required Work & Assessment Plan

Ideally, I could just turn you all loose to create this wiki; however, there does need to be some assessment and some assurances that everyone will participate appropriately in this effort. I also have learned that this assignment needs to be highly structured and has been revised into the following three parts:

1) Each individual student must create, research, and write on the wiki one new article of at least 500 words.
2) Students will be organized into groups of three. Each of these student groups will collaboratively research and then compose on the wiki one in-depth article of 1,000 words. Each group will be exploring one of the following questions:
  1. What exactly was Martha Berry’s attitude toward sports, and how did athletic competition begin at Berry?
  2. What was Berry College like when it integrated?
  3. Possum Trot was not just a chapel, but a community and school. What was it like?
  4. What was Berry College like during World War I?
  5. Berry College is the only college sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). What is the history of the relationship Berry has with DAR?
  6. What were the earliest student groups at the Berry Schools and Berry College like?
3) Every individual must demonstrate meaningful revision and proofreading activity on the wiki throughout the semester with a minimum number of edits at certain check points. This is explained more thoroughly below.
4) In addition, for extra credit, you can choose an existing article, one created prior to the start of the current semester, and conduct additional research to revise and improve it.

There are established deadlines for each of these items in the syllabus. Now for the question on everyone’s mind: how will this be graded? On the pages that follow, you will see a set of rubrics, but here it is in a nutshell.
  • 25% (50 points) of each individual student’s grade will come from my assessment of the 500 word article on an original topic. Rubric is below.
  • 50% (100 points) of each individual student’s grade will be based on my assessment of the collaborative 1,000 word article, and part of this will be a peer assessment of your participation in the group. Rubric is below.
  • 25% (50 points) of each individual student’s grade will be based on the completion of the required number of edits by the required deadlines over the course of the term. To earn full credit, you will have to make at least 75 edits over the course of the whole term.
  • By completing the extra credit option, an individual student could earn up to an additional 30 points. Extra credit revisions are assessed by the same rubric as individual articles.

I have to invite each of you individually to join Marthapædia via email, so be looking for that email; alternatively, you can create a Wikispaces username and request I add you. Very soon near the beginning of the term, I will spend some time in class demonstrating how to use the features of the wiki. You will create your own user name, but make sure I can identify you!