Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wiki writing assignment

I turned in my last batch of grades on Friday and have been trying to catch up on everything else ever since. (Among other things, my husband is starting week 4 on the jury for a murder trial and my daughter fell and smashed her mouth at school.) One thing that fell by the wayside: I've been meaning to blog about an extra credit assignment that I did toward the end of the semester in PR writing class.

All I asked students to do was edit or add something to a Wikipedia entry. Josh Hallett showed them how to do it when he spoke to the class earlier in the semester. They just had to send me the link and let me know what they'd done to the article.

I think they had fun with it. Most changed something simple about an organization (church, sorority) or place (hometown, high school) that they're already familiar with. I wanted it to be easy for them just to get them to try it. In exchange, they got 5 bonus points added to their lowest writing lab grade.

I thought about them today with the announcement of Time's people of the year-- I hope they saw it and thought, "hey, I'm part of that, too!" even if that's the only thing they've ever done with social media. Of course, many use Facebook and I've pushed them to try blogging and other social media, as well.

At any rate, it's an easy way to get students to try it out, and it generated a good discussion about how much you can believe about what's on a wiki and what it means to have ordinary people generating media content.


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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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