Writing Assignment #1: Better Alamance Wiki

Designed to support COM 312 course objective #2: Apply professional writing standards for truth, accuracy, fairness and understanding.

Although we often focus on the ability of social media to help us transcend time and distance, social media can also be used to build and strengthen relationships within local communities. For this challenge, you’ll contribute to a project called the Better Alamance Wiki.


A wiki is a set of web pages that visitors are encouraged to edit from their browsers, and generally reflect updates and changes in real time. Wikipedia – “the encyclopedia that anyone can edit” – is likely the world’s largest and best-known wiki. Sites like wikia.com host wikis devoted to topics ranging from Pokemon to weddings to World War II, and Elon's technology help desk provides support via the Technology Wiki.

A more recent development is the creation of "local wikis," or wikis that are focused on local, geographic communities (check out a demo videohere). The Davis (California) Wiki (daviswiki.org) is used by residents for everything from learning about local news and local history to helping return lost pets to their owners — and it's become the largest, most used media source in the city. Closer to home, the Triangle Wiki ( trianglewiki.org) helps residents share information on topics ranging from places to plug in electric cars to the Hopscotch Music Festival.

For this challenge, you’ll develop one stub article to share on the wiki. Short wiki articles are called “stubs.” Your stub article will provide a starting point for future article development and discussion. It should be at least 200 words long, include a map (if appropriate) and contain at least one photo taken by you.

Your article should provide interesting and useful information about local opportunities – and more importantly – your community partners. Your goal is to report basic information that should inform and engage the community about what makes your organization unique to this community. Your article should benefit your community partner by presenting strategic facts.

If your community partner is already represented on the wiki, you are asked to research one of your organization’s competitors, an organization with similar attributes or an organization that serves a similar target audience. You’ll be asked to visit this organization and write an objective piece based on what you learn.

Information that is already contained in Wikipedia articles or on other web pages should not be simply replicated.

Your grade will be calculated using the WRITING RUBRIC available on Moodle.


Suggested Deadlines:

  • Create wiki account, assign roles, and claim topics (Tuesday, Feb. 26)
    • Learn how to edit wiki, create sandbox articles
    • Assign journalism roles within your team: reporter, photographer, editor
    • Check to see if someone else has already claimed the topic.
  • Produce drafts of article and submit a link to the draft on Moodle (Thursday, Feb. 28). We will look at some examples in class on Tuesday, March 5.
  • Final Deadline: Thursday, March 7
    • Submit a link to your article on Moodle for grading.

Getting Started:

Working with a wiki is designed to be as simple as possible. Here are some core concepts and requirements.

1. Create an account. http://wiki.betteralamance.org/Users/register/  Real names, rather than pseudonyms, should be used. You wouldn’t ask your new neighbors and professors to call you ~SparkleGRRL239~ offline, after all.

2. Introduce yourself, and create a sandbox page. Your new user page will be located at wiki.betteralamance.org/Users/<yourname>. Go ahead and edit this page – this page will be your public identity on the wiki. Then create a “sandbox” page. Just create a new page called Users/<yourname>/sandbox. You can test all the features of the wiki – editing, adding media, connecting maps – on your sandbox page. Play with the features until you are comfortable with how they function.

3. That’s it! Follow the specific instructions and timeline provided to complete your article editing assignment.

Class site: