COM100G Fall 2012

Assignment Description

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. In this class, we will launch a project together 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 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 video here). The Davis (California) Wiki ( 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 ( helps residents share information on topics ranging from places to plug in electric cars to the Hopscotch Music Festival.

For this class, you will develop two articles to share on the wiki, one feature article and one stub article. Each article will provide interesting and useful information about our local community.

Your feature article will be a longer-form article that demonstrates thoughtful research. It might examine a building or institution of significant historical interest, provide a useful overview of an important local issue, or address some larger theme in the local community. Your feature article will comprise 600 - 1,000 words, include at least three references, a map (if appropriate) and at least one photo taken by you.

Short wiki articles are called “stubs.” Your stub article will introduce a topic, and provide a starting point for future article development and discussion. These articles might introduce a local restaurant or business, a community organization or group, or other points of interest in Alamance County. Your stub article will comprise at least 200 words, and include a map (if appropriate) and at least one photo taken by you.

Your articles should focus on bringing new and interesting local perspectives to the web. Information that is already contained in Wikipedia articles or on other web pages should not be simply replicated. Both Belk and May Memorial Library (in downtown Burlington) will be excellent resources for this assignment.

Students will work in teams of three to revise one another’s articles after a first draft has been posted.

Assessment for this assignment will be based on the quality of your articles, as well as the quality of the review and editing support that you offer to your colleagues’ articles.

Course page on wiki

Project deadlines:

  • Create wiki account (in class, Monday, October 1)
    • learn how to edit wiki, create sandbox articles
  • Select and claim topics (due Friday, October 5)
    • Check to see if someone else has already claimed the topic on the Under Development page. If not, add your topic to the master article list on the Under Development page.
    • Add the topic to the COM100G article list on the COM100G page.
  • Produce drafts of article in personal sandbox (complete drafts due Friday, October 26, 60% of assignment grade)
  • Peer editing of draft articles (edits due Friday, November 2, 40% of assignment grade)
    • Find your teammates’ names on the COM100G page, and review and edit each of their articles
    • After you have edited your teammate’s article, add it to your list on the COM100G page
  • Move final drafts to main wiki (due Monday, November 5)