COM100A Spring 2014

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 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 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 an articles to share on the wiki. Your article will provide interesting and useful information about some aspect of our local community.

Your article will introduce a topic, and provide a starting point for future article development and discussion. These articles should introduce a local point of interest: a community organization or group, an event or issue of general interest to a resident Alamance County. Your topic may not be related to Elon University or to a chain restaurant or business.

Your article will comprise at least 200 words, and include a map (if appropriate) and at least one photo taken by you. It should be clearly written and well formatted, and adhere to the style of other articles on the site (use appropriate headings, link heavily to other wiki articles, etc.) 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.

Project deadlines:

  • Create wiki account (in class, Monday, March 31)
    • learn how to edit wiki, create sandbox articles
  • Select and claim topics (due Wednesday, April 2 before class)
    • Search the wiki to ensure that no one has already written an article on your topic -- duplicate articles will receive a grade of 0.
    • Add the topic to the COM100A article list on the COM100A class page.
  • Write your article, ensuring it meets all requirements. Submit the link on Moodle. (Due Monday, April 7 before class)
  • Peer editing of draft articles (edits due Friday, April 11 before class, 40% of assignment grade)
    • Find your teammates’ names on the COM100A class page, and review and edit each of their articles
    • After you have edited your teammate’s article, add it to your list on the COM100A class page. Submit the links of edited articles on Moodle.
  • Final edits of article completed (your final edits, if any) by 5:00pm, April 11.