The Wiki Project

for a printable version of this document (with images) click here:

The purpose of the Wiki Project is to give you experience locating and assessing online research as you thoroughly analyze and examine one term, a term of your choosing. It is also an elaborate prewriting and researching stage for those of you who have been assigned a Definition Essay.

According to Wikipedia,
A wiki (pronounced /ˈwɪki/ //WIK////-ee//) is a website that allows the easy[1] creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor.[2][3] Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used to create collaborative websites, to power community websites, for personal note taking, in corporate intranets, and in knowledge management systems.
And this is what we are creating in the Wiki Project, a collaborative website to share knowledge about words, a sort of Wikipedia style class Dictionary, but far more in depth, and elaborate than any mere dictionary, and far more personal than an ordinary reference work. Each student will choose, research, synthesize information and develop an extended and multi-faceted definition of a word or term, including any associated meanings or uses, and make connections to that word in art, music, film and popular culture, all to create the most well-rounded understanding of that word or term.

You will be responsible for creating a wikispaces account, choosing a term about which to create a wiki, creating a wiki, adding a link to that wiki on the website CUNYComposersDictionary.wikispaces.com, for building that wiki, organizing and designing that wiki, and maintaining that wiki. Students may contribute information to the wikis created by other students, but each student will be responsible for his/her own Wiki.

Throughout the course of this project, you should take notes during each stage of the discovery process and wiki building, keep track of everything you learn and keep a detailed record of the specific steps you take and of your observations.

You must complete through Stage Sixteen by the deadline you have been assigned for the Wiki Project.

NOTE: Responsible scholarship is a requirement of this project. All information that is derived from or quoted from another source MUST be properly cited according to MLA standards.
Wiki citations often occur as endnotes, with links placed in the text to the citations at the end, similar to a works cited page.
Students who are caught plagiarizing on their wiki will receive a failing grade on the Wiki Project.

You alone are responsible for managing your pace in this project, so keep your eye on the deadline, and don’t procrastinate. Some of these steps may take longer to complete than you might thing at first glance. Good luck and have fun!!

Stage One:

The Pre-Selection Process

Please identify three or four terms you are considering as the topic of your Definition Essay. Make sure that none of these have already been defined on our site, CUNYComposersDictionary.wikispaces.com. Next, do a little online research to determine the terms’ viability. What do you find on Google? How many newspaper / journal / magazine articles have been devoted (at least partially) to the terms? Can you find images, movies, songs that address the terms. Please be absolutely sure to check our library databases for articles, too (a vital step in this process). I particularly recommend for this project that you check LexisNexis, an electronic database that searches and allows you to access a huge variety of publications. This can be accessed through the school’s library. You will be given instructions on how to access library databases in class.

For each of the terms you’re considering, please write about 200 words on your discoveries and on each term’s viability. Which will you select?


Stage Two:

Wiki Hunt

Please look at several wikis. To find wikis, look to places like Wikipedia, wikispaces, wetpaint, and pbwiki. Use search engines like Google and bing to locate wikis. Try Googling “popular wikis” or “favorite wikis.” Where else can you look? You might also be amused by the podcast called Wikis in Plain English. You can link to this from our website, or Google it.

Describe the layout of each wiki you examine. 1) Where is the title located? the description of the wiki? the navigation for the wiki? 2) How is the information delivered? with a bulleted list? with a bunch of long paragraphs? with text boxes? 3) What colors does the author employ? what kind of and how many graphics? How do these elements affect your perception of the content's accuracy and accessibility?

Stage Three:

Dictionary Hunt

Please locate as many online dictionaries as you can find (at least five, please), and note the URL. Please also record your observations about each dictionary site. How is it organized? What information does it include? What do you like about it? What's missing? Which has the most comprehensive definitions? Which give the most examples? Who runs each site? How can you tell?

Please email the name of the online dictionaries along with their URLs and observations to me for inclusion on CUNYComposersDictionary “Dictionaries” page before class. Email: corbetttreece@gmail.com. Subject: “[Your full name]’s Dictionary Contribution”

Stage Four:

Term Selection, Page Creation

Join our dictionary page: Go to CUNYComposersdictionary.wikispaces.com and click on the “Join this wiki” link at the top of the screen.

Create a new page:
Once you arrive at the Dictionary homepage “CUNY Composers Dictionary: A Project by CUNY Composition Students”), click on the “Edit” button on the top right of the page. The look of the page will not change except that you will now have the ability to type in it and an “Editor” bar will appear on the top of your screen. It should look like this:

external image clip_image002.png

Find the end of the “Our Terms” list, hit the spacebar once, type in a vertical line (|), hit the spacebar again, and then type your term. Now highlight your term and click the “Link” button on the “editor” bar. Make sure that the screen that appears looks like the image below, but with your term in the “Page Name” field (My term is “dog,” so your screen should show your term in all places where “dog” appears in the dialog box below.)

external image clip_image004.png

After you have verified that this is correct, hit the “Add Link” button. This created a link to your new page.

Now click on the “Save” button on the “editor” bar. Doing so will get you back to our dictionary homepage where you will see the term you typed, now in blue and underlined. This is called a hyperlink, and when you click on it, you will be redirected to your new page, a page all of your own, for exploring your term. So click on it now.


You will now be taken to your special page, and it should look like this:

external image clip_image006.png

Because this is your page, you will want to be notified of any edits or changes that persons other than yourself make to you page. To do this, click on the “Notify Me” tab. This will open a screen like that below. Check the boxes next to “Page Edits” and “Page Discussions.” (Make sure that you have your correct email attached to the account you created.) Then click “Update” and go back to your main page by hitting the “Page” tab.

external image clip_image008.png

Stage Five:

Favorite Definitions and citing the online dictionary
Go back to our main dictionary page by clicking the “Home” link on the left of the page (or go to CUNYComposersDictionary.wikispaces.com). Look at several of the dictionaries listed on CUNYComposersDictionary’s “Dictionaries” page (Link left of page), and read all of the definitions offered for your term. (If your term contains two or more words and you cannot locate definitions for the phrase, read the definitions for all of the words in your phrase.)

Select your three favorite definitions, and copy those definitions onto your wiki page. Weave the definitions into a paragraph, one per each dictionary cited. See the example at the end of this stage. Be sure to enclose the definitions in quotation marks, and provide a complete citation for and link to each of the dictionaries from which you copied your favorite definitions.

Make sure that you link from your page to the definition in the online dictionary. To create a link on wikispaces, follow these steps: highlight your term and click the “Link” button on the “editor” bar. It is near the center and has an icon meant to represent a couple of chain links.

external image clip_image010.png

After you click this, you will get a box that looks like this:

external image clip_image012.png

You want, however to select the “External Link” tab so that it looks like this:

external image clip_image014.png

Type or, preferably paste the URL for the dictionary definition site into the “Address” field and hit “Add Link” as prompted. And now the name of the dictionary has been made into a hyperlink on your definition page, and this link links to the definition that you are quoting on your page. As below.

To cite an online dictionary, follow this format:
“Term.” Title of Dictionary. Publisher. Publication Date. Web. Access Date <URL>.


Annotate each of your definitions. (If you are unsure of the meaning of this word, look it up in a good online dictionary.) Each annotation should be between 100 and 150 words and should reveal what you like about the definitions you selected. In which ways do you agree with the definition? What examples can you provide of this definition from your personal experience, observations, and/or reading? What memories surface when you consider the definition? Did anything about the definition surprise you?

Hint: To learn if you have meet the word-count requirement without counting every word, invoke your word processor’s word-count function. You can do so by typing your annotations into your word processor first and then pasting the completed text on to your wikispaces page or by starting on wikispaces and then transferring the text to the word processor long enough to count the words. In Word, the word-count function is located in the Tools menu. In newer versions, the word count will automatically appear in the bottom of the page. Be sure to have highlighted the words you want counted before you visit the toolbar.

Stage Six:

Quotation Hunt
Logon to wikispaces

Surf the Web to find quotation sites. Post your favorite sites to CUNYComposersDictionary’s “Quotations” page (link in bar to left of page and in Resources section below) and for each posting, please provide a 25-word annotation (What do you like about the site? Why do you recommend it? What bothers you about the site? Do you have any suggestions for users of the site?). If you like a quotation site that someone else has already recommended and annotated, please add 10 or so words of your own to the annotation. Please be sure to sign your recommendations / annotations.

From these quotation websites, locate 5-10 quotations that include your term. Copy these quotations to your own wiki page. Be sure to enclose the quotation in quotation marks, and provide a complete citation for and link to each of the sites from which you copied the quotations.

To cite a quotation you found at an online source like Bartleby, follow this format:


Author/Compiler/Editor Name. title (such as ed. For editor, or comp. for compiler.) “If Quotation Comes from Short Source, That Title Here.” Title of Source. Publisher. Publication Date. Title of website accessed (such as Bartleby). Web. Access Date.


To learn how to cite an online quotation yourself, see the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, or go here:
http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select “Electronic” then “Reference Work.”)

Discuss each of the quotations you selected (50-100 words). How does the author use the word? In that context, is it a good word or a bad word; that is, does it carry a positive or negative connotation? Rephrase the quotation: express the same sentiment using entirely different words. In your opinion, does the author use the word correctly or incorrectly? Why do you say so?

Stage Seven:

Thesaurus Hunt
Logon to wikispaces.

On your own wiki page, list all of the synonyms you can think of for your term. If you’re having a hard time thinking of more than a few synonyms, feel free to consult one of the thesauruses listed on CUNYComposersDictionary’s “Thesauruses” page (link in left of page) or type your term into your word-processing program and invoke the thesaurus function.

Identify the synonyms you don’t like, and talk about why (50 words each).

If you find any online thesauruses that are not listed on our “Thesauruses” page, please add them.


Stage Eight:

Wiki Visitations
Logon to wikispaces.

In class, I have given each of you a term that another of your classmates is working on for his or her wiki project. Take 250-350 words to record your understanding of the colleague’s term I assigned to you in class today, and please do this before you read your colleague’s term, saving your thoughts to a separate document. What do you think the term means? How do you use it? Offer examples by using the term in a sentence (or two or three) and by describing situations to which the term applies. Sign your name to the bottom of your record.

Follow the link on CUNYComposersDictionary home page to the term I assigned you in class today.

Copy your record on to your colleague’s wiki page. Again, please remember to sign the text you just added.

[[[[NOTE: If you have not yet been given "Wiki Buddy," you will have to come back to this step. Skip it for now.]]]]


Stage Nine:

Image Hunt
Logon to wikispaces.

Find two images (or three or four) that offer a good graphic representation of your term. The images might represent your interpretation of the term or others’ interpretation. For help finding free images, reference CUNYComposersDictionary’ “Images” page (Link to left of page). Feel free to add your own favorite free-images sites to the “Images” page; please remember to provide some information about the sites’ content, organization, and the like.

To copy an image to wikispaces try the following methods:

Right click on the image you want to copy; from the right-click menu, select “Copy Image Address.” Return to the page edit section of your wiki page, and click on the “File” icon on the “Editor” bar, the one that looks like a little picture. Once the “Images and Files” dialogue box appears, make sure the “External Images” tab is selected, then paste the URL (Command-V) you copied with the right click into the URL box, then hit “Load.” When the little icon of your image appears below in the dialog box, double click it to place it in your wiki. You can also add a caption in the “File Properties” dialog box. This is likely the best place to include citation information for your image. See below and see the examples provided on “dog,” linked to from CUNYComposersDictionary.wikispaces.com.

Provide appropriate MLA citation for your images, and be sure to credit the artist. What if you can't find the artist? Then, just like with an unnattributable quote, you really can't use it. For more information on this and other related matters, see the lengthy entry I have created in "Images" in our "Resources" section.


Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Artwork. Publication Date. Holding Institution, Location of Institution. Title of database or Website. Web. Access Date.

Curin, John. Blond Angel. 2001. Indianapolis Museum of Art. IMA: It’s My Art. Web. 9 May 2007.

Lange, Dorothea. The Migrant Mother. 1936. Prints and Photographs Div., Lib. Of Cong. Dorothea Lange: Photographer of the People. Web. 9 May 2007.

Giacometti, Alberto. Dog. 1951. Museum of Mod. Art, New York. moma.org. Web. 16 March 2010.

To learn how to cite an image yourself, go here: http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select “Electronic” then “Art.”)

Next to or after each of the images you post to your wiki page, please talk about what each image represents—about why you selected it and what you see in it, about 50-100 words each.

Stage Ten:

Website / Blog / Wiki Hunt
Logon to wikispaces.

Locate 2-4 websites, blogs, and/or wikis that somehow address your term. These sites might be commercial—trying to sell you something like a product or a way of life—or they might be informational—promoting a non-profit organization, sharing research / news, or offering a personal record (personal blogs, MySpace pages, etc.).

Provide a full citation, and link to the sites you select.

To learn how to cite these online sources, go here: http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select “Electronic” then the most appropriate subcategory, like “Website” or “Advertisement.”)

Analyze and discuss each of the websites, blogs, and/or wikis you have selected. Devote 250-300 words to each of your selections. Why have you selected it? In what light does it represent your term? What definition / interpretation of your term does it represent? What do you like about the website, blog, and/or wiki? What don’t you like?

Stage Eleven:

Song Hunt
Logon to wikispaces.

Identify one or two songs that somehow capture the essence of your term, and record the song’s title and performer. Think of what it means for a song to gave an essence in the first place, and remember that this is different than a song that uses the word.

You do not need to copy the lyrics to your wiki page, but if you do, please be sure to provide a complete citation. It might be possible to even imbed a link to an audio track of the song or a video of the song. If you wish to attempt this, go ahead, just, again, be sure to provide proper citation.

To learn how to cite a song, go here:
http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select either “Print” or “Electronic” and then “Song.”)

Describe the content of your song(s). Take 250-300 words to discuss your selection(s). Why have you selected it? In what light does it represent your term? What definition / interpretation of your term does it represent?

Stage Twelve:

Movie Hunt
Logon to wikispaces.

Identify one or two movies that somehow capture the essence of your term, and record the movie’s title. Provide a complete citation.

To learn how to cite a movie, go here: http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select either “Print” or “Electronic” and then “Film or Video.”)

Describe the part of the movie that deals with your term or that you associate with your term. Take 250-300 words to talk about what happens. Why have you selected this movie / this part of the movie? In what light does it represent your term? What definition / interpretation of your term does it represent?

Stage Thirteen:

Book or TV Program Hunt
Logon to wikispaces.

Identify one or two books or TV programs that somehow capture the essence of your term, and record the novel’s / program’s title. Provide a complete citation.

To learn how to cite a book, go here: http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select either “Print” or “Electronic” and then the most appropriate category under “Book.”)

To learn how to cite a television program, go here: http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select either “Print” or “Electronic” and then “Radio/TV Program.”)

Describe the part of the book / program that deals with your term. Take 250-300 words to talk about what happens. Why have you selected this book / program? In what light does it represent your term? What definition / interpretation of your term does it represent?

Stage Fourteen:

Responding to the Wiki Visitation
Logon to wikispaces.

Read your visitor’s comments and type a response to them on your own wiki page. Your response does not need to be long, but it does need to show that you’ve processed the information.

Stage Fifteen:

Article Hunt #1
Logon to wikispaces.

For LaGuardia students:
Find one article in a peer-reviewed academic journal through one of the Library Databases, such as Academic Search Premier or JSTOR that addresses the concept your term represents. Please note that selecting a short article will make this assignment more difficult that if you select a good-sized article. Really.

Provide a full citation and either link to the article or paste a copy of the article into your wiki page.

Please note that the Library databases allow you to email the article to yourself, to place it into an eFolder, or to print the article. If you select the “Full Text” box before you begin your search, you will get articles you can read online, from the computer from which you’re working.

To learn how to cite these online sources, go here: http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select “Electronic” then the most appropriate subcategory, like “Journal,” “Magazine,” or “Newspaper.”)

For Lehman students:
Choose one article or essay from your textbook, Great Writing that addresses the concept your term represents. If none of these seem to help, you may consult an academic database instead.
Annotate the article by collecting quotations:


For All Students
Identify the article’s thesis statement or main claim. Enclose this sentence (or sentences) in quotation marks.

List at least five separate pieces of evidence the author uses to support and explain her/his ideas. You can stop at five if you want to, but listing all the support and evidence you find will really help your essay. Quote verbatim, and enclose everything in quotation marks.

Discuss your reaction to the article. Do you agree with the author? disagree? Why? What do you like about the article? What don’t you like? Why? Is there something this author does that you want to emulate or avoid in your own essay (kinds and locations of examples, paragraphing strategies, etc.)? Why?

Please state whether or not the article has changed your mind about your term. How has the article changed the content of your essay?

Stage Sixteen:

Housekeeping
Logon to wikispaces.

Review the growing content of your wiki page. Are you happy with the current layout? What might be gained by rearranging the information? using different font types, sizes, and colors?
I frequently use tables when I add graphics to my wiki sites. You can try this as well.


By now, your wiki page is probably getting pretty long. Please help your visitors to navigate your page by inserting a table of contents widget. Select and format Headers and add a “Table of Contents” widget from the “widgets” menu. Play around with it until it looks the way you want it to.

Stage Seventeen:

Article Hunt #2
(note: Lehman students skip this stage)
Logon to wikispaces.

Find one article in the Library databases that addresses the concept your term represents. Please note that selecting a short article will make this assignment more difficult that if you select a good-sized article. Really.

Provide a full citation and either link to the article or paste a copy of the article into your wiki page.

Please note that the Library databases allow you to email the article to yourself, to place it into an eFolder, or to print the article. If you select the “Full Text” box before you begin your search, you will get articles you can read online, from the computer from which you’re working.

To learn how to cite these online sources, go here: http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select “Electronic” then the most appropriate subcategory, like “Journal,” “Magazine,” or “Newspaper.”)

Annotate the article by collecting quotations:
Identify the article’s thesis statement of claim. Enclose this sentence (or sentences) in quotation marks.


List at least five separate pieces of evidence the author uses to support and explain her/his ideas. You can stop at five if you want to, but listing all the support and evidence you find will really help your essay. Quote verbatim, and enclose everything in quotation marks.
Discuss your reaction to the article. Do you agree with the author? disagree? Why? What do you like about the article? What don’t you like? Why? Is there something this author does that you want to emulate or avoid in your own essay (kinds and locations of examples, paragraphing strategies, etc.)? Why?


Please state whether or not the article has changed your mind about your term. How has the article changed the content of your essay?

Stage Eighteen:

Colleague Article Hunt
(Note: Lehman students skip this stage.)
Logon to wikispaces.

Remember the term you were assigned in Stage Seven? Visit that page now, and read everything you find there.

Find an article in the library databases that addresses the concept your colleague’s term represents. Provide a full citation and either link to the article or paste a copy of the article into your colleague’s wiki page.

To learn how to cite these online sources, go here: http://webapps.calvin.edu/knightcite/index.php. (Select “Electronic” then the most appropriate subcategory, like “Journal,” “Magazine,” or “Newspaper.”)

Say a few words about why you have selected the article (200-300 words, please). Sign your name to your recommendation / discussion.

Identify a movie, song, book, and/or television program of your own for your colleague’s term. Sign your name to the contribution(s) you make to the list(s).

Stage Nineteen:

Digesting Colleague Article
(Note: Lehman students skip this step.)
Logon to wikispaces.

Annotate the article your colleague contributed by collecting quotations:
Identify the article’s thesis statement or claim. Enclose this sentence (or sentences) in quotation marks.


List at least five separate pieces of evidence the author uses to support and explain her/his ideas. You can stop at five if you want to, but listing all the support and evidence you find will really help your essay. Quote verbatim, and enclose everything in quotation marks.

Discuss your reaction to the article. Do you agree with the author? disagree? Why? What do you like about the article? What don’t you like? Why? Is there something this author does that you want to emulate or avoid in your own essay (kinds and locations of examples, paragraphing strategies, etc.)? Why?


Please state whether or not the article has changed your mind about your term. How has the article changed the content of your essay?

Stage Twenty:

Crafting Your Definition
Logon to wikispaces.

Read everything on your wiki page.

Create a definition of your term—one that has grown and developed out of your research. This definition will likely serve as a portion of or your entire thesis statement for your definition essay.

Talk about why you have decided upon the definition you present. Give yourself 200-300 words for this discussion, please.

Stage Twenty-One:

Housekeeping
Logon to wikispaces.

Review the growing content of your wiki page. Are you still happy with the current layout? What might be gained by rearranging the information? using different font types, sizes, and colors? Review your response to Stage Two to see if you want to incorporate any of the design elements you liked in others' wiki pages.

Stage Twenty-Two:

Posting Your Definition Essay
Logon to wikispaces.

When you have finished your definition essay—when it’s fully focused, organized, and developed; when it’s polished and ready for portfolio—copy your entire essay to your wiki page.

Congratulations. You have just completed your Wiki Project. Rejoice. And be proud.