Project 3: Addressing the Gender Gap in Wikipedia

wiki edu gender gapOverview: Wikipedia prides itself on its open access ethos- “the free encyclopedia anyone can edit.” But how does this philosophy break down under closer inspection? In this project, we will adress the encylopedia’s gender gap—its lack of non-male identified editors—and the problems of representation that emerge because of such homogenous editorship. I’m interested in both exploring how and why the gender gap manifests and in working to improve ommissions in representation by asking you to become a Wikipedia editor.

In other words, you’re going to contribute to Wikipedia by performing research on a topic related to gender, women’s studies, women’s representation, or lgbtq issues, identifying a need for a new article or edits to an existing article, and then contributing content to Wikipedia based on your research. In addition to our emphasis on gender and sexuality (on women writing in digital spaces) in this unit, we will also be paying close attention to what we can learn about writing and research by partcipating in an authentic (and incrediblty productive) writing community.


Disclaimer: This project is almost definitely different from other writing assignments you’ve worked on in the past. We’re going to be doing public writing in a globally accessible website. This is both terrifying and exciting: terrifying because we’re not sure how others will respond to your work, but exciting because you’ll be doing REAL writing work that will help to make Wikipedia a resource that better represents gender diversity. Remember that you have people that are supportive of your efforts: the Wikipedia Education program (who organized the Training Modules and who will read and offer feedback on your work); the instructor (myself) who will support your work and help you throughout the project; and each other, your peers in the classroom.

Give it your best, and let’s see what we can learn from this!


As the major project of the course, we’re going to spend more time on your Wikipedia articles and allow for more process (in and out of class) to make sure you’re successful. This process will also include numerous steps where you produce the following documents and revisions:

  • A Proposal for the Instructor in which you discuss a specific article you’ve targeted for development, why you’ve chosen that article, and what “gaps” you’ve found: article omissions that require revision or further development. 300 words. Due for in class workshop 3/26.
  • An Annotated Bibliography that includes bibliographic information for each of your sources as well as quotes, summary, and paraphrase from those sources that you plan to use in your article. 400-600 words. Due by end of class period 4/2.
  • A draft of your revised and developed article for peer review (published in your Sandbox). You will also send a message to your Ambassador to review this draft. 1200-1500 words (new contributions).
  • A final article draft with revisions based on your peer’s and ambassador’s feedback (Wikipedia mainspace). 1200-1500 words (new contributions).

Process Milestones

  1. Create Wikipedia Accounts
  2. Complete Training Modules 1 and 2
  3. Explore Wikiprojects (looking for articles to edit)
  4. Complete Training Modules 4 and 5
  5. Set up User page and Sandbox- practice editing
  6. Finish proposals
  7. Workshop proposals
  8. Research
  9. Work on Annotated Bibliographies
  10. Workshop/share Annotated Biblipographies
  11. Begin drafting article edits in Sandboxes
  12. Finish Sandbox Drafts
  13. Post a link to Wiki Edu Ambassador for feedback on Sandbox draft
  14. Article Peer Review
  15. Revise according to feedback
  16. Publish to mainspace
  17. Celebrate

Source Requirements

Writing in Wikipedia, as you will learn in the Training modules, requires careful consideration of sources. Avoid plagiarism by always using in-text citations for quotes, paraphrase, and summary. Never copy/paste directly from a source. Never rely too much on quotes. Sources should be from reputable publishers (established and notable news outlets, published books, scholarly articles, etc.) Your final article should include at least 5 outside sources, more if necessary.

Length Requirements

Meeting a specific length requirement in Wikipedia is more difficult than in a traditional “paper” for a class because the encyclopedia strives for conciseness and brevity. Accordingly, if you do not anticipate that a given article is going to offer enough opportunities to meet the length requirement of 1200-1500 words (but you would still really like to work on it), you can opt to contribute edits to 2 or even 3 articles.

Project Criteria

  • Edits to your Wikipedia article should demonstrate an understanding of (and follow) the following Wikipedia writing conventions:
  • Articles use a consistently neutral style.
  • Articles are written as clearly and concisely as possible.  Be plain, direct, unambiguous, and specific.
  • Articles should avoid redundancy and maintain scope. Do not bring in content that should be covered in other articles.
  • Articles should demonstrate careful and thorough research and source use.
  • Sources should be secondary, from reputable publishers (academic research, notable news and media outlets, etc.).
  • Sources should be carefully documented using Wikipedia conventions for References.
  • Quotes, summary, and paraphrase should be documented according to Wikipedia conventions (in-text citations).
  • Articles should contain no original research. Do not include your own opinions or interpretations of the topic.
  • Articles should be organized in a way that is consistent with the genre of the Wikipedia article, using heading and subheadings and sidebars if needed.
  • Articles should follow the basic article structure common to Wikipedia: lead, body, appendices (references, external links).
  • Article edits should meet the required length (1200-1500 words of original contributions or revisions).

Important Dates

3/12: In class: Assign Project. Homework: Create WP account, Complete Training Modules 1 and 2.
3/17: In class: Explore Wikiprojects.
3/19: In class: Introduce Proposal Assignment; Continue Exploring Wikiprojects; Homework: Complete Training Modules 4 and 5.
3/24: In class: Review Modules 4 and 5; Practice editing in Talk pages and mainspace. Homework: Finish Proposals.
3/26: In class: Workshop Proposals in Groups.
3/31: Introduce Database and Internet Research. Homework: Research for WP Edit. Work on Annotated Bibliography.
4/2: In class: Research; Groups share and review sources; Annotated Bibliographies due by end of class period.
4/7: In class: Review Editing Basics; Drafting Article Edits in Sandboxes. Homework: Finish Sandbox Drafts.
4/9: In ClassPost a link for Ambassador to Review Sandbox drafts. Homework: Edit/Revise References Section of Articles.
4/14: In class: Peer Review for Article Edits.
4/23: Revise articles according to ambassador’s feedback. Publish Wikipedia edits by moving content to mainspace.

Additional Resources

Wikipedia Policies and Guidelines:
Wikipedia Education Resources:
Chat and Help boards can be linked to from the Course Page:


Project 2: Twine Game

Overview: For this project, you will work in groups of three or four to develop a Twine game that focuses on a social issue related to this course. It might be a personal story, such as the one in Depression Quest. It might engage the political process, such as a game which walks users through the outcomes of a legislative action. It might be a resource management game that explores, for instance, the economic realities of being a single mother with one child working two part-time minimum wage jobs. The possibilities for types of games and themes to explore are practically limitless.

What is a “Twine game?” Twine is a program that allows you to develop browser based text (and image enhanced, if you have some basic understanding of coding) games that walk the player through a series of decisions which lead to a variety of outcomes. You can download the software from The Twinery. (There is also a browser-based game development environment, but it is buggy and we don’t recommend that you use it as your primary development environment.) It’s a very simple program to use, but it’s a good idea to appoint your group’s most tech-savvy member to the role of “game compiler.” We will discuss roles and responsibilities later in this assignment sheet. You can find help with using the program, and developing compelling, playable games, at the Twine Wiki.

Process: The first step will be for your group to turn in a proposal for your game. (The form will be available in the Box folder) For this proposal, you will identify the social issue you have chosen to explore and the roles and responsibilities that each group member will play.

The next step will be the creation of an annotated bibliography. Each group member will be responsible for three entries which summarize and evaluate articles on the social issue you have chosen, and which will inform the narrative of your game. These articles do not all have to be scholarly, but they must all be related in significant ways to the theme of your game and be from reputable sources with some expertise (even if it is personal experience) in the social issue which you will explore. We will discuss the specifics of creating an annotated bibliography in class.

The final step will be the creation of your game. Remember, you need to balance the duel goals of educating players and making a playable, compelling game.

Roles and Responsibilities: Group work is best accomplished when everyone understands what is expected of her. We suggest that you assign the following roles to group members, but you are free to modify these to better suit the individual talents and interests of your group members.

  • Annotated Bibliography Compiler: This member of the team is responsible for gathering entries to the annotated bibliography and creating the final document, following the guidelines found at the UNC website.
  • Asset Manager: This person is responsible for gathering game text, images, and other game assets from the entire team, organizing it, and ensuring that team members meet all the deadlines agreed upon by the group.
  • Game Compiler: This person is responsible for compiling the assets into the finished game and play-testing it to be certain it works.
  • Story Manager (optional): Groups of four may choose to add the role of Story Manager to the team, rather than sharing the responsibility across all team members. This person is responsible for ensuring the voice of the game stays consistent, in spite of having multiple authors, and that all entries meet the expected level of grammatical and stylistic sophistication appropriate to the game. (In groups of three, all members should share this responsibility equally.)

Important Dates:

  • February 3rd: Proposals Due (in class activity)
  • February 10th: Annotated Bibliography due.
  • February 19th: Peer Review
  • February 24th: Final Game Due


  • A completed proposal with assigned roles and responsibilities.
  • An annotated bibliography with at least three entries per group member.
  • A playable Twine game with at least:
    • Thirteen player interactions
    • Three possible outcomes
    • Evidence of research in the way player decisions effect outcomes
    • Individual reflective essays on the game and the process of creating it of at least 500 words.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Project works within the genre of the text based game and explores a social issue relevant to the themes of this course.
  • Textual and visual elements work together to create a sense of unity and coherence, and give the player adequate information to understand the impact of her choices.
  • Project engages meaningfully with the complexities of the issue being explored and includes both costs and benefits associated with each branch in the decision tree.
  • Project demonstrates evidence of careful reflection and consideration of assemblage choices.
  • Project assets which are not generated by group members, such as images which the group members themselves have not created or facts and figures from outside sources, are appropriately cited.
  • Project meets length requirements and is carefully proofread.


Project 1: “Found” Social Media Essay

social media identity imageOverview: A multimodal, personal essay comprised entirely of posts you have made to various social media (Facebook, Vine, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and “written” in order to gain a better understanding of the online “self” you have constructed/and is being constructed for you. If you don’t use social media, or if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your posts, you may choose to put together an essay that focuses on a public figure, using his or her social media updates to assemble a found essay.

What’s a “found” essay? Much like found art, this essay uses found objects (images and text from your social media activity) which you will curate to build an essay. This project is unlike a traditional essay you would write for a specific rhetorical situation in that instead of writing new content, you will, instead, assemble textual and visual fragments in a new arrangement in order to explore how your identity is crafted through/in/by social media. A collage is a useful metaphor for thinking about this genre of writing. As such, this project should also allow you to be more creative than other essays you will write in this course. Think of it as an intellectual art project. Through it, you should come to a new understanding of how (social) media afford and constrain “the kinds of people that we can be…the kinds of social identities we can adopt” as users of particular technologies (Jones and Hafner, 8). You should also see this as an opportunity to play with language, mixing and building textual fragments to create new meanings through assemblage and collage.

Alternate Assignment: While I encourage you to use your own social media presence to craft this essay, I understand that some of you might not have an active social media presence or that you may feel the content you do have is too personal to include in a course assignment. If you do not wish to use your own social media presence, you can do this essay as a biographical sketch of a feminist or LGBTQ activist who does have a strong social media presence. You must first have the subject of your project approved by the instructor to ensure that you’ve chosen someone whose social media presence provides adequate and appropriate content for this project.


This project is open to interpretation and play, but it should involve some combination of the following processes:

  • The “research” for this project involves the collection and review of your (or another public figure’s) social media posts. You may choose to collect from a single social media network (e.g. just Facebook updates, shares, etc.) or collect from multiple networks (Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, etc.). While you are not required to include images, video, or other multimedia content, you are certainly encouraged to do so if you feel that these elements contribute to your essay.
  • Once you’ve collected and examined a body of fragments, you’ll spend some time reflecting on them to see what types of themes or patterns emerge. The ultimate selection of the fragments you use to assemble the essay should revolve around a  coherent theme, controlling idea, or conscious organizational device. The example found essay, linked below, is a good example of how a single “writer” can arrange multiple fragments toward a controlling idea.
  • Deciding on a controlling idea will allow you to begin arranging fragments. Remember that these fragments do not need to be arranged in the order you posted them (chronologically). Rather, you should make a conscious effort to assemble them in a way that works toward a semblance of coherence (one fragment builds on/expands the previous). This won’t always be possible, of course. And you might also discover that fragments that don’t work toward a sequence are the most surprising, artistic, playful or interesting because they can delight the reader and serve as a reminder of the essay’s unorthodox technique.
  • Turn in your essay via Box

Important Dates:

  • Introduce assignment: 1/13
  • Peer Review: 1/27
  • Final draft due to Box by the start of class on 1/29


  • Length: 600-1000 words
  • Can but doesn’t have to Includes Image/Video
  • Utilizes fragments from social media network feeds

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Project works within the genre of the personal essay and is organized around a controlling idea or theme.
  • Textual and visual fragments work together to create a sense of unity and coherence.
  • Project includes at least one visual fragment.
  • Project demonstrates evidence of careful reflection and consideration of assemblage choices.
  • Project meets length requirements and is carefully proofread.

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