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328.2 Twitter, Style, Wiki

The second project in ENGL328 this semester asks you to work in teams as you write wiki entries that will 1) summarize the style concepts Joseph Williams uses to organize his chapters and 2) extend those concepts to Twitter. Thus, the project is set up so that you will grasp Williams' approach to prose style, you will gain experience with collaborative writing made possible in a wiki platform, and you will resolve collectively whether and to what extent prose style principles articulated by Williams generalize to the writing we find (or produce) in Twitter, a networked writing platform you are by now exploring as an aspect of this course.

Many wikis, by design, are radically collaborative writing spaces. Wikis redefine authorship, making it possible for multiple writers to contribute to the collective composition of a text. Wikis allow users to make changes, or "edits," to a page, to follow the historical development of a page, and to create new pages. In class, you will receive a MediaWiki Quick Reference handout, which you should use as a guide while you get familiar with our course wiki. You can also refer to the MediaWiki Editing FAQ as needed.

In groups, you will need to come up with a plan for making progress on this work. In effect, it is up to you to decide how best to proceed, but I would urge you to participate in your group with a listening disposition and a reasonable degree of flexibility. I also recommend that you identify as clearly as you can the roles and tasks each member of the group will take on. Articulating plans, tasks, and roles will help your Project Two team run smoothly in the weeks to come. Team writing can be fraught with complications, but this project is set up for you to gain experience negotiating some of those challenges when they come up.

You can view and login to the wiki at http://www.rheticle.com/wiki/. Because you will be working at this URL regularly over the next three weeks, please consider bookmarking the site. You must log in to edit the wiki. Your username is the same as your myemich alias (alias@emich.edu). The default password is 'emu.' I strongly suggest that you log in, go to My Preferences, and scroll down to Change Password. Then, change your password.

As you make changes to the wiki, add comments explaining what you changed and why. This running record will be invaluable to you later in the project, when you write your reflective statement. The annotations will provide you with a detailed record to ground your reflection, whereas without it your work will be far more difficult.

If multiple users are editing a wiki at the same time, certain changes may come into conflict. When this happens, the users will be notified of the conflict. This will only happen when two or more users are simultaneously trying to modify an element on a page.

Assignment Details
The project chronology follows a round-robin format. Each group is assigned one chapter for summary and a second chapter for extending Style to Twitter (see the table below). Each of these components, the chapter summary and the application of a particular concept to Twitter, must be at least 750 words in length (their combined length, thus, will be 1,500 words or more). In addition to the group-authored summary and application to Twitter, you will write a 750-word reflective statement on the process of wiki writing. Here is the schedule for Project Two:

You will turn in your reflective statement during class on Wednesday, October 28. If you seek guidance from the Academic Projects Center (for extra credit; see the syllabus), mention it in your reflective statement.

Here are a few things your reflective piece might address:

The most important pieces are an account and evaluation of your group's process/product, an account and evaluation of your individual process/product, and clear statements about how the work should be graded.

Evaluation Criteria
A major portion of Project Two will be self-assessed. That is, your reflective statement will include a section at the end that evaluates both your group and your own work throughout the project. You must, as a group, decide upon the assessment criteria you will use to judge the project a success, and you may want to begin with the six criteria applied to Project One. Thus, your reflective statement will report two grades, which will require justification on your part and which will be held in confidence (i.e., private): 1) an evaluation of your group's process/product and 2) an evaluation of your individual process/product. When your project is completed, I will read your group's work, review your user history in the wiki, and read your reflective statement before assigning two grades of my own, one for the group (which will apply to everyone in the group) and one for you individually. Now, to keep matters simple, I will apply whatever criteria you define for your group, and your group can decide how my evaluation will be weighted. Here's what I recommend:

Your evaluation of group product/process: 40%
Your evaluation of your own product/process: 40%
My evaluation of group product/process: 10%
My evaluation of your own product/process: 10%

If your reflective statement is thorough and persuasive, it is likely that I will simply agree with you and assign as my own evaluation the same grade you applied.

Chapter Summary Application to Twitter
3. Cohesion Group 3 Group 7
4. Emphasis Group 8 Group 3
5. Coherence I Group 6 Group 4
6. Coherence II Group 7 Group 2
7. Concision Group 4 Group 8
8. Length Group 1 Group 6
9. Elegance Group 5 Group 1
10. Usage Group 2 Group 5

2 p.m.
Group 1: Krista, Matt, David, Donna, Rina
Group 2: Elena, Eric, Jackie, Valerie, Sean
Group 3: LaSonja, Nick, Virginia, Varina, Katelyn
Group 4: Mark, Karla, Anne, Rachel
5 p.m.
Group 5: Kaia, Chris G., Jalissa, Brandi, Chris S.
Group 6: Kyle, Steve, Jack, Adam, Christopher R.
Group 7: Nick, Danielle, Krista, Carl, Charlotte
Group 8: Danae, Jerime, Julia, Dana, Justin

If you decide as a group to incorporate them, Project 2 may be evaluated according to any of the following criteria:
*Reflects a command of selected principles from Style, as established by thorough grasp of Williams' work in the summary portion (audience and purpose)
*Wholeness (the project is complete; all aspects are available)
*Illustrative examples (concrete examples, vivid language)
*Organization (sequencing)
*Visual effectiveness (look and design of page)
*Accuracy (concerning mistakes or errors)

Each criterion listed above may be evaluated on the following scale, if you choose to explain it in this way:


EX: Exceptional. The writer has applied the criterion with distinction.
AC: Acceptable/meets expectations. The writer has applied the criterion to a satisfactory degree.
NI: Needs improvement. The writer has minimally applied the criterion in the project.
NA: Not applied. The writer has not applied the criterion in the project.

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Office: 612M Pray-Harrold
Fall '09 office hours: MW, 9-11:30 a.m. and by appointment
Phone: (315) 708-3940 (cell)


"A few years ago, when I was grading papers for a graduate literature course, I became alarmed at the inability of my students to write a clean English sentence." -Stanley Fish, "What Should Colleges Teach?"

"We concentrate on utility at the expense of joie de vivre. And we then wonder, as de Tocqueville prophesied we would, why life has lost its savor" (19). -Richard Lanham, Style: An Anti-textbook

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