History 220 Assignment (Spring 2018)

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Assignment Purpose:

The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to:

  1. Use both primary and secondary sources to conduct historical research and construct a historical analysis;
  2. Develop deep knowledge about one chosen topic in Wisconsin environmental history;
  3. Apply your knowledge of American environmental history within the context of Wisconsin;
  4. Practice writing and editing documents for a public audience; and,
  5. Build experience using an online platform (a wiki) for collaboration.

Assignment Description:

  1. Write a historical article of approximately 500 words about a topic related to Wisconsin Environmental History. For examples, see the "Featured Articles" here. If you would like to co-author an article with a classmate, you should aim for about 1,000 words and should divide the project up into roughly even sections. REVISION OPTION: You may also chose to revise, update, and expand an existing article. In this case you should follow the same expectations for sources (adding at least 4); depending on how much you edit the existing article, however, you can aim for 300-500 words of new text. If you find it necessary to make substantial changes, then 300 additional words is adequate.
  2. Contextualize your topic as best you can within the field of environmental history (consider citing Steinberg, Stoll, etc.).
  3. Base your article upon primary and secondary sources, including sources available both online and in print. See the course library guide for help finding books, articles, and primary sources.
  4. Use this site to share a draft of your article (to receive feedback from classmates) and to provide feedback and editing for other articles.
  5. Use the Article Template to get started writing your article. (If you are doing a revision, just make sure that all of the relevant parts of the article are present on the page by comparing the article with the template. Note that there are 2 optional sections at the end.)
  6. Follow the Encyclopedia policies, including those regarding citations.
  7. Upload a project reflection to D2L. (See 6.2 below.)
  8. See the schedule below for more details and deadlines.

Schedule Overview

  1. Choosing a Topic and Getting Started (1 point) (Tue., April 24, 10:50 AM)
  2. Research (1 Point) (Thu., April 26, 9:30 AM)
  3. Article Outline (1 point) (Friday, April 27, 5:00 PM)
  4. Article Draft (3 points) (Thu., May 3, 9:30 AM)
  5. Contribute to Other Articles (2 points) (Thu., May 3, 11:59 PM)
  6. Final Article (Posted to Wiki) (10 points) (Thu., May 10, 10:00 AM)
  7. Reflection (Uploaded to D2L) (2 points) (Thu., May 10, 10:00 AM)

Assignment Stages:

Note: You will earn points at each stage of the authoring process. The entire project is worth 20 points. Point values for each stage are listed in parentheses.

  1. Choosing a Topic and Getting Started (1 point) (Tue., April 24, 10:50 AM)
    1. Visit Topic Ideas page to get ideas for a topic to pursue. Make sure that your topic has not already been covered by checking the list here.
    2. Create a user account for using the EWEH by clicking the "Create User" link at the top right of any site page. Please use your UWGB username (without the @uwgb.edu) as your username, but create a unique password. (You will also have to answer a simple question to sign up, in order to protect the site against spam.) Write your password on your syllabus for safekeeping! Please use your UWGB email address to confirm your registration. You will receive an email from "Encyclopedia of Wisconsin Environmental History" with a link to click to confirm your registration. For help, see: How to Create an Account.
    3. Add your topic name to the Main_Page by enclosing it in double brackets.
      1. [[topic name]]
    4. Put your username in double brackets and parentheses next to the article/essay name to "claim" the topic.
      1. [[topic name]] (username)
    5. Click the topic name link in the "Read" view to create the page.
    6. Add your name (if you are comfortable sharing it) or just your username (if you don't want to share your real name) to Contributors.
    7. Start your article page with a research question or two that you will focus on. While your research question should be fairly broad, you will also want to address many smaller, basic questions.
    8. Before you go any further, review the EWEH Policies, including the guidelines for Citations and Avoiding Plagiarism.
  2. Research (1 Point) (Thu., April 26, 9:30 AM)
    1. Search for sources. You should search for books, articles, and primary sources, including archival sources. Here are some good places to get started:
      1. History 220 Library Guide: Books
      2. History 220 Library Guide: Articles
      3. History 220 Library Guide: Primary Sources
      4. Wisconsin Historical Society
      5. Recollection Wisconsin
      6. Google Book Search
    2. Make a preliminary list of sources on the Discussion page associated with your article. (See above for formatting instructions for this page.) (Click the "Discussion" tab in the upper left corner of the page.) Your preliminary list should include at least 4 sources.
  3. Article Outline (1 point) (Friday, April 27, 5:00 PM)
    1. Post draft introduction, detailed outline, and main sources on your article page. Post additional research notes on your user page. (Tip: Access your user page by clicking your username on the toolbar above.)
    2. Use the heading and subheading tags demonstrated in the Article Template to create your outline sections.
    3. See the Article Template for additional required sections and format.
    4. Format the "Discussion" page associated with your article. Use the code found in the Discussion page of the Article template.
  4. Article Draft (3 points) (Thu., May 3, 9:30 AM)
    1. Post complete draft, including all required sections, to the article page.
    2. Your complete article or essay text, not including references, etc., should be approximately 500 words (or more, if you wish).
  5. Contribute to Other Articles (2 points) (Thu., May 3, 11:59 PM)
    1. Contribute to 4 other entries by doing one of the following editing tasks for 4 entries of your choosing. Add your username as a contributor to the Article History at the bottom of the page under the appropriate category. Also, make a list on your own user page that shows the articles you contributed to and how. (Click your username at the top right of this page to access it.) Here is an example of what your contribution list should look like.
      1. Fact checking (check 6 facts within 1 article)
      2. Source checking (check 4 sources within another article)
      3. Originality checking (check 5 passages within another article)
      4. Style and Content (lightly edit another article for style and content)
        1. Proofreading or editing for style
        2. Adding brief content (minor details, context, etc.)
        3. Using the discussion tab to share ideas and suggestions
  6. Final Article (10 points) and Reflection (2 points) (Thu., May 10, 10:00 AM)
    1. Finalize article, drawing on any feedback left on the "Discussion" page. Remove "draft" message from the top of the article.
    2. Upload reflection of approximately 250-300 words to D2L dropbox. You should briefly describe your research and writing process and reflect on what you learned while writing your article and using the wiki. Consider reflecting on such topics as: finding sources, using the wiki, and the peer review process. Please also feel free to suggest ways to improve the assignment.

A Successful Article Is:

  • Question driven! Define a clear research question that connects some issue in Wisconsin environmental history. Your article will then explore and respond to the question. For example: How and why did Green Bay become the home to a wildlife sanctuary, and how does this institution connect local residents with wild nature?
  • Interpretative! Your article should explore your chosen research question. You should draw clear conclusions while also considering multiple perspectives. Your job is not simply to describe or to provide raw information but rather to interpret and analyze.
  • Scholarly! You should use available print and online sources, secondary and primary sources, and perhaps even archival sources (if available). You should dig (much) deeper than a Google search. Look at the sources used by your sources. Your article must include scholarly citations (in Chicago style).
  • Media rich! Incorporate photos, audio, and/or video when possible. In order to find multi-media sources that can be used royalty free, do a search at the Creative Commons. Take care not to use copyright-protected sources.