Term Project

Your final project for this course is, as I noted in the syllabus, to work together to build a wiki-based collection of reference material for the study of David Foster Wallace’s writing. This material might include explication of particular references in the texts, summaries of the critical arguments about the texts, or any number of other things.

What, specifically, you do with the wiki is up to you. Or rather, is up to you collectively; you should decide, whether via an in-person discussion or through a discussion on the blog, what the project’s goals are and how you want to go about reaching them.

Whatever you decide, the wiki should present to the public the best possible resource for the study of Wallace’s work; this will be a lasting legacy, our gift to the field, and to future readers. Thus you’ll want to be thorough and exacting in both your research and your writing.

As the wiki is a collaborative form, you’ll be responsible not just for producing your own entries, but also for adding to and improving the entries of your classmates. As you work on one another’s texts, however, you must treat one another’s work with respect. Lying behind this is the assumption that the work done on this resource must adhere to what, in a slight modification of Wikipedia’s “neutral point of view” rule, I’m going to call the “scholarly point of view,” which is to say that the work on the wiki must not be personally motivated, or couched in opinion, but must be supported through rigorous research and analysis of evidence, as well as thorough citation.*

Your grade on this project, as the syllabus notes, will be 50% based on the overall grade the wiki receives, and 50% based upon your individual contributions to the wiki. There are no quantitative benchmarks in terms of numbers of entries or edits that should guide your contribution to the project; instead, you should imagine this project as the equivalent of a 15-20 page term paper, both in terms of research and writing, and measure your production accordingly. The grade will be based both on quantity and quality, of course, so bear that in mind.

*I’ll also note that it’s considered good wiki etiquette, if you’re making major changes to someone else’s entry, to note the changes and the reason for those changes on the “talk” page associated with that entry. These pages should also be used for any meta-discussion of issues related to the project.