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How to get started

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Getting started with a Digipo project is easy. Read the rules, ask for a course directory, and have your students put their investigations in the provided document templates. Everything else takes care of itself.

Let's walk through this step by step.

Step One: Read the Rules of Digipo.

Understand the culture of Digipo. We are not a blog, or a place to put your opinion. We work collectively to provide answers to questions that draw on the best available expertise. We respect the privacy of participants.

There is a description here of the rules of Digipo. Most boil down to:

  1. Don't be a jerk, and
  2. If you want to express your personal opinion, go to one of the 4,243 sites that let you do that. We're a wiki.

The full rules are here. Read them before you ask for a directory.

Step Two: Ask for a Class or Course Directory

If you can agree to the rules, great: let's get started.

Email michael.caulfield@wsu.edu to get a directory for your class. It needs to have:

  • A subject line that includes the word Digipo
  • The estimated number of pages that your class will produce (for instance, 30 students working in pairs on one assignment = 15 pages)
  • The name of your course
  • The catalog ID of your course (e.g. "BIOL 238")
  • A short description of the sort of questions you'd like your students to work on. Examples:
  • "Providing reliable statistics around the issue of domestic abuse."
  • "Fact-checking claims about the efficacy of certain 'superfoods'"
  • "Investigating so-called 'neurobunk' claims about the brain"
  • "Writing up reliable answers to questions about early American history"
  • "Looking at online hoaxes"
  • "A variety of claims: it's a writing class and we are going to focus on the 'encyclopedic' style."

We will set you up with a directory, and give you a link that looks like this:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/RNazAWR0B9KvUzrT2d2Z9HJIdjZW

(The above link is not real)

This link is a secret link, and should be shared only with your students. Anyone with the link will be able to edit your wiki. Please communicate with the students that the link should be treated like a password, and only shared with people working with the class.

Step Three: Create an About Page

That link will link you to a directory with a bunch of "pre-populated" document templates. As a first step, create an about page for your project.

Step Four: Add the Course Documents to Your LMS or Class Site

The invitation email you received should have come with a number of documents that you can add to your Blackboard, Canvas, or other class site.

Read through the documents and edit them to your purposes. Note that while the sample assignment document suggests evaluation criteria, it does not suggest a grading scheme. You will need to add that part yourself.

Optional Step Five: Create an Article

While it is not required, we recommend faculty try the process of creating an article. You can do this either with a simple question to test the process ("Is the earth flat?") or a complex question, to get at the student experience ("Has racism increased or decreased in the past ten years?").

You create an an article in the same way you created an about page. Find an article in your directory, change the (Add Question Here) title to a question, and then follow the template instructions. New articles go up on the site within the hour. After that, changes usually get passed to the site within fifteen minutes.

Two things you should look at when creating the article. First, understand the format. The format of Digipo is to pose a single question, show how that question comes up "in the wild", and try to provide an answer that summarizes the best current research into the question, while explaining the complexities of the answer. When that is settled, you provide an answer, near the top of the page.

Here's some examples of interesting questions and their provided answers:

Keep in mind only minimal formatting will be preserved when the article is moved to the web. Right now we preserve:

  • Headings
  • Paragraphs
  • Italicized text
  • Links
  • Lists
  • Blockquotes
  • Images

If you have any questions about the process, feel free to email michael.caulfield@wsu.edu.


All Content released CC0 (Public Domain) by the Digital Polarization Initiative.

The Digital Polarization Initiative is a cross-institutional project that encourages students to investigate and verify the information they find online. Articles are student-produced, and should be checked for accuracy before citation as sources.

DigiPo members can edit this page

Photo Credit: Header photos generate in randomly. Check this page for a list of photography credits and licensing.

The Digital Polarization Initiative is a student-run project which allows university students to investigate questions of truth and authority on the web and publish their results. Learn more, or see our index. Photo credits here. DigiPo members can edit this page.