FAQs for visitors to the site
What is the Keywords Collaboratory?
The Keywords Collaboratory is an interactive online space where classes or groups can work together on projects that take their method, focus, or inspiration from the essays published in Keywords for American Cultural Studies. It uses MediaWiki, the same platform as Wikipedia. As with Wikipedia, our site will become more productive for an expanding online public the more users contribute to the site. We welcome everyone to read and discuss the work currently under development.
I’m not part of a collaboratory. Can I still contribute to the work that’s developing on this site?
Yes! Visitors to the site are essential to extending keyword-based work from classrooms and working groups to a larger public. We encourage you to take part in the work that happens on this site by clicking on the "discussion" tabs within any collaboratory. You can comment on the work currently under development by students and other working groups. Whether in the form of general feedback, suggestions, corrections, or criticisms, contributions from site visitors will promote both dialogue and dissent, consensus and contestation. We see this as vital to the methodology that informs keyword-based work.
I’m an instructor and I’m thinking about integrating Keywords into my class. What tips can you offer?
While we're still learning about the possibilities of Wiki technology in the classroom, we've put together some sample syllabi, assignments, and tips. Check out Resources for Instructors. We also are hosting an online discussion forum or blog on course design strategies for teaching Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Keep us updated about your challenges and successes in the classroom by contacting us.
I’m not teaching, but I am actively involved in a roundtable, research cluster, or working group. Can our group create a collaboratory?
Absolutely! When we brainstormed the Keywords Collaboratory, one of the aims we were 'keyed' to was facilitating cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary work that exceeds a number of traditional boundaries -- intellectual and institutional. We were also interested in work that takes on a variety of forms, not just textual-based scholarship. We hope this website will offer an ideal space for such groups to collaborate and reach a wider public.
How long will the Keywords Collaboratory be available?
The Keywords Collaboratory is jointly funded by the Simpson Center at the University of Washington and NYU Press. We anticipate that the site will extend beyond the intital two-year funding as it continues to generate new work that draws on Keywords for American Cultural Studies and the methodology that informs the collection.
Where can I learn more about the book?
You're welcome to visit the website devoted to the collection Keywords for American Cultural Studies, available from NYU Press. There is also a discussion forum or blog that extends the discussions from the edited collection. Currently we're hosting a discussion about teaching Keywords in the classroom. For more information and to participate in the discussion, visit the Keywords discussion forum.
FAQs for students and other collaboratory participants
Where can I find the collaboratory for my class?
Your class collaboratory should be listed in the left hand navigation under the course and your instructor's name. Once you click on your class's collaboratory, you will need to log in to edit any of the pages or articles.
I've forgotten my password. How can I retrieve it?
If you entered an email address when signing up for the account or in your Preferences, you can enter your username on the login screen and click 'Email new password', which will send a temporary password. If you did not enter an email address, or the address was out of date, you will have to create a new account.
How will my instructor know that I’ve contributed to the collaboratory?
Because you have to be a logged in as a collaboratory participant to edit pages, your user name and the changes or contributions you make will be maintained in an ongoing revisions log that your instructor can access. You can also access this revisions log by clicking on the "history" tab for any page. It details every change, contribution, or revision submitted by registered collaboratory participants, so your hard work will be clear to your instructor.
I’m hesitant about adding to the work my classmates or peers have already developed. Do I have to participate?
Your instructor will probably require your participation in the collaboratory as part of your grade. If you're reluctant about adding to the dialogue or work currently posting on the site, keep in mind that you have a lot that you can bring to the discussion. Also, because the wiki maintains every version of the page, you shouldn't be afraid that your changes will cause irrevocable damage. Part of collaboration is experimentation -- so learn to take risks!
When I make edits or when I submit comments, the day and time stamp are wrong. How can I fix this?
The day and time stamp are most likely appearing as Universal Internet Time or UTC, since this is the default for MediaWiki websites. To set your user account to your local time, you'll have to change your preferences. Once you're logged in, select "preferences" from the top right navigation. Then, click on the "Date and time" tab. Within the window, click on the "Fill from browser" button and then "save." If you'd like to test this to make sure that your problem is fixed, used the Sandbox.
How can I spell-check the content I'm contributing to my class collaboratory?
We are currently looking into adding a feature that will allow you to automatically spell-check your contributions. In the meanwhile, you might want to draft your content in Word or another word processing application so you can spell-check everything before saving it to your class collaboratory.
I’m having difficulty editing a page for my class assignment. What should I do?
If you're already logged in and still cannot edit a page by clicking on the "edit" tab, contact your instructor to make sure that he or she has given your user profile the right to edit or make changes.
How can I add an image file to my article or page? Can I add other file types?
Image files (.jpg or .gif) can be uploaded to the Keyword Collaboratory. Once you're logged in as a collaboratory participant, click on "Upload file" at the bottom of the left hand navigation. If you need to upload another file type -- media files, for example -- ask your instructor to forward it along to the Keywords Project Coordinator to have it uploaded to the site.
Who has access to the work we’re developing in our class?
Your work can be read by everyone who visits the website -- and this is one reason your instructor may have chosen to use the Keywords Collaboratory rather than a user-restricted classroom tool such as Blackboard, WebCT/Vista, or Catalyst. The collaboratory promotes the work you're doing to a larger audience than just your classmates or your instructor. Other students in courses at other colleges and universities will be able to comment on and contribute to your work, and visitors to the site will also be able to read and discuss your work. Not only does the Keywords Collaboratory publish your work to an audience beyond your immediate classroom, but it likewise makes the stakes of your work extend beyond the time you spend in the classroom. In other words, the conversations you're having with your peers and your instructor will matter to others beyond your classroom.
FAQs for collaboratory leads
I’m planning on using the Keywords Collaboratory. What should I put on my syllabus to inform students about the public nature of this type of work?
Because every institution has its own protocol regarding publication of student work, a kind of informed consent typically managed by a Human Subjects Review Board, we encourage you to foreground on your syllabus that the medium of this work effectively makes student writing available to a wide online public. Stress that their participation in the collaboratory signals their consent to this public forum. This implicit informed consent should meet the standards in place at most colleges and universities, though we advise you to look into what your particular institution requires.
How should I encourage students to name article links or pages?
If your students create a page name that is also used by another collaboratory, please instruct them to augment the page name with the course name and term in order to 'disambiguate' the page. For example, if your class is developing an article for "race" and another class at another university has already created a page by this name, then name your page as "race_Introduction to American Studies_Winter 2008" when prompted by the site.
Is there a section of the site where I can manage the users of my collaboratory?
You can manage the users of your collaboratory through "User Rights Management," a restricted page that will be listed at the bottom of 'Special pages' available in the left-hand navigation once you're logged in. We recommend that you first have students complete a sign-in sheet where they let you know their user name. Then, you will need to enter their user name in "User Rights Management" and give them "participant" rights by clicking on this group name in the right hand menu and then saving the change.
How do I give my students access to edit and create new pages?
Students that have been designated by you as "participants" will automatically have the rights to edit and create new pages. If you experience any difficulty with this, feel free to contact the Keywords Project Coordinator.
Is there a way that I can lock down a particular page to prevent users from editing it?
If you'd like to protect a particular page and lock it down from users making changes to it, including students or participants in your working group, send the page link along to the Keywords Project Coordinator to have the page protected.
Can I block someone from making changes to my class or working group’s collaboratory?
If there is a user that continues to abuse their rights to contribute to the Keywords collaboratory, you can block that user. Simply select "Block user," a restricted page that will be listed at the bottom of 'Special pages' once you're logged in. If the user is not a registered participant of your collaboratory, we recommend that you also contact the Keywords Project Coordinator to let us know about the user's violation of online etiquette.
How can I upload a file to add it to my article or page?
For the safety and integrity of the site, we have restricted file uploads to image files only, such as .jpgs and gifs. For any other type of file that you'd like to post to your collaboratory (.pdf, .doc, or .mp3, for example) can be forwarded to the Keywords Project Coordinator to have it placed on the server. Once this is done, you can then upload it to your article or page by clicking on the "embedded image" icon or the "media file link" icon.
How do I delete a page that is no longer needed?
If you'd like to delete a particular page that is no longer in use, send the page link to the Keywords Project Coordinator to have the page permanently deleted.
Is it possible to move pages to another section of my collaboratory?
Often you will have to move a page when you've renamed the link. Simply open the page that needs to be moved to its new link, and click on the "Move" tab at the top of the page. Then rename the page with whatever you've named the link that it should be connected to.
How do I delete an old version of a page?
MediaWiki (our technology platform) is currently working on a "delete history" function, but as of now there is no permanent way to delete previous versions of a page. There is, however, a work-around that effectively removes the history of edits from your page, though all the page versions are still maintained in the database. What you'll need to do is delete the page and then selectively restore the most recent version of the page. If you're apprehensive to click "delete page," go into the editing window and copy the entire page plus formatting before and then paste this into Notepad. Then, follow these steps: (1) Click on the "delete" tab at the top of the page, (2) Select the delete page button, (3) You'll receive a prompt in small-case letters that says "view or restore X deleted edits." Click on the link, (4) Select the most recent version to restore.
Is Your Question Not Covered Here?
If you have a question that's not covered here, you can either email the Keywords Project Coordinator or select the "Discussion" tab for the FAQ page and enter your question directly on the page. Select questions from the discussion page will be added to the FAQ page to help future users of the Keywords Collaboratory.