Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/How to Use This Book/Sample Wiki Article

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This is Dr. Kidd's sample Wiki Article. I hope it will help you to format your own. I have included the regular text of a (fake) article in black and formatting and writing tips in blue. I will remove this sample once all the articles are posted in final format so it will not become part of our final project. Remember, to create your Wiki Article you first need to login in and then go the page where your article should be. For example, if your topic is, "What are philosophies of education" click on the link for 2.1.1. Click on the "edit this page" tab to get started. I suggest opening two windows (or tabs) of your browser. In one you can open your Wiki article page; in the other you can keep this page open. That way it will be easier to cut and paste code from my sample to your article. Don't forget to hit "save page" after you enter text or make changes or all your hard work will be for naught. Good luck and happy posting.

Disclaimer: I am a terrible typist. If you find errors on this page, you can practice your editing skills by fixing them for me. Hit "edit this page", scroll down to my error and fix it. Don't forget to hit "save page". Voila - your improvement will make me appear to be a competent writer. I will be eternally grateful.

The Ubiquitous Colon: Punctuation for Today’s Titles

by Jeff Steckroth - Dr. Steckroth is a colleague of ours here in the College of Education. He wrote this very funny paper to teach his students about APA format. He said it was okay to post it here as an example for you.

I made the title big and bold like this by clicking on the editing button all the way on the right. To see the editing buttons I am talking about, click the "edit this page" tab above.

I inserted this horizontal line by clicking the editing button in the center that has a straight horizontal line on it.

The practice of writing and publishing has changed dramatically in the centuries since the discovery of the quill and ink, the earliest known form of writing. Early scholars were able to produce few scholarly documents for a number of reasons, most notably the fact that writing was a tedious and time-consuming process. Furthermore, life expectancy at the time when writing was invented was a fraction of what it is now (Moses, 2697 B.C.), so those scholars were unable to produce the plethora of writings that today’s erudite men and women manufacture.

There are many types of print media available to the public including books, journals, magazines, newsletters, and newspapers, all of which can be found at libraries around the world. More importantly, the written word is no longer restricted to hard copy form; today the Internet provides a home to writing from scholars and ignorant people alike. This proliferation of writing in both hard copy and electronic form has produced a new challenge for graduate students: how to avoid information overload.

In addition to having to deal with the huge volume of available resources, one of the most pressing issues that writers of literature reviews must consider is how to create a title that epitomizes the essence of the vast collection of articles contained therein. Constructing a title is both a science and an art, but on one fact all of the experts agree: the title must contain a colon (Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, & Starr, 2007).

This is the correct format for citing a source in APA. Notice that all authors are listed as this is the first time the source is cited.

Historical Development of the Colon[edit]

To make this into a major heading (with the horizontal line), I highlighted the text and clicked the 5th editing button—the one with the giant "A" on it.

The colon was created in 1692 by accident in Salem, Massachusetts by a printer who was preparing posters advertising a series of witch trials scheduled for the area (Hawthorne, 1694). This unknown printer created a poster which read, “Come to the Salem Witch Trials. An exciting blend of entertainment for the entire family will be provided including dunking, exorcism, and hanging.” As fate would have it, the sign was printed poorly, and the period between sentences was double-struck, creating a symbol remarkably similar to today’s colon. Furthermore, the lines of text were divided in such a way that the sign had the following appearance:

Come to the

Salem Witch Trials: An exciting blend of entertainment

for the entire family will be provided including

dunking, exorcism, and hanging.

To make a side bar like mine, hit "edit this page" and scroll down until you see the coding surrounding the Salem Witch Trials content. You can then copy and paste this code directly into your Wiki article and modify it in the ways I describe below. You can also copy the coding from other Wiki articles you like or check out the tutorials posted on Blackboard.

If you would like your side bar to use different colors than these, check out this website which lists the codes for a wild assortment of colors:

Once you find a color you like, copy the color code and paste it over the background (or border) color code # I have listed.

Copy this code if you would like your side bar to be a little more subdued and look like this!

If you would like to have a thinner (or thicker) border around your side bar, you can adjust the number in "border: solid 10px". For example, change it to 1px for a very thin border.

If you would like to change the color of the text, see my note at the end of this sample article.

I made the text in my sidebar larger than normal. You can change it back to regular size by deleting the "big" inside the carrots that is listed right before and after my sidebar text.

You can decide how big to make your side bar (by changing the width percentage—mine is at 60%) and whether you want to center it or align it to the left or right (ALIGN=CENTER or ALIGN=RIGHT, etc.).

I centered the text in my sidebar by writing "center" inside carrots <> before my text.

The public was so enamored with the second line of this sign that soon bumper stickers were appearing on wagons across the colonies proclaiming the message, “Salem Witch Trials: An Exciting Blend of Entertainment.” Thus the colon was born, and its rise to prominence has been well-documented (Barnum & Bailey, 2001). One of the most famous colon aficionados was the thirty-fifth president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, who stated on January 21, 1961, in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you: ask what you can do for your country” (p. 2). President Kennedy’s choice of the colon accelerated its use in the lexicon of American writing, particularly at the college level where catchy titles are highly valued (Lennon, et al., 1963).

In this case, "Et al." is used after the furst author's names because the source was already cited once with all the authors included. All subsequent citations can use the first author and "et al." . "Et al" can be used in place of authors names in sources that have three or more authors (if a source had two authors, you need to list both in every citation).

As you can see, a page number is listed with the quotation from JFK. Page numbers are NOT needed for paraphrased material, but must be provided for a quotation. If a source is electronic and does not show page numbers, you can use paragraph numbers or section headings. The idea is to guide the reader to the spot the quotation came from. For more help citing electronic sources using APA go to and

The Colon’s Place in Academic Writing[edit]

Graduate students are faced with exciting and challenging writing assignments in all of their graduate courses ranging from literature reviews to reflection papers. In each type of formal writing assignment students are expected to create a title page, and they are usually asked to adhere to writing standards of the American Psychological Association (APA). These style guidelines have particular requirements depending upon the type of paper being composed.

The Literature Review

To make this text appear italicized I highlighted it and clicked the 2nd editing button. You can also just put two quotation marks before and after the text you want italicized.

This dreaded assignment begins with a title page containing the title (duh), the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation, at a minimum. Some professors require that the course name and date of the paper be included on the title page as well, but this varies among institutions and among professors within a given institution. The most important consideration is that the title page conforms to the standards set by the professor who will grade the literature review, since ultimately nothing else matters.

Reflection Papers

Another important type of writing at the college level, the reflection paper is considered less formal than the literature review but still significant enough to warrant a title page (Poe, 1849). While a student at the University of Virginia, Edgar Allan Poe penned his infamous reflection paper entitled “Diary of a Drinker: My Battle with Booze,” which chronicled his addiction to alcohol and its subsequent role in his demise (Clemens, 1871). Poe struggled with the title of this paper, unable to decide between “Diary of a Drinker” and “My Battle with Booze.” The availability of the colon was instrumental in enabling Poe to merge the two short titles into one.

Doctoral Dissertations

Considered the most formal of all academic writing, the doctoral dissertation is another document which requires a catchy yet substantive title. Since the dissertation is bound and published in both hard copy and electronic formats, the title should be one that catches the reader’s eye and beckons “read me.” Otherwise the document will be relegated to a permanent place on the library’s bookshelf of least popular volumes.

Mathematics education dissertation title. One example of a well conceived title is the following: “Technology-Enhanced Mathematics Instruction: Effects of Visualization on Student Understanding of Trigonometry” (Steckroth, 2007). The reader will notice that the pre-colon portion of the title identifies both the subject area and unique focus of the work: mathematics and technology. The post-colon portion of the title provides specific information about the type of mathematics being studied: trigonometry, as well as the technology emphasis: visualization. Clearly the title “works” because it serves to capture the reader’s attention immediately with the pre-colon title, and it hooks the reader with the post-colon elaboration on the pre-colon title. The same dissertation without colonization would read “Technology-Enhanced Mathematics Instruction and the Effects of Visualization on Student Understanding of Trigonometry,” making it nearly impossible for the reader to determine the focus of the research.

The key elements of dissertation or thesis title-writing are shown in Figure 1, which summarizes the five critical components of a good title:

  1. the witty catchphrase
  2. the ubiquitous colon
  3. the necessary but boring stuff
  4. a carefully-selected preposition
  5. the obscure topic about which few people actually give a hoot.

If you would like to create a numbered list copy my code here. If you want to change it so there are bullets instead of numbers use "ul" instead of "ol" in the carrots <>.

File:Your Thesis Title.gif

As you can see my image was deleted by Wikimedia. This is because the image did not have a free license—the author still retained some of his copyrights. Therefore, this image could not be permanently posted on Wikibooks where the content is licensed to be freely copied and distributed.

Figure 1. Your Thesis Title (Cham, 2006) Used with permission. "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham

Inserting a picture is a little more complicated. First you need to find a picture that is in the public domain or is licensed for full use like many of the images in Creative Commons or all the images in Wikimedia commons. Once you find a picture, you need to save it to your computer. When you save it, give it a descriptive name like "Tree from Grandpas yard" or in my case "Your thesis title". Then, you need to upload it to Wikimedia so it will be stored on their computers and can be displayed on your Wikibook page. Do this by looking for the links on the left-hand side of the page (when you are in editing mode). Under "toolbox" you'll find "upload file". Click on this and follow the directions there. Then, once it is uploaded to Wikimedia's computer, you need to insert it into your article. Do this by clicking on the 6th editing button (the one with the picture on it). Insert the name if your picture file (you remember the name right?) and Voila! your picture should appear (after you hit "save page"). If this doesn't work check out the tutorial on Blackboard (these are great resources). Don't forget to give the author of the image and include it in your references.

NEW NOTE: I have learned a great deal in posting my sample Wiki article. This image that I have used here is problematic. I am using it with permission from the author, but that is not the same as using images from the public domain or that are licensed for free sharing i.e. the authors have specifically granted permission for their work to be freely copied and distributed. Because Wikibooks allows all of their content to be freely copied and distributed all the tables, figures, text, images, etc. contained within it must also allow these same privileges. Wikibooks is allowing me to keep this image up for a limited time, but technically unless the author tells me that his work is published under a free license, it shouldn't be included. So, the basic rule to learn from my experience is not to use any image for which the author has retained some copyrights, even if you ask for permission to use it. Unless an image is appropriately licensed for free distribution, don't use it.

The key elements of dissertation or thesis title-writing are shown in Figure 1, which summarizes the five critical components of a good title: (1) the witty catchphrase, (2) the ubiquitous colon, (3) the necessary but boring stuff, (4) a carefully-selected preposition, and (5) the obscure topic about which few people actually give a hoot.


For the most part these are "fake" references since, as you could probably tell, this is completely fabricated article i.e. it contains not a lick of truth. However, the APA format is correct and you can follow these examples.

Bailey, J., & Barnum, P. (2001). The colon and its rise to prominence in the American circus. Journal of American Punctuation, 34(5), 2-3.

Cham, J. (2006). Your thesis title. Retrieved November 27, 2007 from

Clemens, S. (1871). Favorite wines of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Edgar Allan Poe. The Virginia Wine Connoisseur, 2(3), 4-7.

Hawthorne, N. (1694). The Scarlet Letter. Salem, MA: Purgatory Press.

Kennedy, J. (1960). Inaugural address of the 36th President of the United States. Retrieved November 27, 2007 from

Lennon, J., McCartney, P., Harrison, G., & Starr, R. (1963). Music and lyrics of England’s famous mopheads. British Journal of Popular Music, 23(3), 213-225.

Moses (2697 B.C.). Early writing devices and their role in the salvation of Israel. Journal of Jewish Prophets, 1(1), 2-3.

Poe, E. (1849). Diary of a drinker: My battle with booze. Journal of American Alcoholics, 31(5), 23-26.

Steckroth, J. (2007). Technology-enhanced mathematics instruction: Effects of visualization on student understanding of trigonometry (Doctoral dissertation, University of Virginia, 2007). Dissertation Abstracts International, 43, 58A.

To change the font type or font color, see my code here. You can type font color="#type the six-digit code" to change the color and face="Type in the name of the font here". FYI not all fonts will work. All this code needs to be inside carrots <>. If you don't want a font to be used for the entire paper you need to "turn the font off" by typing "/font inside carrots <> when you want it to go back to normal. I suggest using normal black font for all of your text except for sidebars or other parts you might want to highlight. Don't just write your text in purple and green for fun. Our eyes would hurt!!

Wiki Code is very similar to HTML code. I found a website that provides simple instructions for code that you can use.

You can use HTML code to put a table in your Wiki article (or you can use Wiki code). Check out these websites or copy my code.

Tips to help you "decode" the code:

  • tr= table row
  • th = table heading
  • td = table data (whatever you want to put inside the cells of your data)
  • /= turning off so /tr = end of table row

Helpful Websites for Making Tables Another Heading More info Some more info Even more info

Here's a link to a webpage that lists the codes for lots of different colors