Artifact Three: Digital Encyclopedia


This semester, students in ENGL 1102: Afterlives of Slavery will contribute to a Digital Encyclopedia that provides information about a cultural artifact, like a film, television show, novel, or visual artwork, that takes transatlantic slavery as its theme. Working in pairs, you will choose a cultural artifact to write your essay about, and your final essay will provide an Overview of the topic, a description of the Historical and Cultural Context of your topic, an analysis of the Themes and Style of your topic, and a discussion of the Critical Conversation surrounding your topic. Your Digital Essays will be published on a public-facing WordPress site. You can view example essays on the site.

Learning Outcomes

In line with the Writing and Communication Program’s goals and outcomes, this project develops your understanding of the rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, and context) and your strategies of careful reading, synthesis of ideas, and argumentation. Your goal is to provide relevant, thorough information about your topic in a clear, engaging manner. Additionally, this assignment develops your strategies of multimodal communication by asking you to incorporate WOVEN modes to enhance audience engagement and understanding.


The Digital Encyclopedia is designed for an international audience of scholars and students interested in contemporary culture, the legacy of transatlantic slavery, and questions of race, gender, and class in contemporary life. You can assume that your readers are students like yourself, high school students, researchers at universities, and people interested in history, art, literature, and culture.


You will post each scaffolding assignment (Draft 1, Peer Evaluation, Draft 2 and Revision Memo, and Works Cited, Images, and Keywords) on your group blog. I also suggest that your workshop group create a shared Google Drive folder where you can draft, share, and edit Artifact Three materials. Additionally, you will conduct research online and through Georgia Tech’s library databases. You will compose your final essay in WordPress. WordPress has an extensive online community that provides information for formatting, editing, and troubleshooting. If you run into questions or technical difficulties in WordPress, the first thing you should do is Google the problem to find troubleshooting information online.


This artifact is worth a total of 300 points, with 150 of those points depending on the quality of your final essay and its successful publication in WordPress. Each Draft of your Essay (Draft 1, Draft 2, and the Final Essay) will be evaluated based on the Writing and Communication Program’s programmatic assessment rubric. Each additional scaffolding assignment (Peer Evaluations, Works Cited, Images, and Keywords) will be evaluated holistically, based on the successful adherence to assignment guidelines, the accuracy and thoroughness of your information, and the clarity of your communication style.




  • Via Google Forms, available here and in the Blog Post for March 27

Please complete the Agreement Form, which asks you to list the name you will publish under and to abide by conventions of integrity and respect when using WordPress.




  • Post to your group blog
  • Optional: share with group and Instructor via Google Docs
  • 30 Possible Points

The first draft of your digital encyclopedia essay will consist of four sections: an Overview, a description of the Historical and Cultural Context of your topic, a discussion of the Themes and Style of your topic, and an overview of the Critical Conversation around your topic.

  • The Overview should include the title and date of your chosen work, as well as the author, artist, director, and main actors’ names, as applicable. Offer a plot overview, description of the image, and/or a general description, as applicable to your chosen work. The Overview should be at least 100 words.
  • The Historical and Cultural Context of your chosen work should describe the historical narrative it is based on, if any, and any relevant social or political events that were unfolding when the work was created. This section should also describe artistic influences and predecessors. The Historical and Cultural Context section should be at least 150 words.
  • The Themes and Style section should describe the formal features of your work, the rhetorical strategies the creator uses to make meaning, and the main themes that emerge in the work. What is the work saying about the past? What is it saying about the moment of its creation? What is it saying about race and culture in 2017? The Themes and Style section should be at least 150 words.
  • The Critical Conversation will summarize what other thinkers have said about your work and introduce audiences to any debates and controversies about your work. Here, you will adapt information from your annotated bibliography, as well as additional research, to offer a clear summary of the approaches critics take to your work. The Critical Conversation should discuss at least four outside sources and be at least 100 words.




  • Share as a comment on the author’s group blog post
  • Optional: share with Peers and Instructor via Google Docs
  • 20 possible points

Within your group, assign each group member a draft to read. Make sure each group member receives feedback and each group member writes at least one evaluation. Provide feedback on your assigned draft by writing an evaluation memo of at least 400 words that addresses:

  • The rhetorical awareness of the draft. Who is the intended audience for the essay, and how does the author successfully address the audience? What could they do to improve their rhetorical awareness?
  • The implicit argument of the draft. What is the main takeaway point of the essay? How could the author make the argument more clear? What other perspectives should the author consider?
  • The evidence of the essay. Where does the author successfully support their claims with evidence? Where should they include more evidence? When does the author summarize, and when does she quote directly from outside sources? How can the use of evidence be improved?
  • The style of the essay. Which sentences are clear and engaging? Which sentences are confusing or vague?
  • Any questions you still have after reading the essay. What do you want to learn more about?
  • Format your memo in a professional, readable style, and make sure to include your name, the authors of the essay you are evaluating, the topic of the essay you’re evaluating, and the date. Your evaluation memo should be written in full sentences and complete paragraphs. Convince your readers (the authors as well as your instructor) that you are a thoughtful, careful editor and that the authors should take your advice. Remember that your formatting and syntax will convey your ethos.




  • Post as a new post on your group blog
  • Optional: share with group and Instructor via Google Docs
  • 30 possible points for Draft 2; 20 possible points for the Revision Memo

Your second draft will build on the first draft, providing an Overview of at least 200 words, a Historical and Cultural Context section of at least 400 words, a Themes and Style section of at least 500 words, and a Critical Conversation section of at least 400 words. The essay in total should be 1,500-2,000 words.

  • Focus on clear, specific, supportable claims that are developed with relevant, precise evidence.
  • Each sentence should lead logically into the next one, with one sentence developing one action and each paragraph developing one cohesive idea. Consider the rhetorical situation (context, audience, and purpose) to organize your paragraphs logically.
  • Incorporate your external research throughout and cite your research appropriately. Quote directly from the source text when the original author conveys the information in the best possible way. Paraphrase when you can convey the meaning of the evidence concisely. Summarize when you’re providing an overview of a broad concept or argument. Always give appropriate credit by enclosing other peoples’ language in quotation marks and providing in-text citation for other peoples’ ideas, whether they are quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • In each section of the essay, but especially the Themes and Style section, make sure you support your claims about the aesthetics and meaning of your topic with specific, relevant evidence directly from the topic itself. Quote specific lines, describe specific scenes, explain visual design.
  • The essay should discuss at least four outside sources. These may be from your Annotated Bibliography or from additional research conducted after you submitted the Annotated Bibliography.

Your Revision Memo will discuss the feedback you received from your workshop group. In the same post as your Encyclopedia Essay Draft 2, write the title “Revision Memo” and follow it with at least 400 words that describe the feedback you received and how you revised your essay based on that feedback. (Clarification (4/2): each partner should write an individual revision memo of at least 400 words.)

  • Like any other piece of writing, you are making an argument. Convince your readers that you listened to and understood the feedback you received from your workshop group. Use specific evidence to support your argument; quote the feedback you received and show the reader how you made specific changes based on that feedback. Quote your Draft 1 and Draft 2 to convince your audience that your revisions helped you better accomplish your rhetorical goals.
  • Your revision memo should follow conventions of clear writing. Use complete sentences and cohesive paragraphs, and make sure one idea moves logically to the next.




  • Post to your group blog
  • Optional: share with group and Instructor via Google Docs
  • 20 possible points for your Works Cited; 20 possible points for your images; 10 possible points for your keywords


Following the guidelines for MLA citation style available on the Purdue Online Writing Lab, create a Works Cited page with complete citation information for each of your outside sources. Following the works cited, which will provide information for the sources you discuss in your essay (at least four), you should include a Further Reading section, which provides complete citation information for at least four more outside sources. These might be sources that didn’t make it into your essay, reference sources about the genre of your chosen topic, or related readings about the historical, artistic, or theoretical context of your chosen topic. For example, in an Encyclopedia Essay about Beyoncé’s Lemonade, your Further Reading section might include a history of pop music, an anthropological study of African-American music in New Orleans, a theoretical work about Black Feminism, and a podcast review of the album. Following your Works Cited, you will discuss the Images and Keywords you will use in your final Encyclopedia Essay.


Choose at least two images, film clips, or GIFS to illustrate your essay. Draft captions that provide complete citation information, with the creator of the image, the source where you found the image, and a working link to the original image. Embed the images, with captions, in your post. (You will repeat this process in your final Encyclopedia Essay.) Then, develop a list of 5-10 keywords that could guide a researcher to your essay. These keywords might include the name of your topic, its creator, the genre of your topic, a specific theme, a motif, or another related concept.

Following your images and keywords, include a 200-word reflection on how you made your choices. Your reflection should address your research process as well as the rhetorical effect of your images and keywords. How do the images and keywords shape the meaning of your essay? How do they respond to the rhetorical situation of your essay? Create one post on your group blog that includes your Works Cited, Images, Keywords, and the 200-word reflection.




  • Format Essay with Image and Keywords and publish on (DO NOT POST YOUR FINAL ESSAY ON YOUR GROUP BLOG)
  • Upload link to your Essay to Canvas Assignments
  • 150 possible points for your final essay

Revise your Encyclopedia Essay in response to instructor comments, then prepare to publish it in our Digital Encyclopedia.

After you have been added to the Afterlives of Slavery WordPress page as an editor, you will publish your essay as a page on

  • Go to
  • Create a page for your essay by clicking “Add New” under “Pages” in the Navigation Bar. Title your page with the title of your topic (i.e.; Underground, A Subtlety, etc. Be sure to include your name(s) at the top of your page.
  • Each section of your essay should have the appropriate header, with text in bold:
    • Overview
    • Historical and Cultural Context
    • Themes and Style
    • Critical Conversation
    • Works Cited
    • Further Reading
    • Keywords
  • Categorize your page in the appropriate category (Literature, Visual Art, Film, Television, or Culture) by choosing the appropriate “Parent” in the “Page Attributes” menu to the right of the text box.
  • Add your images using the Add Media button above the text box, and make one of your images the “Featured Image” using the Featured Image menu to the right of the text box. Note: you may choose to add additional images or media (especially if your essay is about a film, you may want to embed clips or GIFS).
  • Use the “Preview” button to proofread your page, then hit publish to publish the page.

Submit the final essay by sharing a link to the Assignment page on Canvas.