It is a tall task to pick ONE topic related to engineering throughout the history of Rome, which spans, by legend, from 753 BC to the present. Here is some advice on how to get started on this process:
- During the Spring seminar.
- Think carefully about what interests you about engineering in Rome. Maybe just a general topic (e.g., transportation) and a general time period (e.g., modern, ancient, etc.). Be broad-minded here: I find that the tendency is to want to write about a famous tourist destination (Colosseum, Pantheon, San Pietro), which is understandable – if you know little about Rome, then you at least know these places. However, Rome is much richer than just those things. Same goes for Venezia. Spend some time searching the Internet for what interests you in Rome and see what you can come up with. Keep in mind that information on the Internet is going to overwhelmingly be ancient Rome stuff. Keep looking. Remember, that you can change your topic based on what you feel you want to do when you are in Rome.
- 2 minute pitch of your idea. In the spring seminar I will ask you to come up with an idea and spend 1-2 minutes describing it to the class. We can provide 1-2 minutes of feedback that you might find helpful. This exercise is meant to (1) help you refine your idea, and (2) get you started in a meaningful way on your final project. Please give it the attention it deserves and you will be thankful later on.
- Over the summer.
- Begin some research. No matter what you choose, spend a few hours looking into what information is available on your topic. Ideally, there will be some part of your topic that you can see/do/feel in Rome/Venice. That adds to the experience for you. But there will also be more mundane background work that you can certainly start now.
- Feel free to contact me (and Heta) with questions.
- First week in Rome. Go see or do something associated with your topic. This may mean you go see it, it may mean you experience it, it may mean you take a tour. During this week, get a feel for your interest level in the topic. Is it still strong, or have you moved on? If you have moved on, try and locate another topic and discuss it with the instructors.
- Second week in Rome. Gather location-dependent information. As a minimum this means pictures and videos that you, yourself, can take. Take advantage of being in Rome to provide insight and perspective not otherwise available.
- Third week in Rome. Write your article. Do not wait for me to tell you to begin. Rather, begin as soon as you like. You do not want this project to be a cram session the last weekend you are in Rome. I would rather that be your time to explore the City. Resources for writing:
- Editing a Wiki
- How to write a paper like this
- Writing guidance
- References you may want to peruse: https://1drv.ms/f/s!Agv2ap5l0vRGg5lBZ0Fx0152OcfXrA. I spent some time gathering references that address Rome engineering. Many are ancient Rome, and some may be useful to you in your research.
Some Literature Resources
- I have a suitcase full (literally) of great books I schlepped over from Seattle. They are available for you to check out from me. I will keep a list of who’s got what so if you need a book that someone else has you can ask them for it. There are great resources on structural analysis, aqueducts, roads, construction materials, concrete, etc.
- I have collected a number of referred journal articles here: https://catalyst.uw.edu/sharespaces/space/stmuench/20382. If you find a good resource please do post it here for others.
- Be careful about using regular Google search. You tend to get real touristy/spotty information. Better to try Google Scholar.
Editing a Wiki Guidance
The mechanics of how to edit a wikispaces page:
Some style advice…
- Use “headers” to divide up your paper into logical sections. Actually use headers (see drop down menu on left-side of editing menu)
- Normal text.
- Experiment with the available widgets. Videos, maps, and slideshows are good ones to use.
- Don’t “align” pictures to the left or right. The HTML that these commands uses is problematic when displaying in different sized screens. Just trust me on this one. “Center” is better in my opinion.
- Don’t forget to resize your pictures. Really small pictures are not my favorite and super huge ones don’t work well either.
- After considering many options, I figure it will be easiest to make you paper one giant page. To help out with navigation you should have headers, and a table of contents. Here’s an example: Baths of Caracalla.
- Consider including two pictures aligned horizontally as in the Baths of Caracalla example.
- Don’t forget to label your figures and tables. Here are the rules:
- Tables. Should have a table number followed by the table title. The table label should be above the table in title case with no period.
- Figures: Should have a figure number followed by the figure title. The figure label should be BELOW the figure in sentence case with a period.
- If you have a video, it’s easiest to upload to YouTube and then embed in the page.
- LINKING. One of the more powerful attributes of a Wiki post is the ability to link to other (1) pages in the Wiki, and (2) other websites in general. In general, do this for terms that may need explaining but you don’t feel it is really in the scope of your article to do so. Also, if you reference something else that another class member from a previous year (or current year) wrote/writes about, link to that page.
How to write a paper like this
I suspect that some may not need this instruction, but I insist you read it. A while ago Professor Mahoney and I gathered our thoughts on research papers (like the ones you are writing for this Wiki) and wrote them down. Please read these as I check for these things when I read/grade a paper. My assumption is that you have read them.
- Read this: Research Methods (there are subpages to read…5 in all but you can skip the Powerpoint one)
- Talk to me when developing your topic. Feel free to talk with me one-on-one about what you want to write. It is better for both of us to understand what you are writing and agree that it is a good topic and scope beforehand. That way, you can feel good about writing it knowing that you are not way off base.
- Choose a viable scope. If your scope is too broad (e.g., ancient Roman buildings) your Wiki will end up reading like a 6th grade book report – a whole lot of generalities and nothing much beyond what you might find in a standard Wiki entry about the subject. If your scope is too narrow (e.g., pavement structure of fascist-constructed roadways in Rome) you will probably not find enough information on the subject to write the Wiki. I can help you pick a good scope. That is one of the few things professors are good at.
- Include pictures and maps. You are in Rome and can actually photograph the things you are writing about. Please do this.
- Your goal is to create something that cannot be found in a tour book. This is an engineering course. You should write about engineering and do so in such a way that your creation is not able to be approximated by a tour guidebook entry. For instance, if you write about the Pantheon you need to go beyond what Rick Steves says about it (he gives dimensions, stories, and some other factoids). Steves mentions the fact that the floor drains. But you could take a picture of the drain. And now…based on what Tom Rankin showed you in lecture, you know where that drain goes.
- Read the Research Methods pages listed above. I can’t emphasize this enough.