Writing & Library Research Methods Lesson Plan: Wiki Comparison

Lesson objective(s):

            To practice writing for different audiences

Total estimated time:  30- 40 minutes

Additional outcome(s):

Gain exposure to two specific knowledge communities.

Course work or assignment underway:

The Wikipedia assignment, in which students evaluate and edit a Wikipedia article and write about their experience.

Work and/or reading completed before class:

Students will have read some introductory materials on fan culture and fandoms as well as Elements of the Academic Essay” and “Breaking into the Conversation.” They will also have read Wikipedia’s policy page and done some in-class work to see how it is applied (will they have done that before this?). I’ll also ask them to read the front page of TVTropes and an article from it.

Sequence of Classroom Activities

First, there will be a discussion of the differences between TVTropes and Wikipedia, using an article in both to highlight the differences. I expect students to begin with the subject matter, but hope to eventually get them talking about what counts as evidence and differences in the language used.  I’ll bring in some of the Gordon-Harvey terms.  (10 minutes)

Students will choose a topic that they think might be appropriate to both wikis and write a paragraph that would be appropriate to each.  I’ll make some suggestions having to do with the concepts we’ve been discussing in class. (20 minutes)

I will ask for 2-3 volunteers to share what they’ve written. Afterward, we can have a discussion about what’s difficult/easy about adjusting one’s writing style in this way.

Reflection on the lesson’s success or alternative approaches:

I may throw in a short session of the card game Snake Oil, which requires players to sell some imaginary product to a specific audience.

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