Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Conclusion and Implications for the Classoom

The implications of TVTropes are that it is an exemplary model of the affinity space and wiki. As a group, the intentional community at TVTropes seems committed to their craft; they do not hesitate to discipline transgression, but they do not hesitate to be inclusive of those who want to participate in knowledge building either. I believe we can learn a lot from this site and use that knowledge to inform our own pedagogies and best practices. I feel that TVTropes has shown an ability to foster creative, useful, and important additions to classroom learning through wikis. They present complex and vast material in manageable ways that to a first or second year composition classroom would seem daunting.

By incorporating the atmosphere and encouragement of a site like TVTropes, FYC and other classrooms could benefit both students and instructors through incorporation of editing practices, sharing, and workload dispersal on the wiki. For example, an English 111 class could utilize this style of wiki space to build an advocacy page that incorporates everyone’s experience of Alaska issues in one place, with one goal, and with a more definite sense of being a community of inquiry and or learning. First, I might have students create new posts on the site to familiarize themselves with the wiki space, and then branch out to create their own wiki. This would create a model that, presumably, would keep student interest because the site allows them to go into their own fandoms and be contributors. The TVTropes model is a good one for continued study if we want to understand student/individual motivation in creating dynamic and informed wikis. It would be imprudent to ask students to learn wikis from scratch, and this community I believe is well situated to both keep engagement while they figure out the space and create a constellation of literacy activities that would be valuable to learning.

In this analysis, I tried to maintain a focus on what it takes to become an active member of what seems like a closed-off affinity space. What I found, though, is that the site is quite welcoming and expansive in ways I did not realize.  Because of the scope of the site including TV, books, movies, video games, fan fiction, cartoons, eastern and western canon, etc. TVTropes really is for everyone. And as a learning activity, I believe this breadth places it in a definite position of power from a pedagogical standpoint. It is no easy task to create a learning space that is relevant and interesting to a large group of students, but in creating a wiki site together based on TVTropes, I believe a definite sense of interest could be maintained while teaching the in depth functions of a wiki.

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