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Wednesday, August 12 • 2:00pm - 2:50pm
Making EFL Academic Writing Meaningful for Undergraduates: A Wikipedia Project Based in Japan

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Against the backdrop of decreasing global impact factors and rates of publication by academic scholars based in Japan, Japanese universities are increasingly incorporating academic writing courses into undergraduate curricula to prepare future scholars at an earlier stage (Tajino, 2008). Nonetheless, making academic writing authentic and meaningful for first-year university students is a formidable task, especially if writing assignments are only viewed by their teachers. This presentation will describe an attempt to address this conundrum in undergraduate classes at a prestigious research-university in Japan through a Wikipedia project. 350 students in first-year English academic writing classes wrote Wikipedia articles on topics meaningful to them, uploaded them onto Wikipedia, monitored their articles, and interacted with Wikipedia editors located all over the world. Design of the project focused not on the product of the writing, but more on building awareness of gender, developing student research skills, and preparing students to be ready to navigate the unfamiliar terrain of international academia. The presentation will outline the pre-writing, research, drafting, uploading, and post-uploading stages of the project while also discussing ways in which the author would recommend organizing the project more effectively based on her experiences doing the project for the first time. It will also analyze results of a qualitative study on students perceptions of their experience doing the project and of their own English writing ability. Preliminary results indicate that many students gained confidence in their English writing competence by being able to contribute their knowledge to the world while negotiating with Wikipedia editors about their articles post-upload.


Jennifer Teeter

Kyoto University

Wednesday August 12, 2015 2:00pm - 2:50pm EDT
CGIS Knafel K354 1737 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA