Research: Projects

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  • Rebecca Black
  • Office Location: 2001 Berkeley Place North
  • Office: 949.824.0592
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Fanfiction University*

The design and implementation of a unique online space, Fanfiction University, is aimed at aiding adolescents’ development of literacy and composition skills. Fanfiction refers to fan-authored texts based on forms of media and popular culture, such as movies, books, music, television and video games. 

With the advent of the Internet, Fanfiction has become a literacy phenomenon that is difficult to overlook, with the most popular multi-fandom archival site, Fanfiction.net, currently housing over a million fictions on servers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including more than 320,000 Harry Potter fictions alone. More important than sheer numbers though, is the fact that a great number of these fan authors are adolescents, English language learners (ELLs), and/or struggling writers and readers, many of whom claim English as their worst subject. Moreover, these youth are voluntarily engaging in literacy practices, such as writing, reading and peer-reviewing , that many educators struggle to implement effectively in classrooms. 

The Fanfiction University project leverages the popularity of Fanfiction to create an online space that encourages novel interactions among authors and readers, and enhances their activities via a novel technological system. Fanfiction University will serve a much-needed purpose in the fan community — providing a central location not only for writers to archive their fictions, but also to seek resources and different forms of constructive feedback that are tailored to their needs as individuals, writers, and learners —and will provide a model for an informal learning environment that promotes literacy development in adolescents.