Science Fiction, Fall 2019/Lesson 1

From Gerald R. Lucas
Syllabus R1 R2 R3 L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 L9 L10  
86228 humn 4460.01 Online Fall, 2019

Introduction to Science Fiction and Wikipedia
August 14–August 23, 2019

The Doctor’s TARDIS.

Welcome to the first lesson of HUMN 4472. This is the first of 10 lessons that will be structured similarly, though we have a bit more to do here at the beginning in this orientation. As this is an online course, much of the actual teaching will be refocused to you, the student.

I will provide a foundation each week, but the impetus for constructing knowledge will be in your hands. You will get as much or as little out of this class as you want — it’s up to you. However, as long as you do all the assignments to what appears the best of your ability, you should have no problem passing the course. Who knows, you may engage with the material and excel. Hopefully, you will find it rewarding.

Get Access

If you have not already done so, request access to the “Science Fiction” volume on Google Drive. Many texts you will need for our study are located here.

Wikipedia Set-Up

The first thing you should do is create your Wikipedia account, link it to WikiEdu, then establish your journal. Please do these steps immediately — by the end of the first week of class. I must turn in the names of those who are “no-shows” to the Registrar, who will then be dropped from the course. This usually happens within the first week of class, so complete this section no later than Sunday, August 18.

First, blast off on the Wikipedia Adventure introduction and tutorial. In this, you’ll create your Wikipedia account and do some basic editing. Read carefully, and be sure you participate. You might take notes to refer to later.

Next, link your new account to WikiEdu. Note: You must use this button as it contains the access key you need to enroll. » » »

Wiki Education, or WikiEdu, provides training and assignments for getting you knowledgeable about and comfortable with editing Wikipedia. This is where you’ll choose your project focus (see R1) and learn how to become a good Wikipedian.

You might spend a moment to familiarize yourself with their dashboard. Notice there is a timeline that contains training and assignments. While we will be following that timeline somewhat, always refer to this site for the timing of assignments and due dates.

Our class has been assigned a Wikipedia content expert that can provide assistance with Wikipedia and content. You can contact this person by clicking the “Get Help” button in the top-right of the dashboard. I recommend using this option as a last resort — after you have done your own search, looked through the FAQ, and posted a question to the class help page.

Finally, create your research and response journal by following the instructions I outline on the R2 Journal requirement. Hopefully, you read through these once; now, you should actually do them. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and post a link to your journal on my Wikipedia talk page in the correct section. Instructions for doing this are all on the link above; just follow the directions carefully, and you will have no problem.

Congratulations, once you have completed the above, you have officially joined the course. Again, welcome.

Journal Post 1

Let’s get right into it. I know you want to.

First, read my overview “Writing on a Wiki” to give yourself a quick introduction. Take notes or bookmark the page so your can refer to it again.

Review and bookmark the following pages:

Much of this should be review for you. These are skills, techniques, and conventions that you should heed throughout the semester. The new skills, like much in “Writing Top Ten,” you will practice and develop this semester. Writing for the screen is different than writing on paper, as you will see.

Time to write your first journal post. Go back to your journal and click the “Edit” tab. First, make a section for your journal references:


This section should be paced at the bottom of the page and always remain there. As you write in your journal, your references will appear in the references section. You will accumulate plenty of them.

Now, above the references section, add your first journal post:

==August 14, 2019: Science Fiction==
. . .

Where the ellipsis is, you should start writing.[1] For this first post, I’d like you to define “science fiction.” Don’t do any research. Describe in your own words based on your current understanding and experience. We will use this as a starting point to gauge your development as the semester proceeds. Try to be specific and use examples. See how many characteristics or examples of “science fiction” you can come up with and why.

As you write, hit the “Show preview” button at the bottom to see what your post looks like. Get into the habit of doing this whenever you edit Wikipedia. Always preview before saving so you can catch any errors. When you’re ready to save, write a short summary of your addition in the “Summary” box. When you’re satisfied, click “Save.” Congratulations, you have made your first journal post. Well done.

Science Fiction

Now, let’s start our academic approach to science fiction. First, you might check out “Some Views of Science Fiction.” Then, read Ursula Le Guin’s introduction (its a PDF in our shared volume in the “Defining sf” directory).[2] Next, read one or two of the other documents in the same directory. Watch “The Truth About Science Fiction” (YouTube) and/or “Brave New Worlds: The Science Fiction Phenomenon” (Films on Demand) again remembering to take notes. Finally, find an article of your own that defines sf and read it.

Journal Post 2

What did you learn about “science fiction” that you didn’t know before? Discuss at least three specific aspects. Practice citing your sources, including the ones I assigned, using the Wikipedia standard method.[3] This will be your first opportunity to practice this, but certainly not your last.

Due Date

Please have all of the above completed by Sunday, August 25, 2019. I will evaluate your this lesson the following day, email everyone a progress report, and post audio feedback at the top of the next lesson if necessary. This will be the usual format for submission, evaluation, and general feedback.

Questions? Please post them in the class help page unless they have to do with personal issues that cannot be shared publicly, like grades.


  1. I used “Science Fiction” as the title, but you can use any title you want.
  2. Take notes as you read, as you will need them for you next journal post.
  3. We will be practicing this all semester, but it might be easiest to start with the citation quick reference. Just follow the instructions on using the templates. It’s pretty easy once you get the general idea. More on this in a future lesson.