NATCHITOCHES – Dr. Thomas W. Reynolds, Jr., assistant professor in the Department of Language and Communications at Northwestern State University, presented his paper “Back from the Dead: Why (and How) We Should Use Wikipedia in Research and Writing Classrooms” at the 69th annual South Central Modern Languages Conference in San Antonio. At the conference, he also chaired the meeting of the South Central American Dialect Society and was elected to serve as chair for the 2013 panel on Freshman English and English Composition. His conference attendance was made possible through a South Central MLA Travel Grant.
“My Wikipedia paper discusses the importance of using such a public source for information as a way to teach critical literacy and public writing, so, rather than use it blindly as a research tool, I argued that teachers have a responsibility to teach source evaluation so that students learn why Wikipedia is not a source that you would cite in your paper but may be useful as a starting point or quick reference,” Reynolds explained. “More importantly, Wikipedia allows students a place to participate in the creation of knowledge and the writing of a public text that is viewed by millions of people on a daily basis. I used examples from a series of assignments I used to illustrate how students learn about new text types and real audience expectations by engaging with existing articles and writing their own.”
Reynolds teaches English and is director of First-Year Writing at Northwestern State, teaching writing and rhetoric from freshman English to graduate courses. He also supervises the teaching of the department’s first-year writing experience. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, M.A. in English from Northwestern State and B.A. in English and History from Virginia Tech.
The American Dialect Society is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, as well as of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing or influenced by it, he said.
For more information on the Department of Language and Communication, visit langcomm.nsula.edu.