Evaluating fandom: Using blogging and a grade contract to promote fan labor in the classroom

  • Dominic J. Ashby Eastern Kentucky University
Keywords: Anime, College coursework, Pedagogy


Grade contracts offer a way to transform the relationship between labor and assessment in classrooms. By turning attention from evaluations of quality to labor completed, grade contracts make space for students to shift from a grade-driven extrinsic motivation to an interest-driven intrinsic motivation for completing coursework. Such an assessment model is well suited for fan studies classes where instructors ask students to engage in fan behavior. I share how I built an upper-division course about anime and anime fandom centered around a student-authored, publicly viewable blog. I discuss the synergy between the blogging project and a grade contract that enhanced student learning, engagement, and enjoyment. I also share my course design philosophy, approach to blogging, and student reactions to the grade contract.