How to use fandoms for assignments

(Image source)

We’re back. Sorry for the delay. But we’re here and time to return the favour of your patience by giving you the best advice that I could possible ever give to anyone… how to use YOUR FAVOURITE FANDOMS for your assignments. And I’m not just describing the everyday homework… oh no. I’m talking Year 11 – University level of major works, exams, etc.

That’s right people, I will give you advice on how to use fandoms (eg: YouTube, Books, Movies, etc) for the biggest assessments and exams you’ll ever face! These are all taken from experience and I’ve been doing this for a while, so if you do it right, I guarantee an easy school year for you guys.

Note: This are all based from the Australian Syllabus and what I’ve experienced in university.

So we all know school is boring and learning is a pain. Sometimes, you want to spice things up with your answers. This is what fandoms are for! Asides of it being a medium to waste your time with, the skills you’ve gained and the things you’ve learned while being in them will benefit you when it comes to your assignments and exams!

Just look at me, I did that and I managed to make it to university!

So here are a few things you need to consider when it comes to making that decision as it’s not just writing long paragraphs on who this person is.

1. Which fandom should I use?

This question is the first thing you should think off once given the topic of the exam and etc: which fandom will you use?

Reason for this is quite simple actually, it’s because you will be doing extensive research in order to pull it off. You can’t just say ‘Oh I will be doing Dan and Phil for the HSC’ and that’s that. Oh no, you will need to use more than the source material in order to pull this off as it will help control your final response.

Example:

During my HSC, this was the question in my second paper for Advanced English:

‘Experiences of landscape may be diverse, but the influence on identity is always profound.’ Evaluate this statement with detailed reference to your prescribed text and ONE other related text of your own choosing. (Advanced English HSC Paper 2 – 2015)

This question revolved around landscapes and its influence towards the person talking. Luckily, before the HSC started, people posted pictures of The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire (because it takes 3-4 weeks for something to be ship from UK to arrive to Australia). Not only I used a chapter of the book, but I had to write a 5 line explanation on what ‘Manchester is to Phil’s life‘.

I pretty much wrote around the lines of how Phil’s experience in Manchester will always be part of who he is even if it means leaving his hometown.

Not all fandoms will help you thou. Some fandoms are specified for certain topics and won’t be helpful with other topics outside of it.

2. FAN FICTION

 Want to get more marks for that English paper? Write fan fiction! Worked for me and not only it gave me Band 4 for english but I was shortlisted for a university lever creative writing contest back in 2016 (during the TATINOF Leaks).

Here is the fic I wrote during the HSC

But here is the warning thou, you can’t use names that are only recognisable in that fandom (AKA: No Harry Potter names, No Hunger Game names). You need to use fandoms with generic names (like Dan and Phil) or you need to change the spelling of the characters (Tyler and Troye is now Tyler and Troy). Reason for this is because you might be caught plagiarising if you use character names from famous books and TV shows so you need to be extra careful when doing so.

3. Break the Rules… get the grade!

This is a formal exam, not Tumblr.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BREAK ALL THE RULES IF YOU WISH!!! And the best part, the HSC markers have no interest on the fandoms you write about as long as it answers the question.

I did this in year 11 and when I told this story to a few people, there was a 50% split on which my decision was a good or bad one. But I didn’t care because this was an exam paper, not social media.

So what did I do? I broke a rule in the Phandom and wrote my Fame and Celebrity English essay based on the ‘Adrian Incident’.

The question was: How does Fame and Celebrity affect the personal life of others?

I pretty much used this video as my TOYOC (text of your own choosing) for the essay

I even told people via Tumblr and on YouTube (when I still had my old account) about my decision and they were supportive about it as the incident was educational and had some benefits.

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 8.38.36 pmScreen Shot 2017-03-26 at 8.38.07 pm

Unfortunately, I accidentally threw away the paper when I was cleaning my room after my HSC exams but I got a B+ for it because I didn’t explain why medium shot was used.

And some of you may be butt hurt about this but let me just remind you, this is an exam… not social media. The people who will read your response are your teachers (and your followers if you kept the paper once returned and shared it).

4. Use what’s provided (their music, their store, etc)

We are now steering away the English papers and now moving towards the other subjects! Depending on the topic, you will have to decide if their works are worth the grade.

Here is an example:

I did Information Processes and Technology as a HSC subject and I was struggling with the diagrams (cuz there are 2 kinds and they look really similar… except with minor changes — and they have to do with how websites/online stores work). So what I did, I used the Dan and Phil shop as an example. I explored the shop multiple times and played with the ‘purchase button’ just so I can compare it to the subject.

Confession: I told this story to a few close friends but… I discovered more things while playing around the online store… won’t go to specifics but it blew my mind that I posted it on Tumblr and the post lasted for 24 hours

If you’re doing a music course, use ANY SONG that your fave band and singer has done and perform it. Just put it under popular and BAMN!

It just depends on what subject you’re doing and how you will be able to pull it off

5. Use the community for help

Maybe you shouldn’t write about the celebrity in general and just write the people involved in the fandom!

Example:

I used Rev Gregory Neal for my Studies of Religion HSC essay and how he uses social media + his religious views to create peace. And once again… band 4 in SOR 2U

Maybe ask popular fan artist or fans on social media to take part of the assignment! I was able to interview AmazingDogpie (Sophie) and [currently] InCaseYouArt (Victoria) for my assignments and they’re both cool with it if I publish the projects for others to see/professional use.

An example is when one of the girls from the original BMO Squad (the admins for Phandom Aus/NZ) asked to interview me for their assignment about social media usage via Skype as they know I’m studying Bachelor of Communications in uni which could give their assignment an extra edge.

Basically, if you’re nice enough, try to contact those big people in the fandom to help you out! Who knows, you might end up becoming online friends in the future!

6. Fandom University (using fandoms for university assignments)

Now for the university level assignments. Depending on the uni degree you’re doing, there is a high chance that you will be able to use your fave fandoms as part of your essays and/or projects.

This is still ongoing for me and for some reason, my lecturers are cool with it. For example, I used Oscar’s Hotel for my assignment and I got a Distinction (B) for it.

But sometimes you can’t you fandoms in general and you need to get deep into the drama. YouTube news, celebrity news, you name it! You can use it for your assignments!

Here is an essay/blog post I wrote for my Media Cultures and Industries assignment that I got Credit (C) for.

Sometimes, you may write about your experiences with people in the fandom or events (which I also did and got both distinctions for it).

And currently, I’m writing a Feature Writing Assignment about LGBT+ YouTubers and their influence. The possibilities are endless but only if it’s well executed! (Cuz it’s university).

7. Use fan accounts/your followers to help you

IMG_2723.jpg

If your social media accounts are fandom based and you only post about stuff relating to that fandom, USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE!!!

I swear, I’ve been using PhandomAus to help me with university projects and to return the favour, I allow the followers to promote their homework problems to us and our followers help them with it.

So currently, I needed to interview people for my feature writing article and I asked people who’s willing to be interviewed as well as using the photos I’ve taken during the meet ups as part of the assignment.

BUT FAIR WARNING!!!

You can’t keep using fandoms and your interest as parts of your assignments. Trust me, I have received a pass and a failed mark in 2 of my first year assignments as it wasn’t strong enough + doesn’t connect to the question provided. I even got a low C in my English essay exam.

Luckily, I was able to pull my grade up with the other assignments I’ve done… but I was being lucky.

So when the assignments say ‘Write/Create anything you want‘ — DONT FALL FOR IT!!! 

its a trap

Assignments like those requires well written pieces and it has to be very strong enough to convince your teachers/lecturers that you can use it for an assignment. Because if you just write whatever you want, it’s no longer an academic paper, it’s now a Tumblr post.

So here is a tip of advice when it comes to using your fave fandoms for assignments:

DONT TURN IT INTO A TUMBLR POST!!!

But other than that, don’t overuse them for your projects. Try to steer away from them from time to time so you can be more open minded with other sources and perspectives. Yes, your fandoms/interest are more interesting to write about but you need to ask: Does it connect with the question? Will it be strong enough for a better grade?

I do hope this inspires you to give your interest and fandoms a shot to be part of your educational life. At least it makes learning more interesting for you.

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