The Fellowship of the Wiki? OR, A Readers Response to Hogendoorn’s “There and Back Again”

Timothy F. Bahula


Having spent countless hours in my youth reading and re-reading J. R. R. Tolkien lore, it was hard for me to miss Adrian Hogendoorn’s appropriation of the subtitle of Tolkien’s most accessible work. Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937 with the subtitle There and Back Again as a children’s adventure novel, detailing the quest of Bilbo Baggins, his 13 dwarfish companions, and the wizard, Gandalf. The quest to reclaim the kingdom and treasure of the Lonely Mountain begins and ends in Bilbo’s sleepy, but respectable hobbit-hole, Bag End. Although Bilbo eventually returns home to Bag End, his journey there and back again has profoundly changed him, and in more ways than just making him inordinately wealthy. According to Tolkien lore, Bilbo recorded his adventures for posterity in The Red Book of Westmarch, which became Tolkien’s source for The Hobbit. Likewise, Hogendoorn’s Principles of Learning (PoL) wiki contributions illuminate episodes of his learning journey. He makes the connections between moments of learning in courses and specific wiki entries in his wikiography. I am slightly envious of his use of the wiki and the wikiography as a capstone project for his MEd studies. This “off-label use” of the wikiography seems to be a brilliant means of further entrenching the learning of his program of studies.

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