Held Tuesday, September 14, 1999
- Assigned (all due on Thursday):
- It still seems that many of you are having trouble getting questions
to me on time. Please work on it!
- No, you don't have to come up with advance questions for Thursday,
since I haven't given you a lot of time for these readings.
- Rebecca will only be here for the second half of class today and
Thursday, as she had prior commitments to other tutorials.
- Before we delve into questions of writing and reading hypermedia,
let us first consider how one writes (or is expected to write)
a traditional argumentative paper.
- This is, of course, the skills section of today's course.
- As you might expect, different people have different strategies. I'll
do my best to identify commonalities.
- We'll also work on exercises to help with these techniques.
- Most writers quickly discover that writing is not so much a series
of fixed steps as a collection of techniques that you alternate
- Often, you'll start with a broad question.
- This may be something
that interests you. ``Is it really the case that soccer is as successful
at breaking down barriers as Billy Bragg claims?''
- This may be something that your instructor assigns.
``Consider what Landow's The Victorian Web says about
the hypertextual potential of the World-Wide Web.''
- This may be an idea you've founded in considering an instructor's
questions. ``Why do I believe that hypertext should be infinite?''
- You will then identify sources that can help you consider that
- You may recall that we spent the previous class discussing how one
- While reading sources, you gather notes about the sources.
- You then gather these notes into topics and subtopics.
- Often, you will then link the topics together as you consider
- It may be a good to then brainstorm potential ideas or claims.
- You can then select an initial idea or claim.
- It is likely that you revise or refine this idea or claim.
- From this point on, different writers seem to have very different
- Some will free write an essay. Basically, the goal here is to
get ideas down, but not worry so much about organization or coherence.
- Others will outline the essay, considering the structure of
- From this point, you move toward a draft of the essay. When
creating a draft, you should consider both structure and words.
- You will then repeatedly refine your draft as you
- Correct grammar and spelling
- Improve organization
- Improve phrasing
- Add transitions
We'll start with a question: What does Landow's ``The Victorian
Web'' suggest about the World-Wide Web as a hypertext system?
- In groups of three or four, spend about ten minutes identifying as many
topics as you can that might fit in that essay. In doing so, you may
want to consider the questions that you and your colleagues asked.
- Draw your topics on one part of the board so that we can have a
- Also draw links between your topics.
- Individually, spend about three minutes list as many claims or ideas
as you can find. We'll read these aloud.
- Pick two that interest you the most. Write a short paragraph about
each. (These are not introductory paragraphs; they are one-paragraph
- In groups of three or four, pick one of the paragraphs and write an
outline (on the board) of a longer essay on the topic.
- Why are some links Bold, whereas others are plain blue underlined for the
hyperlink? When both go to menus or page references, should there not be a
- Should hypertext documents if composed by more than one author have a
standard page form, or should the authors be free to express themselves as
they wish in their page construction?
- Can authors then claim a certain page construction theirs and make it their
signature style. Dare I ask, can one copyright a Web page format?
- The Victorian Web Page has been linked with a start page and between
documents to create as true a "hypertext" as possible. Should the start
page be used in the first place? Wouldn't it be more interesting to
find your way to one page and then immerse yourself in different
topics from the first page? Or is it better to use the start page?
- The documents are linked between each other by topic within the document.
Would it be helpful to include links at the bottom of pages to assist the
reader after he or she has finished the document itself?
- It seems as if this document is more like a hypertext than anything I have
ever seen before. It is a web of information linked together
electronically and it is alterable. Is there anyway it cannot be
considered a hypertext? If there is, is there anything that can be
considered a hypertext?
- This web of information is a nice way to look up information on Victorian
subjects. What are the origins of its creation? Why was this
information put on the Web?
- What would Victorians think of the state of the world today? - We are more
technologically advanced, racially integrated, have safer labor laws and more
- Was the socially helping attitude of the Victorians contradictory to how they
treated and/or viewed the Irish?
- Were the Victorians really that much like modern-day America, as the opening
page states?? Landow mentions the institutions of patriotism, sexual
morality, and the family, but these institutions seem to be dying--or
at least degrading--in America today. Have we fallen from our high
pedestal, as the Victorians eventually did?
- In addressing the same issues, was the reign of Queen Victoria really the
beginning of a set of ideals that remained popular and vital in a
society that continues today? Has the change really been that
Although these questions appear in the previous outline, they are
repeated here for convenience.
- As computers become more common as a place for writing, will handwriting
become secondary? Do we foresee a day when handwriting will no longer be
taught in schools? Is this giving up the creativity that can come with
handwriting in the name of convenience?
- If all of this amazing information resources and new way of communicating
can be found on by using a computer and modem, is there a social gap being
created between the "haves" and the "have nots"? Is this problem being
addressed anywhere? Should it be?
- Will the written book, as we know it, disappear over time?
- Will anything surpass the Internet in terms of media in our lifetime?
- Is taking pen to paper "no less technological than writing at a computer
screen" (37) as Bolter claims? When considering our progression as writers
(from papyrus to the printed book), how does electronic text compare?
- Will the development of hypertext lead to more indepth reading and a
greater comprehension of material, foster speed-reading in effort for a quick
attainment of facts, or both?
- How is a new writing space (for example virtual reality) going to influence
our concepts of reading in terms of visual structure?
- What if the keyboard will be replaced by a microphone? Does the
``writing space'' change?
- Bolter spoke about the tendency to hold on to familiar forms of writing, as
they are convenient to use (the pencil is still used, even though we now have
computers) and inefficient methods go by the wayside. Will traditional (oral)
story telling become archaic as new multimedia procedures progress?
- Will our reliance on hypertext communications lead to communication
difficulties in countries that have insufficient computing resources?
(question derived from page 37, Economies of Reading)
- I am intrigued by the concept of writing as technology (chap 3.). Following
the process of modern writing evolution through the ages of purely oral
through written on parchments, then bound volumes, then printed, and now
electronicly displayed. What struck me was the example of what an Ancient
Greek would think of a bound volume of text, I fancy to wonder what I would
think of the Writing technology of the 24th century. Already there is talk of
books with electronic pages that could be completely re-written by a memory
chip in the spine, perhaps thought patterns will be next, will our computers
'think' at us?
- The concept of Pictorial Space (page 52) does not make much sense in that the
book is vague and unclear about exactly what this thing is. What is Pictorial
- What exactly does Bolter imply by stating that "the computer...
challenges and disrupts our current economy of writing."(54) How does
the computer have a negative impact on the present writing criterias?
- Before delving into a consideration of how writing hypertext is
different, we might first consider what types of writing people
- A first division (although not necessarily a correct one) is between
fiction and nonfiction. For this week, we'll emphasize nonfiction.
- As we attempt to divide nonfiction, we may find a number of overlaps
- Here are a few to get you started:
- Narrative and journalism (story-telling)
- Summarization (encycloaedia)
- Where can we go from there?
- What effects does hypertext have on each?
- Bolter concludes section I with a discussion of ``graphic
rhetoric''. Do we want to begin by considering that topic?
- By the way, what is ``rhetoric'' (other than one of the
classical liberal arts)?
- What relationship does graphic rhetoric have to do with hypertext?
Monday, 22 March 1999
- Created as a blank outline. (Can you tell what I was doing during
Monday, 13 September 1999