Collaborative Spaces and Education
The Becomings Project

The Becomings project was designed to counter the complaints that the Web is not "constructive" enough as a hypertext.

The Becomings hyperfiction was produced as part of a class project. Students first studied the genre of hyperfiction. We used the opportunity to consider definitions of postmodern culture and to re-evaluate some of the strengths and limitations of traditional print-based texts.

We studied Michael Joyce's Afternoon as well as Stuart Moulthrop's Hygerascope, as well as the collaborative text that is the Web. Students went on scavenger hunts, looking for whatever might spark a creative interest and work its way into our Web collage.

All told, the first six weeks of Web-based assigments were spent in preparation and development of

The Becomings Hypertext
The project, however, would not have been possible without the parallel development of the "mobius.cgi" and the "submobius.cgi" scripts. Originating as a timeline script with my colleagues Joey Slaughter and Bret Benjamin, I modified the "mobius.cgi" script to allow the students to easily submit their episodes to the ongoing hyperfiction project. Students composed or pasted HTML episodes into a Web form and the script turned them into files and linked them to the story.

The ""submobius.cgi" script facilitated the creation of inter-episode linking in the hyperfiction. By writing out the form that readers use to submit episodes "on the fly," the script is able to catalog the pre-existing episodes and offer them to readers as possible link destinations as they compose their own episodes.

So, a combination of scripts, one which makes submiting an episode a constant exfoliative regeneration of the hyperfiction in the form of catalogs of possibilites, and another which allows readers to link their own new submissions to this evolving catalog turns the class Web project into a constructive Web hypertext.

Opening Teaching Theory The Web MU*S Conversation

Daniel Anderson
Joi Lynne Chevalier