Rhetorics of the Web: Implications for Teachers of Literacy

by Doug Brent
University of Calgary


We are beginning to see hypertext that uses this new medium to argue for a point of view. But is rhetorical interchange possible in a form that works against the linear-sequential argumentative structures that have traditionally underpinned rhetoric? If an author fully deploys the resources of hypertext, can she still present a point of view for critique and analysis, or is she limited to posing questions and raising issues without asking the reader to try on an answer for size?

What are the forms of rhetorical hypertext and what functions can be best served by which form? Do these forms discourage critical analysis by the reader? Is the reader of hypertext drawn to channel-surf rather than to engage in disciplined engagement with another's ideas?

This web calls upon theories of hypertext design, rhetorical theory, genre theory and the theory of transformative technology to suggest some answers to these questions and to explore possibilities for hypertext as a reading and writing tool in the classroom.

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This web was peer-reviewed by Eric Crump, Bill Hart-Davidson, and Terry Harpold of the Kairos  Editorial Board.

Contact Doug Brent
About the Author
Doug Brent is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of General Studies at the University of Calgary. He is director of the Writing Program and the Communications Studies Program. He teaches courses in Rhetoric, History of Communications and Information Technology, and Telecommunications Policy.

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KAIROS Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments.
Vol .2 No. 1 Spring 1997