The computer culture asks questions...
"the world wide web: the last chance for that last shot at writing a paper"
Research and the Internet- useful tool and tool use
The experience of
"They were definitely more aware of audience."
Web visuals- just jazz
Graphics are what makes the web different, thus exciting the students
"I would like students to think more carefully, more deeply about what they can do with hypertext."
"We've often said that writing is a
process of discovery, but does ht allow us to remake that process at all?"
Kairos Meet the Authors Series
With guest author of the evening Daniel Anderson
Hosted by Jennifer L. Bowie, Kairos
The following is the log of the session.
A large room with distant light walls and lots of hazy, but too bright, light. There are several large pillows on the floor, and in the front of the room there is a small platform stage with a group of comfortable chairs. Type 'up' to step up on the platform stage.
Jennifer shows slide #1.
The Meet the Authors Series is a Lingua MOO forum in which the authors of Kairos webtexts lead discussions about the issues raised in the texts as published. MOO Logs for these texts will be edited for publication and reaction in forthcoming issues of the journal.
Hosted by Jennifer Bowie
If you have any questions on how to MOO, contact Jennifer (type : page Jennifer your question or concerns') or type 'help introduction'
Thank you for joining us.
Jennifer shows the next slide.
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"Not unlike the changes that happened in early
print cultures, the new computer culture asks many of the same questions
but for an audience never before imagined, and also question the
micro-dynamics of local arenas as well".
Jan is, as usual, Jan Rune Holmevik of the University of Bergen, Norway :)
Cynthia says, "Cynthia Haynes, UT-Dallas"
Jennifer says, "I'm Jennifer Bowie of Rensselaer Poly. Tech"
Daniel says, "Daniel is Daniel Anderson at UNC"
Claudine is Claudine Keenan, Penn State Lehigh Valley
Jennifer shows the next slide.
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Does emersion in internet based enrichment (MUSHes, on line class discussions, and web-based research) give the students not only more depth to their studies but also force them out of their fourth point (distant) position, causing a vested interest in the linear book? Does students responsibly change from not only for what they read, but what and how they write?
How did the recirculation of class discussions caused by online discussion effect the course?
Is the integration of students into completely foreign time periods through vehicles such as MUSH an effective method of teaching literature, history, or other areas of education? Did the role-playing situations force the students to learn the texts more thoroughly or differently?
What is the potential for the expanded audience
of the web environment to more literally collaborate by adding their insights
to the archive of the site itself through forums and other "constructive"
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Gillie says, "I'm Gillie Griffin, a British poet from Ottawa"
Daniel says, "Thanks for inviting us. I'll throw out an off center answer to the last part of that question and say that, no, the expanded audience has yet to really join in, even when I've tried to build constructive courseware using the Web."
Jennifer says, "why do you think that is?"
Daniel says, "At the same time, the potential for that happening has been motivational to students, I think."
Claudine nods to Dan, having experienced something like that in her own MOO class a coupla summers ago. But never as acutely since then.
Jennifer says, "I can see how the thought of people reading and contributing or comments on their works could be motivating."
Daniel says, "Not sure why outside participants haven't joined in. A lot may have to do with coordination--it would have to happen ahead of time and be publicized."
Gillie says, "Do you think that's through lack of knowledge about access, or @more"
traci quietly enters.
Claudine says, "when Schoolsucks.com first showed up, my class was discussing plagiarism, and the some of the acw gang met my class one day online. it was wild to meet so many in so timely a way, BUT it hasn't happened since."
Jennifer wonders along the same line as Gillie "access was what I was thinking- how much does the public know about the sites?"
Daniel says, "I've often had mixed emotions about constructive web sites. I want to champion them, but at the same time it is often necessary for the typical compulsions--grades, due dates, etc to be brought to bear to make things really happen."
Gillie says, "I also wonder about other barriers, fear of entry"
Claudine [to Daniel]: are you on semesters or quarters?
Gillie says, "I only work in the academic environment half the time, but deadlines are the driving force in many areas"
Daniel says, "I actually take back the part about non-participation--well qualify it. I think it has to do with the timing of the semester and the lag that it takes for a site to become popular. I recently looked over the postings on a yellow wallpaper forum I set up in 95 and there were hundreds of people posting messages and arguing--three years after the class, however."
Daniel [to Claudine]: we're on semesters
Jennifer says, "would you use that in another class (the yellow wallpaper site)?"
Claudine nods to Dan. It's also a question of folks *finding* the site in the first place, one among so many...
Daniel says, "Yes. In fact, I'm expanding the model this semester."
traci says, "i wonder if the situation isn't the same when you're dealing with print-based examples though -- indeed, it might take even longer for those outside the creating-class to find and respond to something"
Daniel [to Claudine]: exactly. That's why coordination ahead of time with other interested classes is crucial. Or tapping into some kind of traffic cache that you've already built up.
Daniel says, "I have found that the reverse approach is much more effective: using the web to push my students into newsgroups where there is already an active conversation taking place."
Claudine [to Daniel]: the coordination is tricky, too. Finding the right partners is tough. Comp in Cyberspace was a good resource, but now folks don't seem to update it very often
traci says, "You wrote an essay which got published in one of those bedford prizes sorts of books, isn't it likely that others wouldn't read that essay in its published form until the author was about to graduate"
Claudine nods to Daniel. Guaranteed conversation is a better bet for sure.
Daniel [to traci]: I think you're right but the expectations (or the build up) is different for Web stuff.
Jennifer says, "how do the students respond to being part of such conversations?"
Gillie says, "Is it just the response time factor, or is it the nteractivity that drives the expectations?"
traci says, "you know what we almost need is a coordinated clearing house -- a yahoo/excite/infoseek for comp classes. so that Daniel's classes and Claudine's classes and so on are all linked together. Then if we all took our students to their class resources via that coordinated index, there'd be more action. we'd all be able to find each other's stuff, etc."
Daniel says, "The students do well with newsgroup assignments. In fact, though even these often fall flat. I've had them do a version of the research question which becomes a ng query--they don't always get responses though"
traci [to Daniel]: yes, you're right. the expectation is if you build a web page, you'll have a million hits within a week
Claudine . o O ( if you build it, they will come )
Daniel says, "The clearinghouse would be a good idea, bc even if you get a million hits a week, it seems like a lot of those are students asking I need something quick on twain--paper due tomorrow."
traci [to Claudine]: i started to type that but was afraid someone would deduct points for using the cliche
Claudine . o O ( not! )
Claudine winks at traci
Cynthia [to traci]: we have a website that is trying to accomplish that kind of clearinghouse, its' called MOO Teach
Cynthia looks for the URL
traci says, "I m not unsure that the hits which one does get aren't people who need something quick for an assignment though"
traci says, "i realize the situation is different, but we get phone calls and emails at the office all the time from grad students who have been hitting our web pages like mad looking for some tidbit they can use for a paper"
Jennifer [to Daniel]: do you think that the students research methods have changed coming out of such classes?
Gillie says, "yeah, I get exactly the same thing -- albeit in the science/animal care field"
traci says, "the world wide web: the last chance for that last shot at writing a paper"
Daniel [to Jennifer]: I do think that they research differently. More newsgroups and quick web searches. I like things that are on the Web, bc I can print and paste them, so maybe that transfers to my students. I do make them include some print sources, though.
Claudine [to traci]: open all night--when most students are writing
traci says, "yep, that too"
Claudine [to Daniel]: make them? what if, say, they find info from the NYT, only the online version, not the print. Is that ok?
Jennifer says, "not only open all night but often as far away as the computer on the desk, not across a dark campus, or farther"
Daniel says, "I think the last minute searches for info are interesting in that they emphasize the disjunction between a useful tool and tool use--to use an old metaphor. Conversation is supposed to happen in these forums, so the research query only works when done over time and when done to broaden understandings rather than find a tidbit."
Jennifer says, "what role did copyrights play in your class?"
Daniel says, "I also like to use forums as a way of furthering a kind of prewriting. Even when my students received no feedback from a query, I feel as if asking them to research first, synthesize points in the query and post an engaging question has its own benefit."
Daniel [to Jennifer]: I m very cognizant of copyright. I had some interesting annotated poems done by students that I had to take down--Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, etc. Since then, I've worked with old public domain texts almostexclusively--interesting canon transformation questions come up
Jennifer says, "how much do you think the learning experience is changed by how you teach using the internet?"
Daniel says, "I've also been thinking about the knocks against digital texts as less than authoritative. I'm working on a version of a Jewett novella right now that is very constructive. Readers can embed color-coded links in the text--it is very untraditional, so I'm trying to document pub history, copytexts, etc."
Daniel [to Jennifer]: I think that I don't know if there is any kind of cognitive shift in students' learning--I do know that the experience is different. Usually just the fact that it shakes thing up is important. Students are real used to the read, discuss, write about model, so when you give something unfamiliar--like create an electronic edition, they immediately wake up
Gillie says, "Is there anyone out there monitoring pedagogical merit of the diff approaches"
Cynthia says, "here's that URL for MOO Teach, which I mentioned WAY back there :) ...http://home.earthlink.net/~d3davis/mainpg.htm"
Jennifer says, "what made you think of teaching your classes in such a way Daniel?"
Daniel says, "I did some interviews and surveys of students who helped with a hypertext project--they actually built much of it. I asked them to characterize their roles and they came up with titles like researcher, editor, designer. Only one called herself a student. In terms of moving students into professional communities, the interviews were quite encouraging."
Claudine found that students liked htext much better than linear essays--but remains unconvinced that *their* reasons for preferring it were the same as *my* reasons...
Claudine . o O ( i like links; they like pix )
Gillie says, "in terms of the relative immediacy of publication -- did you feel that it had an impact on the authority of voice for the students?"
Daniel [to Jennifer]: Well I'm not much for technological determinism, but often it was a result of being able to do it. The Web meant we could put texts on-line, forums meant we could build response mechanisms into them, frames meant we could explore intertextuality. Also, MY very first web site for a class in fall of 94, after about two weeks of translating DIWE interchanges into HTML., I said...I need some help...you 'guys' can help me out. Then they embedded images into the transcripts and I realized that I really needed the students to be involved in creating stuff for the class sites. It soon became electronic editions.
Gloria quietly enters.
Gloria says, "Hi, all!"
Gloria waves back at Jan.
Daniel [to Claudine]: what were the differences between your students and your reasons for liking ht
Gloria . o O ( ht?? )
Claudine [to Daniel]: I had hoped they would take advantage of the form more--use links more throughout their work. but they spent more time grabbing gifs than rethinking the linear form :(
Claudine [to Gloria]: hypertext
Jennifer says, "Did the different class style cause the students to have more of a responsibility for not only what they read but what and how they write?"
Daniel says, "Also, how did you treat the expectations for the projects? Were there some print-like expectations, or did you adopt ht standards all the way?"
Claudine [to Gillie]: they did "own" the texts more, though, in the sense that they knew other readers (besides our class) might be peeking. they were definitely more aware of audience
Claudine [to Daniel]: not all the way, no. access out-of-class when we began was too spotty. wouldn't have been fair.
Claudine ponders print-like expectations some more...
Jennifer says, "for those who have taught using the internet and hypertext, do you see it as a wave of "the future" or as a tool that will peak in usage at a certain point and not take over education"
Gillie [to Claudine:]: did that cramp their style? Or were they more experimental?
Claudine [to gillie & dan]: they did experiment--just more with visual than hypertextual changes, that's all
Daniel [to Claudine]: I've wrestled with assigning paragraph equivalents--so much original content must be developed, etc. In many ways it is a hedge against just links or just images. Also forced students to include textual description with images, etc.
Jennifer says, "how much background in hypertext and internet do the average students come into the classes with?"
Jennifer says, "how much must be introduced or taught?"
Claudine [to Daniel]: well, we used "traditional" writing assessment, that is, we aimed at writing effectively with good ole-fashioned rhetoric. purpose, audience, appeals, style, etc.
Claudine says, "but we also discussed how forms bound us, and how hypertext had the potential to free us from that,"
Claudine says, "yet very few of them seemed willing (or able?) to exploit that. they spent more time downloading graphics to "make cool pages" than to rethink the *shape* of their texts"
Daniel [to Jennifer]: When I was at Texas a good share of students knew some. My students now know very little. A related point, and an answer is that lots has to be taught. The point is that you can't expect to assign something during the last two weeks and have terrific ht authorship happen. If you assign Web building all semester long, by the end, they ll know the conventions and begin to think about what to do and why
Jennifer says, "Doesn't hypertext have some bounds of its own?"
Claudine [to Jennifer]: Their background varies wildly. I've had kids who manage their own sites and some who barely type.
Claudine [to Daniel]: we did assign it all semesterlast spring. they built to it gradually
Daniel [to Claudine]: Excellent point. Traditional rubrics are great forces. In some ways, though, their search for the perfect background is appealing to the Web audience, maybe, so they were on the right track.
Claudine [to Daniel]: but even the kids who got really into it only looked at the web as a way to "jazz up" an otherwise purely linear essay. I guess my expectations of their ability to break form were a bit too high.
Jennifer says, "Claud and Dan, I guess it all depends on which aspects of the site are the most important for the piece."
Daniel [to Jennifer]: Always its pros and cons. I'm not sure if bounds is the right term, but there are lots of problems.
Claudine [to Daniel]: oh, I wasn't disappointed in what they did, but I guess I just had *different* expectations. You're right, though. Most of what they had *seen* on the web WAS just jazzy linear text.
Claudine nods to Jennifer. That's just it. They critiqued other sites all semester long. Most of the time, they focused on how the site LOOKED. I had to pull teeth to get them to write about how the site "hung" or navigated.
Jennifer pats Claudine on the back
Gloria says, "How many different aspects does ht writing have? So far, the binaries seem to be 'linear' and 'non-linear'. Any other ideas about how ht differs in shape from print medium?"
Daniel [to Claudine]: You're right about the forms being uncomfortable. Even to us, I'd imagine. I'm always thrilled and dissappointed at the same time with student web projects. I've tried recently to have them do things that are conducive to the Web-- analyze graffiti as a cultural movement. Still even when I get students to think of images as being rhetorical and to use text and images in concert, the forms of the hts are a mish mash.
Jennifer says, "multilinearitly is another difference"
Claudine grins--they can't all be "stars" huh?
Gloria says, "By forms do mean those 'forms' that are used in mail-tos, for instance?"
Jennifer smiles "what would the world be if they were..."
Claudine nods to Dan. It's like they want to keep it all simple, surface only. Texture! pshaw!
Claudine [to Gloria]: I mean alternate forms of presentation. Here's one good example:
Claudine says, "one student wanted to write the usual PETA/animal research paper."
Gloria says, "Oh. Maybe you meant the forms (shapes)..."
Daniel [to Gloria]: I guess the visual elements are a big focus for me.. I mean the shapes of the hts. Many students grasp on four or five pages, like they would paragraphs in an essay.
Claudine says, "she began by (of course) opposing all animal testing..."
Claudine says, "but as she researched the benefits (vaccines, surgical techniques) she changed her mind."
Jennifer says, "perhaps the graphics part is because that is what excites them the most and is the most "visibly" different then those paper articles in black and white text you have them read."
Claudine says, "when she was ready to publish the essay, *she* used hypertext to present the front node only, so that the *reader* could choose which path to follow first."
Jennifer [to Claudine]: Interesting
Claudine says, "she didn't want to seem disloyal to the animal rights side of her argument, yet she was completely convinced that the testing was (in many cases she researched) justified."
Claudine says, "so the SHAPE of the hypertext helped her to overcome a rhetorical problem. A linear essay would have FORCED her to put one argument forth FIRST, therefore, preferring it, she felt."
Claudine sighs again. She was the only one.
Daniel [to Claudine]: would you advocate that she switch to a linear model?
Claudine says, "NO!"
Claudine says, "She was the "model" I was hoping for!"
Jennifer [to Claudine]: would she have been the only one if her "side" hadn't changed?
Daniel says, "I'm so confused about this transition from print to digital texts."
Claudine shakes her head, Jenn. She would have simply presented on long page with the essay and probably pasted a few animal gifs to it.
Jennifer says, "Interesting how her subject and change is what made her "see" and use the hypertext"
Claudine [to Daniel]: what I'm getting at, I think, is that I would like students to think more carefully, more deeply about what they can do with hypertext.
Jennifer wishes she could have taken a class from Claudine
Claudine says, "I like that they are being more visual, absolutely. But that doesn't take much effort on their part. The visual is the easy part, I think. The form is a little harder."
Claudine grins at Jenn, well, you were around for some of them, eh?
Daniel [to Claudine]: I like what you're saying. We've often said that writing is a process of discovery, but does ht allow us to remake that process at all?
Jennifer says, "integrating the two, form and visual I think is important, but..."
Claudine thinks it does, like Jenn just pointed out. After the student changed her mind, she encountered a problem. HT helped her to SOLVE the problem.
Jennifer smile at Claudine
Gillie says, "It seems to me that ht frees us to explore more"
Claudine notices a lightbulb hovering over her head...
Jennifer says, "maybe explore differently"
Claudine . o O ( should we POSE more problems??? ) .
Jennifer says, "It is time to begin rounding this up"
Jennifer says, "I would welcome further comments and discussions"
Jennifer shows slide #10.
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The recorder is about to be turned off.
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