In This Issue . . .
Our First ProceedingsGreg Siering
Ball State University
Editor & Publisher, Kairos
As James Inman notes in his own Logging On article, the process of putting together this issue of Kairos was much different than the work we've done on previous issues. With this issue being our first attempt at publishing a selected proceedings from a Computers and Writing Conference, we were not sure what shape the issue would take, or what we'd have to do to get it there . . . wherever "there" would end up being. For one thing, we had to balance the need to publish work that met the standards we've set for this journal--both for content and for presentation--with a desire to represent what actually went on at the conference. There's a big difference between a conference presentation and a well-designed webtext, and we had to think long and hard about what we meant when we asked for hypertext adaptations of conference presentations. As you'll see in this issue, our submitters provided the answers to that problem in a variety of innovative ways.
In order to capture the essence of general sessions, we've collected adaptations of five presentations at the conference; webbed versions of these sessions vary considerably in their online format and topic.In Hybrid://Literature/Cognition/Design, Dan Anderson presents an extended view of the topic he discussed at the conference, the design and construction of the WORP project (Women of the Romantic Period Hypertext). In this complex and insightful study, Dan examines this project's development and uses that analysis to examine Web design in a larger sense. Further, Dan integrates an intriguing annotation feature that makes this project worthy of analysis itself.Beyond these webbed re-presentations, we have tweaked all our other sections a bit to add to the conference focus of this issue: News includes reports and resources from various pre- and post-convention workshops, as well as reports on research-in-progress that first saw the light of day at the conference. Response offers an interactive format in which to read and respond to conference abstracts. And our CoverWeb captures the "town hall" meetings that expanded this conference in new and interactive ways. In some ways, this issue of Kairos looks quite a bit like any other. But in other ways, our attempt to capture a conference on the Web puts a whole new spin on what we are trying to do with this journal, making it even more timely and worthy of its name.
Approaching design issues from another perspective, Anne Wysocki offers Monitoring Order: Visual desire, the Organization of Web Pages, and Teaching the Rules of Design as an examination of "composition" in a larger sense. By seeking out connections between the Web, book publishing, and art theory, Anne complicates the "rules of design" by asking us to think critically about the ways visual composition effects meaning and representation.
Dawn Rodrigues moves us further into the visual with her work, Models of Distance Education for Composition: The Potential of Video Conferencing. In this study, Dawn explores how two-way video impacts her students' reaction to distance education, particularly how it provides a sense of face-to-face communication often lacking in online work.
In Structuring Destructions: (the) Will to Order the Computer Classroom, Byron Hawk not only removes his video camera but also studies the ways technology impacts classroom and learning dynamics. Reflecting on his own experiences--and experiments--in teaching, Byron studies the intersections of class management and classroom design in a postmodern electronic classroom.
Moving us out of the classroom and providing us with a look into the more playful and experimental aspects of the conference, Michael Spooner and Kathleen Blake Yancey present us with their multivocal and multilinear Not a Cosmic Convergence: Rhetoric, Poetics, Performance, and the Web, a webbed adaptation of their "performance piece" from the conference.
In closing, I must admit here that I was unable to attend the conference in Florida this year--a family emergency canceled my trip at the last moment--but if these adaptations are any indication of the quality, creativity, and excitement present in Gainesville that weekend, I'll soon be booking my flight to South Dakota for Computers and Writing '99.
Greg Siering is the editor and publisher of Kairos. He is a doctoral student in Composition and Rhetoric at Ball State University where he teaches first-year composition and manages the department website.