Appendix 2: List of Student Quotations/Works

(Listed alphabetically by student; direct quotations are either indented or in quotation marks.)

I want to say yes and no. I want to tell you that I wish we would have used the computers at the beginning of the semester rather than the end. That way I would have been able to type all of my papers. I would also have had access to a spellchecker. I want to tell you that I learned more about writing in general by talking about the difference between hypertext and print than I did the rest of the semester. But I also don't know if hypertext should be required. We worked on it in here because we wanted to--you convinced us we should do it. Other students, in other schools might have a very different response. Remember you're the one who told us, students should always have a choice about what they study, what they read. (Holly Amato)
Here is why Bolter sounds like he knows what he is talking about. He says 'structures,' 'symbols,' and 'intrinsic' and 'extrinsic' a number of times. These words, along with 'verbal gestures' mean something. That is they sound important, Nick Athineos says. Although I've personally enjoyed this part of the class [the section on hypertext], I don't think everyone was as interested in this as they were in the myths of gender or the crossing borders units. In those other sections, everyone seemed to have something to say. In this unit, some people couldn't even get a handle on how to use the computer. As a result, I'd say that hypertext or hypertext writing should be an elective. It should count like a 120 course [Composition 2]. That way those of us interested in computers could write on them for a whole semester.
Nick Athineos analyzed the representations of Vincent Foster's death on the Web and in print text. He found that the speculations about Foster's death as a murder emerged in newspaper reports (Washington Post and New York Times) shortly after Foster's death. These speculations, however, were soon replaced by more-level headed accounts of Foster's death in the following days. The speculations about Foster's death as a potential murder were not followed up; websites sprang up that filled in this need.

While I disagree with Nick's argument that there was a "need" that had to be filled, he was correct in pointing the potential of the Web to keep alive speculation or a thread of the news event that the mainstream media has dropped. What interests me about my reaction is that I was somewhat taken back by the argument American citizens had a right to more information on Foster's death than was available in newspaper accounts. While I applaud the openness, the alternative news sources the Web provides, I think of this benefit in terms of hearing about events from Eastern Europe or gaining multiple perspectives on developments in Israel's West Bank. The speculation that Foster's death was a murder seemed to me to be far-fetched when reported in the mainstream media, and when Nick suggested that the websites were providing a valuable service for democracy--the openness and flow of information--my first reaction was only for a bunch of conspiracy buffs.... however, Nick's argument that the Web keeps information alive and allows other conduits for communication is absolutely correct. The development of communication technology will keep information flowing and politicians honest.

Judah Beck compared his CD subscription to Time and his father's print subscription to the magazine. While Judah argued that the CD subscription made the retrieval of old articles easier, the true strength of his essay was the connections between him and his father as well as between the two mediums. That is, the dissemination of information always seems to be a tool, a way of talking between generations as well as between mediums. As Judah's essay points out, the Internet will replace printed text but this replacement does not erase what has come before. Rather the transition from print to hypertext, from print to the Internet, is a building upon--an act of adding to already existing knowledge. What electronic communications will provide us with then is an easier time in recovering the past, not an erasure of it.

“Nelson does not sound as complex as Rouet or Bolter. Yet as we're talk about him I understood what he meant. I think an authority should be clear. Nelson is clear. Especially when he says, `pathways,'” Juan Cardona claims.

Juan Cardona's essay on "Books vs. Computers" begins with the following paragraph:

What would you say if I were to tell you that there is a revolution taking place this very moment? which has affected each and everyone of us in one way or another. If I were to tell you that because of this revolution, people are becoming less self reliant and more dependent on computers? The meaning of the word memory is also about to change from the human capacity to remember all sorts of things to the human capacity to use a computer. Nevertheless, what if I told you that in a near future you and your children will not know the meaning of the word hard work or manual labor? and that the answers to your everyday questions will be as far away as the touch of a button. Last but not least, what do we make of a school without books? Although these questions may seem somewhat awkward or even weird, they describe a change our society will be--or already is--going through.
His essay ends with the following paragraph:
We should use the technology available to us and expand our knowledge on the information provided to us, not on the one thing that provides us with the information (computer). We have to try and use these machines as a way of helping us get through the fascinating world of literature and other interesting fields of study, which till now have been on paper. We shouldn't just use this equipment to do the work for us, that's just pure laziness. We should use our imagination and enable an interaction between the machine and the user to get the job well done. Moreover, as human beings we characterize ourselves as hard working individuals, which are the one's responsible for running this world. This the most important job of all was given to us not to any kind of machine. And till now, it has been done very well by means of a pen and a piece of paper. Why not keep this tradition alive, and in our new modernized world, use computers as a resource (tool) to help us fulfill this task. Not using it as a means of doing the job for you. Reading hypertext should open our imaginations, should continue to challenge our imaginations. It can replace books. It cannot replace the ideas from old books, instead it must transform them. (Juan Cardona )
“Hypertext is the language that the Internet uses to transfer information to the net surfer, using links to get to other sites,” Michael Carney points out.
When I first started using the Internet, Web pages and word processors on my computer, I was a little skeptical and a little reluctant to make the transition. However, I quickly became aware of the many benefits of using computer text and technology: the speed of receiving and sending information, the conservation of space when saving a box's worth of documents on a single disk, the ease of having the computer look up synonyms, spell check the work and locate repeating words in a sentence, and lastly the number of trees saved by recording information on disk rather than paper is environmentally more sound. The Internet is the quickest, cheapest, most environmentally conscious and most efficient way of obtaining and exchanging information. With it, we can save trees, save time, save space, and most of all allow literacy to evolve to a higher level, and give us “a glimpse of the electronic future.” (Smriti Kapoor)
Soula Michaelides writes, Rouet uses terms and then he expands this terms with definitions--semantic associations, expansions, etc. that sounds like the way a person who is really into his subject would talk.”“One of the problems I have with Landow's and Bolter's claims about electronic text is that they emphasize a lack of order--“no required order.” But I am attending college and taking this class so that I'll learn how to order my words in a better way. I am trying to learn how to write in a clear manner, so that I can communicate my ideas. If I want to convince a politician to change his/her mind, I need to present my ideas in a clear fashion. Hypertext doesn't encourage that. I'm not saying I want to be a politician, but I know I don't want to be a computer scientist. If I'm going to be a business woman, I need to write in a clear and orderly fashion. Hypertext, although, it may be fun to play with, isn't good for me. 

Here is some more material from Judith Soriano's essay on the differences she encountered when researching women in colonial Latin America in the library and on the Internet:

In my Latin American History class during my first semester at college, I encountered my first real college research paper. We were allowed to choose any topic and to write on it. I picked women believing that would be the easiest to do research on. I thought that I would look up Latin American Women easily on the Internet and get enough information to write my paper. How wrong I was. The paper required a deep analysis of Colonial Latin American Women from the 1680s to 1800 and an interpretations of two scholarly articles. On the Internet I found no in depth information and no articles pertaining to Latin American Women from 1680 to 1800. Because the topic was so specific, the Internet did not have the answers and information I needed in order to complete my research. I did find all the answers and information I could ever need to write a full analytic paper in the library, however.

The library is a "collection of documents" as Zorana Ercegova stated in an article written in Library and Information Science Research. William Katz says the library is a "reference collection." The library has books, maps, audiovisuals, patents, manuscripts, journals, reference books, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of media. They all can be found through the library catalog by author, title and key word entries. Every document has its own call number to retrieve the documents you desire.

Web sites and Web search engines are considered to have "crude retrieval mechanisms" which are incomparable to the library (Ercegova 37). These mechanisms consist of Alta Vista, Infoseek, Lycos, and Yahoo. All these search engines may have a vast collection of information but they lack the structure and order that the library catalogs have. The Web sites have just begun to organize and become a location where we can retrieve information, and it will take a while longer to reach the libraries' standard.

Since the World Wide Web's resources are still considered to be in their infancy, surfing on the Internet for a specific topic can be time consuming. It is true that you do find some information on Web sites but spending all that time to find a couple of sentences on the topic does not have its merits. We have to link up from one website to another hoping to find something through trial and error. We would also have to know enough about computers and the Internet to maintain your link. One little error puts us at risk of losing all the research we have gained during a session (Biddiscombe 10). When doing a key word search on the search engines, thousands of sites can be pulled out. From these few, some of them have general, broad information and some of them have strange concepts that you cannot even evaluate in terms of facts, opinion, fiction or non-fiction. Today Web sites can be created by either an organization or an individual. They can express their own ideas and interests; they are not held to any standards the way books are. Right now it is very difficult to find adequate information on the Internet (Rusch-Feja 5-6).

Libraries do not only have books, magazines and journals, they also have librarians. Human beings can be our best resources. They are there to listen to and give you advice on how to approach a research topic. They can tell you how to find information and what the best sources are for a particular topic. Librarians are "information units" who have in depth knowledge about resources that can be used in specific subject area research. As Nardi writes, "The use of specific and often highly specialized domain knowledge is an aspect of human-mediated searching unlikely to be matched by technology" (62).

Judith Soriano ends her essay by claiming:
Sure the Internet is great when we have to do a research paper on frogs but what do we, college students, do when we have to do our papers on Colonial Latin American Women from 1640-1800? When doing my research all I found on the Internet after hours was “Latin American Women played an essential part in history.” How was I to incorporate this statement into my history paper? At the library I found a librarian specialized in Latin American History who was able to direct me to indexes, reference books and instructed me in how to find articles. All this was found in the library. I spend as much time in the library as I did on the Internet and in the library is where I found all that I needed to write my paper comparing the Colonial Women of Brazil and Mexico. We know that we live in a modern world of technology where information is at our finger tips but not all the information. We still have to refer to printed text to find all the information. Eventually we will get to that postmodern world where printed text and the library are ancient artifacts, this may happen further in the future when our children will be in college. However, “librarians predict that books will never disappear” (Wilson 2). We will just have to see for our selves, but as for now follow my advice--library NOW and Internet LATER. 

Zvonko Vasic decides, “Hypertext is the organization of a computer website, where a document is linked to several other branches of information regarding the subject you choose to look upon.”

(James) Jian Wang insists, “Hypertext is very nice thing that help us to compare between two writings. It is really something cool and easy. It something that you look for and it shows up in a second. It helps you to write something perfectly.”