Edited Inksheds on Session 1b: In the Mirror of Genre: Students Write this World (Doug Brent)
Whenever students write, even in longhand, they are aware that they are writing in a populated space. A lot of writing in classrooms is "competitive" writing. Student are enjoined to write some thing new, something fresh, something original. They are aware that all their fellow students are trying to do the same thing?
But what really intrigues me is their desire to interact with the texts they encounter, to put themselves into these texts.
And any text, however neutral, can be made problematic by being shared with the world.
Information isn't enough: David Suzuki was telling us recently that we suffer from kinds of information overload that can retard our ability to connect with, make sense of, integrate the bits into coherent schemes.
Are there different "skills" in hypertext generation or hypertext understanding than in traditional literacy forms?
Do we teach students to distinguish between different modes of present argument in different media? Do we need separate courses for this?
I wondered about it and my explanation was that students were trying to follow "conventions" as they interpreted them on the web.
Our table found it hard to stick to the given topic questions but raised further questions about the nature of identity, for instance, that we also couldn't answer.
Hypertext would be really liberating to non-linear thinkers--the "staying in control" sense is pretty overwhelming.
Wouldn't it be important to teach students to read in this medium first? Read critically?
The web and hypertext are still in a state of infancy. Thus, similar to infants, they are full of uncertain future possibilities and promise.
. . . in days gone by many people were embarrasses if they were illiterate --> Now we hide our computer literacy. -- Donna Lee
Doug is right to point out the ad that his students failed to recognize as such. After all, the commercial nature of this space (and its militaristic origins) is a part of its generic qualities.
How do we teach students to explore reading/editing hypertext and at the same time teach what the other professional faculties seem to demand that we teach?