Highlighting the "Interactivity" of the Reading
By using required reading links, instructors
can give students access to valuable information that they might not have
time to touch on in class. Students may also unearth valuable resources
as part of their own searches. And of course, instructors can create their
own resources, mixing and matching and taking advantage of the richness
of what is out there. Unlike static textbooks, online resources provide
the rare opportunity of creating material that is tailor-made for student
The Link Axiom of Community:
My text has value only insofar as it opens itself to the texts of others. Let there
be links. Delusion of Community:
My work has value only in its distinction from your work, and from the Web
at large. These are my words.
from Pillars of Wisdom/Pillows of Folly, Stuart Moulthrop Gary Marchionini of the Perseus Project writes
that the designers of that system "view knowledge as a process and flow
of relationships rather than as compartmentalized and discrete concepts
or units" (6-7). This seems a more reasonable way of stating Landow's intent
when he says that the informing idea of hypermedia is that one proceeds
in understanding any particular phenomena by relating it to other contexts.
While Landow seems to find meaning in linking itself, Moulthrop's axioms
point out that one must keep a balance between text and context, between
the node and the link.
I've found that technology like the WWW or electronic
texts can make students more aware of their active roles as readers.
In this class, I stress that the book itself is an "interactive" technology.
It is so, I explain, because interpretation depends on an interplay between
text and context that is always being renewed or even extended in the understanding
of each reader. To reinforce this lesson, I use the WWW both to distribute
questions for the class's study--because I also emphasize that reading
is REreading--and to broaden their context through secondary materials.
And I have my students read a contemporary hypertext fiction that is an
intertext of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. Cramer's
story plays off the motifs of Carroll, and it shreds traditional notions
of narrative progress even more radically than does the nonsense book.
While I allude to Joyce or Borges, my students often liken Cramer's work
to the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books of their childhood.