Readers Reading

Jamie on the Douglas reading and the difference between us changing our interpretation of something each time we read it, versus the thing we are reading each time we read it. Meanwhile Niamh sees that hypertexts are more complex than choose your own adventure books, and that they are fluid rather than fixed. Excellent summary from Anna, picking up key points. Cassandra is, well, more shocked I think. The point is not take an existing book and turn that in hypertext (that is like treating cinema as filming plays) but to think about what a story that began from the condition of hypertext might be. This is the key difference. Books that work well as books won’t work well as hypertexts, just as we can argue whether the film version is any good or not. Rebecca remembers choose your own adventure books to, though of course these don’t change, just our pathway changes, which is an important difference. James on the Douglas reading and books and futures. Marina on the changed role (and authority) of the reader in hypertext – and by implication other multilinear narratives. Kiralee is interested in the idea of a story where the reader has some agency.


Mia on how the WWW is a ‘web’ and thinking through that a bit more. Jane realises that things are immediately near to hand when writing online, and this makes a difference. More significantly it makes a difference to your own writing in an essay for now any paragraph is as far away from another paragraph as any other. Marina on Landow, hypertext, and usefulness. Interesting question, a part from convenience, what else does hypertext teach us? Angus on blogs and realising that medical research is blogged. I’m an academic, there are a lot of amazing academic blogs out there which are more active than many a book or journal. It’s the same with every area, once you realise that informed time based reflective writing lets experts share, then things change a lot. Monique has intriguing comments picking up the elegance (simplicity) of what lies behind Nelson’s things. 

HTML Beginnings

Rebecca is busy getting better at writing HTML, remember your final essay can be written in HTML, even possiby as a hypertext, so you can use these skills if you wish. Kelsey uses HTML at work, and Isabelle does a bit of freestyle. Jane found it simpler and more relevant than expected, and disagrees with Brady, for while things like Dreamweaver make things simpler no one uses it professionally for web development. (There are programs that make it easier to write stories, they automate parts of the process, but if you were serious about writing stories, would you use one? Ditto with web authoring. Pros code, amateurs use WYSIWYG.)

Symposium Responses

Isabelle sees that people who are good at things explore and push their medium, not just the content, and so understanding some things about hypertext matters as it gives us some ways to think about the deeper parts of the medium of the Web. Gemma picks up some of the edu conversations and has a great example from being taught dance. Karlee notices just how much she uses the internet and wonders if her defending books is now compromised. I’d add that there is also the things you don’t see that rely on the internet. Banking, student records at RMIT, results being entered and managed, the information that the library gets from other places. Laura wonders about education and that kids writing HTML is probably unnecessary. I think it is absolutely necessary and as basic as any other sort of learning how to write in primary school. Being in control of what you write and how is the essence of being literate. If you can’t write a platform (eg WordPress), then simple HTML is that control. And kids should know it (and many do). Kelsey finds a brief video from the inestimable Sir Ken Robinson on the same things mentioned in the symposium. Rebecca wonders just how much HTML is changing us.

Hypertext and Stuff

Mia on the Landow with a nice observation that blogs aren’t really like blogs, for instance blogs are ‘backwards’, and unlike diaries are public. Tilly pauses on just one thing in there and realises that it inverts 400 years of print. Rebecca writes a post that plays off links (though HTML is a very diluted form of hypertext), and Evan realises hypertext is the name for what has been there all along. Evan realising that perhaps we aren’t readers anymore, a nice realisation, and Gemma wondering if Ted would like choose your own adventure (as hypertext definitely not). Louis realising that linking and joining, deeply, and everything, is a pretty intriguing concept (one that it is still not realised).


HTML is what is known as a declarative markup language, and it isn’t quite really ‘coding’ in that you don’t write anything in HTML that ‘runs’. But knowing some basic HTML really is a basic literacy if you’re wanting to do things on the Web. Ellen has been wanting to do this for a while, and would like to do more. Fair enough, let’s see where we end up. The essay you’re writing can certainly be HTML pages, and once you have done one page and realised it is just markup around text, it’s simple to find a list of the basics (begin here, progress to here.)

Nethaniel gets stuck since we’re using OS X (which is actually UNIX) and he’s on PC. This is simple network literacy at work, all FTP and SFTP clients work the same, they want a server address, a username, a password. Where they ask for them, how you do it, might vary, but these are given. The key here is knowing this. A google search on “recommended free ftp clients for windows” seems to give a good list. Writing code? You need a text editor. That is all. Not Word, a text editor. EVERY computer has one. On Windows it is Notepad. Just make sure you save the files as text (and name them with .html). Or again, Google ‘text editors for windows” if you want something fancier.

Rebecca is also enjoying it. Sounds fey, but knowing how to write HTML is empowering. Much more empowering than knowing how to set up a FaceBook account, or even change your theme in a blog. I’m hoping you’re all bright enough to begin to see why.

More Literacies

Lisha finds a definition of network literacy (which I find sort of uncanny as to the best of my knowledge Jill Walker and I were the first to coin the term when we wrote an abstract for a conference at RMIT in the early 2000s, the paper never got written unfortunately, a couldabeen moment).

Seonaid I think nails things pretty well about network literacy, and I think the Japanese example at the end is spot on. This is what we call critical thinking, not because it criticises but because it thinks through and with (for you newbie coders, that was the emphasis, aka em tag back there) the terms and implications of an idea.