software instruction
default to linear

theory gap



My course sought to help students theorize the future of the academic essay as hypertext. This effort worked on two levels. We engaged with some of the literature on hypertext, new media, and composition. At the same time, the students' principal project for the course was an academic hypertext that attempted to enact the very ideas in those readings. Early assignments asked students to critically examine some existing academic hypertexts. When it came to producing their own academic hypertexts, my students' first projects looked more like linear (and print) text than the multilinear textual-visual designs identified by hypertext and new media scholars as key features of hypertext. My students mostly struggled to make hypertext theory concretely meaningful for their composition assignments. While these initial efforts served as tools for reflection, and as necessary technical training in HTML and Macromedia Dreamweaver, classroom practice always involved a healthy dose of one-on-one code editing, or assistance navigating software interfaces. A central element in students' efforts to move beyond linearity in their academic hypertexts, to "build a mystery," as Davis and Shadle (2000) put it, was a focus on content-driven designs.



abstract | background | theory | praxis | models | course


      #FFFFFF, #000000, & #808080: Hypertext Theory and WebDev in the Composition Classroom
Michael J. Cripps, York College, City University of New York