Print Volume 20.2 (June 2004)

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Community Computing and Citizen Productivity.
— Jeffrey T. Grabill, Michigan State University

This article is about the development of a community network in an Atlanta, Georgia neighborhood. The project was a long-term effort using community-based design with the goal of helping a community use information technologies more effectively to enhance the life of the community. The argument is about the necessity of designing information technology tools in community contexts, about developing new models of research for community-based work, and about the critical importance of engaging in community-based work that can be sustained over time. The argument also focuses on the necessity of designing community networks that both recognize the productive power and expertise of community residents and allow for productive practices to be developed and utilized in the future.

Technologies of Difference: Reading the Virtual Age through Sexual (In)Difference.
— Patricia Webb, Arizona State University

French feminist Luce Irigaray critiqued the phallocentric structures' creation of woman as man's Other, a critique that can be applied to a study/critique of our representations of information technologies in the virtual age. The representations present contradictory ways of man engaging with technology, expressing both a fear of technology (connecting technology with woman) and an embracing of technology (situating technology in the realm of supra-man). In our current system of sexual (in)difference, men use technology in two very distinct and different ways: to distance themselves from their own bodies and to consume technology so that their bodies are one with technology. At the heart of both these moves is the desire to control the Other, technology and/or woman. Because phallocentrism groups Others together, women and technology become unlikely bed partners. By studying representations of technology through Irigarian lenses, then, we can see that the sexual revolution, a revolution that would acknowledge two sexes rather than the One (read: patriarchal sexuality), has not even begun, much less been completed.

Open Systems and Citizenship: Designing a Departmental Web Site as an Open System.
— Clay Spinuzzi, University of Texas at Austin

Academic web sites are often “brochureware”: monologic sites that primarily provide information about an academic unit, with strongly limited feedback or contributions from those who are represented by the site. In such sites, divergent ideas and viewpoints are typically papered over, since the means of producing such pages tend to be concentrated in the hands of a small group of people. This article describes how we redesigned one such site as an open system in which control is distributed among departmental members. Our goal was to provide a productive civic forum for those citizens while still meeting the needs of the site’s visitors. We describe the conversational approach we used to redesign the site, apply it to a critique of the original web site, then describe the changes we implemented to remake the site as a civic forum. Finally, we describe the site’s early successes and failures and the lessons we learned.

The use of chat rooms in an ESL setting.
— Yi Yuan, National University of Singapore

This article explores the combination of online chat rooms with regular classroom interactions in a personalized English program and its potentials to enhance second language development. Two non-native English speaking university professionals participated in a one-hour online chatting session each week with the author for 10 weeks in addition to weekly classroom meetings. Printouts of the chat sessions were used in subsequent classroom discussions and were analysed for the present study. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the data show that the participants sometimes noticed the errors they made in their online chatting and initiated repairs on them. Such noticing of linguistic forms has positive effects on learners and is necessary for language acquisition to occur. These results suggest that the face-to-face interactions may have highlighted the participants’ language problems and enhanced their awareness of such problems while the online chatting provided the participants a unique opportunity to put their grammatical knowledge to practice through meaningful communication.

Keeping with the currency of the print-based journal, Print to Screen focuses on the themes found in the recent issues of Computers and Composition, and includes multimodal commentaries that explore and remediate relationships between print and screen.

Section Editor — Elizabeth Monske

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