Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hypertext Reflections

When we first started this class, I did not know what to expect. Although my prior knowledge of hypertext itself was limited, some of our readings reminded me of my personal use of the internet. As our class continued, I realized that I had been missing out on a lot of interesting (and sometimes bizarre) online projects.
Looking back on my experiences I can say this: Hypertext is confusing! The whole is definitely larger than the sum of its parts. (I feel that we cannot count most of the parts - they are vast and various). Landow described doing away with linearity as not necessarily doing “away with all linearity nor [removing] formal coherence, though it may appear in new and unexpected forms” (223). This statement is the epitome of hypertext: it is confusing, yet makes sense. Amidst this confusion, I did find out that although I was sometimes thoroughly confused, it was an interesting confusion.. And things did come together to make sense.
I was pleased to make connections with hypertext and my interdisciplinary classes. In my INT classes, we have discussed viewing our different disciplines as “lenses” which we can use separately (such as mine are English Literature and Cultural and Historical Studies), or look through both at one time, to bring our disciplines together in our world view. Landow describes “hypertext as a lens, or new agent of perception, to reveal something previously unnoticed or unnoticeable, and it then extrapolates the results of this inquiry to predict future developments” (219).
Although Landow writes about interdisciplinary studies becoming outdated without hypertext, his other ideas about literary education mirror those I have studied in an interdisciplinary setting. According to Landow, “hypertext…provides a means of integrating the subject materials of a single course with other courses.” In his book Interdisciplinarity: The New Critical Idiom, Joe Moran explores how many subjects are evolving. The same is true for hypertext: it combines theory (knowing what to do), subject skill (whether it is literary, historical, or other) and technology (knowing how to do it). Not only is the technology evolving, but ideas of what to write and how to present it are evolving as well. Many disciplines can be combined in hypertext in countless ways.

When learning about hypertext, I often felt confused and overwhelmed (most of it was technological frustration). Individually, the technology, theory, and readings were a lot to digest. However, upon completing this course, I can see how everything fits together. I feel satisfied that I understand theories and apply them to this growing technology. I also hope to learn more technology and delve further into the may layers that make up what we now know to be hypertext.

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