CCCC 2001 in Review: J.23 When Is Hypertext Not Text? Expanding Conceptions of Hypermedia Literacy, chaired by Derek Owens

Emmanuel Savopopoulos presented "Literacy without Words: Histories of Pre-hypermedia Literacy."

Savopopoulos mentioned that he wrote the presentation on the way and that's what it felt like--a first draft with sketchy overheads. There were run of the mill ideas such as teaching visual literacy by watching a video with the sound off to see what it means, or listening to sound without the images to get a better sense of visual literacy in language. The presenter was clearly under-prepared--there was little evidence that listeners received much benefit from the presentation.

Carla Caglioti presented "Literacy, Rhetoric, and Hypertext: Will They Meet in the Field of Composition."

Actually, the entire presentation was done solely by a 27-inch TV screen displaying a video about hypertext. Ms. Caglioli attended the session but said little. Her TV show did not play well in the back rows of the session. The video used narration that sounded like it could be explaining any number of things. The tone was instructive and kind but not distinctive, and with screen shots of things like a Yahoo portal screen, you just can imagine the visual excitement. The video mentioned the usual hypertext suspects or theorists in a monotone that would have made Mark Amerika cry. In essence, the video flatly expressed ideas about hypertext that have been presented at the 4Cs and Computers and Writing Conferences previously. The only shaping of the ideas that seemed new was that they were being expressed as a video. Still, the video's 20 minutes did manage to evidence research and presentational effort.

Edward Fristrom presented "Can't We Teach Visual Literacy?"

Fristrom began his presentation by asking the audience why they were there. Next, he read a paper with subtitles like "homepage" and "link one." The clever inversion of a paper about hypertext using hypertext formatting almost worked. Fristrom seemed like an intelligent and dedicated educator, but it was hard to see what he was saying beyond stressing the need to think visually when teaching students to write Web pages.

Perhaps it was the Q&A that really defined the session. Myron Tuman and Marcia Halio (two "early adapters" who have presented significant ideas about teaching composition with computers) asked good questions that weren't answered at all. The presenters had not progressed beyond teaching with hypertext to really studying teaching and hypertext. This session was not typical of the conference but it may indicate a need to improve the ways we offer our scholarship to each other. [WH]

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