Semester Overview of readings Category

You name the era we are heading into.

Write a three-page paper that demonstrates your ability to apply assigned readings to your own experience reading (and studying, and analyzing, and annotating) an academic etext.

As with the other exercises, I am expecting you to engage meaningfully with direct quotes taken from our assigned readings.

This assignment also asks you to report your first-hand experience with ebook tools and resources that are currently available.
  • A Kindle is available for you to check out at the library; I have pre-loaded it with some media-related books.
  • I will also loan my own Kindle overnight if you schedule with me in advance.
  • If you have an iPhone, you can use the Kindle app.
  • You can also download a free Kindle reader for a PC or Mac. (There are plenty of free Kindle books.)
  • As of April 14, there are about 10 iPads at SHU.  I don't know who will get them, or whether they will be available for students to try out. If you can get ahold of an iPad, wonderful!
  • I have not tried it out, but here is a link to a free trial of a "PDF Annotator" tool. Is it useful for scholars? Can you find a different tool that might be better?
  • (see for yourself whether Darnton's hopes/fears for Google are accurate)
Assigned Text:

Darnton (Ch 2-4)

What can we learn from the anxieties, and hopes, expressed by Darnton -- a traditionalist who (by Ch 4) explains his reasons for wanting to write an e-Book?
Assigned Text:

Memex & Buckland

In 1946, Vannevar Bush published "As We May Think" (I assigned it in EL236, but I'm not assigning the whole article this time -- this online handout should provide you with what you need to know).  It provides you with background information that will help you understand the assigned text, which is Buckland's analysis of the pre-history of the imaginary machine Bush described.

Bush proposed (but nobody ever built) a mechanical device that would permit a reader to locate, annotate, and connect individual microfilm pages. 

The actions he describes seem trivial to us today, just as a photocopier, or a spill-proof ball-point pen, or an eraser-tipped pencil are so much a part of our scholarly life that we can hardly comprehend their revolutionary impact upon our productivity.

Assigned Text:

Aarseth (Ch 6 & 9)

Focus on a passage that you consider to be comprehensible (or accessible, etc.), and a passage that you consider to be challenging (or confusing, or difficult, etc.). 

What makes the passages different?

As a student who has been asked to demonstrate an ability to engage with this text, what are some good strategies that can help you make sense of advanced material?
(Originally assigned for Apr 20; discussion moved to today.)

In this excerpt from The Republic, Plato spins an extended metaphor that uses the fuzzy shadows cast from firelight to stand for the imperfect way that we comprehend our world when we do not use the light of reason. Without the light of reason, we are like prisoners chained in a cave, who never see daylight, and never look at objects themselves. As prisoners, we base all that they know on their understanding of the fuzzy shadows of things, rather than the direct observation of things themselves. (How can we apply this story to our own exploration of media?)

Assigned Text:

Aarseth (Ch 8)

Assigned Text:

Darnton (Ch 1)

Assigned Text:

Blank, Deadline

Spend at least 20 minutes playing this online version of Deadline, the 1982 game that Aarseth examines in Ch5.

This IF command cheat sheet will help.

You are welcome to go online to look for tips and hints, but if you do, please mention them in your blog entry.
Assigned Text:

Aarseth (Ch5)

Read this after watching the "Jerz & Jerz" video.
Assigned Text:

Jerz & Jerz

Brief introduction to interactive fiction. This is part 1 of 3; I'm only assigning the first part (about 10 minutes).

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