Chat Transcript: May 13, 2000
Teaching CyberMedia

Chat with Meg Powers Livingston, Robert Kendall, Bill Bly, Richard Higgason, Bobby Arellano, and other elit teachers.

Teaching literature used to depend on everyone reading the same pages and discussing the same experience. But hypertext literature is notorious for its multiple beginnings and endings. What are some approaches for introducing electronic literature and, particularly, hypertexts to the classroom? What works? What doesn't? And how do students react? Come join e-writers, teachers, and students to discuss ways that hypertext literature can be (and is being) taught, how students take to hypertext, how to discuss works, syllabi, and other issues. This chat will be particularly useful for teachers contemplating introducing electronic literature into the curriculum, students who have taken courses, writers, artists, and others.

Meg Powers Livingstone is a Renaissance Lit specialist who comes to hypertext via an interest in teaching with technology; I recently taught a lower-division "Introduction to Literature" course that incorporated a beginner's look at electronic literatures (i.e., even a non-specialist can teach elit!).

She is currently teaching as a lecturer at UCLA and will become an assistant professor of English at Penn State, Altoona College in August. Check out the syllabus for her recent course and the course web page (to login: User Name=guest, Password=1234)

Robert Kendall's hypertext poetry has been published on disk and on the Web by a number of publishers and exhibited in many venues in the United States and abroad. He teaches hypertext poetry and fiction for the Writing Program of the New School University. Robert's hypertext classes syllabi are online.

Bill Bly is the author of We Descend, published by Eastgate Systems in 1997. He teaches Hypertext literature in meat-space at Fordham University ( Electron Lit: Hypertext Theory and Practice) and online writing in cyberspace at New York University ( Writing Online: Cybertext and the New Media).

Rich Higgason teaches English at Blue River Community College in Kansas City, MO (class syllabi). He welcomes any questions or comments at

Robert Arellano, author of Sunshine '69, instructs courses in electronic writing and cultural studies at Brown University, including Beginning and Advanced Hypertext Fiction Workshops and Border Vision: Distortions of the Mexican/American Frontier in Literature, Film, Music and Performance (website in progress).

Related Links

-- Start log: Saturday, May 13, 2000 1:55:36 pm CDT

Deena quietly enters.

Rich quietly enters.

Helen-c quietly enters.

Deena says, "Hi Helen and Rich!""

Rich says, "Hi Deena"

Meg arrives.

Deena says, "Hi Meg, so glad you could make it :)"

Deena says, "We have Rich and Helen here as well."

Meg says, "Hi Deena""

Helen arrives, like a train from Platform 9 and three-quarters

Rich says, "I might be a little slow today...I broke my hand""

Deena says, "you can check out the links on eliterature chat links "

Deena says, "Ouch Rich!  Well, chime in or type in as you can :)"

Rich says, "np""

Helen-c says, "hello all"

Deena says, "I am on a machine in a friend's house near the hospital in Washington DC, and I cannot see what I am typing in, so I will have more mistakes than usual."

Rich says, "whatcha doin' in dc?"

RobKendall quietly enters.

Helen says, "Good evening/ good afternoon everyone"

RobKendall says, "hello, everyone"

Nodeler quietly enters.

Deena says, "My best friend just got diagnosed with MS so I am doing caretaker duty for a week."

Deena says, "Hi Rob!"

Rich says, "Sorry to hear..."

Helen-c says, "Hello Robert"

RobKendall says, "Hi, Deena, nice to be here"

Deena says, "The links that you all gave me are up in the elit chat links, and we can share URLs, too."

RobKendall says, "Deena, so sorry to hear about your friend"

Helen leaves for General Elit chat links

Deena says, "Yeah, it has been a really rough time.  "

RobKendall says, "Hi Helen."

Meg says, "Sorry to hear about that Deena"

Rich says, "Hi Rob"

Meg says, "Hi Rob"

Helen quietly enters.

Helen arrives, like a train from Platform 9 and three-quarters

Nodeler says, "hello all, this is JJ -- known in Moo space as Nodeler"

Deena says, "Bill Bly won't be able to make it, either, as he is having a bit of a crisis as well. He will also not be coming to HT00 :("

Rich says, "oh no!"

Deena says, "Hi JJ"

RobKendall says, "Hi Rich and Meg"

Deena says, "We are just getting comfortable now."

Rich says, "It must be a bad year all the way 'round"

Deena says, "Yep, crises have a way of becoming protracted."

Nodeler smiles, waves, and kicks back

Meg says, "I've passed info about HT00 along to folks I think might be interested, but I won't be able to come."

RobKendall says, "Hi JJ"

Deena passes out beer, wine, and other high potency goodies.

Nodeler says, "Hi Rob"

Deena says, "This chat is geared toward talking about techniques, works, curricula, and other ways to develop hypertexts in colleges"

Helen thanks Deena for the refreshments

Deena smiles at Helen and slips her the always replenished glasses

Helen says, "Does it have to be just in colleges? What about teaching it in the wider community?"

Bobby quietly enters.

Deena winks out. Deena arrives again.

Deena says, "Sorry about winking out for a moment there. I was greeting guests at the door :)"

Deena says, "Hi Bobby"

AnjaRau quietly enters.

Bobby says, "Good to 'see' you"

Nodeler quietly enters.

Deena says, "It is great to see all of you"

Deena passes out the internet specs so we can see and hug each other

Meg quietly enters.

Rich says, "Helen, I think much of what we can talk about will apply towards introducing anyone new to ht.  Yet, there are some special issues that might just apply to classrooms"

Deena says, "Great, it looks like we have gotten some folks together here, and more will come in and out"

Deena lays down the welcome mat

AnjaRau says, "Hi "

Deena says, "Hi Anja"

Rich says, "Hi Anja"

Deena says, "Rich, what do you see as special classroom issues"

Deena says, "What do you guys see as issues in the classroom to bringing hypertexts to students?"

Rich says, "Well, one of the things I have to overcome with a classroom is the continual concern about grades.  Students seems to always worry about how they are going to be tested"

Deena says, "Yes, how do you 'test' knowledge of a hypertext when people may or may not have read every branch?"

AnjaRau says, "Yes - there is no way to compare performance to stuff that done in "traditional normal" classrooms"

Deena says, "We need to find other grading paradigms."

Helen says, "Isn't that the case for all creative writing?"

Deena says, "What has worked for others?"

AnjaRau says, "what are mandatory branches in ht anyway"

Rich says, "Which becomes often counter productive towards just enjoying the ht and their own individual performance of the text"

Nodeler says, "I use the Online learning record very successfully"

Rich says, "Online learning record?"

Deena says, "Helen, We can test if a student has read the great Gatsby by asking Was Daisy a catholic? or other fact questions. But it is harder to do that in a hypertext, I think."

Deena says, "JJ, please tell us about the online record."

Meg says, "Yes, please"

Bobby says, "Do!"

Nodeler says, "Well, it's based on the California Learning record used for k-12, but developed by Peg Syverson for Online stuff at"

Helen says, "Are we talking just reading hypertext then? not writing it?"

Deena says, "Actually, we haven't narrowed it down that far yet."

Deena says, "Maybe we should backtrack and ask if folks are teaching reading hypertexts or writing them.  You are right, the approach would be very different.""

Bobby says, "I teach reading and writing, workshop style."

Meg says, "My only experience has been with teaching hypertext as literature"

Deena shares a URL...


Bobby says, "Deena, you forgot the U"

Deena shares a URL...


RobKendall enters.

RobKendall says, "hello. I got disconnected"

Bobby says, "and now the H"

Deena says, "Guys, I am having trouble doing URLs. Can someone just type in @URL and

then the url?"

Nodeler shares a URL...


Deena says, "Thanks"

Meg quietly enters.

Meg says, "My apologies, I was kicked out"

Nodeler says, "This is the one I was talking about . . . there's examples at my sight, too.  And I talked a bit about it in my article in Kairos."

RobKendall says, "Happened to me too Meg."

Helen says, "Looks like a useful tool this ULR."

Deena passes out wings, prayers, and good connections

Nodeler says, "thanx, Deena"

Deena says, "How does the online learning system work?"

Nodeler says, "Well, basically it puts the responsibility for tracking student learning on the

student.  It's a kind of portfolio system, but with some important and significant differences"

Deena says, "Meg teaches ht as lit, do the rest of you guys teach both as lit and as writing?"

RobKendall says, "I teach both"

Helen has connected.

Nodeler says, "I teach lit mostly, but I also teach writing it in order to help students read it"

Rich says, "I've taught both...but in different classes"

Helen apologizes for bombing out

Deena says, "While JJ explains about the Online learning system, let me ask you guys, do you find different approaches in teaching as lit or teaching as writing?"

Meg says, "Several of my lit students wanted more info on how to write ht and did some beginner's projects.  I'd like more info on how to direct and help them."

Deena passes out bug bombs and sprays

RobKendall says, "I have always found that when writers are starting out to create their own ht they need to read lots and lots of examples to get ideas and models to work from."

AnjaRau reappears with a blush. AnjaRau says, "Hello again. Sorry, must have slipped."

RobKendall says, "So I think reading and writing go hand in hand."

Nodeler says, "The online learning record is a bit complex.  It might be best to invite Peg Syverson to present it at a future meeting, if there's interest???"

Helen-c says, "As in all writing."

RobKendall says, "I also think that readers also gain a better appreciation of what's involved with hypertext if they try to write it."

Helen says, "I have found that isn't always the case, Rob: particularly with kids, the very idea of nonlinearity sets their imaginations off and they need no further prompting -- at least to start"

Deena says, "Helen, how do you introduce the idea of nonlinear writing?"

Nodeler says, "Do you all teach in c-a classrooms?  That would make a difference.  "

Helen says, "Choose-your-own adventure type interactive story at first, then move on"

Helen says, "What's a c-a classroom?"

Deena says, "JJ, do you mean teaching online only, or in the flesh?"

RobKendall says, "Helen, I've found that even students with good ideas they are developing can always benefit from seeing some concrete examples of where they can go next"

Nodeler says, "No, I teach in a classroom with 25 computers in it . . . "

RobKendall says, "Writing never develops well in a vacuum"

Bobby says, "Helen . . . I also defer to the choose-yer-own adventure model, but then quickly detour that limited concept with Afternoon, Patchwork Girl, or another ground breaking subtle hypertext."

Helen says, "Yes of course Rob, but they can start writing right away, then develop as they learn more"

AnjaRau says, "Sorry, got to be off"

Nodeler says, "I start them out with Storyspace, ask them to write in that environment"

Deena says, "Bobby, Helen, do you find that the choose your own adventure ever limits students' concepts of linking or structure?"

Deena says, "Is everyone familiar with Storyspace?"

Rich says, "I usually teach ht writing by having the students work in groups...with each member of the group having a specific content responsibility."

Helen says, "No, they soon go beyond it! It's breaking that linear pattern.... that there is only one place to go next."

Margie quietly enters.

Helen says, "Tell us more, Rich"

Margie says, "Hi all"

Deena says, "Hi Margie, we are going quickly around several topics, and I would like to get back to teaching hints for hypertext."

Deena says, "Rich types slowly, but will come in with something on teaching students in groups."

Deena passes Rich a typing hand to make up for the one he broke :)

Rich says, "With each student having a particular responsibility that they then meld into one ht. . . the nonlinear aspects of the ht seem easier"

RobKendall says, "I've had a few students do collaborative projects in my class and they have worked well, but it isn't something I push"

Deena says, "Robert teaches online, Meg do you teach in a classroom or online?"

Deena says, "Rich, what do you mean by a specific responsibility?"

Meg says, "I teach in a computer classroom. I have a couple of group classroom exercises I use when introducing students to reading ht lit"

Rich says, "As a prompt, I often tell them to choose a controversial topic and then have them work in groups of 3 or more."

Helen says, "Yes, I think collaboration is a good way forward. It gets everyone involved quickly."

Helen listens to Meg

Deena says, "Collaboration is also a great way to introduce the multi voice qualities in hypertext."

Margie says, "Do you mean controversial with respect to hypertext?"

Rich says, "One person might take a pro side and another a con side...but things get interesting as the 3rd and 4th person come up with a perspective"

Bobbytoo arrives.

Nodeler says, "Collaboration also helps students to learn from each other -- build on each other' strengths . . .  particularly in the computer classroom"

Deena says, "Or controversial issues?"

Bobbytoo says, "Modem connection timed out:  what did I miss since what I last said? ; )"

RobKendall says, "I would guess that perhaps not everyone is suited for working collaboratively. also it is more difficult collaborating in an online class"

Helen nods to Rob

Rich says, "Some chose a traditional historical perspective while others choose different cultural perspectives"

Deena says, "Hi Bobby, we have been talking about collaboration and working on controversial issues as a way to introduce students to hypertext"

Bobbytoo gives Deena thumbs up.

Deena says, "How many of you teach online vs teaching in a classroom?"

RobKendall says, "I teach online"

Rich says, "I teach in a classroom"

Helen says, "Requires more programming to set it up for collaborating online"

Bobbytoo says, "My 'online' is always an adjunct to classroom meetings."

Nodeler says, "classroom"

Helen-c says, "I teach both but not lit or ht"

Meg says, "I teach in a classroom, but we sometimes meet in cyberspace, too. "

Helen says, "I teach in rl and becoming more online"

Deena says, "Bobby, why are your online sessions an adjunct to meeting in a classroom? What advantages are there for teaching ht face-to-face?"

Nodeler says, "I have found Stephanie Strickland' s ht (True North) to be a good introduction to the poesis of hypertext, btw."

Helen says, "Not just classrooms though, more and more library-based stuff."

RobKendall says, "I would like to ask the others about what sort of attitudes they generally encounter among their students toward ht? how often do you get students who are very confused by it or even hostile to it?"

Deena says, "Yes, one of my next questions was to ask what hypertexts people used to introduce concepts."

Bobbytoo says, "The obvious 'personal' plus of face-to-face critiques with body language, for example, speaking as much as words. . . ."

Meg says, "I work with absolute beginners--they usually haven't seen HT lit before my classroom.  And they are usually quite confused and a little hostile at first."

Rich says, "I generally find students excited about writing it...but I face more hostility with having them read it"

Margie says, "Wow, and, as a guest of Rob's, I would ask, isn't on-line time-consuming?"

Deena says, "Meg, are they hostile about reading ht or writing it?"

RobKendall says, "I've found that my students are invariably very excited about the idea of ht but sometimes once they actually start reading it they may feel confused and doubtful"

Helen says, "In the UK the price of online time has meant even when reading ht people print off chunks or download pages which spoils the whole thing!"

RobKendall says, "Margie, yes it is extremely time consuming"

Meg says, "I'm not qualified to teach HT--my students who go on to give it a try do so because they are really motivated.  So most of the hostility comes from students who are put off by the switch to non-linear narrative structures"

Deena says, "Helen, that is really a difficult problem. Have you tried disk based works, such as Patchwork Girl or True North?"

Margie says, "It seems to me that it is difficult to counter the fear and anxiety on-line."

Deena says, "Or can students download the entire application and play it off-line?"

Bobbytoo says, "I like showing them print precedents of non-linearity:  Borges, Coover, Calvino, etc."

Rich says, "I think students often desire too much immediate gratification from ht...they spend too much time worrying if they are getting it "right""

Helen says, "That would be a good idea, but there's still hostility (in adults, though not in kids who are used to CD-ROMs)"

Deena says, "Yes, is this hostility a general one toward computers or toward hypertext? How does this hostility manifest itself?"

Meg says, "toward HT rather than computers"

Helen says, "toward computers still!"

Deena says, "Bobby, good idea. Which works do you use?"

RobKendall says, "I've found that I can usually overcome the confusion or negative attitudes by finding out exactly what sort of problems the student is having with the work and then suggesting several examples of work that might help overcome the problem"

Deena says, "Meg, what do students say? What are their general complaints/concerns?"

Margie says, "I have found that much of the hostility of my students (classroom) comes from the idea that they aren't used to reading hypertext, and they have strong expectations about print--"

Nodeler says, "I use Wm Blake as an intro, but I also focus a lot on multimedia, not just text"

Deena says, "Rob, what kind of problems do students have? What are their fears?"

Meg says, "I use Blake, too."

Deena watches as Blake's meek tiger strolls proudly by...

Bobbytoo says, "A brief reading list:  Coover's 'Pricksongs and Descants (especially the story The Babysitter), Borges's "Garden of Forking Paths," Calvino's "Cosmicomics"--there's more. .. ."

Helen says, "I use popular works too, and films like sliding doors"

Margie says, "who is Nodeler?"

Bobbytoo exclaims to Nodeler, "Illuminating!"

Deena says, "Can we use student's strong expectations about print to introduce hypertexts? Can we play off these expectations?"

RobKendall says, "Sometimes students might have troubles getting lost and disoriented in the work, and they find that navigational problems take away from the reading pleasure. In a case like this I might suggest a very navigationally simple work such as 253"

Nodeler says, "Students really like Calvino, too . . . a good transition for them"

(Editor's note: Here is a page on the works of Italo Calvino)

Meg says, "My students are worried about the loss of a common text, the "lack" of an "ending" they recognize, and how they will be graded."

Bobbytoo says, "Rob, what's 253?"

Margie says, "ok"

Deena says, "Yes, and Rob, can you give me the URL?"

jmcdaid quietly enters.

RobKendall says, "253 is a web piece by geoff ryman"

Bobbytoo says, "Uncle Buddy!"

Deena says, "Meg, your concerns sound a lot like Rich's"

Margie says, "Hi John!"

Deena says, "Hi John, we are discussing student fears and how to overcome them in introducing hypertexts"

jmcdaid says, "Hi, all. Sorry I'm late"

Meg says, "Yes, Garden of Forking Paths has worked well for me.  I'll have to screen Sliding Doors for a class sometime."

(Editor's note: a page on Jorge Luis Borges' Garden of Forking Paths)

Deena says, "Can someone provide the URLs for these works?"

RobKendall says, "I think it is at"

Helen says, " for 253 but it seems to be down at present -- he's a keynote speaker at Incubation conference in July"

(Editor's note: This worked on Monday May 15, 2000)

RobKendall says, "Sometimes a student's negative reactions simply turn out to be a dislike of a particular writing style, so giving them a piece in a different style can help."

Margie says, "Another good film is Run Lola Run"

Helen says, "French Lieutenant's Woman too ... just to get them interested before the literary stuff!"

Deena says, "I've always thought of Pulp Fiction as a hypertext movie. Has anyone tried this one in a classroom (or is it too violent?)"

Vivascia quietly enters.

Vivascia arrives.

Deena says, "Helen , some here might not know about that conference. Please provide the URL"

Helen shares a URL...<>.

Meg says, "As for navigation, my students had a very difficult time with Patchwork Girl.  It was the first Storyspace ht they read.  And going back and forth between MAC and PC platforms didn't help."

Bobbytoo says, "Nice to see you, Vivascia. . ."

Deena says, "Hi, we are talking about ways to help students cope with difficulties in hypertexts"

Deena says, "Has anyone found an easy introductory hypertext?"

Rich says, "I have found that starting students with Same Day Test, followed by Ferris Wheels helps"

Helen says, "Lies?"

Nodeler says, "Yes, Ferris Wheels really is a good intro piece"

Deena says, "Rich can you give us the URLS?"

Deena blushes furiously.

RobKendall says, "students generally have more trouble with Storyspace works than web works. for example, they may take a while to figure out that you need to hold down the ctrl key to see the links in Storyspace"

Meg says, "My students really responded well to both Ferris Wheels and to Lies."

Deena says, "Actually, I wrote Ferris Wheels to be an introduction, to show a simple line of movement and possible connections... I am glad it works :)"

Rich says, "Same Day Test is at"

Deena says, "Same Day Test is about deciding whether or not to get an AIDS test, and runs a lot like a choose your own adventure.  I'll bet that an easy intro would be a choose your own adventure, then Same Day Test, then branch out.  Bobby, you said you branched out quickly. How do you handle the transition between choose your own adventure and more complicated works?"

Margie says, "I agree with Rob that web pieces are easier to start with--no navigation scheme to learn"

Helen makes a note to read Ferris Wheels IMMEDIATELY

Deena says, "Meg, what is the URL for Lies?"

Helen says, "Lies is at"

Rich says, "Ferris Wheels is at deena_larsen/index.htm"

Rich says, "I also think Charmin Cleary might be a good intro text"

RobKendall says, "Notes Toward Absolute Zero is one Storyspace work that makes a good intro because it is quite easy to navigate"

ChrisWillerton quietly enters.

Nodeler says, "I' m thinking about the possibility of including downloadable copies of my works to be viewed off-line . . . sounds like that might be useful"

Margie says, "Hi Chris!"

Deena says, "Hi Chris, we are talking about works that can be used to introduce hypertexts to alleviate fears and hostility from students."

ChrisWillerton says, "Hi, all."

RobKendall says, "Hi Chris"

Deena says, "Helen, would it be helpful for us to include downloadable versions for the Europeans who spend so much money to be online?"

Timid_Guest quietly enters.

Deena vows to figure out how to make her work downloadable

Helen says, "Just zip the site files, Deena"

Deena passes out zippers and free internet access for all

Helen says, "Deena, the problem is about to go away, free internet access has started to arrive, but if possible, it could be a good idea."

Meg says, "I think it might also be helpful to discuss the differences between teaching online HT and Storyspace/disk HT."

Bobbytoo says, "For me, part of what invigorates the attitude of creativity toward hypertext is the shock of just how nuanced nonlinear writing can be for someone who is only used to adventure games.  We study precisely the contrast between discrete links (as in afternoon) and 'Flee from the Evil Wizard/Attack' links in choose-yer-own adventures. . . ."

Deena says, "Hi Timid_guest, we are talking about teaching hypertexts both in the classroom and online"

RobKendall says, "I often turn people toward Jackie Craven's In the Changing Room, because it has the recognizable elements of several intertwined stories, each with a distinct end"

Rich says, "With Ferris Wheels, I printed the pages and constructed it on the wall using yarn (I got the idea from *someone's* apartment).  It helped students to get a sense of the structure."

Deena rushes around taking the ribbons and yarn off of her living room walls.

Helen says, "That's a great idea..... but doesn't work online :("

Nodeler says, "I'm considering it because several of my works are too multimedia intensive to work on the web (bandwidth and download time preclude it), and I haven't got a good way to distribute them"

Deena says, "Rich, did that help students see the work?"

Deena says, "Helen, an online translation of that may well be the Storyspace map and lines..."

Rich says, "I have a picture I could scan and put on-line :-)"

Helen says, "I like to be able to read accounts of how the hypertexts were written: a journal of the writing/creative process: that can help understand"

Deena says, "Rich, please do so, just for my own amusement , if nothing else :)"

Rich says, "Yes Deena, it helped them to see the difference between ht and more trad texts"

RobKendall says, "I always have ht writers as online guests in my class so they can talk to the students about their processes for writing"

Deena says, "Helen, a hypertext writing journal would be great.  I don't know how many of us stop to write ABOUT what we are doing as we write it...."

Deena says, "Has anyone assigned a hypertext writing journal as an exercise in their classes?"

Helen says, "We do for all our trainees at trAce: it's fascinating to see their encounters with web, writing, hypertext, etc."

Helen says, "Want the URL?"

Rich says, "Sounds like a great panel discussion topic, anyway"

Deena says, "Helen, maybe you can upload those diaries for us..."

Deena makes a note for the next discussion.

Nodeler says, "It's also built in to the OLR I was mentioning before . . ."

Bobbytoo says, "Rob had me as a guest last summer--how did that particular experience pan out for your students?"

RobKendall says, "Bobby, the students really benefited from it. I think it also gave them a better appreciation of reading sunshine69 when they got to know the author a little. it made them want to like the work."

Deena says, "Let's get back to how we can integrate hypertexts into a college curriculum.  Any ideas on how to get an ht course through the bureacrazy?"

Deena says, "Good point Bobby. Rob often has guests on his classes, does this help get perspectives?"

RobKendall says, "Deena and Margie have also been guests in my class"

Deena says, "Rob, that may well be the key here, is to get the author's perspective."

Helen says, "Show 'em it'll attract more people and make more money :)"

Margie says, "Easiest way is to start teaching it in Contemporary Lit courses--I now do a whole unit on hypertext each semester"

Deena says, "So sneak it in another class at first...just to get the hang of it?"

Rich says, "I've built ht into a normal intro to fiction, after 2 years, some of those students are starting to ask for more"

Deena says, "Helen, how will it bring in more people and $?"

Bobbytoo says, "re: bureaucrazy:  point to other institutions that are doing it. . . "

ChrisWillerton says, "Anybody used the Norton Anth of Postmod Literature? It has two hxts. Haven't heard whether that's a sufficient sample to hook the students."

Meg says, "That was my biggest problem when I taught my course this winter, and the reason I could use only one Storyspace HT.  UCLA was really resistant to HT appearing in a "traditional" lit class"

Deena says, "Good point, Chris.  Hypertext is in the 'canon' now..."

Rich says, "I've looked at Norton...not much of a sample"

Deena gets out a miniature cannon and starts loading disks into it fast and furiously.

Margie says, "Meg, UCLA was?  Did you get Kate Hayles to bat for you?"

Nodeler says, "Well, UT-Austin will be having its first undergrad creative writing course in HT (Cybermedia) next fall!  and am I happy about it! :-)"

Deena says, "Meg, have you been able to interview your students and get evaluations that suggest teaching more of the ht?"

Meg says, "Yes, and even she couldn't get the funding people to cough up money for the multi-user licenses for the Storyspace works.  Sigh."

Vivascia says, "General question:  where do you guys see hypertext going in the future?"

Deena sympathizes with Meg...

Meg says, "Yes, I turned over their evaluations to Kate to give her ammunition to develop an undergrad HT course at UCLA."

Margie says, "Meg--arghhh!  That is an Eastgate problem--too expensive when things are free on the www, too."

Bobbytoo says, "Vivascia is a student at Brown by the way, trying to design her own undergraduate major in 'The Electronic Word' . . . talk about bureaucrazy!"

Bobbytoo says, "That's good to hear, Rob.  My experience was that there were a few who especially took the time to correspond with me in the conferencing space . . . others maybe a little mystified . . ."

Deena says, "Vivascia, this goes with your question: how can we anticipate the future of ht and reflect it in the classroom?"

RobKendall says, "Bobby, I remember the class being rather small that term"

Margie says, "Iis difficult that the traditional English programs are so slow in seeing the potential for hypertext. The art and new media areas are moving right ahead"

Deena says, "Bobby and Vivascia, does meeting in a classroom to explain and show the hypertext help take the mystery out of it?"

Bobbytoo says, "Rob:  small but sharp--like a tack!"

Helen says, "Well I thought Bob Coover was wrong saying the golden age of hypertext was gone, but I'm beginning to think it's true, it's now beyond hypertext, it's cybertext, and the boundaries between writing and other forms of art are blurring, at least here in Europe"

Deena says, "Helen, yes, maybe we should concentrate on blurring the media even further and coming up with an electronic arts department :)"

Nodeler says, "I have to agree.  I think that cybermedia is the wave that' s already upon us . . . and that collaboration is key to that"

Deena thinks that if the golden age of hypertext is gone that it was too short and small to even put on the map...

Nodeler says, "Deena . ..  really true.  My cicm project is a move toward that direction"

Margie says, "Helen (hi, see you soon)--the bending of the media does make it harder for English/text folks to accept it.  but the new electronic/art/poetry/narrative/stuff is surely exciting."

RobKendall says, "I think that hypertext has greatly improved in quality over the last few years"

jmcdaid says, "re golden age -- as McLuhan sez, new media only temporarily visible."

Deena says, "So stressing collaboration and cybermedia is a way to reflect what is going on in the media world?"

Deena says, "JJ, what is your cicm project?"

Helen says, "Don't know about the US, you've had cross-faculty courses before, but it's becoming the big thing here...multidisciplinary new courses"

Nodeler shares a URL...<>.

Deena says, "Margie, yes, how do we get traditional nontraditional media?"

R.Coover quietly enters.

Margie says, "I don't think that collaboration is necessarily at the center of this work, although it is fun and useful.  It is very hard to collaborate on anything very challenging without being in the same room."

Nodeler says, "That's part of the challenge!"

Margie says, "Hi Robert, welcome!"

Deena says, "Hi Robert, we are talking about ways to get hypertext and hypermedia in the classroom. We just discussed the short lived golden age of hypertext."

RobKendall says, "Also some students have a hard enough time getting used to writing nonlinearly. making them also get used to writing collaboratively for the first time can be a little overwhelming."

Nodeler says, "I' m not so sure ..  . in some ways it eases things.  Of course, I' m in a classroom situation, not online."

Margie says, "I have liked the "collections" that have been on-line recently--Loss Glazier's April Poems, for example"

Deena says, "Yes, collaborating online runs into the technical problems as well."

ChrisWillerton says, "Are there articles somewhere by collaborators, describing the process? The movie on Gilbert and Sullivan is the only sample in a film."

Deena says, "Robert, can you tell us how students have collaborated at Brown?"

Rich says, "I think that getting them to write nonlinearly is easier in collaboration. . . multiple p-o-vs lead to multiple directions"

Margie says, "And there are many new works where writers have worked together in modular ways, and that is exciting--"

Helen says, "I'm a great believer in collaboration. . . but perhaps it works for some people and doesn't for others"

Nodeler says, " I'm real hopeful about the Open Hypermedia Systems work"

(Editor's note: Open Hypermedia Systems Workgroup's home page is a good starting place to see this field)

Margie says, "Jennifer Ley's Digital Lascaux--"

Deena says, "I think we need to collaborate any more, as the media become blended, we need to blend talents, writing, art, music, etc as well as perspectives"

Helen says, "programming too"

Nodeler says, "I spent most of my life in film/tv and that seems to be a good analog for where this all seems to be going"

Deena tosses a code book in Helen's general direction

Helen says, "All the winning cybermedias these days seem to be collaborations .. even if the programmer and artist don't get a lot of the credit"

Nodeler says, " toss that C out!  Java is much better (well, in some cases, anyway) :-)"

Helen wants the programmer not the manual :)

Margie says, "Helen, which ones are you thinking about?"

Deena runs around dishing up some nice hot cups of java beans flavored with tomorrow's hottest code"

RobKendall says, "It would be nice to see more programmers willing to collaborate with writers"

Bobbytoo catches the code book intended for Helen, dunks it in the circular file. .  .

Deena says, "do those of you who teach hypertext writing get into the tools and programming?"

Nodeler following behind Deena, picking up the beans she' s left behind in her hurry

Bobbytoo says, "Just psychoanalytical programming ; ) . . ."

Deena plants the coffee bean in the ground carefully, hoping to nurture some willing and able programmers

Rich says, "I use Storyspace to avoid codes. . .so I spend a lot of my time explaining bugs"

Deena tosses the bug spray over to Rich.

Deena says, "part of the difficulty is economic, why program for a free piece of art when you can make actual money programming for a business?

Helen says, "Well, maybe I exaggerate saying "all", but look at Melinda Rackham's Carrier, won a big award (rightly) in Australia: she collaborated -- it's a bit like the Grand Master artists, with their studios of assistants"

(Editor's note: Carrier was offline Monday May 15, 2000, but you can view Melinda Rackham's home page)

RobKendall says, "In my intro class I try not to get into anything but the simplest of programming stuff, because a student can spend a whole term trying to debug a few lines of code rather than writing"

Deena says, "Yes, it is much better to concentrate on the writing. "

RobKendall says, "I also teach an advanced class in which I concentrate more on programming and encourage students to experiment with the Connection system"

Margie says, "The easiest thing for students to start with is a good html compiler, just to begin,imhexperience"

Deena laments the glaring lack of stable tools that will do anything the writer desires...

Deena shares a URL...<>.

Helen says, "But don't you find that the places you submit work to now don't expect simple hypertext like Ferris Wheels (great piece by the way) and EXPECT bells and whistles?"

Deena says, "Rob, where is the connection system again?"

RobKendall says, ""

Deena says, "Helen, I have tried to stay with the simple, and have found a lot of acceptance for that. But it is a great question. How can we expect the latest bells and whistles and still get great writing and art, too?"

Margie says, "Helen, I think you are right--but it probably won't be this way forever, the classic pieces still stand fine"

jmcdaid says, "Rob - do you use Connection with Dreamweaver? Seems that would help make it even easier"

Deena says, "Meanwhile, we have two trends. In the media world, we want to experiment with new and bigger toys, while in the academic, teaching world, we have hostility and resentment toward the new. How do we bridge the gap?"

RobKendall says, "yes, John, there is a set of connection system extensions for Dreamweaver, so you can add cs functions to your work as Dreamweaver objects"

Deena shares a URL... <>.

Deena says, "Rob, can you share that URL? thanks "

RobKendall says, ""Deena, no "s" at the end of the url"

Helen says, "There are real problems with the Net today, lots of unavailable servers...."

Deena says, "Yes, servers do not always behave well!""

Margie says, "Rob K. how soon will we see our new ELO database of writers and publishers?"

RobKendall says, "Well our launch date is in July and we hope to have authors in there as beta testers this coming week to add entries"

Margie says, "Rob K.--looking forward to this!"

RobKendall says," try"

Deena shares a URL... <>.

Meg says, "This looks amazing, Rob!  Some of my students last quarter who are interested in writing were asking if a system like this exists."

Rich says, "I'm not sure that's true, Deena . . . seems in the academic world, they're still upset over the basic nonlinearity of ht.  If you want to experiment with more bells and whistles on linear text, I think it'd go over well"

Meg says, "Good point, Rich."

Deena says, "Hmmm. What if we want to experiment with bells and whistles on nonlinear text and go further and further afield?:"

Nodeler says, "I think that the commodification of ht and things hypertextual is a far more problematic aspect of the whole milieu . . . the experimentation and creative exploration seems to be getting subsumed by all the dot-com units . . . :-)"

Deena says, "Perhaps that is the answer--to get more and more hypertexts to teach, and then by teaching get more and more writers and collaborates for hypertext, and create a vicious upward cycle"

Rich says, "The problem is how to get academia (and the general public) to accept the concept of nonlinear interactive texts (that don't look like Doom)"

Deena says, "Are there places and resources to go to for teachers who want to create a hypertext curriculum?"

Helen says, "How do you read ht in class? How do you take a class in rl through a hypertext,

how do you make sure they're in the right place at the right time?"

The housekeeper arrives to remove Margie.

Deena says, "Good question, Helen. "

jmcdaid says, "bingo Nodeler. At least the correction has cooled this off a bit..."

Helen shares a URL... <>.

Margie quietly enters.

Nodeler says, "I think that Rhet/Comp departments would be a good inroad . . . hypertext is a great way to teach organization and structure for composition"

Rich says, "Actually, Helen, having a class read ht in rl was one of the most amazing discoveries I made"

Helen shares a URL... <>.

Meg says, "Good point, Nodeler, that's actually how I came to it."

Deena says, "Yes, JJ, how do we keep our voices afloat in this ocean of dot coms?"

Helen says, "sorry, must be my connection...."

RobKendall says, "I don't think the e-commerce is such a negative thing. It can't crowd out the literary sites and it's a motivation for the developers to give us better technology for our own work"

Deena passes out better connections for all and prays

Rich says, "I had them all at their own individual computers...but slowly, little groups of them would form around one computer as they collaboratively read the piece"

Deena says, "So Rich, they gravitated toward a community reading?"

Rich says, "Yes. . . without direction from me"

Helen says, "That's interesting, Rich..."

Deena jumps up and down yelling, "Hypertext does promote collaboration. I knew it!"

RobKendall says, "We're finding at ELO that many of the high tech business ventures are starting to take an interest in sponsoring literature"

Helen says, "Who made the decisions to move on? How?"

Meg says, "Yes, my students would read individually at home and then read in collaboration in the classroom."

Deena says, "Rich and Meg, did you find that it was better not to give direction, or to provide some guidance up front?"

jmcdaid says, "RobK -- now that King has legitimized it."

Meg says, "I sometimes offer some direction in a complex work, like directing students to a particular thread, like "Journal" or "Story" in Patchwork Girl."

Deena says, "Also, did anyone escape from the collaborative reading to follow other paths on a different computer?"

Rich says, "Well, generally one person controlled the mouse, but the others chipped in suggestions of where they wanted to go next"

Margie says, "Rob K. --good point, it occurs to me that novels were a popular pastime before they were accepted by literary academia--so maybe hypertext will need to have a critical mass before it is truly accorded lit status"

Rich says, "Yes...if the group wasn't going where the individual wanted to go, then that person would return to his/her own computer"

Nodeler says, "and look how long it took for novels to develop"

Deena says, "Yes, actually, maybe having hypertexts accepted by academia before they are critically popular may be a mistake. It may harm any interest in it."

Deena pictures a child wailing to its mother, "Mommee do I hafta hit the connections?"

R.Coover ponders the dialogue (what act has he walked in on?) while taking a brief break in his efforts to give the kiss of life to a near dead electronic writing program at his own timid institution, wondering if the best way to teach electronic literature might not be via large team-taught freshman survey courses. Taught by readers and writers but also by theorists, sociologists, psychologists, and engineers...?

Margie says, "Bobby, I can't remember how to do aside, will write to you."

RobKendall says, "Does anyone here assign any popular/genre fiction hypertext for their students to read (beyond the adventure games mentioned)?"

Helen says, "That's why I like getting to kids before they hit college....before they've heard what the Canon is (a concept I encountered first, after many years of happy reading, at the age of 37 incidentally)"

Meg says, "I would rather see critical mass in the pop culture realm than stagnation as an elitist "academic" art form"

Deena says, "Robert, a wide survey class may be the way to provide CPR to this whole thing. How would you propose it and teach it?"

Jitters arrives in a whirling mist of words and Phrases. The poem phrases drop before you revealing such names as Larkin, Thomas, Wilbur and Wood. Jitters is wearing a tuxedo today, "Let's Party Hardy Like its the Moolinium!

Jitters nods.  "May I enter?  Is this acceptable?"

Deena says, "Hi Jitters, we are talking about how to get hypertexts accepted in the academia, the media, and the real world. As you can tell, we are grappling with really easy problems today :)"

Margie says, "Who jutters, por favor?"

Bobbytoo says, "Nice Tux, Jitters!"

Helen says, "One of my retired students just paged me to say she was filmed today by a second major TV channel, about her web-writing, she is singlehandedly brining it to public attention in the UK!"

Deena says, "Wow Helen, that is great.  Bringing it to public attention is what we need to do!""

Helen says, "They call her cyber-granny..."

Jitters nods.  "Ah well, in response to that, I've started a new E-zine.  In fact we accepted a Hypertext story.  For many people including myself it is difficult.  I set out to write one myself and I was determined to write Ahem the Academic, Hyper text story.  Problem was I had to write four stories, beginning to end, and I had a hard time Branching them.  I'm still writing it."

Deena says, "Robert, how would we get sociologists, engineers, and others to bring hypertexts into their courses?"

Margie says, "How media. age and sex in there"

RobKendall says, "Robert c., Yes I think that collaborative teaching would be great for hypertext "

Meg says, "Believe it or not, one problem with teaching HT on a larger scale has to do with accessibility to the technology.  We assume all students can get to computers, and that isn't necessarily so."

Margie says, "and even if they can get to a computer, they may not see the same thing--platform never land"

Jitters waves his hand may.

Deena says, "We are doing a celebrate ezines chat next month, in June 13 I think."

Meg says, "especially at larger public universities"

Deena shares a URL... <>.

RobKendall has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove RobKendall.

Bobbytoo has disconnected.

Timid_Guest has disconnected.

Helen has disconnected.

Deena has disconnected.

Vivascia has disconnected.

R.Coover has disconnected.

Margie has disconnected.

Meg has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Bobbytoo, Timid_Guest, Vivascia, R.Coover, Margie,and Meg.

Nodeler has disconnected.

Rich has disconnected.

jmcdaid has disconnected.

Jitters nods.  "Is the discussion over?

Margie arrives.

Margie says, "que pasa?"

Deena has connected.

RobKendall  arrives.

Deena says, "Sorry about that. Did I just throw everyone off?"

RobKendall_ says, "Sorry I got dumped out again"

jmcdaid has connected.

Vivascia quietly enters.

Helen has connected.

RobKendall_ says, "I'm glad it wasn't just me"

Margie says, "We were all on the street!  Ha!"

Deena blushes deeply

Deena says, ""I think I threw everyone off.:"

Franco quietly enters.

jmcdaid says, "elit have a framebuster script?"

Helen says, "Well that was fun..."

Deena puts her head down ashamedly

Rich has connected.

Jitters waves.  "Also if I may, Another Colleague of mine Daniel-B, We've actually decided to try to make an E-zine that might be considered great.  Yesterday we got a poem sequence from Phebe Davidson and a Story from Gordan Weaver.  I'm also talking to John Wood for a poem or two, our hope it to get people to raise their eyes and maybe have an E-zine that more academics can look up too, I know it's hard."

Deena says, "Sorry about that guys. Elit has a framebuster script."

Helen pats Deena sympathetically on the back

Deena hugs Helen back.

Margie says, "Jitters--do you want to share the URL?"

Deena says, "We should probably get focused so we can all go home sometime anyway."

Helen says, "So long as it doesn't bust frames :)"

jmcdaid says, "wouldn't be real life if those things didn't happen, and this IS real life, right? (grin)"

Helen says, "Yes, it's past my bedtime"

Deena says, "What advice would you give a prof or anyone trying to teach a ht course and to get ht into the curricula?"

Rich curses the frame busters of the world

Meg arrives.

Nodeler has connected.

Deena vows to go have a talk with this particular framebuster soon.

Helen says, "Get people like us to come and talk to everyone and enthuse everyone about the subject"

Smiley Guest arrives.

Deena says, "Helen, good plan.  Enthusiasm is contagious :)"

Nodeler says, "Well, that was interesting!"

jmcdaid says, "Stress the connection to effective business writing."

Deena says, "What other advice can you give for would be ht teachers?"

Jitters shares a URL...<>.

Rich says, "Try to get students to relax and just enjoy the experience"

Jitters says, "Did that work?"

Deena says, "John, how do you do that?"

RobKendall_ says, "my advice for teaching is to make sure you focus on each student individually. find out what his/her specific problems are and don't try to find one-size-fits-all approaches to each student's attempts at coming to terms with ht"

Helen says, "No jitters"

Jitters shares a URL...<>.

Jitters smiles.  "That?"

Jitters nods.

Helen says, "Pretty!"

Deena nods

Margie says, "Very nice, Jitters--"

jmcdaid says, "The kinds of writing students will have to do in the real world will be more like ht; arguing from that angle makes it almost a necessity"

Meg says, "Rob, that's good advice for being a good teacher in general."

Jitters says, "It's still in developmental stages.  We've yet to put the new material up yet. Daniel has been away."

Deena says, "Any advice on getting over hypertext jitters?"

Jitters says, "Over?"

RobKendall_ says, "I also try to stress that the skills one develops in learning to think outside the box in writing ht can also be generally useful to any creative writer"

Deena says, "Getting over being scared of or unwilling to interact with hypertext?"

Jitters says, "Are you referring to using teaching with Hypertext or teaching Hypertext?"

jmcdaid says, "Right on Rob"

Helen nods.

Deena says, "Maybe we can tout hypertext as being the creative energy of the future, a way to get business students to think creatively..."

Meg says, "I use exercises based on what students are already familiar with, like mapping casual conversations and then chat-room discourses, to get them over the non-linearity hump."

jmcdaid says, "Never happen, Deena"

jmcdaid says, "<grin>"

RobKendall_ says, "I'm talking about teach people to write ht lit"

Deena vows quietly to infuse the next MBA she sees with the urge to create

Smiley_Guest says, "I was temporarily bumped by the ELO homepage. I think they were trying to remind them I owe them some email. Big event in NYC in June. More about survey courses as feeds for workshops and courses using electronic writing on another occasion. Has to do with institutional politics: activate the latent student demand for these courses. Ciao!"

Margie says, "I think Rob's point about teaching them to write as well as read is good--writers begin to understand the structures much faster, at least I thought so with his class."

Meg says, "I usually approach it from the angle that human communication IS basically non-linear.  You get into HT, you become a better communicator."

Deena says, "Smiley, I confess, I bumped us all by going to the ELO page. Sorry about that."

Deena says, "That is a great angle, Margie!"

The housekeeper arrives to remove Smiley_Guest.

Jitters says, "Okay, well this semester, I did, two special lesson plans.  One I taught poetic Language and Technique.  I had students read along with me, And I showed them some examples of poetic technique.  They read along as I lectured, and it seemed rather nice to have A. The poems they could sort of interact with as I taught, but I also had my students do webpages as a group, some of the projects were really nice.  Two of the projects failed."

Deena says, "Activating the latent student demand is a great one."

Helen says, "Everybody interested in the Web will eventually have a homepage, and that means writing hypertext..."

RobKendall_ says, "I think an ht class is successful even if a student goes away from it deciding that they don't want to write ht but feeling that studying ht has broadened their perspective as a writer"

Nodeler says, "I have been thinking about using lingua as a class site for my creative writing class in the fall . . . or getting the core and starting our own version here.  Is anyone else using the MOO to teach HT?"

jmcdaid says, "Agree, Helen."

Deena says, "Yes, we used to ponder about how to get people to click and follow links, and now that is automatic.,.. so maybe this will evolve as society evolves into hypertext communication..."

Margie says, "Everybody in business will too, and that means hypertext.  I just did a page for a friend who counsels the morbidly obese."

Jitters says, "Let me just show the one lesson plan here."

Deena says, "JJ, I'm not sure who is using the Moo, You may want to talk to Jill Walker about that."

Rich says, "Helen, not necessarily.  A webpage does not equal ht"

Jitters shares a URL. . .<>.

Jitters says, "Did that work?"

Helen says, "OK, Rich, but an understanding of hypertext will lead to a better homepage, yes? so worth learning about"

Margie says, "nope"

Deena says, "Nor does the alphabet equal Shakespeare, but it is a start."

Jitters shares a URL . . . <>.

Jitters says, "how about that?"

Rich says, "Absolutely, Helen"

Margie says, "yes"

Deena says, "Impressive list Jitters.  What about I too, dislike it by Marianne Moore for the poetry? Seems to fit the opening line..."

Jitters says, "Well these were just short examples I had on hand"

Jitters says, "They were entered in and it saved on handouts."

Helen says, "It's late for me. . . I'm getting a headache, must go to bed . . . . I will look forward to the log, there are so many good ideas in this!"

RobKendall_ says, "I often get students who are professional web designers motivated to take the class at least partly by a feeling that learning about ht will filter over into their pro work"

Deena says, "Any other suggestions on increasing the visibility of hypertexts in academia? Out in public notice or getting folks to."

jmcdaid says, "nite Helen."

Margie says, "Yes, I must be off, also, but have so enjoyed hearing all these ideas about

teaching ht."

Helen says, "See some of you in Fort Worth and San Antonio soon?"

Deena says, "Good plan."

Jitters says, "now I realize this might not be considered hypertext. but Well Students could talk and they could read and come back to the page later for examples."

Deena says, "Yes, thanks for coming Helen!"

Margie says, "Bye all"

Helen says, "Bye"

Nodeler says, "I too, must be off . . . see you all at HT2000 down here in San Antonio I hope!"

Deena says, "There is so much to talk about that we could go on all night or all afternoon as the case may be..."

Rich says, "I have to be going as well...see you in San Antonio"

The housekeeper arrives to remove Margie.

jmcdaid says, "Bye Margie"

Deena says, "But are there any last thoughts and advice?"

Meg says, "I think one question we need to ponder is:  if we want to get more students reading and writing HT, we need to get more TEACHERs who feel comfortable incorporating HT into their classes. People like me who otherwise have never "done" much HT."

Jitters nods.  "Thanks for letting me come here.

Helen, Nodeler, and Rich have disconnected.

Deena says, "Yes, Meg, we have to get the teachers to be comfortable first. Most of the teachers so far also write this stuff.."

Vivascia says, "enjoyed the discussion, thank you"

Jitters says, "well for my class, I will admit, most students were fairly eager to expand and to want to try anything other than your average boring paper."

Jitters nods thanks

Deena says, "Thanks for coming Vivascia"

Vivascia has disconnected.

Deena says, "Please tell me your email address if you would like to be notified of future chats"

Jitters says, "Please email me as well about the E-zine chat."

RobKendall_ says, "thanks to everyone, and good luck with your classes! bye all"

Deena says, "Thanks for coming Rob, Meg, John, and all!""

Meg says, "Bye, Deena!"

Deena says, "It was a great chat and it helps to explore all these perspectives on teaching this brave new media!"

Deena says, "See you all in San Antonio for HT00, I hope!"

-- End log: Saturday, May 13, 2000 4:39:08 pm CDT


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