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What's the Point of New Media? (UIUC version)


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This is a talk Cheryl Ball gave at University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, for the digital literacies reading group. (Jan 2008)

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What's the Point of New Media? (UIUC version)

  1. 1. What’s the Point of New Media?! Evaluating Transitional Scholarship Dr. Cheryl E. Ball, Illinois State University
  2. 2. Catherine Braun and Kenneth Gilbert “ This is Scholarship”
  3. 3. MLA T&P report, 2006
  4. 4. CCCC Survey of Multimodal Writing Instructors (Anderson et al, 2006) <ul><li>Does your department & institution count electronic publications (multimodal or not) toward tenure? (n=36) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes = 44% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes, with exceptions = 8% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes, but no one has tried yet = 22% </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. CCCC Survey of Multimodal Writing Instructors (Anderson et al, 2006) <ul><li>What percentage of your electronic-only scholarship has or will count toward tenure? (n=31) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All of it counted = 29% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>> 10-percent of it counted = 16% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>None counted = 13% </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. CCCC Survey of Multimodal Writing Instructors (Anderson et al, 2006) <ul><li>Of those electronic publications, what percentage would you count as multimodal? (n=31) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All of it = 19% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>> 10-percent of it = 10% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>None = 26% </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Ways Faculty Use Digital Media (Braun, 2006) Management Analysis Production
  8. 8. Spectrum of Digital Scholarship <ul><li>Braun (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>print online digital media </li></ul><ul><li>print-based print-like webtext new media </li></ul><ul><li>Warner (2007) </li></ul>
  9. 9. James English (2005) “Scholarly journals in the digital age” <ul><li>However much the advent of electronic venues, searchable databases of academic work, broadband access, and so on have reshaped our scholarly practices as researchers, these developments have done little to transform our scholarly 'output’--the published article itself. </li></ul>
  10. 10. James English (2005) “Scholarly journals in the digital age” <ul><li>As Cheryl Ball, among others, has pointed out, new media scholarship has essentially consisted of conventional scholarship about new media rather than of scholarship within which new media have been taken up and deployed toward innovative ends - that is, toward a break with traditional print-bound models. The actual quantity of scholarship of this more innovative sort, as represented in academic journals, is infinitesimal, and it is mostly to be found in the journals of low-rung academic fields whose claims to scholarly legitimacy would in any case be disputed. </li></ul>
  11. 11. James English (2005) “Scholarly journals in the digital age” <ul><li>(The best example is Kairos , a rhetoric and composition journal focused on the use of computing in the teaching of writing. Given the lowly status of composition studies within humanistic research, the Kairos editors' preference for 'webtexts' over conventional articles is liable to being read as tacit capitulation to the weakness of their field rather than as a sign of its exceptional inventiveness.) (p. 10) </li></ul>
  12. 12. James English (2005) “Scholarly journals in the digital age” <ul><li>The fact is, the dominant trend over the last decade has been precisely in the opposite direction, with electronic journals evolving toward ever more perfect mimicry of printed material . … [A]uthors always complained about the deficient aesthetics of e-journal text : asterisks denoting italics and pointy carets indicating footnote references…. (p. 10) </li></ul>
  13. 13. James Kalmbach (2006) “Ten years of nonlinear ( Kairos ) history” <ul><ul><ul><li>Linear </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exploratory </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Looping </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sequential </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Matrix </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Menu </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-windowed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Timelime (new in later years) </li></ul></ul></ul>Types of Webtexts
  14. 14. Allison Brovey Warner (2007) analyzed Kairos webtexts compared to traditional scholarly conventions <ul><li>Webtexts follow print conventions regarding content </li></ul><ul><li>Webtexts diverge from print conventions regarding form </li></ul><ul><li>Webtexts have added value through digital media/web affordances </li></ul>
  15. 15. Allison Brovey Warner (2007) implications of study <ul><li>“ The ability to engage with the content of a text depends on the accessibility of the form.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Readers often do not value what they do not understand.” </li></ul><ul><li>(p. 145) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Why research new media scholarship? <ul><li>“ As trends in online scholarship move toward new media studies, scholars will need to develop revised assessment strategies; the current assessment tool does not account for texts that make meaning in non-textual ways” (Warner, p. 148). </li></ul>
  17. 17. Why research new media scholarship? <ul><li>“ One of the most important tasks for new media scholarship is the reflexive one of taking up these very problems of its own production, reflecting on the way our print-based protocols and property-based conceptualizations of culture are hampering and degrading our scholarship and, indeed, our thinking about the cultural effects of digitization” (English, 2005, p. 15). </li></ul>
  18. 18. An example of new media scholarship <ul><li>Watkins, Robert. (May 2008). Words are the ultimate abstraction!: Towards using Scott McCloud to teach visual rhetoric. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, Pedagogy [Special issue: Manifestos!]. </li></ul>
  19. 19. An example of new media scholarship <ul><li>Words are the ultimate abstraction! </li></ul>
  20. 20. Assessing new media texts with Warner’s heuristic <ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Web-based allowances </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging conventions </li></ul>
  21. 21. Assessing content <ul><li>introduction </li></ul><ul><li>documentation </li></ul><ul><li>lit review </li></ul><ul><li>methodology </li></ul><ul><li>formal tone </li></ul>
  22. 22. Assessing added value (web-based allowances) <ul><li>discrete nodes </li></ul><ul><li>multilinear navigation </li></ul><ul><li>apropos links </li></ul><ul><li>form enacts content </li></ul><ul><li>apropos multimedia </li></ul>
  23. 23. Assessing emerging conventions <ul><li>navigation instructions </li></ul><ul><li>sitemap </li></ul><ul><li>effective linking </li></ul><ul><li>design rationale </li></ul><ul><li>multimedia enhancements </li></ul>
  24. 24. Shifting notions of scholarly conventions in new media <ul><li>space/time </li></ul><ul><li>memory </li></ul><ul><li>chapters/segments </li></ul><ul><li>design methodology </li></ul><ul><li>linearity/transcript of voiceover </li></ul><ul><li>voice, pitch, tone </li></ul><ul><li>authority/credibility </li></ul><ul><li>ethos of print/digital bridge </li></ul>
  25. 25. Continued research… <ul><li>“ Changes do not come easily of such scope as to transform and force a revaluation of so basic a unit of measure as the peer-reviewed scholarly article” (English, 2005, pp. 11–12). </li></ul>
  26. 26. Questions? <ul><li>Thank You. </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Cheryl Ball </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>