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Notes/Responses from Hypertext Week

After the night we discussed hypertext, Romrigo talked about some things we had wanted to make sure were explicitly covered. Our notes are below:

  1. Narrative works in both the narrative you bring to the text and the narrative in the text (the narrative the text creates) when talking hypertext (functional vs literary).

  2. Assertions underlying the “hypertext is good!” cheerleading are still in place today. These theories are one pivotal place where they formed.

  3. Hypertext theories help make meaning between connections in nodes; this gets at directionality, velocity, and movement (and prefigures rhetorical velocity).

  4. Pay attention to what/how/why there are observers of a network versus what/why/how something/one is moving through a network.

  5. The observer is/may be a subject with agency that is different than the subjects as nodes and/or moving with/in the network. Understanding these differences creates different ways of playing with text.

  6. We imagined, and need to make more explicit to some?, that the framework of class is to apply the major questions (syllabus, case study) upon the different readings. Not every theory will be ultra explicit and address every question; but that is OK.

  7. NEW Question (we’ve added it to the case study list of questions): What is moving within the network?

How Stuff Works? Reading & Activity Assignment

  1. Select an “area” of readings

  2. “Read” in your area (areas w/two students should break up the assignments). You should plan to read at least 5-7 separate articles associated with your area.

  3. Design and Develop your Reading Presentations; there are three components to your presentation:

    1. Organized Blog Entry/Notes (separate from your reading notes for the week). Your Blog Entry/Notes should include the following types of information:

      1. Content:

        • key terms/concepts w/definitions and/or descriptions
        • how/why important to field/understanding of “networks”
        • works cited list
      2. Format:

        • hyperlink to resources and/or discussions
        • embed resources
        • include a representative image/visualizations (at least two; be sure to include citations for your images)
        • embedded/linked activity that teaches and engages readers with the material (see below for more details)
    2. Five minute class presentation (you can speak from your blog entry/notes and/or develop a separate presentation). We will stop you at 5 minutes; be sure to practice!

      • In what ways does your topic create, facilitate and/or function in a network?
      • What are the affordances and limitations to your topic’s ability to form/facilitate/function in a network?
    3. Asynchronous Learning Activity for your classmates (that will take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete). Submit your instructions for the asynchronous activity HERE. Be creative! Remember, they are “do to learn” activities.

      • multiple choice activity (Google Forms)
      • mindmap activity (Popplet)
      • discussion activity (Google Docs)
      • Draw/Visualization activity (Google Drawing; upload handsketched images)

Assignment Prompts



Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Ethan Hein

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Ethan Hein

English 7/894: Theories of Networks
Spring 2014


  • Julia Romberger
  • Shelley Rodrigo

Course Overview

An increasing amount of scholarship in English studies focuses on the interactions between texts and other texts, people, technologies, etc. To account for these various types of relationships between different types of objects a number of theories of networks have emerged. Whether you want to study networks and/or add to the theoretical discussion, you first need to know the key theoretical discussions that help define:

  • what and/or who is a network node?
  • what types of agency are articulated for various types of nodes?
  • how are different types of nodes situated within a network?
  • what are the types and directions of relationships between nodes?
  • what happens to content or meaning as it travels through a network?
  • how do networks emerge, grow, and/or dissolve?

Some of the key theories we will be exploring include: Rhetorical Theories of Context, Physical IT Network/ing, Genre Theories, Hypertext Theory, various theories of Social/ized Networks, Ecology, and Neurology. Some key authors: Bitzer, Foucault, Spinuzzi, Latour, Castells, & Rickert.

Course Objectives

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by David R.

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by David R.

By the end of this class students will be able:

  1. Describe and analyze different elements of “networks” as defined in different theories; including (but not limited to): node, connection, agency, circumscription,  …
  2. Understand the value of visualizations for conceptualization processes.
  3. To understand the major question “why theory?”
  4. To articulate the value and limitations of the lenses particular theories provide.
  5. To articulate a theoretical framework for describing a methodology.


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