Choosing my delivery method and asking – is it sufficiently academic?

I have got to the point in my assignment planning that I am beginning to look at the method of delivery because a traditional essay or simple hypertext essay just won’t cut it. However I have concerns that what I am considering will not appear to be sufficiently academic. With these concerns in mind I have been re reading Rick carpenter and Boundary Negotiations: electronic environments as interface.

So what am I planning?

My intention is to create a piece that has an obvious beginning and end, but the path that you travel to get from one to the other is entirely set by the reader, harking back to Kress pg 9 (2005) and allowing me to use new technology to address “the relative power of author or reader” . In a normal essay the reader is relatively passive – following a path that is set by the author. In this case I want to give the control to the reader and allow them to choose their own path. I am restricted in that I need an intro section and a conclusion to tie it all together and give it ’some’ kind of structure, but beyond that I want the reader to explore!

Why let the reader choose?

The topic is the uncanny nature of learning and specifically this course and I want the uncanny nature of the delivery to match the uncanny nature of the subject matter.

Within this bundle of elements woven together, I want to engage different technologies to maintain variety, including using text, video and possibly a small amount of Prezi or something similar. I am still deciding exactly what to use but you get the idea!

Is it considered academic?

Carpenter adequately covers the issues with integrating our “convergent culture” into an academic framework when he states:

“Although popular discourses and genres are no longer denigrated within academia as they once were (or at least not to the same extent), they are not always or entirely welcome either.” Carpenter (2009) pg 139

So moving forward into a more integrated, liberally interpretative academic scenario may prove difficult:

“The logic of digital technology leads us in a new direction,” Neil Kleinman (1996) reminded us. “Objects, as well as ideas, are no longer fixed, no longer tangible […] In this space, stories are written that change with each new reader; new material can be added, and old material deleted. Nothing is permanent” Carpenter (2009) pg 140

It is this loss of author control that Kress deliberates at length.

“Each new reader in the electronic environment can her- or himself become a contributor/designer/writer; the lines between consumer and producer can be transgressed, blurred.” Carpenter (2009) pg 140

It is possible that such fluidity of nature is unnatural for educators – and therefore it makes them uncomfortable. The argument could well be considered as ‘If nothing is permanent, how can it be assessed? And if it cannot be assessed how can it be academically significant?’



Rick carpenter:  Boundary Negotiations: electronic environments as interface

Gunther Kress:  Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning

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