Adventures in Digital Rhetoric, part the first

Design by Fire Café #014

Design by Fire Café #014, Flickr

This term I’m teaching an ENGL 1102 course themed Digital Rhetoric and Interaction Design. It is a subject that has interested me since my corporate days at HBO cobbling hbo.com together. I’m interested in discussions about how we use the tools and interfaces that we embrace so eagerly (at the moment I’m struggling to make my iPad keyboard respond with proper keystrokes.) As a website designer I’ve been guillty of assuming that ways in which I negotiate information and pursue tasks is in line with the ways in which (unknown to me) users work through the content I’ve presented. Sure it’s about aesthetics and kinesthetics and haptics and all the other -ics. But most users don’t think in terms of -ics. They get frustrated with interfaces that don’t make sense to them, or require too long a learning curve, or are just plain off-putting. And tied up in all this is technophobia – the cool kids get the software and the devices, so clearly it’s just me struggling to figure out how this helps me to do the things everyone keeps insisting I’ll be able to do oh, so much more easily.

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Book Review: The Gods of Gotham

The Gods of GothamThe Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What is it about 1850s New York and 1890s London? Lately I feel I’ve been swamped in sepia tone, between Copper and Ripper Street on BBC America, Lincoln (all right, that’s 1860s Washington, but see my point) and now The Gods of Gotham. Everything about this story feels brown and grimy. Continue reading

The Quick Write and the Coke Machine …

… or, How I Learned to Love the Google Doc

Google Drive image, from Google website

Google Drive image, from Google website

This semester the subject of my English 1102 course is “The Rhetoric of Digital Media and Interaction Design.” I’ve wanted to teach this for a while: not only does it allow me to flex my DH muscles in a way I haven’t in the last few semesters, but I also believe there is a real need for Georgia Tech students to understand how and why they respond to digital media and how they can become better developers of well-crafted software.

Early indicators suggest that I’ve struck a nerve. This is the first semester I haven’t lost a single student in the drop/add period and I’m still getting emails asking if I’ll consider a course override. Several students have come up to me at the end of class and actually squee’d – something I haven’t experienced at GT at the start of Shakespeare-related courses. I’m working to incorporate as many meta-lessons as possible, encouraging students to break the tools and texts we’re using. And so the breaking has begun. Continue reading

Publication News

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Cover image, Broadview Anthology of Medieval Drama

My edition of John Redford’s Henrician interlude “The Play of Wit and Science” has been published in the Broadview Anthology of Medieval Drama, edited by Christina M. Fitzgerald and John T. Sebastian.

For information about the anthology, see the Broadview Press website.