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Alex/s and my homework: Thoughts on linearity

OK, more new digital media homework….

I was reading fellow digital media faculty seminar colleague Alex’s homework, and it got me thinking.

First, here’s an excerpt:
“’I want you to notice how hard it is for a person to realize how really unquestioning he is about the way he does things’ [Englebart, Augmenting Human Intellect]. In other words…once you reveal the invisible –automatic– linear structures that have been forcing your mind to think linearly, you are free to challenge them, and move on.”

And then…
“When I want to write something new, I rummage through these bits of information and re-arrange them to create a patchwork document I work with. A sort of essay cut-up. Each part acts like a node in a network. Then, however, I cave in to conventionalism and cover the emptiness between fragments with narrative and I allocate each concept in its place so my readers can access the one linear path I finally choose for them to access. I write an essay.”

And here’s my conundrum, what reinforces my ambivalence:
Students are assessed on their ability to synthesize all these bits of information, to re-arrange them, to cover the emptiness between them, to put each concept in its place, to create a linear path through Borges’ garden of forking paths.

I teach the essay.

I am an enabler.

Is this good or bad?


About margismeanderings

Will teach for food.

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