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Journal Entries

Journal Entry #1. Who is the audience for your annotation project? Who will want or need to read the original text? What value might your annotations provide to them as you insert yourself between the reader and the text to provide supplemental information, insights, or images?

Journal Entry #2: Chunking and Labeling the Visual as Verbal
So far with the Verbal as Visual Project, we've been focusing on the very necessary business of deciding on a visual scheme or a conherent set of design elements (repeated colors, fonts, visual motifs) to unify and give character to our pages.

Now, we should think about the over-all organization of the project, which is essentially a set of screens or slides, rather than a continuous flow of words that carry us naturally from page to page.

Notice in our example Seven how the index page (the first, main, home page) allows us to choose among four "loops" (three series of screens that develop the three main characters of the film, and a fourth, one-screen loop that introduces the idea of the site and its designer). This system of organization is a natural choice for "remediating" a Hollywood film that, like so many Hollywood films, is dependent on strong actors/characters. This choice of organization actually suggests an analysis of what the appeal and meaning of the film is based on (that is, one actors/characters, as opposed to plot, dialogue, setting, etc.). Being an analysis or commentary on the original text, the Verbal as Visual Project is like a piece of literary criticism, which seeks to "reconstruct a work in the image of its meaning."

This example leads us to ask: what are the component parts your own original text for Visual as Verbal (not just textual parts, but the thematic or aesthetic components of its meaning or appeal.

It also raises the interesting question of your index page: how will you make these component pages, loops or choices available in a visual as well as verbal way?

Journal Entry #3
To answer some of the questions above, take a look at the online handout cognitive mapping from the Ideas Site. Consider then the differences in cognitive mapping suggested by the navigation menus of the following Web sites of English departments around the country. Copy down on a page in your journal the labels used in the navigation menus on the first, index pages of these site.

What differences do you notice in the ways the each of the menus (the words, the labels, the chunking) distill and "normalize" the same discipline with different emphases?

Journal Entry #4: Mapping Your Interactive Rationale (in 4 steps)
1. On a sheet of paper, draw a cluster/map of your Interactivity Project, showing the "forking paths" of choices among the pages, and indicating the interactive effects on the individual pages.

2. Then try to sum up in a sentence or two at the bottom of the page the rationale for presenting this content interactively. What was the point, for instance, of Peter Norvig's presenting the Gettysburg Address interactively, or what effects or meaning did Geoff Ryman achieve by telling the story of the train ride interactively in 253? What's possible interactively that's not in a straight linear text?

3. Annotate your cluster/map with some "tag lines" (with page numbers) that point to ideas and passages from Landow's Chapter 6 on Hypertext narrative. Is Landow's sense of narrative and interactivity relevant to your project (as one would hope)?

4. Visit the Three Plateaus discussion to add to a thread, or to start a new thread, that shares and develops these connections or complications. Be sure to include page numbers from Landow whenever you mention him (as a help to youself and others when you come back to this discussion later for the Discussion into Essay Project).

Journal Entry # 5: Clustering on Ideas
1. Look at the "Three Plateaus" discussion browse through Landow, and think about each of your projects of this class.

2. On a blank sheet of paper, map in a big cluster the major ideas, insights, experiences, distinctions and connections from the semester. Choose and feature the items to the degree that they interested or were relevant to you personally.

With this cluster, you're fishing around trying to find a particular issue or question that you're interested in, or that's relevant to what you do (or will do). What has surprised you in the projects that we've worked on, the readings we've done, what we've discussed in "Three Plateaus"? In what topics have the readings and your practical experience spoken to each other?

3. As you cluster, look for emerging centers of gravities that might give focus and purpose to what you'll write about.

Remember that you will have more to say about something narrowly defined than something vaguely defined. Imagine writing an essay about everything: you'd have hardly anything to say.

4. Now look at your cluster. Write a focusing sentence down at the bottom.

5. Turn the page over and write a quick, very informal paragraph that grows out of that statement, builds on it. With this paragraph, you're just thinking on paper, stringing words together to see where they take you.

6. After you finish that paragraph, stop and "step back" mentally. Read it over, make notes and additions. Then write a new focusing statement beneath the paragraph. What you're looking for is a growing sense of narrowing down your essay's focus.

Journal Entry # 6: Adding a Political Layer
Look for ways to "politicize" the "Three Plateaus" discussion by adding three commments, appended (replied) either to your classmates' messages or to your own, that point out the political issues suggested to you by the original message.

Journal Entry #7: Preparing for Conference
Following up from reading and discussing your drafts, take a few minutes now to write down your ideas for the next draft of this project. What do you intend to do next? What do you want to talk about in conference? Bring this entry to conference on Thursday.