Formerly SpringBlog

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Inception of the Matrix

I never saw Inception, and its been a while since Ive seen the Matrix, but I couldn't help but think of the two movies when discussing Gary Brummett's, Three Meanings of Epistemic Rhetoric and how it begged the question: what is Truth? How do you define, and know that what YOU know is the truth. Before reading this I thought I could answer that question, but instead I sat in class stumped. It took me several attempts just to grasp the first two theories of Methodological and Sociological epistemic rhetoric, often getting tripped up by the use of the term that means "the creation of knowledge". Never before had I considered knowledge to have been created, especially not in terms of three different types of rhetoric.

Random Thoughts: Determinism

Our technologies seem to have personalities that impact us like other people or human institutions. We often speak of them as though they had "agency" and even personality; this has often been called "technological determinism."

Can we attribute concrete effects to the “Internet”? The Internet is a shell, a tool made up of connected server computers world wide that work through a series of protocols for sharing data. The World Wide Web is the software that makes the internet useful to ordinary users. People can project their messages via the Web and increasingly join together through the infrastructure of the Internet to achieve many types of purposes--but all of these originate with human users. So you might say “The Internet is as we use it.” Technological determinism may mask crucial social processes and changes in how we enact literacy as a culture.

What the group is aiming at

Our 213 group has a main goal for each person's posts to this blog--"Demonstrate depth and understanding of reading by extending or challenging ideas encountered in course sources (especially finding links to discourse or reporting on the Web related to the readings)"
For those who don't have the course syllabus, the reading are

Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore. The Medium is the Massage. Gingko Press, 2005.
Ellen Lupton. Thinking with Type. 2nd ed. Princeton Architectural Press, 2010.
Peter Morville. Ambient Findability. O'Reilly, 2005.
Clay Shirky. Here Comes Everybody. Penguin, 2008.

Articles and essays include:

Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?Atlantic July/August 2008

Clay Shirky, “Does the Internet Make You Smarter?Wall Street Journal 4 Jun 2010

Lera Boroditsky, "How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?" Edge. The Edge Foundation, 2009

Gary Brummett, Three Meanings of Epistemic Rhetoric. Paper given at the
Speech Ccommunication Association Convention, November, 1979

David H. Freeman, "The Aggressive Egg." Discover 13.6 (June 1992)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Greetings and welcome to our blog for Introduction to Digital Literacies, a course offered by the English Department of Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. The postings and comments here will be an integral part of our course activities, particularly in enabling us the assume the roles of users of new media environments and students of the importance of rhetoric as the essential theory base for communication of all kinds. Posts to the blog will stem from our course readings, but in a flexible and extensive mode. All topics related to using digital media in reading, writing, and navigating our culture are welcome. Comments from the public relating to these areas of interest are welcome.

Webster Newbold
ENG 213 sections 3 and 4
Spring Semester 2011