Hypertext – carving a path

I am taking an online course through the University of Alberta on information literacy. It is lookng very interesting. It seems that it will also provide grist for the mill. Another very important feature in a course! As I scanned my way through the first set of online lecture notes. It intriged me that I had choosen to print out the notes and read them offline and on paper. The author of the notes, Joanne De Groot, asked us to reflect on our use of the hyperlinks as we read through the material. Clearly as I was reading on paper, hyperlinks did not come into play at all. I read through the first set of notes without, the distraction as I perceived it, of the hyperlink.

I know that other students would approach the text differently – reading it online and following some of the links, all of the links, venturing further and further away from the text of the main set of notes. I am interested in my approach, not surpised particularly, as  I tend to be linear in my approach to things. I prefer to finish one task and then take on the next. My spouse would read through things very differently. He tends to take on many projects at once, leave one as it presents a difficulty and play with the other one, thereby allowing his brain to focus its attention on the second proeject and simultaneiously subconciously work away at the other problem until he has an answer or possiblity to pursue in fixing the first project’s problem. I don’t know how he can stand it, all that unfinished business would drive me crazy!  Similarly the unfinished business of the main text is my priority.

‘Hypertext enables you to strike yourown path through the information’. I could take a more varied route through the materials; I just don’t. First ‘A’ then ‘B’ and then back into ‘A’ for the subtexts. Am I getting the most out of the medium? Or is that the joy of it? I can take one path and you can take another. I wonder how many times I have asked my students, demanded that my students take my path through the material? Many times I expect. Here is a way to let go of the control and allow the learning to be self-directed.


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Filed under education, hyperlinks, identity, web 2.0

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