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ETEC 540: Text Technologies: The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

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The rise of computerized writing through the latter part of the twentieth century has precipitated extensive debate over how text technologies modify reading and writing processes. Our writing tools–whether chisel and stone, reed pen and papyrus roll, press and vellum, typewriter and paper, or keyboard and computer screen–necessarily influence the way we compose and respond to text. As Snyder (1996) observes in Hypertext, "the space created by each writing technology permits certain kinds of thinking and discourages others" (p. 5). By way of example, she suggests that blackboards invite repeated modification, causal thinking and spontaneity, while pen and paper invite care, tidiness, and controlled thinking (p. 5). In the process of examining the early development of writing and the evolution of technologies for writing from ancient times to the present, this course will offer students an opportunity to test such claims, and to consider the ways in which different technologies have influenced beliefs about, and approaches to, writing and reading.