Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Traditional vs. Hypertext Classroom

The reading for this week focused on the differences between traditional and hypertext classrooms. Traditional textbook classrooms involve learning through reading a particular text. As mentioned by Gibson, scholars read textbooks to engage in a debate about the information presented, whereas students primarily read textbooks to gain entry into that discipline. Moreover, while the textbooks provides valuable information to the student, the textbook to an extent is authoritative. Thus, traditional classrooms are not very interactive. Generally, communication is one way, flowing from professor to student. Additionally, some textbooks do not encourage self reflection. On the other hand, hypertext allows students to read material, comment on it and even take it a step further by encouraging students to come to their own conclusions about the topic. Hypertext often includes primary sources, providing students a first hand experience of the information, and thus leaving room for self interpretation. According to Gibson, many students may not seem interested in conducting further research to answer their questions, but when a body of literature is at their fingertips, students may readily explore the material. Hypertext connects the material, links to other texts, commentary, criticism, and even to other disciplines, giving the students a variety of options to supplement their learning with.

This class is an example of learning through hypertext. The class blog provides everyone a chance to voice their opinions and thoughts about the reading, while leaving room for comments. Everyone has a different way of examining the reading, and thus blogs about something they found important. The interactivity of this class allows everyone to learn from each other. Moreover, everyone also writes about different social networking websites they come across. As a result, everyone else can explore these websites and draw their own conclusions about them. Even though the last section of the reading explains that it is too early to draw conclusions about the hypertext classroom, by participating in a class that provides us this opportunity, we can better understand how the reading applies to our everyday lives.

1 comment:

  1. We do use both, as we have a required book, Communication and Cyberspace, which you're commenting on actually.