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Electracy is being invented in contrast to literacy. Instead of relying on the hermeneutic tradition ascribed by literacy often emphasizing criticism and analysis , electracy employs a logic of electronic invention that places creativity center stage. This method is called "heuretics" and is less concerned with analyzing texts. In this sense, blues music is used here as a relay.

It is used for the design of a method akin to electronic environments. With this in mind, I hope to show how blues music is an analogy that can be used to further the invention of electracy. Most obvious, the structure of these three pages in the form of musical chords is a metaphoric means to guide and, if possible, to induce new to induce new discoveries and new strategies for problem solving in electracy. While each page is getting at a similar point, the use of three different chords re-presents my emphasis through three different modes.


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I am using blues music, and the structure of one-four-five, as a way to translate how the blues might materialize in the digital age. I was also learning what chords went well together, rhythm patterns, pentatonic scales, and ultimately how a sense of musicality depended on channeling a feeling. This was the core of my insight. I began to realize how there were kinds of meaning that musical performance permitted that I felt resembled the skills necessary to compose in electronic environments. For example, I found that one of the most profound connections between music and web design a component of electracy relates to both of these practices harnessing more than mere technical skills.

Initially, web design seems most distinct from print-based composition because of the schism digital media presents between technical and creative skills. In other words, the gulf between the initial idea for a website and actually implementing an idea using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or software programs is often very obvious for the beginner. So while technical skills are valuable—perhaps analogous to the value of learning grammatical skills in print-based literacy—it is undeniable that web design requires a skill set that is not confined to purely technical knowledge.

The same realization presents itself to the musician. I quickly found that the sound I heard in my mind and the ability to actually play the song on guitar often presents an insurmountable gap. As a result of these insights, I knew I couldn't let technical efficiency reign. In my guitar playing, I would not strip everything down to scale patterns, but instead learn to inflect my own creative voice and mood into each composition.

Likewise when teaching web design, I would not strip the creative nature of design down to memorizing computer languages or simply becoming proficient in software programs. The technical must be engaged, but not at the expense of more valuable lessons. One way to frame this emphasis I place on harnessing feelings versus memorizing a technical skill set is through the blues, and specifically the blue note.

But it can be in anything. The blue note is technically a musical note that is flatter than the listener would expect, or is at a lower pitch and gives the blues much of its characteristic sound. At the same time, the blue note is often employed in other musical genres. More than that, the blue note can be elicited in electronic environments. To some extent, I have been using the blue note on this page by relying on the personal nature of how the weight of graduate school and teaching spurred me to learn blues music. I saw playing the blues on guitar as a remedy from the familiar pattern of print-based literacy.

The use of the blue note is ultimately one example of how blues music functions as a relay. As my personal interest in guitar playing increased I had to learn to balance the instruction of my multimedia authoring course. In fact, this balance was not hard to accomplish. I even riffed on Ulmer's assignments, which hold a similar awareness about the importance of music in the digital age. The goal then is to reflect on how music and lyrics interact to create a distinct atmosphere, state of mind, or mood. Reflecting on the interaction between music and lyrics is really a meta-reflection on the relationship between form and content.

This historical connection between music and rhetoric relates to the number of musical terms that derive from the language arts. In light of this fact, as I spent my time moving from textbook, to keyboard, to fretboard, and back again, I began to hear how music might instead inform rhetorical invention in electronic environments. While music terminology derives from the language arts, there is no reason why music terminology cannot be used to inform electracy. The blues has transformed my view of electronic literacy.

As I have recounted, my guitar playing taught me several key lessons. These include harnessing distractions as productive outlets in electronic environments, emphasizing invention i. William Ellis. Internet overtakes newspapers as news outlet. The Pew Research Center. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press. Rice, Jennifer Edbauer. Rhetoric's mechanics: Retooling the equipment of writing production. College Composition and Communication, 60 2 , — Russell, Bertrand.

Knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description.

Manovich's 5 principles of new media video essay project

In The problems of philosophy pp. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Sacks, Oliver. In Oliver Sacks Ed. Shen, Benjamin S. Science literacy: Public understanding of science is becoming vitally needed in developing and industrialized countries alike. American Scientist, 63 3 , — Slack, Jennifer Daryl. Contextualizing technology.

Citations per year

London, England: Sage Publications. The theory and method of articulation in cultural studies. London, England: Routledge. Slack, Jennifer, Miller, David J. The technical communicator as author: Meaning, power, and authority. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 7 1 , 12— Ignatian pedagogy overview: Saint Louis University center for transformative teaching learning.

The learning studio: Saint Louis University center for transformative teaching learning. Reinert center for transformative teaching and learning: Saint Louis University center for transformative teaching learning. Weimer, Maryellen. Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice 2nd ed. Council for the advancement of science writing. Current realities and future possibilities: Language and science literacy—Empowering research and informing instruction.

International Journal of Science Education, 28 , — Nathaniel A. His current research addresses new materialism's and object-oriented ontology's impacts on public rhetorics such as environmentalism and urban design. He is at work on a book project currently titled The Strange Defense of Rhetoric and an edited collection exploring the impact of Bruno Latour on rhetoric and composition. Christopher Grabau cgrabauID As a member of the instructional design team in the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning CTTL , Chris consults with faculty, graduate students, and teaching staff on instructional elements, course design, and learning technologies.

He also researches new pedagogical approaches to instruction; helps to facilitate intentional transitions to online teaching; and works with faculty teaching in the CTTL's Learning Studio. Her emphasis was in Rhetoric and Composition, particularly technical communication.


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Kate currently works as a business consultant with technology consulting company, Perficient. Katie Zabrowski katethegrater Katie Zabrowski is a doctoral student in rhetoric and composition at Saint Louis University. Her interests in complex vitalism, new materialism and object-oriented ontology guide her thinking in rhetoric, composition, and writing pedagogy. Her current research explores hospitality at the level of ontology, tracing the activity of generosity and relationality at the ontological, disciplinary, and institutional levels.

The project is a fuller articulation because of them. Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning Special thanks to the CTTL for providing all the institutional, instructional, and infrastructural support for the course. Firecracker Press We'd like to thank Firecracker Press for welcoming us into their shop to shoot video, take pictures, and talk new and old media.

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Their work is inspirational and their attunement to process is impressive. Magnolia Summer We'd like to thank the band Magnolia Summer for allowing us to use their track "Door of Return" throughout the video. Their sound is a valuable part of this project. Metro Transit St.

Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice

Louis Thanks also to Metro Transit of St. Louis for providing the sites and sounds of trains. Buddha Machine Christopher's podcast makes use of sounds produced by the fabulous Buddha Machine: devices designed to work together to create ambient sounds. In addition to appearing in Christopher's podcast, the idea of the Buddha Machine became a part of the brainstorming associated with this course. XStockvideo Several video clips in "Articulation" were downloaded from XStockvideo, which provides free to download and free to use stock video footage.

Design: Luka Cvrk - Solucija. References Ambrose, Susan.

Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice

How learning works. Social learning theory. Science in action. Framing science. Science, , Ong, Walter. Orality and literacy 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge. Brian Eno. Boston, MA: Faber and Faber. Back to Webtext.