Pat Sloane wrote:
> It seems to me hypertext is linear, though it's said not to be. It's just
> that one is being offered a crooked path with lots of detours in place of a
> straight path.
Your analogy leaves off that there may be many paths to go, not just
one that is crooked and that has detours that bring you back to a
different point along the original crooked path. Still, I see your
point. You are talking of the path taken (linear), I was thinking of
the the possible paths (non-linear). A diagram of the possible paths
could be shown as a web which needs two dimensions to be drawn so that
it can be recognized.
Also addressing your linearity view, while each reader going through
the web would follow a course that might be described as linear it
could likely be a different course from that of another reader. That
wouldn't be the case in, say, a work of fiction (except, I guess, for
the path that Robert might take. :-)
But anyway, what I was thinking of this morning, but didn't express in
anything other than the most vague way, was focus. Take my TWL site
for an example. Let's say a reader is reading the poem for the first
time at my site. He comes across a Dante allusion that Eliot has
noted. He clicks the hyperlink and is shown the appropriate canto.
Now, how would you describe his focus? Is he still focusing on the
poem or is his little side visit a distraction? Does constant reading
and following hyperlinked text affect the way the reader attacks
traditional printed material? Perhaps his attention span is not as
long. Are there other affects? Are they important? Good, bad or
just different? I don't know the answers but I think that educators
need to consider the questions.