topology, more on it

Monday, October 11th, 2004

Media space should suggest an ordering of thought, some internal/external sense of shape, depth, surface, and position and pattern. Is it possible to teach students to think about these concepts when it comes to shaping an essay or by manipulating words on the printed page or page printed from digital surface? We know from Kolb that repetition in argumentation is important to the ends of argument, yet if a student is asked to repeat an argument word for word in an essay, they’ll be called on it, yet in hypertext, a link may “cycle” back to a previously encountered criteria to reinforce or remind as a matter of design.

In the essay (those asked for by trained composition teachers) we request a different kind of stylistics: variance of content as it unfolds: repeat but make sure you vary. There’s a marked difference here in the design, the shape, and surface of ideas across the landscape of writing. But is there a base form that should dominate: is this base form the sentence, the paragraph, the essay? Do different disciplines want the same things in their arguments and explications? An underlying logic, but different formal demands? Can the formal demands, the shape of an argument, be removed from concept? Can an excellent idea be read beyond its grammatical bed?


2 responses to “topology, more on it”

  1. susan says:

    “Can an excellent idea be read beyond its grammatical bed?”

    Although style and form are indeed necessary elements, isn’t content the most important element of all? Style is a discipline. Content is a concept.

  2. Neha says:

    I think it’s hard to. Years and years of training and conditioning go into telling people how we want them to write. It’s not just the writer with that wall – it’s also the reader. Funny that content should come up – I just spent two solid hours today trying to come up with a definition for that word for a judging session. See what I mean? It goes round and round. We’re never prepared to adjust to change.