In the Mirror of Genre: Students Write this
Interviews on Web Pages
Three students volunteered to be interviewed at intervals throughout this
process as they read and then wrote hypertexts. Some of these interviews
included read-aloud protocols as the students surfed their way through
the web reading assignments. Others were retrospective accounts of
how and why they composed their texts the way they did.
For this report, I'll cut a hundred or so pages of not-well-analyzed
transcript down to one paragraph.
I asked one of the students who worked on the "Virtual Life" text what
she liked and did not like about her own contribution, the "Cyberstalking"
page. This is what she had to say:
Itís kind of funny, Ďcause Iíve gone and created a site thatís a little
more text than anything else. Which goes against what I actually
liked a lot. So I think what I would have done is maybe try to condense
the text that was actually on this site. But it still would have
a link to the Hitchcock case and a link to these people because I thought
they were important. Even possibly have a little bit of information from
myself connecting to those sites. But I don't know how to go about
In other words, she would attenuate her own text to "a little bit of information
from myself" and concentrate on smooth connections to other people's material.
This in fact is more like what other sites such as the Hypertext Fiction
site do: the author's own text performs bridging and summarizing tasks
rather than making its own argument in any detail. Students who do
produce large amounts of their own argument seemed faintly embarrassed
about the fact that in doing so, they reproduced the linear hard-copy essay:
the only available model for extended argument.