A Threat to Professional Identity? The Resistance to Computer-Mediated Teaching
Although its minimal technological underpinnings were tested and growing by the early 1970s, the Internet really became a global textual phenomenon in the 1980s. The combined corpus of e-mail exchanges and Usenet conversations involved millions of people in multiple nations. By the 1990s and the explosive growth of easy digital publishing through the World Wide Web, hundreds of millions of human beings had developed a combined textual universe so large that it cannot be effectively searched.1 Cyberspace is a textual artifact of immense size, developed at an historically unprecedented pace, and including a rich variety of audiences, authors, discourses, and narrative production. Considered in the abstract, such an object would surely merit the attention of those who research and teach texts. Moreover, given the social and linguistic effects attending this eruption of media, critical inquiry should merit some urgency. Yet the historical record of literary scholars shows otherwise, revealing instead the construction of a marginal status for cyberspatial study and practice. A casual glance at the sample of courses listed by the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies at the University of Washington shows only 19 out of 170 courses offered in higher education listed under English.
KeywordsProfessional Identity Science Fiction English Study English Instructor Social Software
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