E302 – Reading and the Web
Prerequisite: CO 150 or HONR 193.
Description: The course focuses on critically examining reading processes as well as rhetorical and cultural contexts for readers on the Web. The first half of the course considers theoretical perspectives, including cognitive, socio-cognitive, rhetorical, and cultural theories of reading and looking at such questions as:
- What is reading?
- How (physically and cognitively) do we read?
- How can different purposes change reading processes and experiences?
- What visual and textual features situate readers in texts?
- How does reading online differ from reading a print text?
- What motives prompt readers to read online?
- What do readers first notice when dropping into a web text?
- Just what is the beginning of a web text?
The second half of the course then moves into analysis of rhetorical contexts and contextual forces shaping our reading of the Web. We re-examine the questions noted above in light of specific analyses of Web sites for issues related to visual literacy, interface design, access, and navigation. In addition, we expand our list of questions to explore:
- Why do readers expect certain navigational features on a Web site?
- What happens to readers when writers violate expectations about reading the Web?
- When does it benefit writers to violate readers’ expectations?
- How can writers make readers’ experience of a Web site more satisfying?
- What are possible criteria for reader satisfaction?
- Does the “rhetoric” of lurking, chatting, posting, and composing ever change? How? Why?