This course is broken up into three modules: oral to manuscript culture, manuscript to print culture, and print to digital culture. The formal title for this course is Topics in Media and Culture--professors who teach this course switch up the material covered from semester to semester as they see fit. The topic that Dr. Jerz chose for this semester is the history and future of the book.
So far in this course I've learned that these transitional phases in technology (yes, the book is a form of technology, though some of us fail to realize it) were frightening for those living during these phases and experiencing them first hand. Writing wasn't always considered a skill that every human needed to learn, and technology hasn't always been embraced the way it is in today's world.
I've also learned that print made modern day education possible. The book is first and foremost looked at as an educational tool by the masses, but reading books is also one of the world's favorite past-times. Books made critical thinking possible--before the world of print existed, there was very little material to be critically thought about in the first place, and the material that did exist was very hard and expensive to get a hold of because it had to be hand-copied. The telephone is to our voices as the book is to the written word, it's an extension of reachability.
In conclusion, I've learned that as the technologies of the book and printing become fortified by the Internet, much of their essence remained in digital culture, which is why new media transitions so well into education and academia.
Below are links to my blog entries discussing my thoughts on the assigned readings for this course:
All entries fall under this category since they all include a link to the assignment, a direct quote from the reading, and name the source.
Aarseth (5, 7, 8)- Noticing innovations in communication technology
Choynowski- I discuss Dani's observation about hiding social anxiety through e-mail, instant messaging, etc.
Sawyer- I discuss Kayla's question on how the typewriter affected mood upon it's lease to the masses
Kirschenbaum (preface, chapters 1 & 2)- The Internet and making "disappearing text" permanent
Kirschenbaum (Finish)- Why do Internet users feel the need to alter published work when making copies of it for online use?
Doctorow (86-End)- Are there Haunted Mansion fanatics out there like the characters in Doctorow's book?