Subjects: Speech Communication (0459); Language, General (0679); Computer Science (0984)
ProQuest Document Number:
UMI Number: AAT 9601590
This purpose of this study is to develop a visual rhetoric of electronic-aided publishing technology, a rhetoric that will situate computer technology for print documents and the use of visuals and visual language within the rhetorical process and recognize the significance of both technology and visuals for rhetoric and composition research and pedagogy. This study examines various bodies of literature from different disciplines to determine the role of technology and the visual in the rhetorical process, and analyzes the writing spaces of one instantiation of electronic-aided publishing technology.
Chapter 2 argues that technology is not neutral, but does influence human thinking and composing process. Theories of technology, specifically writing technology, from researchers in history, speech communication, literary theory, and rhetoric and composition reveal the changes in culture and in individuals brought about by alphabetic writing, printing press technology, broadcast media, and computer technology.
Chapter 3 examines the writing space of one Apple Macintosh computer system and accompanying applications to reveal its visual and dynamic writing space. Used in the production of print documents, and conjoining the static conventions of print and the dynamic, impermanent qualities of electronic writing, this technology encourages the writer to assume additional roles as designer, publisher, and distributor of text. The graphics-based interface provides visual symbols for computer commands, making the writing space inherently visual, reminding the writer of the various options available, and encouraging the writer to incorporate visual elements into the writing process.
Chapter 4 draws on postmodern critical theory, cognitive studies, design studies, and professional writing for theories of the role of the visual design and visual elements in discourse. Each of these brings a different understanding of visual language to rhetoric and composition. Publishing, one aspect of professional writing, provides a noteworthy example of the integration of technology and visual design into the rhetorical process.
Acknowledging the use of electronic-aided technology and its potential effects on the writer implies certain new directions in both technology and in writing instruction. In technology design, new interfaces can be constructed to reflect a variety of environments familiar to users. And in writing courses, instructors can incorporate issues of visual design. All writers can now make decisions which affect the design of their printed texts.