I attended several technology-related sessions at the MLA convention, and I
would not mind exchanging comments with others who attended, or with others who
may have something to contribute.
The organizers of "Internet 101: Resources for Research, Communication, and
Teaching" (session 130) got something of a shock during the first speaker's
comments. Perhaps a year ago, when this session was likely first planned, there
was a greater need to introduce humanities instructors to the internet
I think we were all rather suprised when, in response to the question, "how many
of you have used e-mail," perhaps 99% of the people in the large crowded
ballroom raised their hands; in response to "how many of you have used
hypertext documents," perhaps 80% of the hands went up; when the question was
"how many of you have used the World Wide Web," around half of those present
raised their hands. When the question was, "How many of you have authored Web
documents," I saw perhaps ten hands, although there may have been more behind
The session was not so much a 101 course as a remedial one -- the speaker
discussed how to use a mouse, and demonstrated how to double-click on an icon.
I don't at all mean to criticize the event organizers for underestimating the
experience level of their audience; on the contrary, the high attendance at the
event demonstrated that scholars who already know a little about the internet
are very hungry for even more events like this one.
There are a few more MLA sessions which might be of interest, but perhaps I will
wait and see what other people have to say before I continue.
Dennis G. Jerz
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto
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