Hypertext: rethinking the roles of writer and reader

| Overview | Purpose | Learning about Hypertext | Sharing the Experience | Writing Hypertext | Proofreading & Revising | Publishing Your Work | Evaluating the Assignment | Lesson Calendar | "What is Hypertext?" | Go back to top: |


Most of us learned to read by following symbols (letters and words) on a page of paper that we eventually combined to create meaning. Since then, reading has generally meant understanding words on paper. In the same way, writing was something we generally produced on paper, either with pen or pencil or typewriter or through computer and printer.

The Internet (and hypertext) has changed this concept of reading and writing. It is important for us to understand this change as we venture into the hypertext world. It is not only the transformation from paper to digital media that has changed, the relationship between writer and reader has also changed in a dramatic way.

The purpose of this lesson is

  • to help you understand what hypertext is

  • to help you understand the change in the relationship between writer and reader (and the text)

  • to help you in your role as hypertext reader and writer

In addition, this lesson will help you

  • read and follow directions carefully

  • improve your web page skills

  • integrate transitions into your writing

  • use email effectively

  • proofread and revise your writing

The directions that follow require your careful attention.

Learning about hypertext:

  1. Read a hypertext essay about hypertext (This link opens in its own window; toggle it with this window to stay on track).

  2. Visit at least five hyperlinks in the essay.

  3. Answer the following seven questions in a Word document that you save in your home directory (CE9 folder). File name suggestion: hypertext assignment. Use complete sentences and spell check this assignment. You will be emailing this document to your teacher when you are finished. The subject line should be "hypertext." Check your semester calendar for the due date.

    1. What is hypertext (define it)?

    2. How is it different from papertext (books, newspapers, magazines, etc.)?

    3. What challenges does hypertext present for the reader?

    4. What challenges does hypertext present for the writer?

    5. What are things you should consider when you are creating hyperlinks in your text?

    6. How can being a reader of hypertext help you be a good writer of hypertext?

    7. How was your experience reading the essay on hypertext similar or different from your CyberPartner's experience? Use the information you get in the email he/she sends you to make the comparison. This part should be one to two paragraphs. Be specific about what was similar or different. Use comparison/contrast transitions to link ideas in this paragraph.

  4. Read more about hypertext (an advanced option):

    Some of the sites listed above are written above 9th grade reading level, but if you look carefully, you will find parts that you understand. Look for key words and ideas.

Sharing the experience:

Sharing your experience helps you understand one of the main aspects of hypertext: not everyone reads it the same way. Reading hypertext is based on individual needs and we tend to read hypertext in a non-linear way.

  1. After you have read the essay about hypertext and visited five hyperlinks, write to your cyber partner about the five sites you visited. Tell about what sites you chose, why you chose them, what you learned there or what was interesting, boring, etc. about the sites. [Question suggestions: to help you write this note to your cyber partner].

  2. Compose your note in Word and then send it as an attachment in an email.

  3. Do this in a timely manner, please. If you do not, your cyber partner will not be able to proceed with question #7 in his/her hypertext assignment.

  4. Continue with your assignment as described above.

Writing a hypertext paragraph:

  1. Learn to write hypertext by doing it.

  2. Find the table following these directions and choose a paragraph topic.

  3. Next, save a Word document (file name suggestion: hypertext paragraph) in your CE9 folder and use this file for composing.

  4. Then begin writing, keeping the things you learned about writing hypertext in mind. As you write, consider your audience.

  5. As you write, think about what concepts, words, etc. will be good to turn into hyperlinks. Will you link to definitions in a dictionary, related sites, or where?

  6. Include three hyperlinks in your text. (You may not create hyperlinks to sites that are already in the "What is Hypertext" essay; exception is Dictionary.com, but you'd go to a different word). Also, DO NOT create your hyperlinks in your Word document (yes, it's possible, but don't do it). Create your hyperlinks in FrontPage.

More about hyperlinks
  • Review the purposes for links:
    • to add information
    • to clarify an idea
    • to extend understanding
    • to make connections to similar ideas or topics
  • Integrate your links into your text. Write first, then select text to make into a hypertext. Links are generally not more than three words long. Never just plop in a URL.
  • Always test your links by using preview in browser.
  1. Remember a well developed paragraph has concrete details: examples, reasons, a story to illustrate, etc. If your paragraph is too short, it will not be well developed.

  2. Give your paragraph a title.

What to write about?

To inform
Explore further one of the topics presented in the essay on hypertext. For example, you may want to know more about aeries. Write about a sport or a community activity you're involved in. Write about a vacation you took recently. Or investigate a place you'd like to visit someday and write about that.
To persuade
Persuade someone to donate money to the Red Cross. Persuade someone to volunteer at the humane society, a nursing home, or some other community place. Persuade your peers that good choices now will bring benefits later (choices regarding health, education, etc.).

Proofreading and revising your work:

  1. Use your Falcon Skills and Style Handbook proofreading checklist.

  2. Use a spell checker (you must make decisions about what is right or not right).

  3. Revise:

    • Reword

    • Rearrange

    • Delete

    • Add

  4. Ask your CyberPartner to read your draft (optional).

Publishing your hypertext paragraph:

  1. After proofreading and revising your paragraph, publish it on your web site. Be sure that you read the following directions:
    • Create a new page for this assignment. File name suggestion: hypertext.htm
    • Follow format expectations for setting up the page for an essay. You will not have to add the information for citing sources as shown at the bottom.
    • You should copy the text from your Word document and paste it into the table you create in FrontPage.
    • Put a link to your hypertext.htm page on your webfolio page. Use your title to make the link.

Evaluating the assignment: Check the grading rubric to see how you measure up.

Lesson Calendar: (general): Check your teacher's semester calendar for exact dates. Review directions above often to make sure you are meeting all requirements.

Day one: Begin Hypertext assignment. Read directions and begin.
Day two: Write your note to email to your cyber partner; review the directions.
Day three: Work day
Day four: Finish answering the questions and email it to hand in.
Day five: Write your hypertext paragraph.
Day six: Finish and publish your hypertext paragraph.

Another way to look at how to proceed:

  1. Read the hypertext essay.
  2. Write your response for your cyber partner using the suggested questions.
  3. While you are waiting for your cyber partner's response, begin the assignment that you will email your teacher.
  4. Then answer number 7 using your cyber partner's response. Email your assignment to your teacher.
  5. Begin your hypertext paragraph.
  6. Finish and publish your hypertext paragraph.

| What is Hypertext? |Top of page |



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