BLOG 1, On the Virtual Life of the Text

Patricia Cohen’s “Giving Literature Virtual Life” reminded me of my days in an honors history class as an undergraduate. The course was developed by a history professor with an abiding interest in computers. When the World Wide Web emerged in the mid 1990s, Professor William Gilmore, my adviser and the tech-head in question, was eager to figure out how to incorporate it in his classes. The problem for him was that at our midrange state school that catered to commuters and first generation college kids, most of us had very little knowledge of computers, and could barely type. The students in Cohen’s article live in another world–elite, moneyed, and, apparently, sophisticated in regards to computers and computing. I think the kids today from my state school are probably equally inclined to work with computers, much more so than during my years as an undergrad. Still, I do think that the mixing of computers and intense reading requires a certain level of comfort with both. I worry that very few of my students would fit the mold, so to speak.