COURSE INTRODUCTION: ENGL 475 – A Cyborg Experience

Prior to my review of English 475, I’d like to include the following article about the course written by M. Redi:

The Student as Cyborg

If you are a cyborg and don’t know it does that still make you a cyborg?

The best place to explore this question is in Athabasca’s course, Literature and Hypertext, one of the only courses of its kind on the planet. Called English 475, it studies how new digital technology is changing the way we read, write, think, do research, study and even foster relationships. We all use computers, cell phones, CDs, wireless devices and DVDs without giving them a second thought. This technology has become an extension of our bodies, our senses, our minds, our memories, possibly even part of who we are. Our daily dependence on all the new media makes us cyborgs.

What is the relationship between literature and hypertext? One expression of digital technology is hypertext, the interlinking of often diverse texts on the computer screen.

This instantaneous linking affects the way we read, not just the screen but also the printed page. We see literary texts in a different way, in a sense, we create a new literature.

Literacy is a basic skill we all need to function in our world, however, this now also includes computer literacy. Our computer is a common tool we use, but it is also a tool which changes us. It changes us in obvious ways: we can work faster and do more, we can travel less and still personally and daily reach more people than our parents could ever dream of contacting. But this new technology is also changing us in subtle ways which we do not entirely understand. What is our new relationship with the machine?

We can write using the computer, but our written communications are no longer just print since this is a visual and dynamic medium. Are we changing the way we write and think?

English 475: Literature and Hypertext, examines these and many other questions which affect not only students but also their families. Can cyborgs have families?

Star Trek is here. One of the texts on this course is entitled, Hamlet on the Holodeck. It seems that the great tradition of English literature has found a home in cyberspace. More correctly it is many homes since there are literature sites all over the world. And the Canadian Writers site at Athabasca University is part of a huge network.

English 475: Literature and Hypertext has a web page, of course, which you are invited the explore. If you need more information you can contact Prof. Joseph Pivato, the coordinator for English 475. Be careful, he will probably also talk to you about his favourite courses, Comparative Canadian Literature. It seems cyborgs can still retain a strong interest in books and literature.

For links go to:

Course Introduction: ENGL 475: A Cyborg Experience
Katie Patrick

Well, has the cyborg idea caught your imagination? Or do you need a bit more information before delving into the realm of literature and hypertext? If this is the case, stay tuned below:.

ENGL 475 delves deeply into the discovery of the various facets of the relationship between literature and hypertext, completing this in three exciting parts. Each part focuses on hypertext from a unique perspective; for instance, the first part of the course deals with its artistic significance and expression. The second part of the course examines hypertext from a political point of view, with a peek into its social and linguistic aspects as well. This section also shows the “function, effects, and value” of hypertext as seen in the media. The last and final section, “hypertext and literary studies”, offers, as its name implies, a detailed practical study of hypertext and literature and its accompanying text”?author”?reader relationship. While studying in these 3 detailed units, you will cover intriguing topics such as “archival text”, “the multiform story”, “interactivity, cyberculture:and technology” as well as a variety of applicable narratives, including those visually- and game-related. These are discovered using a variety of course materials, including online articles that complement a great reading file. Check out the brand new ENGL 475 course website at:

Unlike the traditional Athabasca University course, Literature and Hypertext (ENGL 475) can be considered a semi-paced course, while still being offered through independent study. You will be given a generous 19 week schedule to complete the course, which ensures you will be able to finish it on time.

Another technologically exciting feature of ENGL 475 is its Discussion Board. Using this online Discussion Board enables ENGL 475 students across the world to be able to communicate and discuss course-related issues. Not only will you be able to digitally meet your peers in cyberspace, but you will certainly strengthen your Literature and Hypertext (ENGL 475) learning experience by participating in the class discussions and debates. You will find that the Discussion Board is a real highlight of the course!

A 3-credit course in the Humanities area, Literature and Hypertext (ENGL 475) has certain prerequisites required before registering. Two general first year English courses are required (such as ENGL 211 and 212), as well as one senior level English course (such as one of ENGL 325, 335, 336, 373, 381, or 423). Your course grades for Literature and Hypertext are evaluated through 4 means; 3 course assignments, worth 30% each, make up the bulk of the grade, and the remaining 10% is awarded for Discussion Board participation. To read through the course syllabi, visit:

Has your heart skipped a beat while reading this course introduction? If so, it means that ENGL 475 (Literature and Hypertext) is for you! Register today for an exciting learning experience tomorrow!

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