A New Revolution of Learning, a Summary of “Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments”

The era of paper and pen style writing is beginning to decline as technology is advancing. Writing styles are beginning to evolve, taking a more modern shape and allowing writing to incorporate images, audience interaction and sounds, something absent in paper and pen writing. In her paper “Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments“, Mary E. Hocks discusses this evolution and the incorporation of digital documents in writing. Hocks divides her paper into two sections with one section using two academic hypertextual essays to help explain the visual digital rhetoric and the other section discussing how teachers should incorporate visual digital rhetoric in their teaching. In addition to this, she also divides the visual digital rhetoric into three categories: Audience stance, transparency and hybridity. The audience stance is the way the author creates ethos and the degree of audience participation. Transparency is how familiar the terminology and concepts of the article is to the audience. Lastly, hybridity is how the site combines images and texts.

Hocks begins by examining the first academic hypertextual essay, “Monitoring Order” by Anne Wysocki. The first thing Hocks points out is how Wysocki promotes audience participation by providing interactive text and images, allowing the audience to progress through the essay in an order that they chose. As a result, the essay promotes active reading and decreases attention fatigue, something that all too common with long academic articles or papers.

The saying "A picture is worth a million words" is beginning to be proven in the modern day style of writing (bloging etc). Sourced from Transformation Marketing
The saying “A picture is worth a million words” is beginning to be proven in the modern day style of writing (bloging etc). Sourced from Transformation Marketing

The second thing Hocks discusses is how Wysocki establishes transparency by using a familiar format, colors and page layout. In addition to this, Wysocki uses “tiles” to help the reader not get lost in the text and have a sense of direction. Once again, when a person reads large amounts of text at a time, they can easily become lost physically or mentally in the paper. Lastly, Hocks focuses on is the Hybridity of “Monitoring Order”. Wysocki combines texts and images in a way that allows readers to immerse themselves into the theme and topic of the site. This in turn caters to the individuality in humans, since it allows the audience to choose their path through the essay. 

In addition to this, Hocks also examines “The Ballad of the Internet Nutball”, written by Christine Boese. Similar to “Monitoring Order”, Boese establishes audience stance and hybridity by incorporating music, interactive images and texts. Hocks also notes that Boese allows participants to add to the site, constantly evolving the site, increasing user participation and reducing attention fatigue. However, unlike the high transparency in “Monitoring Order”, Boese’s essay had a low transparency since it was limited to the fans who understood the theme of the site. Despite this, not all rhetoric has to be designed in a way to cater to everyone. Similar to paper and pen style writing, certain books are understood only by a certain pool of people and not by others. None the less, Hock shows how transparency plays a role in the visual digital rhetoric. 

Example of Xenaverse. Sourced from:
Example of Xenaverse. Sourced from: The Legendary Wikia

In part two of her paper, Hocks discusses how teachers should incorporate visual digital rhetoric. Hocks uses an online student project about Shakespeare to explain the positive impacts of introducing visual digital rhetoric in the classroom. The students were tasked to design a website which collected and created discussion about Shakespeare’s colorblind casting. By giving the students the ability to create their own sites, they were able to immerse themselves more into the material than they ever would in a traditional classroom setting. This is because the students were given the freedom to design a site that catered to their needs, rather than being restricted to a traditional style set learning path. For example, the students learned and created  interactivity by creating discussion boards and surveys. They created high transparency by using familiar techniques and styles. Lastly the students established hybridity by combining interactive texts and images (Hocks).

By learning how to engage their audience, establish transparency and incorporate hybridity, Hocks argues that the students now have gained a much greater understanding of their unit of study. She also argues that by incorporating visual digital rhetoric in a classroom setting, will cater to a students needs better and will result  in giving students a beneficial learning experience. The advancement technology also means a more advanced society and as a result, the style of learning needs to adapt and evolve as well.


Hocks, Mary E. “Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments.” College Composition and Communication 2003: 629. JSTOR Journals. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

The side of PTSD rarely seen. A summary of “Better Online Living through Content Moderation” by Melissa King.

As technology continues to progress, human interaction, specifically online, has increased exponentially. However, unlike the social rules and conduct that exist in face to face contact, the internet is essentially a free for all. As a result, people can easily search the web and access all kinds of content. However, since the internet is so open and lacks rules or a filter, the content and the users who interact with each other can easily become negative and hateful. In her article “Better Online Living through Content Moderation“, Melissa King discusses the issue of online abuse, the effects it has on the victims, and the steps people are taking in order to shield themselves from it.

Excessive stress can easily become a cause of PTSD. Image sourced from: Medical Daily.
Excessive stress can easily become a cause of PTSD. Image sourced from: Medical Daily.

She begins by introducing the idea of using apps and programs that filter out harmful content. These filters are used by users who are aware of their personal limits, or have PTSD (King). Users who have suffered from PTSD can easily have hurtful and sometimes harmful memories triggered by offensive content found on the internet and benefit greatly from using programs that filter this content.However, as King states, “[the] users of those tools face constant cultural opposition, [and are] often maligned as “weak” and “too sensitive.” Labeling people who suffer from PTSD and other similar disorders as weak makes it seem like their disorder is fictitious. King argues that by doing this, the victims are the ones who are being blamed for merely defending themselves.


King expands on this by introducing the Exposure Theory, which states that exposure to the things that may trigger negative thoughts will eventually help people overcome them. This is what serves as the basis for those who are against the use of censorship programs. However, King shows that this reason is irrelevant since the exposure theory takes place in a controlled environment and is not composed of random insults and threats that test the mental patience of a person. King also explains that people who suffer from PTSD can experience too much of this exposure, making it damaging rather than helpful. Furthermore, the people who argue against censorship state that the abuse people face on internet poses no real threat since people who experience PTSD are only war veterans. However, PTSD does not only originate from war-like trama. PTSD can come from anything that causes a person large amounts of stress and results in activation of their flight response. For example, repetitive exposure to online bullying from social media can cause a person to develop PTSD.

 Image sourced from: http://www.ratehub.ca/blog/2014/09/what-happens-if-your-mortgage-renewal-is-denied/)
Is choosing to ignore someone suppressing someones rights or is it your right? Image sourced from: Ratehub.

In order to counter this, people use blocklists to avoid coming in contact with hate groups like Gamergate. However, as King reports, these groups have resulted to legal action because they feel like they are being oppressed. These hate groups and people claim that by filtering them out, they are being silenced for stating their opinions and it is essentially a violation of their right to speech. In addition to this, these groups and people claim that their internet experience is being limited because of other peoples needs (King). Once again, King shows that this argument is invalid since these blocklists work in a logical manner and that they are not being implemented by force, but rather by the choice of the users who choose to use them. To support this, King uses examples of women who have experienced abuse in male dominated spaces like video games and the technology industry. Women are more prone to sexism and abuse through internet spaces and should be able to use blocklists and filtering softwares to prevent harassment and PTSD originating.

While the internet allows for animosity and is usually a good thing, it also allows people to hurl insults and threats at people without the fear of damaging their personal image. People are less prone to be aggressive in face to face encounters since they have to confront the consequences of their actions at that moment. While no one should face any sort of abuse, it is impossible to be able to control people and their actions, but people can choose to remove themselves from potentially harmful situations. King concludes that people should not be ashamed for using filtering programs since it “is not a silencing tactic” (King) but a choice to not listen. She also adds that all humans have different interests and views and using filtering programs can help create a more healthy and personalized internet experience.

(Cover Image sourced from 


“Better Online Living through Content Moderation by Melissa King | Model View Culture.” N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

A Basic Human Need. A summary of “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating”.

In her Article, “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating“, Emily Bazelon discusses the hardships that transgender people face when using public restrooms. Unlike most people who have no problem with which restroom they should use, transgender people can have the reproductive organs of the opposite sex. For example, a transgender female may have the reproductive organ of a male. As a result, some people have issues with sharing a bathroom with someone who has a reproductive organ that is different from theirs, leaving those who are transgender with the dilemma of which bathroom they should use.

Naturally, people are resistant to change and not willing to accommodate for others. To support this, Bazelon uses the example of the group of voters in Huston who were protesting against the Broad Equal Right Ordinance. The Broad Equal Right Ordinance would prevent against many types of discrimination, but most importantly, sexual discrimination. The voters responded by using examples of males harassing females which put fear into the rest of the voting pool and resulted in the ordinance being rejected. (Bazelon).

On the contrary, Bazelon uses the example of school districts that are becoming more accepting of those who are transgender. These schools are calling transgender people by their preferred names, and allowing them to participate in sports as the gender they identify themselves as. (Bazelon). However, the issue of transgender people sharing bathrooms with the sex they identify with still remains. For example, Bazelon uses the example of a girl who is undergoing hormonal therapy and wishes to use the girls bathroom. The school originally refused, stating that the girl would be violating other girls privacy.(Bazelon). However, this argument is has major fallacies, since the girl who was transgender could have easily been provided with a curtain or changing room, just like the other girls. Eventually, after government intervention, the girl was allowed to share the changing room with the other girls, provided she used a privacy curtain when changing.

Example of a privacy curtain. Image used from NewMatic Medical.

This is what Bazelon refers to as “accommodating”, or the act of “moving over to make room for other people, whether you want to or not.” (Bazelon). She uses examples of how the government previously made accommodations for people because of religious reasons or disabilities. However, Bazelon argues that even if accommodations were made, people would have to be willing to work with the change. Otherwise, eradicating the issues of bathrooms for those who are transgender would have little effect if people did not learn to respect it.

This all stems from the 19th century when bathrooms were divided for logical reasons. During the 19th century, having separate bathrooms and rooms made sense because of the conditions. (Bazelon). However, this is no longer the 19th century, and the same rules apply. Bazelon explains that the most important thing for a transgender person is to fit in. To put this in perspective, Bazelon states, “for transgender girls, the locker room and the bathroom are about joining the all-female enclave, about fitting in.” The issue that remains is that people do not wish to accept the identity that a transgender person identifies themselves as. In order to solve this, small accommodations would need to be made so that those who are transgender would be able to freely exercise the basic human need of using the restroom.


“Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’ – The New York Times.” N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Summary of “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society”.

In her article “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society“, Suzanne Tick talks about the change in how society views and challenges the traditional masculine and feminine roles. As society continues to grow technologically and scientifically, people are becoming gradually exposed to a variety of options on how they wish to express themselves. As a result, Tick argues that designers and people need to learn to accept this new movement and to work with it.

She begins by explaining how the current state of society is mated with the idea of modernism, which is shaped through the male perspective (Tick). Because society is shaped mostly through the male perspective, architectural and systematical designs are oriented more towards males and often negligent towards females. To provide an example, Tick looks at technological jobs like web design and states that “85 percent of tech workers at the top companies being male” (Tick). Tick also discusses how traditionally males have always been assigned to leadership roles because they were viewed as dominant and how this had an impact on the design of the workplaces. However, this traditional structure is being gradually changed as males are no longer the only ones to hold roles with power. As a result, faculties and work stations are increasing the amount of light that enters and becoming more inviting and softer (Tick).

In addition to the evolution of architectural design, Tick also talks about the more prominent and fast moving changes that are occurring within society itself. More specifically the topic of fashion. As society becomes more accepting to the change that has been brought upon by the advances in technology and science, people no longer have to maintain the identities they were born with. Both sexes can now change their outward appearance both biologically and physically through their wardrobes. Tick explains that this change can easily cause confusion as males and females can look like the opposite sex. In order to adapt to this change, Tick discusses how institutions have begun to allow their students to choose not to identify their sex. As a result, Tick argues that institutions should not only be the ones to embrace this change, but all of society collectively.

Male? Female? or...
Male? Female? or…

However, Tick explains that larger corporations like Google have noticed the change and are beginning to adapt their buildings to become more inviting to those who are transgender and those who are not willing to identify to a single gender. Despite this, the issue of bathrooms remains. Tick explains how finding bathrooms that are open to those who are transgender is difficult by using an example of how a group of coworkers did not wish to share a bathroom with a coworker who recently went through gender-reassignment surgery (Tick). Even though designers are physically able to create environments for those who are transgender, it is difficult for these people to feel welcome and safe when those around them are not willing to accept the change.

In order to eradicate the boundaries that transgender people face, Tick states that designers should take those who are transgender in consideration when they are erecting new buildings and facilities in order to accommodate for this new movement of self liberation and change. In addition to this, Tick also states that people should learn to become more accepting and respectful of others and their choices in order to provide an equal and safe environment for all.


“His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society – Metropolis Magazine – March 2015.” N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Summary of “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.”

Meme saying "Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence?" with a picture of green grass on the right and dry grass on the left.

Naturally when people think of the idea of being homeless, they associate it with not having a stable home. However, Nersessova explains in her article, “Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York”, that the idea of being homeless is actually misunderstood. This summary covers the main points Nersessova used to clarify the meaning of homelessness.

The idea of being homeless is not so much as being physically homeless, but more of a test of a person’s psychological strength. These people have become stripped to the bare necessities of life, or in other words, only have the things they need to survive. In doing so, the homeless who live in these tunnels have become liberated from the exterior stresses that plague those who are do not live in the tunnel. However, because of the lack of exterior stresses, the inhabitants of the tunnel have more time to reflect and build upon themselves. (Nersessova)

In a way, the homeless who live in the tunnel are like explorers. Nersessova compares those who live in the city as tourists as they restricted to the conventional maps that has been drawn by the government.  Unlike the people who live in the tunnel, the “tourists” only see the areas that are considered profitable, whereas, the “explorers” see the city as a whole. The explorers travel to the areas that are deemed undesirable, and see the city for what it is, rather than what is shown to them.

As a result, the nonprofitable areas like the tunnel, are not shown on conventional maps as it is considered dangerous to be in. However, ironically enough, the tunnel is actually one of the safest areas to be in because of the lack of desire people have to travel into it. As Larry states, “You never know what’s going to happen there in the structure. This is a solid structure. And there’s not a lot of traffic here like you find up above this. On the streets there’s too much traffic and there’s too many things that can endanger your life.”[ 14]. The tunnel provides an escape for those who have failed to live in a capitalist society which promotes greed. 

The tunnel does not only provide a physical shelter to those who inhabit it, but also as an economical shelter. The fears the homeless described in Morton’s study are not only physical dangers but economical ones. The system of capitalism promotes false advertisement and the false belief that having great wealth will bring happiness. Many people purchase things not because they necessarily need them, but because of the trust they have invested into the system. Despite this, the homeless find a way to work the system in their favor, even though the system is the reason they became homeless in the first place. (Nersessova).

Coke styled background with letters saying "Enjoy capitalism"

However, the homeless living in the tunnel were forced out and their homes were destroyed, despite being in a public space. Nersessova labels the eviction of the homeless as a “war on public space”. The richer parts of society have more space and thus, more control over their built environment, whereas as the poor have much less space and equally less control over their built environment. By destroying the personal spaces of the homeless, society denies the fact that these people are self sufficient and that their homes are indeed homes. This is what Nersessova refers to as domestic architecture. Until people accept the idea of domestic architecture, the war on public space between the homeless and society will continue.


Nersessova, Irina.“Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.” Disclosure 23 (2014): 26. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Summary of Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment

In her article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment”, Sarah Schindler focuses on the issue of segregation through architectural design. Schindler divides her article in two parts. Part one discusses the theory of discrimination and segregation through architecture while part two discusses the application of this theory. This summary will highlight the major examples Schindler uses to describe the theory of discrimination and segregation through architecture as well as its application.

Since it is now unacceptable to segregate people openly, organizations and people have resorted to segregating people through architecture since it is much less obvious to the public. By designing things a certain way, such as the benches in a park, which are divided into sections, it can restrict certain types of people from wishing to use them. At first glance, the divided sections may seem practical because they allow people to sit among each other with space in between them. However, the divided sections of the bench may also serve as a deterrent for homeless people since they can no longer lay on the bench to sleep. (Schindler 1942).

Divided central park bench.

(Divided central park bench.)

To further support her theory, Schindler focuses on what the placement and availability of desirable items have on people, or as she calls it “features of the built environment that function to control human behavior or hinder access” (Schindler 1948). For example, Schindler uses the example of junk food and healthy food in a cafeteria. If the cafeteria wishes to offer the healthier options to the consumers, they will place them in areas that are easily accessible and visible. The options of junk food will still be available, but will be harder to reach and less visible in comparison to the healthier counterparts. (Schindler 1948). The point being made is that people will tend to do the things that are most convenient to them. Schindler ties this together by including the examination conducted by Lior Jacob Strahilevitz on exclusionary amenities. The idea is to segregate based on social class. By increasing the price of “exclusionary amenities” such as houses, it restricts the ability for poorer social classes to mix with the rich elite class. (Schindler 1949).

In part two of “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment”, Schindler discusses the application of the theory of segregation through architecture. The first example used by Schindler are the bridges constructed by Robert Moses. Moses did not wish to mix the people of lower socioeconomic classes with the higher classes. In order to do this, Moses created the bridges that led to Jones’s Beach with a lower clearance, so that public transportation like buses would not be able to travel to the island. Moses did not wish to allow buses to travel to the island since public transportation is associated with people of lower socioeconomic classes, typically those of color. (Schindler 1953)

In addition to this, the placement of bus stops and construction of highways also plays a large role in architectural segregation. Many communities refuse to have bus stops placed near them since the bus stops would allow those who are poor to be able to travel to richer areas. Richer communities also influence the design and location of major highways, usually routing them through poorer areas in other to relocate those who lived there to other areas, effectively segregating them in specific areas away from the rich.

Schindler also uses examples of city design, such as the use of one way streets and lack of road signs. The use of one way streets may reduce traffic flow, but they also have been used to direct traffic flow away from particularly richer areas. When cities implement one way streets and remove road signs, it can be very difficult to navigate to and around the city in question. By making it difficult to travel to and from the city and confusing to navigate within the city, the chance that tourists and minorities will visit are very slim, leaving those of the higher class segregated from them.

Osborne Junction. Commonly known as Confusion Corner.

(Osborne Junction. Commonly known as Confusion Corner.)

Regardless of the reason provided for designing the infrastructure the way it is, the motive is always the same. Schindler identifies this modern day method of legal segregation and discrimination as architectural exclusion.


Schindler, Sarah.“Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal 124.6 (2015): 1934-1972. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.