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.

Octane Coffee and Bar: Not Your Average Cup of Coffee.

My Experience at Octane Coffee and Bar

 Memorable. Aromatic. Welcoming.

When a person mentions the word coffee, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a location like Starbucks? Perhaps the smell or bitter taste consumes your thoughts? Either way, it is likely that the word “Octane” does not cross through your mind. These are some of the thoughts that crossed through my mind as I was driving to Octane Coffee and Bar, which is located in Grant Park. When I arrived, I was gladly greeted by a spacious parking lot that did not require you to pay; something usually absent in the city of Atlanta. After parking my car in one of the designated locations, I walked around the building to observe the design and look for potential entrances. I found that the only entrance to the building is in the front which consisted of three handicap parking spots, stairs, and a ramp making the building easily accessible for those who are handicap.

The combination of red bricks and dirty white metal siding gives off a rustic feeling.

Once I had finished observing the outside of the building, I walked up the steps and opened the entrance. Immediately my olfactory senses were assaulted by the bitter smells of coffee, the harsh smell of liquor, and the sweet smells of the neighboring bakery. The second thing that surprised me was the sheer amount of people present inside of Octane, specifically students. Everywhere I turned inside of the shop, there were students typing away in the glow of their laptops, surrounded in papers and empty glasses of coffee.The coffee shop was buzzing with people talking, bartenders making drinks and coffee machines endlessly milling away coffee beans into fine powder. Unlike most places, Octane does not rely much on artificial lighting since the surrounding glass provides adequate lighting. In addition to this, the styling of the interior space, from the gray metal chairs to the stained wooden tables gives off a feeling that almost makes you feel like you are at home.

Students endlessly typing away.
The sound of typing and conversation fills the air.

From an marketing standpoint, Octane is very neatly organized with an arrangement of tables and chairs in the middle of the room, a long bench that stretches alongside the wall and a patio for those who wish to sit outside. Despite that the bar and coffee shop are essentially mixed together, the bar is pushed to one corner of the interior space while the coffee shop exists in the other. As a result, the atmosphere of the bar does not mix with the coffee portion of the space. In addition to this, Octane does not spend very much money on advertisements and quite frankly it does not need to. As you can see here,  they rely on using cards with promotional deals and social media, both which are spread through word of mouth. While this may seem like a very inefficient way of advertisement, it is necessary to remember the consumer base, which is mostly made up of students who are usually very involved with using social media. Overall, I would recommend stopping by and grabbing a cup of coffee at Octane Coffee and Bar.

The Experience: Octane Coffee and Bar (5)

Naturally, in order to fully immerse myself into Octane Coffee and Bar, I had to order a drink and see what it was like. The drink you see here was recommended to me and is called the Nitro cold brew. The brown sugar packets are not there for decoration, but as a way to express the mentality of Octane. Much like how the brown sugar is “raw”, simple, rugged and natural, the coffee shop is the same.

Menus and Contact Information: Octane Coffee and Bar (4)

This is the menu at Octane Coffee and Bar. The menus are posted around the register on clipboards and are made of paper. The pricing to portion size is fair to me personally, but may seem high to others. The menu itself is very simple with the beverages listed and the price. No description is visible on the menu and the only way to find out is to ask.

Below is the contact card that can be picked up.

List of locations, contact information and social media links.
Creative use of wording. "Refuel" at a place called Octane.
Creative use of wording. “Refuel” at a place called Octane. Also the deal of 10 coffee bevs and get one free. Encourages customers to hold on to the card.

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.

Exposure Therapy: All you need to know.

What is Exposure Therapy? 

According to the American Psychological Association, Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment that was developed to help people confront their fears. When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities, or situations. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse. In such situations, a psychologist might recommend a program of exposure therapy in order to help break the pattern of avoidance and fear. In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to “expose” individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities, or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.

In short, Exposure therapy is the idea that exposing people to their fears in controlled amounts will help people ultimately overcome their fears and decrease the chances of those people avoiding that fear.

Who can it help? 

Exposure therapy is usually used to help people with PTSD. However it can also be used to help those with phobias, anxiety and panic attacks and people with obsessive compulsive disorders.

Types of Treatment

  1. In vivo exposure: This involves the person directly facing their fears. For example, a person who is afraid of bugs may be directly exposed to them.
  2. Imaginal exposure: This involves the person mentally pushing themselves to recreate the fear or imagine and discussing it.
  3. Virtual reality exposure: This method is the same as In vivo exposure, but is used when peoples fears are not easily obtainable or difficult to recreate.
  4. Interoceptive exposure: This involves the person bringing their fear upon themselves and realizing that it can not harm them.

Rate of Treatment

Treatment can be administered three different ways. The first way is Graded exposure. In graded exposure, the person is slowly exposed to their fears and is gradually increased as the treatment progresses. For some this means starting with “easy fears” and progressing to more difficult ones. The second rate of treatment is Flooding. In flooding, the person starts with multiple fears at once and is usually exposed to their greatest fears. The last rate of treatment is Systematic Desensitization. This type of treatment places people with their fears however, they are relaxed beforehand. The idea is that they will be relaxed and therefore will not feel the fear as strongly and eliminate it altogether.

Sourced from: http://www.div12.org/sites/default/files/WhatIsExposureTherapy.pdf

Mmm mmm mmm! Octane Coffee and Bar (3).

Here you can see where the smells originate from. To the left sits The Little Tart, which is a separate enterprise from Octane. The Little Tart is where all the baked goodies are made and sold, and to the right is where the coffee is stacked and poured. I choose this spot because it mixes the smells of the dough and sugar from the bakery, with the bitter and smooth smell of coffee beans as they are being crushed and poured.

Where all the coffee magic happens.
Where all the coffee magic happens.

Let the light shine: Octane Coffee and Bar (2)

This is what Octane is known for. Students make up the majority of the customers and assemble here to study and with good reason. Notice the amount of light that enters inside of the building. This is because the entire building is surrounded in glass, letting in light and making everything much more inviting. The interior is a blend of nature and modern styling. Wood makes up the tables and the stools along the walls, while the chairs are metal.

Another angle of the shop from the bar.
Another angle of the shop from the bar.

Octane Coffee and Bar Exterior (1)

This is the exterior of Octane Coffee and Bar. The first thing I noticed was the rustic/modern design of the building. While it may look like its literally rusting away, the style and appearance gives the building character. Also, parking is easily available as well as parking and ramps for those who are handicapped, making this building easily accessible for all. There is also an exterior patio like area which allows customers to sit outside if they choose to.

Separate But Equal: Annotated Bibliography 6

Fox, Emily Jane. “Enter through the ‘Poor Door’: Income ‘Segregation’ in N.Y.CNNMoney. N.p., 28 July 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

In this article, Emily Fox discusses the implementation and effects of poor doors in New York City. Fox reports that while “poor doors” are a new idea, the issue of architectural segregation based on income is not new. She states that people have always been excluded from areas like gyms, playrooms and rooftops based on their incomes. However, the idea of poor doors was not introduced until the requirement to share facilities was lifted in 2009. Once the requirement was lifted in New York, architects started designing buildings with poor doors and restricted access to amenities and “public” areas with the intention of providing people with lower incomes, nicer areas to live. However, as Fox reports, this was not the case, and lower income individuals were being segregated.
“Separate but equal”
This article is similar to the one in my 5th annotated bibliography. They both discuss the implementation of poor doors and segregation through architecture. This was also the reason I selected this article as a source, since it provided me with an alternative view on this issue. However, this article is very vague when it is compared to the one used in my 5th annotated bibliography.