In the interests of exploring an interdisciplinary approach to TEL research and advancing this through the application of theory existing in the fields of aesthetics and literature, this paper examines the application of a literary and aesthetic response theory applied to virtual spaces. Literary response theory derives largely from the work of Wolfgang Iser and Stanley Fish – in particular, Iser’s The Implied Reader (1974) and The Act of Reading (1976) and Fish’s Surprised by Sin: the Reader in Paradise Lost (1967) and Is There a Text in This Class? (1980). Iser states, for example, that meaning is not an ‘object to be defined’ but is an ‘effect to be experienced’ (Iser, 1978). It is a functional account of how meaning takes place between the text, the social and cultural norms surrounding that text (communities of practice) and the reader. The central idea is that texts do not exist independently; we are not passive recipients to the ‘message’ of the text, but are active contributors to the overall meaning. Accordingly, if we make the not too dramatic leap of substituting the text of a virtual space for the text of a literary space, then we might apply an Iserian functional approach to how that ‘experience’ or effect of meaning in online interaction takes place. Given that interactive components are such prime requisites for online learning, whether supporting traditional face-to-face delivery or newer platforms (e.g. MOOCS), then it is has never been more pressing to understand how both the elisions and ‘instructions’ in a text affect this interaction and how we can shape and control such media for more effective engagement with online learning and teaching. In this paper, we will look at how the formalistic elements of an online space and its attendant text (imagery, font, colour, arrangement of space and written text) relate to response and ‘reading’. The development of such a response theory has the potential to enable a more effective design and learning experience when using such spaces.
Fish, Stanley E. (1967) Surprised by Sin: the Reader in Paradise Lost. Macmillan, London.
_____. (1980) Is There a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities.
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Iser, Wolfgang. (1980) The Act of Reading: a Theory of Aesthetic Response. Routledge and
Kegan Paul, London.
_____. (1974) The Implied Reader: Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from
Bunyan to Beckett. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
|Name||Julian Jay Green|
|Affiliation||University of the West of England|