Designerly Engagement: Navigation Etiquette
Perhaps the most telling way our work transformed is through the possibility of publication online. Facing the prospect of a scholarly digital humanities audience, for this book we made the decision to transform our seminar work with Scalar in significant ways, suggesting that, while the experimental can be productive in the classroom, we may yet need to follow a set of standards when attempting to communicate the experimental to those outside of our shared experience. Many of the book changes were cosmetic, but we also made substantial changes to the content and the subnavigation systems that evolved as a way of negotiating the shared space of Scalar. (During English 507, all students contributed to the same Scalar book.) For the seminar, we organized content into "Author" paths to create lines through each student’s work. We also used an "Assignment" path to collect all student work for each assignment; each week we had to submit our work by posting the page(s) we created to both the "Author" path and "Assignment" path. Scalar facilitated this productive duplication of content.
But when students used multiple pages in response to a single prompt, they tended to include one main page in the paths and include a subnavigation system of links for maneuvering through the rest of their work. While most followed these standards, tacitly agreed upon as a group, Daniel Powell, in particular, frequently experimented with the path function of Scalar. Indeed it seems that the path function became Powell’s way of expressing frustration with the collaborative digital space.
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