Some interesting thoughts and parallels…
Originally posted on Renee Hobbs at the Media Education Lab:
This is a version of the presentation I made at the January 22, 2012 “One Book, One State” event which was sponsored by the Rhode Island’s Center for the Book. More than 200 people gathered in a historic church just outside of Providence to hear Geraldine Brooks, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Caleb’s Crossing, a work of historical fiction that brings readers into the life of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University — in the year 1665.
I’ve been reading a lot more on my iPad these days. Reading online has some tiny frustrations: I miss the cover art and pagination of a printed book. But there are some deep pleasures. For example, I love the ability to highlight a digital text and then share my highlights with other readers. I love the “swish” movement of turning digital pages, I admit. Highlighting a moving, lyrical passage (and discovering that hundreds of others have identified it too) makes me feel connected to a community of readers.
From a scholarly point of view, however, we don’t know much about online reading. We know it can be different in many ways from reading from a printed page. This topic inspires my great curiosity, which is one of the many reasons why I’ve picked up my life and my family to come to the University of Rhode Island to serve as the Founding Director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media. I am relishing the opportunity to work with distinguished scholars and practitioners to create a new kind of communication school, developing innovative interdisciplinary programs that enable us to figure out how to help people acquire the new competencies required for full participation in contemporary life.