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Following the Thread: A New Technology

Following the Thread: A New Technology

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Published by Joan Vinall-Cox
A Ph.D. thesis describing how an English teacher reluctantly learned how to use computers, and then became fascinated by the communication possibilities.
A Ph.D. thesis describing how an English teacher reluctantly learned how to use computers, and then became fascinated by the communication possibilities.

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Published by: Joan Vinall-Cox on Feb 12, 2008
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05/04/2013

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Following the Thread: 
A Writing Teacher’s Memories and Arts-Based Transition to a New Technology of Meaning-Making 
by
 
 Joan Vinall-Cox
 
A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirementsfor the degree of Doctor of PhilosophyDepartment of Curriculum, Teaching and LearningOntario Institute for Studies in Education of theUniversity of Toronto© Copyright by Joan Vinall-Cox 2004
 
 
ii
Abstract
In this postmodern arts-based autoethnographic inquiry, I investigate the impactof the online computer on composing and teaching, penetrating to the core of thelabyrinth of what it means to be a teacher of writing in this computer-mediated age. Theonline computer is my composing tool as I shape both my text and the appearance of my text in order to uncover and display the effects of this new technology on writingand on teaching writing.I have composed narratives from my experiences as a writer and as a teacher of writing and reveal my understandings through a chorus of voices, all mine yet none withthe “whole” story. While my
Academic and Teacher 
voice provides a conventional“ground” for my thesis, my other voices each have their own stories of my writingexperiences:my
Oracles Voice 
, my homage to the writers from whom I have learned;my
Writing Process 
voice reveals how I write using the online computer;my
Illuminal Voice 
with hermeneutical overtones, reveals my musings, myinsights, and my significant memories;my
Published Voice 
reprints articles, and excerpts, written over a number of years, showing how I experienced my journey of discovery at differentpoints in time;my
Living While Writing 
voice displays my quotidian existence while I writethis thesis;my
Querulous Voice 
exposes my fears and resentments connected withlearning and teaching writing;my
Artist’s Voice 
includes the arational leaps of understanding I gain frommy own and other’s poetry; and
Ariadne’s Voice 
speaks the thoughts of a rewritten Greek mythic characterwho seeks the core of the labyrinth and the secret of the Minotaur (one of my guiding metaphors) - an allegory about creativity mediated bytechnology.I use the visual potentialities of word processing to provide different fonts,colours and borders for each voice in a bricologe structure that reveals meaningcumulatively through connections not argument. As well, I am guided by my secondmetaphor — this autoethnographic thesis is my home, and the reader, my guest. Theonline computer is both my tool and my subject.
 
 
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 iii
Acknowledgements
I have benefited greatly from the skills, knowledge and generosityof many whom I have encountered during this thesis quest,I wish to specifically acknowledge:My thesis supervisor, Dr. Patrick Diamond,for his sensitive guidance and generous editing;Dr. Jean Mason,for her inspiration and responsiveness;David Booth and Dr. Mary Kooy,for their assistance;Dr Cheryl Craig,for agreeing to be my External Examiner;Sandra Hodder,for her shaping of the Mobile Initiative at Sheridanand the learning opportunities it provided; andDr. Diane Galambos,for her generous mentoring and support.

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