The user interfaces of writing applications have a significant, if underexamined, impact that influences how writers format compositions—particularly in their use of advanced formatting and the inclusion of images, audio and video. In my experience, instructors’ decisions concerning which writing applications students should use often err towards institutionally-supported options—particularly in the cases of learning management systems (LMSes). This paper will address some consequences of accepting problematic writing interfaces when teaching composition, and advocates instead for the creation of new writing interfaces that better suit the needs of writing instruction. Web technologies from the past ten years make this both possible, and quite powerful. By creating customized interfaces, this paper will suggest, it becomes possible to open up possibilities of stronger writing practices and better curricular integration of learning objectives.
Nature in Ultra High Definition: Defining Modal Function and How UHD Nature Imagery Enacts Viewer Reflection and Western Environmental Ideology
Ultra High Definition (UHD) screens have saturated the market (Yurek, 2015). As such, American consumers are in contact with UHD screensavers displaying nature imagery. These images appeal to western consumers with ties between the natural world and their formulation of cultural identity (Clark, Halloran, & Woodford, 1996). Since UHD delivers realistic visuals, it functions to evoke viewers’ sense of “naturalism” (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 158) in accordance with “modal markers” (p. 160) aligned to perceptions of reality. Also, UHD nature imagery is similar to hyperrealism and its heightened detail, while avoiding seeming “more than real” (p. 163). Therefore, nature-imagery- as-hyperreal- art aims to influence perception by depicting reality and by imbuing visuals with intense symbolic messages (Cadden, 2012). However, the medium’s nature representation symbolizing the real, kindles Baudrillard’s (1981) concern that hyperreal “substitut[es] the signs…for the real,” (p. 2). Thereby, it complicates experience of realism. But, though it muddies reality, rhetorical attributes of these images appeal to American sensibilities and influence their behavior through contemplating nature. Hence, through UHD nature art’s function, influence, and persuasion seen via “modal marker” (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 158) effectiveness, I argue, it creates a “space of attention” (Zagacki and Gallagher, 2009, p. 171) where American viewers reflect on environmental relationships by enacting nature experiences.