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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Quiz on Modernist English Literature

This quiz is based on the Modernist English Literature.
If you are unable to load quiz page here under, click here to view quiz on new browser window.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Bhavnagar: The Future Smart City of India

India to have 100 Smart Cities across 21 States in next 5 years

(Source: http://www.smartcitiesindia.com/)

(Scroll Down, to view videos from CNBC Awaz and other News Channels)

A total of Rs 98,000 crore has been approved by the Cabinet for development of 100 smart cities and rejuvenation of 500 others. For Smart Cities Mission, Rs 48,000 crore and for Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), a total funding of Rs 50,000 crore has been approved by the Cabinet. Bhavnagar is one of the cities selected from Gujarat state for Future Smart City Project.

CNBC Awaz, the business news channel, has prepared a series of short videos on the Bhavnagar city. Those videos are embedded on this blog.

Future road-map for Smart Cities in India


100 smart cities: The government has allocated an outlay of Rs 98,000 crore (US$ 15,329.26 million) to execute 100 smart cities, and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), which is an urban rejuvenation programme for 500 towns and cities in next 5 years.
Smart heritage cities: The government has introduced a project to develop 12 heritage cities across the country. Called HRIDAY Scheme or National Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana, the cities included are Ajmer, Amaravati, Amritsar, Badami, Dwaraka, Gaya, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Puri, Varanasi, Velankanni and Warangal.
Smart ports: The government plans to connect 12 smart cities with the maritime hubs at an estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore (US$ 7821.05 million).
Smart armed force stations (SAFS): There is a proposal to develop 6 smart armed force stations (SAFS). Of the 6 stations; 3 will be army stations, 2 of airforce and 1 of the navy.
Smart aerotropolis: The West Bengal government plans to develop first airport city called the Bengal Aerotropolis Pvt Ltd (BAPL) at Andal in Burdwan district.
Smart railways: Ministry of Railways has introduced world-class station programme to upgrade and revamp the existing railway stations. New Delhi Station will be the first station to be redeveloped within this programme spread over 86 hectares land with 18 platforms to handle in excess of 500,000 passengers per day. The Surat railway station is also to follow with 2.27 lakh square metre for redevelopment of new station. Along with this a total of 1,052 stations have been identified for upgradation of passenger amenities. It is proposed to include 200 more stations under this scheme.
Smart villages: Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (Parliamentarian's Model Village Scheme aims to ensure holistic development of identified gram panchayats. Under this programme, Andhra Pradesh is the first state to launch the 'Smart Village' plan aimed at making AP, a top state in the country by 2029.
DMIC: The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) running through six states Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Southern Haryana, Eastern Rajasthan, Eastern Gujarat, and Western ans to build a dedicated freight corridors along the Delhi-Mumbai. The cities that have been identified are Dholera in Gujarat, Shendra-Bidkin in Maharashtra, Greater Noida in UP, Ujjain (MP) and Gurgaon in Haryana.
SEZ: Guizhou International Investment Corp (GIIC) has signed an MoU with Kakinada SEZ (KSEZ), a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure to develop industrial park over 2,000-acre land for setting up Chinese high-end equipment manufacturing plants. GIIC will invest $500 million in developing the infrastructure and various facilities of the industrial park. These Chinese companies will invest $2-3 billion in setting up their operations over the next 5 years and generating more than 5,000 jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers.












Thursday, 4 June 2015

Memorabilia 2015

Dr. Vedant Pandya releasing Memorabilia 2015




The publication of Memorabilia is one of the many traditions of the Department of English, M.K. Bhavnagar University. For last five years, students are publishing this booklet. The booklet is collection of creative and critical writings of the students. Poems, short stories, paintings, pencil sketches, cartoons, posters, abstracts of research papers published by students, reviews of books / movies, critical observations of current affairs etc are some regular columns in this booklet. The Compilation and Editing, which is very difficult task, is also carried out by a group of students. They have to collect contents from students, compile it, edit it (where ever necessary), convert into common format and make it ready for publication on the Annual Function Day. The Memorabilia is released by the guest on this day.  The Memorabilia is one of the many ways to evaluate students' creativity and critical acumen. It gives platform to students to publish their critical thoughts and creativity. That's fine. But what is more important is the ability of the chief editor and the team working for the Memorabilia. It is ultimate test of this group of students. From working in team (getting works done by each other, persistently requesting classmates to give their contributions, managing time from regular lectures and other learning assignments) to solving problems of compilation, editing and working on front page design to people-problems which are the most toughest nut to crack, these students have wonderful learning of 21st century skills. Yes, we, at Dept. of English, believe that the students in today's classrooms are going to work and live in 21st Century. Hence, the learning of these skills should be incorporated in daily activities and routine teachings at the Department. For this purpose, we have identified the 21st Century Skills Map which is the result of hundreds of hours of research, development and feedback from educators and business leaders across the nation (USA). The Partnership between 21stcenturyskills.org and National Council of Teachers of English has come up with interesting map of these skills. They are: 

  1. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving 
  2. Communication
  3. Collaboration
  4. Information Literacy
  5. Media Literacy
  6. ICT Literacy
  7. Flexibility and Adaptability
  8. Initiative & Self-direction
  9. Social & Cross-cultural Skills
  10. Productivity & Accountability
  11. Leadership & Responsibility. (Curios to know more about these skills, click here)
It is this group of students who work on this Memorabilia, who are not only tested on these skills, but it also provides them to hone these skills. This year, Poojaba Jadeja and group of students have done quite satisfactory work. You can have a look at Memorabilia 2015 here under. As it is embedded from slideshare.net, if it takes time in loading, you can click here to open Memorabilia 2015 in new window. 










From the Desk of the Head of the Department (Form Memorabilia 2015)


The withering signifies an end of things. The end suggests new beginning. Nothing ends in itself without stirring up the trace of new beginning. Now, as the batch 2013-15 is passing out, we look forward to see them marching ahead in their lives with renewed power, vitality and energy. As we have seen in past for some years, the number of girls in the department are outnumbering boys. What was so curious to observe was that they did not outnumbered boys only in arithmetic numbers, but also in classroom discussion, interaction and in debating views and counter-views. It obviously proves that given an opportunity, the female of the species would outsmart their male counterpart!

Questions! Yes, it is the questions raised by students, which make teachers happier than happy. This year, in both classes, there were several such happy moments. Especially, the participation of Riddhi Jani, Poojaba Jadeja and Lajja Bhatt was noteworthy. Yes, we missed Amrutha Reddy, who surely would have raised the level of interaction in the subsequent semesters, had she not left during second semester.
Overall, the participation of students was encouraging. They were always on their toes, rushing to complete several offline and online tasks, apart from managing several other affairs of Department. With all the burden of routine work, they actively participated in co-curricular activities. The students in the year 2014-15 represented in 39 events! We are proud to see that Saryu Baraiya and Kaushal Desai represented department in 11 events, each.
We run Online Discussion Forum, to engage students with learning and to connect classroom with ‘real life’ situations. During the year 2014-15, twenty-four discussion threads well opened for email discussion. We are glad to see 402 emails being exchanged with total of 75,355 (seventy five thousands three hundred and fifty five) words used by students. Drashtri Mehta remained most active student on this forum with 5,882 words written in various email discussions!
Apart from the academic activities, if there is anything that recurs in my memory, at this moment, it is Gardening and Library Committee. Under able guidance and leadership of Sejal Vaghela and Saryu Bariaya, both committees did extraordinary work. Sejal Vaghela was, always, found forward thinking and planned all days of gardening quite meticulously.
I remember in no particular order the shining examples like that of Pratiksha Solanki ( in displaying situational leadership in managing Picnic), Namrata Gohil (in quest of difficult topics for presentation and assignment), Vinod Rabhadia (commitment to participate in Cross Country at Botad), Kaushal Desai, Shubhda Parmar and Lajja Bhatt (reading and publication of research papers), Hitesh Parmar (for his passion for General Knowledge), Arati Maheta (for her punctuality) and many other students whom I miss to mention here, which does not mean they have not contributed. There were many other talented students in the class but, may be, because of other priorities, they were not able to give their 100% to the Department. It is our loss and failure to see that we could not get 100 % engagement form 100% students.
I would like to give special congratulations for the perseverance of Shabana Khalani - the Malala of our class -  for her persistence efforts to continue with study in spite of her marriage, becoming a mother of a child and failing in exams. It requires out-of-the-world courage and bounce-back ability to do what she has done! 
It would be nothing less than ingratitude if i do not thank all those students (Kinjal Patel, Urvi Bhatt, Shital Italia, Drashti Mehta and Kaushal Desai) who spent their valuable time for Murals. A special thanks to Sejal Vaghela for an innovative idea to draw colourful mural near the entry of the Department.
This memorabilia is the hard work of Poojaba Jadeja. Without her painstakingly collecting content form all students, minute editing and creative organization, this Memorabilia would not have seen the light of the day. I am thank full to all other students who helped in this Memorabilia (they are acknowledged in her note so i am not repeating names), specially for the creativity in designing front page.
Shubhda Parmar, the G.S., should be commended for her able leadership qualities. She managed all the affairs and activities efficiently. She led from the front and kept the class together.
Being a believer in the Darwinian theory of evolution, I firmly rely on the fact that every new generation is smarter than the previous. Similarly, this batch was better than the previous batches. We hope to see new batch of students outsmart this batch . . . but till then we will relish the memory of live interaction and healthy discussion . . . and will miss the hungry haste and tireless striving to learn . . . which we have seen in your eyes!
On behalf of all the teachers of Department of English, I feel privileged and pleasure to wish you all exceptional academic career. We wish you best wishes to lead the word wherever you are, whenever you get an opportunity, in what so ever role future makes you accountable, with moral scruples, dignity and faith in self! 
Thank you.
~ Dilip Barad

The Image of the Front Page of Memorabilia 2015

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Creativity in Curricular Design: Designing Curriculum to Promote Blended Learning

Creativity in Curricular Design: Designing Curriculum to Promote Blended Learning
 – Dilip Barad

How to Cite this Article:
MLA Citation:
Barad, Dilip. "Creativity in Curricular Design: Designing Curriculum to Promote Blended Learning." e-Reflection I.2 (2012): 53-64.
APA Citation:
Barad, D. (2012, May-June). Creativity in Curricular Design: Designing Curriculum to Promote Blended Learning. (R. G. Kothari, Ed.) e-Reflection, I(2), 53-64.

Abstract
Curriculum is not only the core of the teaching-learning process, but it is also the life-blood for student - teacher development. If it is true that the students can be as better as their teachers are, it is also true that the teacher is as better as the curriculum he teaches.
Curricular design in higher education by and large, still follows traditional footsteps. The innovations brought in various walks of life through ICT are yet not creatively incorporated in designing curriculum. Teachers, here and there, disseminate education through ICT; some of the Universities have attempted new designs; yet looking at the larger picture of higher education, we find that a lot still have to be ploughed in designing curriculum to harvest the rich dividends of ICT.
One of the best and easy ways to design curriculum is to promote blended learning. It is proven by various researches and projects that blended learning has positive impacts on the process of learning. But still the question of how creative we can be in designing curriculum in such a way that we can make best use of available technology along with our traditional scaffolds need to be addressed. We should think about curriculum design, which can help us in giving space for self-learning along with the changing role of teachers as facilitators. This paper aims to explore such possibilities. It also aims at sharing a few innovative changes made in the curriculum design where in by incorporating ICT into traditional curriculum design, teacher-student autonomy, self-learning, peer interaction and language skills were found to be improved among the students.

 
Wordle image of Abstract of this Paper
Part I
John Franklin Bobbit in ‘The Curriculum’, which is said to be the first textbook published on the subject, wrote that the curriculum, as an idea, has its roots in the Latin word for race-course, though it has nothing to do with the idea of horse race. He tried to explain curriculum as “the course of deeds and experiences through which children become the adults they should be, for success in adult society” (1918). In this idea of the curriculum, it can be read that it encompasses entire scope of formative deed and experience not only occurring in school but in and out of school; experiences that are unplanned and undirected, and experiences intentionally directed for the purposeful formation of adult members of society (Curriculum, 2012). Though it is difficult to say if the researchers like Philip Jackson (Jackson, 1992) and William F. Pinar (Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, & Taubman, 1995) of today agree with Bobbit’s idea of the curriculum or not, yet it has a grain of truth when he writes that the curriculum is a social engineering arena. One of the many arguments, which may be of some interest in this paper, is that curriculum defines and controls the deeds-experiences the student ought to have to become the adult he or she ought to become. To put it in simplistic terms, we can ask, what do we expect our students to become after their studies? Our answers may be too idealistic or too pragmatic. But we can zero down our answers to the golden mean wherein we expect the sorts of skills ranging from ‘how to make living’ to ‘how to live’ to get inculcated among our future custodians of culture, society, economics, politics and above all academia. Thus, the importance of curriculum design is decidedly crucial in making the future of the world after us better than what it is today.  It is not only the core of the teaching-learning process but it also is the life-blood for student - teacher development. If it is true that the students can be as better as their teachers are, it also is true that the teacher can be as better as the curriculum s/he teaches.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that this vital part of the education system by and large remains unexplored so far as scientific methods and social engineering is concerned. Possessions of relevant knowledge, creation of new knowledge, and the capacity for its application have become the determinants in the strength of a nation. Consequently, technical education has come to the centre stage and is today the most important agent for change and development. (Lal, 2000). However, if we have a birds-eye-view over the curriculums of the higher education in Gujarat and in most of the traditional Universities of India, we find that we have ‘miles to go before we take pride in making our young generation’s future brighter. Most of the curriculum is designed from the perspectives of 20th century ways of teaching and learning, which again was nothing but revised model designed on Western curriculum framework, which was modeled on the idea of Industrial Revolution (Robinson, 2010). If we are thinking in terms of social engineering to prepare new generations for the future, how can we rely on the means and ways of the past? The educationists who are actively involved in the process of designing curricula belong to the time, which was quite different from the time in which today’s kids are growing. Today’s kids are living in digitally wired world wherein screens are flashing information in the torrent of signals. When the curriculum designer of today was a kid, there was hardly, single channel TV, and the number of newspapers and magazines were quite negligible as compared to today’s plethora of TV channels, mobile phones and latest technological gadgets. The kids, growing amidst such an attack of information from all vistas obviously, have different psychological tendency towards learning. For instance, multitasking or learning from various sources at a time becomes their habit. There was a generation who learned only from ‘books’, there is a generation which is learning from ‘screens’. The book is changing its form and hence eReaders, eBooks & mobile books are much in demand than traditionally printed books. Now, the million-dollar question is how the people who are designing curricula will understand the psychological needs of the new generation, which does not share common experience of teaching / learning?
Therefore, the innovations and creativity in curriculum designing should become a buzzword. A lot depends of the imagination of the educationist to think out of the box and be bold and experimental in trying out things that have yet not even thought in pedagogical discourses. One of the ways of doing so seems to be in looking toward the concept of blended learning with a novel way. 

Part II
Let us see, first of all, what does this phrase ‘Blended Learning’ signify? Blended learning is not a new concept in the pedagogy. The recent buzz around the word ‘blended learning’ and the number of articles in books, magazine and journal, major thrusts in conference themes, and campus initiatives focusing on ‘blended learning’ would lead one to believe that a new educational phenomenon has been discovered. It is well observed in EDUCAUSE Research Bulletin, “In actually, the blending of face-to-face instruction with various types of non-classroom technology-mediated delivery has been practiced within the academy for more than four decades (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004). Thus, it is not exaggerated statement to say that ‘no teaching is possible without blended learning’. It is always found that all teachers, down the ages, have incorporated various approached and methods in teaching. None can ever say with a guarantee that any single approach in teaching was adopted by any teacher at any given moment of time in history of pedagogy. Blended learning was always in practice and will always remain so in the classroom interaction. We may use different names like ‘mixed-mode’ or ‘hybrid’ for what is described here as blended learning. But still it is not so easy to use these words interchangeably and conclude that blended learning as an idea does not offer any new dimension in social engineering and pedagogical concerns of 21st century. The way the term ‘blended learning’ recurrently used in the present context signifies its meaning.   
The Wikipedia entry on Blended learning defines it “in educational research as something that refers to a mixing of different learning environments. It combines traditional face-to-face classroom methods with modern computer-mediated activities. According to its proponents, the strategy creates a more integrated approach for both instructors and learners. Formerly, technology-based materials played a supporting role to face-to-face instruction. Through a blended learning approach, technology will be more important” (Blended_learning, 2012). Well, this widely accepted definition seems to say that technology is extremely crucial for the concept of blended learning. A nexus for the development of such a model has been online environment. DeZure, Buckley, Barr and Tagg, and others note that the confluence of new pedagogies (for example, the change in emphasis from teaching-centered to student-centered learning paradigms), new technologies (for example, the rapid spread of the Internet, World Wide Web, and personal computers/tablet PCs), and new theories of learning (for example, brain-based learning and social constructivism) are enabling entirely new models of teaching and learning and that this change is of sufficient magnitude to be described as an educational transformation or paradigm shift (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004). The new learning environment is heavily transformed and is influenced by web-based learning, e-learning, and asynchronous learning networks, among other similar forms. Thus, the concept of blended learning refers to curriculum design that combines face-to-face classroom interaction with online learning environment (virtual learning environment – VLE).
The question that pop-ups at this juncture is ‘why, what and how to ‘blend’? Information and communication technology (ICT) has brought in paradigm shift in every walk of life. We have already entered the second decade of so called 21st century. The 21st century in its significance incorporates ICT as a part of life. Teachers, who are supposed to be the torchbearers of social change, unfortunately, are followers so far as this social change is concerned. This is a noteworthy observation because most of the ways of dealing have changed and this change is brought in by ICT, whereas the teachers still are not so enthusiastic about incorporating ICT as a part of their lives. Teachers, here and there, disseminate education through ICT; some of the Universities have attempted new designs; yet looking at the larger picture of higher education, we find that a lot still have to be ploughed in designing curriculum to harvest the rich dividends of ICT.
This answers to our question of ‘why’. The kids of tomorrow, the custodians of the future are growing in a different environment. As it is already discussed in part I of this article that ‘netizens’ have different psychological needs for learning, we are not repeating it again. Instead, let us discuss some research outputs to prove our point. The research by Garrison and Kanuka proves that blended learning increases the options for greater quality and quantity of human interaction in a learning environment, and offers learners the opportunity ‘to be both together and apart’ (2004). Another theory is that of ‘separate and connected knowing’ (Clinchy, 1989). This theory may help to look at human interactions in different amounts at different times and results are used to help improve communication and learning. It is because of such tendencies among learners to be both together and apart, and separate knower and connected knower, happening almost simultaneously that we are in need of blended learning which is provided by VLEs.

Second, very significant concern is ‘what to blend’? If I am allowed to borrow words from ECAR (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004), I would like to put it as ‘What proportion of each is required to label a course as ‘blended’?’ Well, blended learning retains the face-to-face element, making it – in the words of many faculty – the ‘best of both worlds’ (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004). At times, teachers do not understand where to stop and where to elaborate? Some topics would have been wind up in a few lectures were as some would have been dealt in with elaborated discussion. Time, space constraint and pressure to complete syllabus in the stipulated time, at times, create hindrance. Thus, maximizing success in a blended learning initiative requires a planned and well-supported approach that includes a theory-based instructional model, high-quality faculty development, course development assistance, learner support, and ongoing formative and summative assessment (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004). At every point, it should be kept in mind that blended learning is not to fill in the gaps of teachers. Teachers cannot be replaced by VLEs. Blended learning redefines role of teachers and makes teachers available to students on virtual world and thus total hours of interaction between teacher-students does not decrease, in fact, it increases. It helps teachers in better understanding of their teaching methodologies and students progress.
Lastly, ‘how’ to ‘blend learning’ to gain maximum benefits? There is no panacea for this riddle. It is difficult to give one definite model. The research scholars like DeZure, Buckley, Barr and Tagg discussed various phenomena but it is worth mentioning that the final selection of model for implementation depends on the local environment. This local environment includes existing curriculum, space in the curriculum to experiment, teachers’ aptitude, learners’ readiness and existing infrastructure. Here again, it can be suggested to ask following questions on the onset, which are proposed by ECAR (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004):
Key Questions to Ask:
·         What programs in your institution are best suited for blended learning?
·         What models of blended learning are most appropriate for your campus?
·         What support mechanisms are necessary to ensure the success of blended learning on your campus?
·         How can blended learning become an effective mechanism for meeting some of your institution’s strategic initiatives?
·         How will you assess the impact of blended learning?
Before we end this discussion, it becomes necessary to take a case study of blended learning and test the validity and reliability of these questions in our educational environment, which is by and large traditional in its methods of implementing curriculum objectives.

Part III
A case study: Experimenting Blended Learning in Post Graduate Teaching at Department of English, Bhavnagar University, Bhavnagar (Gujarat – India)
The research article would sound like hollow words if the ideas and concepts discussed are not proved by its practical implications. Let us have an overview of a case study on blended learning. The working paper on this project was presented as digital poster presentation in AsiaCALL International Conference (Barad, Poster Presentation: Using Web Tools in Convergence with Traditional Learning, 2010).

The academic initiatives enforced by UGC led all Universities to make specific changes. The Bhavnagar University had been one of the leading Universities in Gujarat to implement such initiatives when it was proposed by UGC Regulations 2009. In 2010, semester system, with continuous internal assessment with weightage of 70:30 grade points/marks was, introduced. This single change made dramatic changes for the curriculum designer and faculty members. We, at Department of English, took maximum advantage to bring in innovative changes. It was made mandatory by Bhavnagar University to have three components in 30 marks continuous internal assessment (now onwards mentioned as CIA), viz., Presentation, Assignments and Test. We designed curriculum to give ample space for incorporation of ICT into the teaching-learning process. Our learning objectives along with ‘developing understanding of world literature and universal humanism’, were to make students ‘future-friendly’. We wanted to make them techno-fluent. We observed that most teachers of Arts faculty have a kind of aversion towards technology as a pedagogical tool because they have ‘never seen their teachers using it’ and were never ‘taught with technology’. Thus, we wanted to make ICT integral part of teaching – learning process.

We made following innovative changes: (all these changes are made without disturbing face-to-face interaction)
·         Assignments should be submitted as blog entry. Students are supposed to submit at least 21 assignments during the M.A. (English) programme.
·         Presentations shall be made only through PowerPoint and it shall be video recorded. All students shall be given videos of their presentations. Students are supposed to make 21 presentations during the M.A. (English) programme.
·         The test shall be the combination of ‘Online’ and pen – paper mode. All objective type tests shall be on Moodle VLE.
·         At the end of the fourth semester, all these (i.e. blogs, videos & presentations) shall be indexed on the students’ personal website. Google site was used for this task.
·         For instructions and teacher-student communication, SMS group and Google email group were used.

This was part of curriculum design and as it was mandatory, no students were excused from it. The students were given extra benefit of these online activities. In the CIA, students were offered bonus marks/grade points for successfully carrying out these online activities. We have to admit that until and unless, teaching and evaluation are not incorporated and each and activity (whether face-to-face or online) is not converted into grade points/marks, students will not participate enthusiastically. Thus, the bonus point idea clicked well with the students. Many students got the benefit of it. Some of them were physically ill or ill-prepared on the day of presentation or test. But they did exceptionally well in ‘online’ activities to save them from failing in CIA.

The obvious outcomes of this blended learning project (Barad, 2012) are as under:
·         It supported the argument that learning is an active, social process. According to Kliebard (1992), John Dewey (1859-1952) created an active intellectual learning environment in his laboratory school during the early 20th century. Neuroscience now supports this form of active learning as the way people naturally learn. Active learning conditionalizes knowledge through experiential learning (Kliebard, 1992) (Construvtivism(learning_theory), 2012). The students were found actively involved in the computer laboratory. Students naturally acquired online skills and learnt some valuable skills like ‘writing for web’. It was not part of curriculum to teach them e-skills but they naturally learnt it from the environment, which was created because of innovation in curriculum design.
·         It proved what Smith wrote while exploring John Dewey’s viewpoint. John Dewey believed education must engage with and expand the experience; those methods used to educate must provide for exploration, thinking, and reflection; and that interaction with the environment is necessary for learning; also, that democracy should be upheld in the educational process. (Smith, 2001). It was quite surprising to see that students were keen to stay more at Department and were found engaged in discussion about studies before, between and after the face-to-face lectures. What was incredible to observe was that students were involved in active learning, exploration, thinking and reflection. They were asked to make comments / raise questions/doubts / initiate discussion under the blogs and presentations. This provided them space for interaction with the environment. More importantly, the level of transparency was so high that it helped to upheld democratic values in the environment. Internal marking systems are always marred by charges of corruption. As the entire internal evaluation was shifted to VLE, the parents as well as classmates can view and openly comment on the marks/grades allotted by teachers to the students. This amounts to greater transparency and helps in establishing trust in the education system.
·         The outcome of ECAR (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004) found its support in this project. Hence, we agree to say that it helps instructors evolve as designers of active learning environments, thus becoming much more facilitative in their teaching. Interestingly, this phenomenon is consistent with what Carl Rogers (1983) called the ‘facilitative teacher’. Initially, teachers found it awkward to work and interact with students on virtual environment. However, later it was realized that being facilitator is quite different from being a teacher. The ideals that we have attached with teachers as being friend, philosopher and guide are normally not fulfilled in physical traditional environment. The virtual world certainly helps teachers being friendly facilitators rather than being ‘dictators’ in the classroom. Mostly, teachers feel that they are creating a conducive environment for the students but if students were asked, they would reveal how frightened they are to interact with teachers in the physical world. Nevertheless, on the virtual world, such inhibitions are broken and students feel better off with their teachers.
·         The environment created by blended learning brings in mixed reflections from students. Many students lament the loss of face-to-face contact and a few have techno-phobia, which averts them to respond on VLE. Thus, it was observed during this project that students must learn to ‘unlearn’ the habits of learning in traditional methods before ‘relearning’ how to learn on VLEs. We agree with the observations of ECAR - “the rhythms of blended courses differ from those in face-to-face classes, forcing students to stay actively engaged and connected. For students, the landscape of learning is drastically altered, although they are still to anchor their learning experience on the familiar face-to-face class meetings”. (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004).
·         Lastly, let us conclude with the benefits of using Moodle Virtual Learning Environment. As the design and development of Moodle is guided by “social constructionist pedagogy", it helps a lot in fulfilling the objectives of Constructivism (Moodle, 2012) From a constructivist point of view, people actively construct new knowledge as they interact with their environments. Moodle’s Philosophy web page mentions – “Social constructivism extends constructivism into social settings, wherein groups construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings. When one is immersed within a culture like this, one is learning all the time about how to be a part of that culture, on many levels” (Moodle, 2012). Teachers as well as students experienced this during this project. Teachers became more creative in teaching. The time of interaction increased in the classroom, which, in traditional mode, was wasted in the dissemination of information only. The process of information turning into knowledge was experienced as more time was dedicated in interpretation and reflective thinking.
·         One of the major limitations of this project was infrastructure. We felt that students of Arts faculty (especially of our Department) still are not able to get personal computer with hi-speed internet at their residences. Therefore, the institute has to provide all these facilities and time to work on these tasks. Fortunately, the department of English can make provision for 1:2 computes with hi-speed internet connection, and the lab was kept open on holidays also so that students can spare ample time to complete their online tasks.

In spite of issues related to students, faculty and institutes, the impact of blended learning is positive. It is difficult to disagree with ECAR (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004) when they conclude: “The process is always formative and sometimes opportunistic. The outcomes are most effective when participants share an inspiring vision; seek maximum possible involvement; bring out the best in others; celebrate accomplishments; and model behaviour that facilitates collaboration.” The synergy of traditional face-to-face methods with that of an online environment helps in fostering positive realignment in HEIs.

Works Cited

Barad, D. P. (2010, January 12). Poster Presentation: Using Web Tools in Convergence with Traditional Learning. AsiaCALL International Conference 2010. Vallabh Vidya Nagar (Dist. Anand), Gujarat, India.
Barad, D. P. (2012, April 11). Project Blended Learning 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012, from Google Sites: http://sites.google.com/site/projectblendedlearning2012
Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (1995). From Teaching to Learning - A New paradigm for Undergradute Education. Change, 27(6), 12-25.
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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Comparative Overview of the Forms of Storytelling with Reference to the Digital Age

Comparative Overview of the Forms of Storytelling with Reference to the Digital Age

 Prof. Dilip Barad,
Dept. of English, M.K. Bhavnagar University

How to cite this article:

MLA Style:
Barad, Dilip. "Comparative Overview of the Forms of Storytelling with Reference to the Digital Age." Spark International Online Journal III.3 (2011): 35-61.
APA Style:
Barad, D. (2011, Aug). Comparative Overview of the Forms of Storytelling with Reference to the Digital Age. (B. Parmar, Ed.) Spark International Online Journal, III(3), 35-61.

Abstract

Over the ages the form of storytelling has undergone significant changes. The Sanskrit and Greek masters were happy in telling their stories in form of verse letters, plays and epics;  in the 18th century ‘Novel’ was seen as the most suitable form for storytelling. In the 20th century, the fragmented life found its expression in theatre of absurd, problem plays and the life full of hurry and flurry gave shorter forms like novella, one-act plays and short stories. At the fag-end of the first decade of the 21st century, some forms have emerged to cater the needs of techno-savvy netizens. The Epistolary form of telling story initiated by Richardson in ‘Pamela’ found its new manifestation in Matt Beaumont’s novel e’ in 2000. Matt has experimented with the epistolary form by replacing letters by emails among the characters. The advent of e-novels is seen as yet another step further in the evolution of new forms of telling story, and yet another form to mesmerize the world with its synergism of words and videos is in the buds. This new form of storytelling is ‘vook’ – a word coined for ‘video-book’.
This paper attempts to compare the changing forms of storytelling, and also aims to examine the connection between at the forms of literature, changing times and tastes of the reading audience.

Wordle of the Abstract

“Over all [the scholar’s work] should rule a searching intelligence, asking that fundamental question of the septic: just what do you mean by that? And if the question is asked with a real desire to know and understand . . . the work is done.”  - G.R. Elton, The Practice of History (New York, 1967) 141. (Altic 1993)

At the heart of literature is telling story, and its success depends on how well the story is told. How well it is told, however, depends largely on the pleasure it gives to readers. This pleasure, if it is conditioned by ‘the law of poetic truth and poetic beauty’ (Arnold 2001), elevates the story to the height of a classic. The pleasure quenched by the reader from the truth and beauty of literature is also governed by the race, milieu and the moment. I mean to say, the taste of the reader and the time in which it is written also has its own aesthetic influence on the art of telling story.
The poor peasants and brave warriors of Greece and Mahabharata found dramas and epics better forms of story telling to quench their thirst for aesthetic life. Reaching to this point in the history of narrating story for aesthetic pleasure and to teach moral lessons on niti-shastra, it has undergone important changes. Slowly and steadily, the oral tradition metamorphosed into written and from there into performing art. The Aesop’s fables (Long 2011) in the West and Panchatantra & Hitopadesha in East had its beginning in oral story telling (Wikipedia). Later on they were found in written form.
From here on wards, I would rather concentrate on the literary tradition in Literature in English than on world literature, because by speaking on changing art of story telling of world literature, I would display my ignorance than knowledge.
Coming to the 18th century, the century where in new forms of telling stories are experimented and invented, we find that the fire, fine feelings, enthusiasm, the glow of the Renaissance and the moral earnestness of Puritanism (Long 2004) is lost from their art of telling story. Renaissance was the time of fiery passion, hunger to grow, unlimited enthusiasm to achieve the unachievable and never ending passion for life. Thus the classical form of telling story i.e. Drama, found its new format in Christopher Marlow. Though, still it is drama and poetry only, yet the performance of drama is quite different than that of classical Greek & Latin masters. Use of Blank verse, breaking of unities and mixture of tragicomedies gave new style to the old art of telling story. Shakespeare polished all the gems that were invented by Marlowe in such a shining state that none can make it more polished there after. It was John Dryden (1668) Who said this to enumerate the phenomenon in ‘Of Dramatik Poesie, An Essay: “Those beauties of the French poesy are such ... it where it is not: they are indeed the beauties of a statue but not of a man”. The plays written by Shakespeare and University with all deformities of plot construction and characterization were still true representation of human soul and nature.

During renaissance and reformation, we had the tradition of telling story in prose form also. The University Wits and thereafter John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, Addison and Steele carried on this tradition and went on adding a component or two by the time Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) and Henry Fielding (1707-1754) turned it into the new form of telling story – well-known today as NOVEL. (Watt 1957)
The spread of education led to more readers. The way technique of making papers migrated from China to Europe and Gutenberg’s printing press encouraged more writing, similarly education helped in the spread of more magazines and prose writing. Thus 18th century has more number of magazines and novels to cater the needs of the reading public. The education to females in 18th century gave rise to more number of female readers. (Compton-Rickett) The coarseness of Fielding, Smollett and Stern did not satisfy the aesthetic urge of these female readers. Thus we have women novelist in abundance in the same years.
Thus we can perceive that the time, the moment, the philosophies and thoughts of the era has tremendous impact on the art of telling story. Compton- Ricket has rightly noted in The History of English Literature (1946) that the masculine qualities comprehend a broad grasp of general principles, a logical constructive power of a faulty for dealing largely and sanely with the big issues of life. The feminine qualities on the other hand, lie in subtlety rather than vigor of perception, an intuitive insight into the delicate complexities of character and an intensity and tenacity of passion.  As illustrations of the masculine and feminine methods of approaching the social life to the late 18th century we have Fielding and Jane Austen, each of them essentially a painter of manners, concerned in the difference between town and country, satirical in treatment, eschewing sentiment as far as possible. Between the, we have a wonderful picture of the time, and the one complements the other, for the difference are rather sexual than purely literal – the one, bold, dashing, painting strong, vivid colours; the other, delicate, subtle, avoiding violent contrasts, and dealing rather in nuances.
This proves the point how art of story telling differed from man to woman. The education and experience of Fielding, the man on the roads, and Austen, the woman of the house, reflects the moments lived by the society in their predefined horizons.
The increasing number of readers gave rise to NOVEL as the most sought after form of telling story. The Victorians found in Novel what Elizabethans sought in plays.
The rise of magazines contributed to the rise of short story also. (Watson 1994). Short stories were a staple of early-19th-century magazines and often led to fame and novel-length projects for their authors, similar to one-act plays.
In the modern times, industrialization & growth of factories influenced the reading habits of people which in turn influenced creative writing also. (Ward 1978). The life became so fast that people were not able to spare more time to read long novels or see long plays. The short story and one-act plays were more suitable form of telling story for such an audience. Thus we find more numbers of such arts of telling stories in 19th and 20th century.
But still we find that the art of telling story is not that experimentative. The path and faith breaking philosophies of 19th and 20th century has its own toll on the art of telling stories. Darwin’s proving that the world in not created by God (1860), Freud’s libidal interpretation of human relationship (1896c) and Nietzsche’s final declaration – God is death (1882), shattered the faith of creative genius. It is well said by Mahesh Bhatt (film maker) that artist as a creative person is abnormally and inhumanly sensitive – for him a touch is a blow, a sound is noise and ay misfortune a tragedy. (qt from The Times of India article – “Is M.F. Hussain a Victim?”)
The influence of art of telling story does not require detailed mention here. The shattered faith fragmented the lives of people. The remaining work was done by two world wars. The witness of First World War and life under the thread of second was terrible for the sensitive creative mind. What we find in fragmented art of telling story. In fact, there is no story at all. It is all rambling of thoughts, trying to say something, utterance fail to express their anguished anxiety. Thus, the stream of consciousness in novel, collage in poem of TS Eliot, Auden and Yeats, absurdity in plays took place of sanity in telling stories. Martin Esslin (1967) makes a working hypothesis of the traits of story-telling art of these decades in his famous book. ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’.
The modernist art of telling story is the best example of how philosophical discourse can interpose its influence on it. The time it self was shattered and fragmented. Nothingness was the meaning and nihilism was their only optimism. The story tellers of the time faithfully reflected this in their art of telling stories.
The post modernist era was the time of deconstructionist ideology. In the modernist art of telling story, thought the stories were fragmented and nothingness was the only thing, yet the centre hold the ground strongly. In post modernism, the centre is de-centered. There was an attempt to identify meaning in meaninglessness of modernist art of telling story; here the meaning is nothing but free play of difference and deffarance (Derrida 1966). The centre is at the periphery and the periphery is at the centre. Thus Coetzee’s (1986) art of telling story has the centre in Friday ( in novel , 1986) and not in Robinson (Defoe). Mahabharat is retold from Draupadi’s view point. (Vaidya Spivak) Julian Branes’s The History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters has a narration form woodworms angel and not from Noah’s. Derridian influence gave free play of experiment in telling stories. Derrida’s philosophical discourse impacted the art of story telling. Dattani’s plays have entre in eunuchs and HIV patients (Kumar T). Sarojini Sahoo’s feminist discourse undermines the western feminist discourse of Simon De Bouevier and gave rise to Indian feminism. Similarly, Dalit aestheticism is also on the high rise.
Whatever may be the influencing force, the last decades of 20th century betrayed several experiments in the art of story telling. Thus, Author John Fowles’s novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) has three endings. This novel is a period novel inspired by the 1823 novel Ourika, by Claire de Duras, which Fowles translated to English during 1977 (and revised in 1994).
Other interesting experiments in art of telling story were done by B S Johnson. The Unfortunates (1969) was published in a box with no binding (readers could assemble the book any way they liked) and House Mother Normal (1971) was written in purely chronological order such that the various characters' thoughts and experiences would cross each other and become intertwined, not just page by page, but sentence by sentence. B. S. Johnson's infamous book-in-a-box is, if remembered at all, notorious for its presentation rather than its content. The "book" consists of a first and last section plus 25 other chapters, each one coming as a self-contained "pamphlet", that can be read in any order the reader likes. The subject matter concerns a journalist's day covering a football match in Nottingham, remembering previous times spent in the city with a lover now gone and a friend now dead. The innovative format permits Johnson to echo the random thought processes of his protagonist--the associations and reminiscences bubbling up in no fixed order as he walks through the city, watches and reports on the match and returns home afterwards. 
We have curios experiment in novel ‘A Void’ by Georges Perec (1995). A Void (translated from the original French La Disparition (literally, "The Disappearance") is a 300-page French lipogrammatic novel, written in 1969 by Georges Perec, entirely without using the letter e (except for the author's name), following Oulipo constraints.
The website www.fantasticfiction.com has curious collection of such experimental novels written and published in later decades of 20th century.
If all these ages were marked by some peculiar social, political, economical, philosophical, anthropological etc contemporary issues, the 21st century is marked by the IT revolution. The time in which we live is known as the time of e-renaissance. Information and communication technology has brought in sweeping change in all walks of life. The technological tsunami began in wild waves in 80s and 90s. Today, as we enter second decade of 21st century, the world in deluged under the splurge of techno-tsunami waves. Now the question is has this revolution brought any change in art of telling story?
Well, forget about the literary value of his novels for time being. Just see what is the moving fore in the plot in his novels: the mobiles, internet and call centers. Yes, Chetan Bhagat’s One Night @ Call Centre (2005) has technology at its centre. Now, the God does not say in thunder, but He rings and talks on your mobile phones. Now, too much of thinking or rash actions are not fatal flaws or hamartia. The fatal flaw is leaving your email account open without logging out/signing out before leaving PC/laptop. In Three Mistakes of My Life (2008), the mobile call from best friend’s sister during climax brings havoc in the life of protagonist. Today, it is unimaginable to think of the story where in mobile or internet is not an important part of the play and vital part to play.
It is not only movers and shakers of plot, but the form of telling story is also affected. At the fag-end of the first decade of the 21st century, some forms have emerged to cater the needs of techno-savvy netizens. The Epistolary form of telling story initiated by Richardson in ‘Pamela’ found its new manifestation in Matt Beaumont’s novel ‘e’ in 2007. Matt has experimented with the epistolary form by replacing letters by emails among the characters. Thus, the novel is a multiple-perspective narrative where events are seen through the eyes of various people working for the agency, from temporary workers to CEO. e (novel) centers around corporate business structures, leadership, creativity, headhunting for and firing people to keep up appearances, work efficiency, business ethics, and all kinds of human weaknesses which stall progress by having employees waste their time and energy on unimportant things and which eventually prevent success. The advent of e-novels is seen as yet another step further in the evolution of new forms of telling story.
The characterization, situations, plots, etc are changing and finding new alterations. Even Sidney Sheldon type pulp fiction or J.K. Rowling type child fiction or Poe type detective fiction are affected by the digital wave. We have not Cyberpunk to replace traditional classical pulp fictions. Cyberpunk is a postmodern and science fiction genre noted for its focus on "high tech and low life." The name was originally coined by Bruce Bethke as the title of his short story "Cyberpunk," published in 1983 It features advanced science, such as information technologyand cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk works are well situated within postmodern literature.(Wikipedia Cyberpunk).

Collaboration as against isolation is the key word in the digital age. Social media is nothing but collaborating. It seems that suddenly everybody want to ‘speak/write’. Listeners or readers are fast becoming rare species. Well, this trend of life is mirrored in Penguin project of WikiNovel.
A Million Penguins, the wiki-novel experiment currently underway at Penguin Books is trying to find out if a self-organizing collective of writers can produce a credible novel on a live website. A dubious idea if you believe a novel is almost by definition the product of a singular inspiration, but praiseworthy nonetheless for its experimental bravado. Though the project has not succeed yet, nearly 1500 individuals have contributed to the writing and editing of A Million Penguins, contributing over 11,000 edits making this, in the words of Penguin’s Chief Executive, ‘not the most read, but possibly the most written novel in history‘. 75000 people have visited the site and there have been more than 280,000 page views.( Ettinghausen 2007)

Such experiments in writing literature along lead one to think of the demise of literature. Kernan Alvin (1992) takes a critical look at the changing paradigm in society because of the influence of digital ways of life and tries to connect with with the literature. Let me quote at length from the review of his book ‘The Death of Literature:
“Kernan Alvin probes deeper, relating the death of literature to potent forces in our postindustrial world—most obviously, the technological revolution that is rapidly transforming a print to an electronic culture, replacing the authority of the written word with the authority of television, film, and computer screens. The turn taken by literary criticism itself, in deconstructing traditional literature and declaring it void of meaning in itself, and in focusing on what are described as its ideological biases against women and nonwhites, has speeded the disintegration. Recent legal debates about copyright, plagiarism, and political patronage of the arts have exposed the greed and self-interest at work under the old romantic images of the imaginative creative artist and the work of art as a perfect, unchanging icon. Kernan describes a number of the crossroads where literature and society have met and literature has failed to stand up. He discusses the high comedy of the obscenity trial in England against Lady Chatterley's Lover, in which the British literary establishment vainly tried to define literature. He takes alarmed looks at such agents of literary disintegration as schools where children who watch television eight hours a day can't read, decisions about who chooses and defines the words included in dictionaries, faculty fights about the establishment of new departments and categories of study, and courtrooms where criminals try to profit from bestselling books about their crimes. According to Kernan, traditional literature is ceasing to be legitimate or useful in these changed social surroundings. What is needed, he says, if it is any longer possible in electronic culture, is a conception of literature that fits in some positive way with the new ethos of post-industrialism, plausibly claiming a place of importance both to individual lives and to society as a whole for the best kind of writing.” (Kernan yalepress.yale.edu)
It is difficult to disagree with Kernan. The Gutenberg has tolled the death of printed poem or novels. As an alternative to this Apocalypse of print, some theorists, critics or artists have already found solutions of „escape”. New forms of literary practice access digital resources and force the boundaries of „literature” to expand to visual, cybernetic, hyper-textual territories. (Echinox Journal 2011). This experience of visual, cybernetic & hyper-textual is experimented in form of Vook. (www.vook.com).

WHAT IS A VOOK?
A vook is a new innovation in reading that blends a well-written book, high-quality video and the power of the Internet into a single, complete story.
You can read your book, watch videos that enhance the story and connect with authors and your friends through social media all on one screen, without switching between platforms.
Vooks are available in two formats: As a web-based application you can read on your computer and a mobile application for reading on the go. With the web-based application you don't have to download programs or install software. Just open your favorite browser and start reading and watching in an exciting new way. You can also download and install the mobile applications through the Apple iTunes store and sync them with your Apple mobile device.
Vook has a simple idea: put great filmmakers together with great authors and let them create a new kind of media. But for this to succeed, we need a talented filmmaker who can be imaginative, work with another creative vision and shoot and edit for an entirely new form.
For more than 500 years the book has been a remarkably stable entity: a coherent string of connected words, printed on paper and bound between covers. (Vook)
But in the age of the iPhone, Kindle and YouTube, the notion of the book is becoming increasingly elastic as publishers mash together text, video and Web features in a scramble to keep readers interested in an archaic form of entertainment. The readers are invited to log on to a Web site to watch brief videos that flesh out the plot.
Some publishers say this kind of multimedia hybrid is necessary to lure modern readers who crave something different. But reading experts question whether fiddling with the parameters of books ultimately degrades the act of reading. (Rich 2009)
I would like to quote at length form what Moroko Rich reported in The New York Times (Oct 1, 2009 Pg A1)
“There is no question that these new media are going to be superb at engaging and interesting the reader,” said Maryanne Wolf, a professor of child development at Tufts University and author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.” But, she added, “Can you any longer read Henry James or George Eliot? Do you have the patience?”
The most obvious way technology has changed the literary world is with electronic books. Over the past year devices like Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader have gained in popularity. But the digital editions displayed on these devices remain largely faithful to the traditional idea of a book by using words — and occasional pictures — to tell a story or explain a subject
Simon & Schuster is also releasing two digital novels combining text with videos a minute or 90 seconds long that supplement — and in some cases advance — the story line.
“Everybody is trying to think about how books and information will best be put together in the 21st century,” said Judith Curr, publisher of Atria Books, the Simon & Schuster imprint that is releasing the electronic editions in partnership with Vook, a multimedia company. She added, “You can’t just be linear anymore with your text.” (Rich 2009)

Well, the question may arise at the end of this paper reading that ‘what is the meaning of this comparative survey of art of telling story? I would end this paper with following stolen words – quoted randomly from ‘The Search is All?: The Pursuit of Meaning in Julian Barnes’s Flaubert’s Parrot, Staring at the Sun and A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters’ written by Wojciech Drag.

“For Oliver, who found the whole idea deeply embarrassing?” Originally used by
Terry Eagleton to opens his recent book entitled The Meaning of Life (2007). What is more, in the preface he notes that writing about such a suspect concept as “the meaning of life” seems “fit for the crazed and the comic”. Why is the notion of “meaning” embarrassing to explore? Why are we so wary of it? Possible answers are many. One of them is that we have come to live in an age that distrusts “big words” and concepts which purport to account for the totality of human existence, which disregard variety and difference. The postmodern thought, which highlights the contingency of human life and announces the lack of any solid foundation to it calls into question the notion of absolute meaning and regards it as redolent of “an old-fashioned metaphysics”. The search for absolute meaning, I will argue, can also find its expression in a desire to establish a stable context of interpretation (such as religion or art) – a framework through which one can understand one’s own experience and make sense of it. It may also take the form of a longing for truth and authenticity, which would stand firm and intact in confrontation with the relativity, skepticism and moral chaos that appear implicit in the postmodern age marked by the demise of grand narratives. In the times when no new ideas are to be expressed, what we find is experiments with forms of expression. The end of cognitive receptivity deadens the creative grey cells of human mind. Is it the absence of creativity that more importance is given to form of expression rather than the idea of expression? May be it is the urge for instant gratification or to satisfy sensual pleasure that these sort of mingling of words and videos are experimented. May be it is the habit of techno-savvy mind to go for multi-tasking – doing several things at a time – reading, viewing, listening, discussing on social network, interacting with author and other readers – that these forms are emerging. During Modernist era, Eliots, Pounds James Joyces and Beketts were in search of form of expression which can express the fragmented existed of world war worn generation. They found in stream of consciousness, absurd theatre and mythical technique. May be today’s writer wants synergism of words and videos for better expression of their ideas and to give what reader wants.

Yes, the traditional ways of writing literature and reading literature is on death bed. In all ages past, we have experienced at each and every fin de si├Ęcle there is conflict between the new and the old. For the time being while the transition is happening, we find literature with the traits of the old and the new. It’s a different matter that such literature is hated by both, the old readers and the new readers. Shakespeare’s plays were compared with bedlam asylum. Wordsworth’s poems were considered childish, D.H. Lawrence was porno-writer, T.S. Eliot was not understood to the Moderns. Today, they are all ‘classics’. In a new era of globalization and terrorism, Eagleton (2003) warns, the bundle of ideas known as post-modernism is essentially toothless. In this eloquent synthesis of a lifetime of learning, Eagleton challenges contemporary intellectuals to engage with a range of vital topics-love, evil, death, morality, religion, and revolution-that they've ignored over the past thirty years. In his cry for more holistic and humane way of "reading" the world, it becomes essential to see how art of storytelling is undergoing sweeping change under the influence of digital age. It would be interesting to watch how will comparative literature and literary theory respond to these new practices? Will the theorists and critics consider “old” theories fulfilled by the „empowerment of the reader”? Will they feel the need to forge new concepts and new methods? Or will they seek entirely new perspectives to which traditional methods can be adjusted? Alternative conceptual and methodological discourses emerge in present-day discourses on literature, springing from totally different points of view. The expansion of literature beyond the paper-written support and the expansion of digital media to the realms of literature engage writers and researchers of the literary field in a rethinking of their own creative identity and of their disciplinary approach. (Echinox Journal)

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