Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lecture 24: Inanimate Alice

Today marks our third session working on the multimodal online narrative, Inanimate Alice.

Thanks to all the students who have been posting their thoughts and thanks to Chris Joseph for responding.

Today, before we get started on reading Episodes 3 and 4, I'd like you to review some of the comments made after our first reading. I would like you to respond to one of the comments. Note the student's name (and yours) in your response. Perhaps you agree with something she or he noted? Maybe you have a question about his or her interpretation of transliteracy? Please add your comment on the Lecture 22: Introduction to Transliteracy and Inanimate Alice post.

Once your comments have been completed, we'll begin reading episodes 3 and 4. Remember, Alice is maturing and so is her technical ability. Expect more intricate puzzles, sometimes you (as the reader) won't be "told" of a puzzle you'll have to solve. As a transliterate reader, you will have to explore the screen to find what's clickable.

After reading both episodes please address FOUR out of the following FIVE questions in a comment to today's lecture post (that's this one):

  1. If you were a reporter and were going to interview one of the characters, what questions would you ask? Why? (Write at least 5 questions.)
  2. Pretend that you are “Dear Abby” and Brad writes to you about his problems. How would you respond to him?
  3. What is the one thing that sticks in your mind most about Inanimate Alice Episode 3 and Episode 4? Was it the plot? A character? Why?
  4. Give three examples of scenes which you read as a transliterate reader. These might be scenes where the images do not support what the words say. It might be an example where the loud and quickening tempo or the music does not match the calming images and words. Please write each example (give the episode number and describe the scene) and then explain how you interpreted EACH of the modes (image, sound, text, interaction).
  5. Rewrite the ending of Episode 4 in a comic book style.
    • Use this tool:
    • You need to create at least ONE frame up to a maximum of FOUR frames
    • When complete, click on “blog this,” grab the code and paste it into an e-mail to me: LaccettiJ @
    • Include the link to your comic book ending in your comment


Please bring laptops, colouring pens/pencils/markers, blank paper and anything else that might help you *create.*

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lecture 23: Transliteracy and Narrative

During our last class many of us read a multimodal fiction for the first time. Reading through the comments it is clear that everyone realises how different a narrative like Inanimate Alice is from other texts we've covered in class. Not only is there a fictional element (as so far we have focussed on non-fiction essays) but the coming together of sounds, images, video, text and user interaction require a different reading strategy.

Today we are going to perform a kind of close reading of a few scences from Inanimate Alice. This activity will model how one might perform a multimodal "literary" analysis. In other words, we'll examine how the different modes work together (or against each other) to develop the story.

At the end of the lesson I'd like you to being work on your blog comment which is due on the blog before Thursday's class. This one is worth 3% of your mark.

Choose ONE of the following:
  • Writer a letter to the authors: Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph
                ** Use strong English, give examples
                ** ask at least two questions
               ** length should be two paragraphs
  • Create a podcast reflection of Episodes 1 and 2 (include the link to your podcast and e-mail me the HTML and the written version). Analyse the role of multimodality. You might use or
  • Create a google map of places from the first two episodes of Inanimate Alice (include the link to your map in the comment and e-mail me the HTML). For each place marked on the map include:
                              **analysis of the story related to that area
                              **and a link to an image

Note, if you choose to do the google map activity, you might want to check out The 21 Steps.

Note: 21 Steps image from:

Reminder, on Thursday we'll be in the computer lab again: 5-231.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lecture 22: Introduction to Transliteracy and Inanimate Alice

Today we're in the computer lab (room 5-231) for our introduction to multimodal reading, transliteracy and the online narrative, Inanimate Alice.

The class will begin with a few definitions:

Multimodality [I build upon Kress's notion: "Two logics are brought together…the logic of the written and the logic of the image” (Kress, Literacy in the New Media Age).]

Transliteracy: the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. (This is the *working* definition, still undergoing research and development, see here)

Importantly, transliteracy for me is very much about how we read in the online environment. It means being able to critically interpret text, image, sound, video, and interaction as it occurs within the same space.

Background to Inanimate Alice

Inanimate Alice is an “interactive multimedia story” that most recently won the Premio per l'arte digitale, Italian Ministry of Culture.

Plot: bildungsroman exploring childhood, technology, fiction, reality, and how narratives can be actively created (both by Alice and the reader).

Structure: composed as a temporal progression but with each episode interactivity increases and there are more puzzles to solve; reflecting Alice's own developing skills as a game designer and animator.

Interesting Characteristics The reader never actually sees narrator/protagonist Alice, we only ever have her view

  • Various games which increase in difficulty with each new episode make demand a more transliterate reader
  • Emphasis on narrative (not only images and sound)

  • Critical Reception
    • “The story is told with child-like innocence by Alice in an almost poetic fashion and is told through some very sophisticated and design oriented animation. Very stylish work.”
    • “The sound and vision all help to propel the narrative but, at the heart of it, is always Alice's story.”

    Your Turn: Inanimate Alice and Transliteracy in Practise

    • Read Episode 1 and Episode 2 of Inanimate Alice
    • While reading note:
    • How reading this online fiction is different from reading the essays in the course books or reading the texts for your research assignment
    • What can readers infer about the identity of Alice? What traits does Alice seem to possess?
    • 1 instance of foreshadowing
    • Complete this sentence: “I think the author is trying to say....”
    • The definition of transliteracy, do you feel you are transliterate? Why or why not (explain).

    Post your responses to the class blog DURING this lesson


    Research Assignment Due Next Class!

    Bring Laptops to Class

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Lecture 21: Annotated Bibliography and Research Essays

    As noted in our last class, today's class will unfold as a workshop session. Each student should come prepared to work on either part of her or his Research Assignment (the annotated bibliography or the essay), with computers, books, journals and class notes.

    To help with your analysis and evaluation, take a look at this very useful critical thinking mind map from IQ Matrix:

    "Becoming an Outstanding Critical Thinker has more to do with a state of mind rather than the specific set of tools, techniques or strategies you utilize on a daily basis. [...] Moreover, it is exactly this state of mind that will assist you in effectively piercing through the veil of filters coloring your understanding of the world around you [as well as the texts you'll use for your annotated bibliography]"

    Ask these questions of each of your sources:

    NOTE: Next class, Thursday the 19th of November, we'll be in the computer lab (5-231) ready to begin our reading of multimodal fiction Inanimate Alice.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Lecture 20: Research Essays

    The duration of today's lesson will be spent collecting appropriate scholarly resources to use in your research assignments (remember, you need three sources for the annotated bibliography).

    Come to Tuesday's class ready to work on the writing of either part 1 of the assignment (annotations) or part 2 (essay).

    Bring anything that will help you write: books, articles, computer, class notes, library hand-outs etc...

    Note: Image is from Casellas & Company.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Lecture 19: Research Assignment Review

    In today's class we shall go over the following:

    Punctuation and Quotation Review
    MLA Style Video
    Quotation Activity
    Annotated Bibliography Review
    Annotated Bibliography Tips
    Annotated Bibliography Activity
    Homework and Notes

    Here are some examples of direct quotations:

    Direct quotations involve incorporating another person's exact words into your own writing:

    In her essay “Whiteness as Property,” Cheryl Hanson argues that property actually becomes a “right” and not merely a tangible object (“The Quest for Self-Identity in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon” 8).

    He admires Pilate’s ability to “tackle the problem of trying to decide how she wanted to live and what was valuable to her” (Morrison 149), later noting that “[w]ithout ever leaving the ground, she could fly” (336).