There is so much that can be said about these chapters.
Johnson’s discussion on “dumbing down” is an interesting one, and it instantly made me think about composition courses. Out of frustration or because some institutions actually think it’s for the students’ benefit, some institutions seem to “dumb down” composition courses, even composition textbooks – trying to explain every component of writing in a way that it almost becomes plug and play for students. They are not becoming critical thinkers and writers so much as they are becoming composition automatons, able to spit out definitions for rhetorical modes and write a “loosely” passable five-paragraph essay on each of those rhetorical modes.
Wonder what would happen if the student became a “user as citizen.”
User as practitioner we’re more than used to in this society; user as producer has more epistemology than the practitioner, but to be a citizen means you are integrates into the political, the social; there is a context to which you are threaded through.
Moving into chapter four, I read some of these stories of so-called “human factors research) and I laugh. They seem so obvious to me to not be about the human at all; makes me wonder how others saw them as such.
It would seem that to make anything that’s not solely for self, you should at least ask the following questions:
And it seems it would be even better if we actually used humans in order to find the answers to these questions instead of hypothesizing over it or trying to create a computer or use artificial intelligence to try to recreate what humans might do.
I like Johnson’s thoughts on qualitative and quantitative research and his argument that qualitative research is pretty important in the early stages of understanding how people use technology.
It seems like so much can be done in this field – in getting in the trenches with the people who use technology and understanding how and why they do and what that means to them and to use as a whole as a consequence.
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