Monday, November 27, 2006

Rhetoric Round-Up

The New York Times has run several digital rhetoric stories this week. "'Yours Truly,' the E-Variations" looked at the debate among netiquette experts about the appropriate sign-off for business and personal electronic communication. (I often use "Best," but apparently that is a rhetorical no-no.) "As Many Software Choices As Languages to Learn" presented a remarkably uncritical view of on-screen distance language-learning, given the absence of important paralinguistic and social cues in these programs and their often deficient voice-recognition technology. (I found myself shouting into the microphone to register a correct utterance in one program.) In another representation of the pedagogical scene, "Telling Tales Out of School on YouTube," the NYT reported on two high school pranksters who goaded their teacher into an inappropriate outburst and then posted the embarrassing lapse of instructional decorum on YouTube. (The Chronicle has covered some recent notorious cases of Professors Caught on YouTube.) And finally, in the interest of freedom of access to political speech, "Web Tools Said to Offer Way Past the Government Censor" describes a web proxy program developed by the University of Toronto that can stymie the blocking efforts of authoritarian regimes, which will be available December 1.



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