Second debate in the Moodle forum

Human communication has suffered a constant evolution along the millenniums. When we study this process, the first idea that we should remark is the oral transmission of information. This ability is one of the most important characteristics of human race, allowing us to difference ourselves from animals and share knowledge in order to evolve.

According to Walter J. Ong we could distinguish two types of orality; the primary orality, which makes reference to the verbal expression among members of a society without written literature; and secondary orality, which referes to the oral transmission in societies with written literature and printing knowledge.

As we continue studying the evolution of communication, we find the pictograms, then the phonetic alphabets and, finally, written texts. These became an extraordinary revolution, letting us gather and store concepts and a wide range of information.

Nowadays, we are living another revolution in the history of human communication with the hypermedia, a tool that is capable of integrating and amplifying both orality and writing at the same time. The term hypermedia first appeared in the book No more Teacher’s Dirty Looks by Ted Nelson. We call hypermedia to the procedures to design contents including texts, videos, audios, maps…that are able to interact with the user.

This way, hypermedia enable us, for instance, to build multisensory texts; words can now be explained by hyperlinked videos in what we could consider an example of secondary orality. Besides, new phenomena like electronic literature, written literary texts thought to be read on the screen, have recently appeared, widening the possibilities of human information transmission. And this is just the beginning.

Hypermedia, the last step in the evolution of human communication, give us the resources to integrate and improve somehow both orality and writing, the classical ways of interaction.


(This is my proposal for the answer to the second question published in the Moodle forum: ¿de qué manera amplifican los hipermedios la comunicación humana? ¿Sustituirán a los tradicionales medios de comunicación oral y escrita? ¿Los integrarán?)

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December 2008


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