During this period, I was also learning a lot about integrating technology in other ways through the other courses I was teaching, including ongoing revision of the American Civilization I course, and my graduate course, A Bigger Place to Play: Text, Knowledge, and Pedagogy in the Electronic Age. In the latter course, especially, I was able to work with two successive years of graduate students in the theoretical and practical study of hypertext technologies in rigorous disciplinary contexts. Nonetheless, the new design and structure of American Literary Traditions was a whole new challenge for making technology in a mainstream course context.
American Literary Traditions was (and is) unique in its use of new technologies in pedagogy. As far as I know, no other mainstream course in the department makes any systematic use of hypertext, Web, or interactive multimedia resources. There are a few courses with electronic discussion lists, one or two courses which allow students to create a Web-based final paper, if they want to, and at least one course in "writing for the screen" which uses the networked computer lab for word processing. There is also at least one graduate/undergraduate course, and a couple other graduate courses which are cross-listed with the Communication, Culture, and Technology graduate program. These courses make some use of, or invite the use of, Web technologies as a component. The writing course I taught in 1995, and the "Literature and Writing Workshop" I am teaching now, are still the only writing courses in the entire English department to make use of networked computing as an integral part of instruction.
In bringing hypertext technologies into a mainstream literature course, I can look to a variety of kindred experiments that are similar or tangential to my work. There are a few examples of American literature courses on the World Wide Web that make use of hypertext and student constructive projects, such as those by Dan Anderson and Nick Evans at the University of Texas and Matt Kirschenbaum at the University of Virginia. And there are of course the pioneering examples of hypertext-based literature courses taught by Michael Joyce at Vassar, and George Landow, at Brown University, where I first received my introduction to the possibilities of using hypertext both as a research and inquiry base, and as a medium for student constructive discourse.
More generally, there is a growing number of experimental courses that either link computers to writing, composition, and rhetoric courses (see for example the numerous examples in the English and Writing section of the World Lecture Hall), courses on technology and culture (such as the Technoculture course at Georgetown), or courses--like my own graduate course--that are studying the theory and practice of hypertext, such as the courses on multimedia offered by Helen Schwartz at IUPUI, or Stuart Moulthrop, at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
All of these examples have been suggestive and provocative for me in creating my own synthesis and design for American Literary traditions.