Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
My research stems from a service-learning project in my technical communication course---a project that involved the creation of print, oral, and electronic instructions for filming within a virtual reality chamber. Soon into the project, I realized that students had difficulty conceptualizing the project's rhetorical situation---the context, purpose, and audience of a high-tech research center. Although I provided students with abstracted textual descriptions, oral explanations, and visual depictions of the virtual environment, they were unable to engage with or respond to the assignment's rhetorical situation. My dissertation postulates the impasse was due to students' lack of access to a virtual reality chamber. In other words, the virtual environment represented, for students, a new conceptualization of physical space/place: a physical materiality, or physicality, that could not be abstracted via text-based case study pedagogies;My research confirms that an inherent contradiction appears to exist between actual and virtual contexts---a contradiction that defies textual abstraction and reveals the importance of space/place in our interpretations of and responses to communicative situations. More important to my study, the contradiction confirms a gap in the heuristic for rhetorical situation when observing "the available means of persuasion" in any communicative situation: the heuristic does not currently allow analyses of the ways in which space/place may impact interpretations of and responses to rhetorical situation (Aristotle, 1.2.1).
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu
Katherine Salmon Miles
Miles, Katherine Salmon, "Virtual contexts: investigating physicality and rhetorical situation " (2006). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 1285.