Nodes from Class


Here’s a Cmap
draft
of the development of modern composition studies, roughly
reproduced from notes on the board during Tuesday’s
712. I went
back and snapped a digital photo of the
chalkboard yesterday
(preserved from the day before with a "Please do not erase"). Then, to
develop the Cmap, I inserted the
photograph as a temporary background to approximate the spatial arrangement of
links and nodes. After that, I quick-shopped a
periodization
backdrop
to emphasize the past few decades as phases of disciplinary
development (fluctuation, upheaval, etc.). And finally, I shifted around a
few of the nodes, repositioned other stuff, tinkered with color schemes and sent
off a draft for future–ongoing–revisions. The map of complandia?
Certainly not; not in any perfected, exhaustive or territory-analog kind of way. But one map of complandia. Next I need to
figure out how to set up Cmaps on a server for collaborative map-making.
I’ll argue that this model holds promise for 1.) mapping complex histories; 2.)
exploring incongruous accounts of disciplinary formation, extradisciplinary developments
running through those formations, and sub-disciplinary peaks and valleys (rising
and falling, trends, etc.); and 3.) charting disciplinary mythologies and
imaginaries through the idiosyncrasies of individual and group
percept-cartography (granted, I don’t know that there is such a thing as
"percept-cartography"; I’m making that part up on the fly). Although this
map came together during a single class session, it could be updated, for pretty much any course, let’s say, over several weeks, possibly accounting for emerging ties and
emerging locative criteria/rationale as the course unfolds.

CMap Tools

Have I mentioned that I recently subscribed to a couple of tag-based RSS feeds
from del.icio.us
Right, I know…nothing shocking about it.  With the semester winding down (just a bit of grading still to do), I haven’t
explored the bookmarks as closely as I would like, but I did run across a prize
the other day through the feed for "infographics."
CMap Tools, a
free, cross-platform
mapping application, lets users draw maps better than any other software I’ve
tried.

The CmapTools program empowers users to construct, navigate, share and
criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps. It allows users to,
among many other features, construct their Cmaps in their personal computer,
share them on servers (CmapServers) anywhere on the Internet, link their Cmaps
to other Cmaps on servers, automatically create web pages of their concept
maps on servers, edit their maps synchronously (at the same time) with other
users on the Internet, and search the web for information relevant to a
concept map.

It’s simple.  Plus, it allows the easy placement of background images in
nodes, so it could work to develop visual maps.  I like it, too, because it
has some sharp auto-align tools; you can select two or three nodes and space
them out relative to each other, moving them collectively together/apart. 
What else?  It appears to have server function, but I haven’t tried it yet. 
The html export basically produces an html page referencing a jpeg file. 
But by setting up a server account, it looks like it would be possible to
collaborate on mapping project.   The only feature I’d improve is the
automatic and unavoidable link labels.  The labels are removable, but they
leave a gap in the line. 

I’d include a map, but I’m busy watching the Detroit get roughed up by
Indiana.  Dang it!
Sample’s in extended entry, now that the game’s through.

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