Innocence and Experience

Welcome to Innocence and Experience!


This is an interactive concept map. Please read through these notes before your first discussion section meeting.


I've created it for your use as a resource throughout the semester. It provides the information that you'll find on your conventional syllabus: things like meeting dates, what to read, when to read it, and where to find it, descriptions of writing assignments and other required activities, and grading and other course policies.  


But this concept map differs from a conventional syllabus in several ways:  

  • it is interactive
  • it provides you with actual course content in the form of attached files and links to required reading and viewing materials, as well as to study guides to help you work through these assigned materials and to better understand course concepts.
  • connects all this course information and material to a network of "keywords" that are the conceptual framework for the course;
  • provides you with a way to visualize and explore the relationships between different units, assignments, texts, and concepts.  

Over time, as you progress through the course and explore this concept map, you should find that you are deepening your understanding of specific readings, films, and topics, grasping the conceptual connections between different topics and, finally, learning to forge new connections yourself.  


To make all this possible, I want to begin by offering you a little overview of how this concept mapping software works and then walk you through an example of how you  might use our course concept map.  In what follows, I'll put key technical terms in red.  Then, when we get to the example and I begin to ask you to click things on the screen above, I'll put those things in green.




The screen you are looking at right now is divided horizontally in two: the top half is called "The Plex" and the bottom half is the "Notes Panel."


The Plex: Thoughts and Links


The Plex consists of labeled, clickable rectangles called "Thoughts" that are connected by white curving lines called "Links," which indicate, and sometimes describe relationships, between Thoughts.  

The Thought at the center of the screen (in this case: "Global Sports Cultures Course") is known as the "Active Thought."  Clicking on any Thought turns it into the Active Thought (or Activates it).


In the bottom left corner of The Plex you'll find a search box, that works like the search boxes in any other website.  Finally, running from right to left from the bottom right corner you'll see the a list of the Thoughts you most recently clicked on.


Links can express three different kinds of relationships between Thoughts:

  1. Parent-Child. A Child is a Thought that is a subcategory of another Thought. For example the Thought "Keywords" is a Child of the Thought "Global Sports Cultures Course," which is the Parent.
  2. Sibling refers to two or more thoughts that share one (or possibly more) parents.  "Schedule" and "Keywords" are siblings because they share Parent "Global Sports Cultures Course."
  3. Jump refers to two thoughts that, regardless of whether they share parents, are related to one another, but not hierarchically as Parent or Child.

Two Thoughts can only be directly connected in one way, but they may have have more than one type of relationship with one another.  Thus, Thought A, for example may be the child of another Thought B and also share a Parent Thought C with Thought B so that it will also be its Sibling.  And, any Thought can be the Parent, Child or Sibling or Jump of any other Thought; and any Thought can therefore have many Children, Parents, Siblings and Jumps.  What's more, a Thought can have multiple generations of descendants (grandchildren or greatgrandchildren, so to speak).


You can see at a glance whether a Thought is the Child, Parent, Sibling or Jump of another in two ways.  

  1. First, if you look closely at the Thoughts on the screen above, you will notice that each rectangular box has three dots, one on the left hand side, one on top, and one on the bottom.  These are known as Gates because they are the portals through which we connect one Thought with another.  The Side Gate is for Sibling and Jump relationships, while the Top Gate and Bottom Gates are for Parent and Child relationships.  The Bottom Gate of a Thought can only be connected to the Top Gate of another Thought (and vice versa), and the Side Gates of a Thought can only be connected to the Side Gates of other thoughts.  
  2. The other way that this software represents relationship types is spatially in The Plex itself: Parent Thoughts appear at the top of the screen, above the Active Thought, with Child Thoughts arrayed below, Siblings to the right, and Jumps to the left.  In the screen above "Global Sports Cultures Course" is the Active Thought.  It has no Parent Thought (it is the only thought in the concept map like this, making it what is called the Home Thought). It also has no Siblings so there is nothing off to its right.  Nor does it have any Jumps so there is nothing extending to its left.   But it does have five Child Thoughts arrayed below it.

I mentioned above that Thoughts can have multiple generations of descendants, but to prevent the screen from being cluttered, the software only shows one generation.  However, if the Bottom Gate of a Thought is bright green (rather than gray) this indicates that it has at leat one Child Thought of its own that is not currently visible.  They are, in other words, the grandchildren of the current "Active Thought."  


Hovering your cursor above any Thought will turn its outline and all of its Links bright green and will turn your cursor into the "hand icon" that indicates a hyperlink. Clicking on any Thought (other than the current Active Thought) will first turn its outline bright red (that's how you know you're activating it) and then make that Thought the new Active Thought.   It will then occupy the space at the top center of The Plex, its Parent will slide up to the top, its Siblings will move to the right hand side, its Jumps to the left hand side, and its own Child Thoughts will appear below it.  


If a particular Active Thought has too many related Thoughts to display clearly in The Plex, scroll bars will appear at the bottom or on the right hand side to allow you to scroll through to see (and, if you wish, Activate) the other Thoughts.


The Notes Panel: Notes and Attachments


You're reading this in the Notes Panel right now. 


It displays three kinds of things:

  1. The name of the Active Thought (at the very top in bold black font)
  2. Clickable Hyperlinks to any files or web pages attached to the Active Thought (just below the name in smaller black bold font).
  3. Notes I've created to explain or expand upon the Active Thought.  

All the content displayed in the Notes Panel is specfic and exclusive to the Active Thought.   So, right now, because "Global Sports Cultures Course" is the Active Thought, you get to read its Notes in this space.  But if you clicked any other Thought on the screen to make it the Active Thought, these instructions would disappear from this space and be replaced by whatever Notes I created for the Thought you just Activated.


You will notice that some Thoughts in The Plex have at the left edge of their label the familiar icons representing things like the web or a particular website like The New York Times, a PDF file, or a Microsoft Word (others, like "Global Sports Cultures Course" above, just have thumbnail images: if you hover over the thumbnail, the image will expand to full size).   That indicates that there is a file attached to that Thought.  If you Activate that Thought, the icon and file name will appear in the Notes Panel where, if you click them, the attachment will either open in a new window (if it is a webpage or PDF file) or download automatically (if it is a Word file).  


You will also notice from time to time that certain words or phrases in the Notes I've created appear in blue bold print.  These are also hyperlinks that will always open in a new tab.  They make take you to another Thought in the concept map or somewhere else on the web, outside the concept map entirely.


Okay, so now that I've introduced you to the basic elements and operation of our concept map, let's take it for a spin.