Skip to main content.
John Slatin

John Slatin Memorial Issue

Bret Benjamin’s interview reflects on John’s gifts for administration and for mentoring, and provides a personal perspective on the graduate student-faculty relationships cultivated in the early days of the CWRL.

Here you will find Jason Craft’s tumblr blog about John and his work with accessibility,including some photos of John and Dillon performing in Sextet, a dance performance for dancers, guide dogs, and their people. Sextet was performed here in Austin first, and then at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. John was always game for a performance,and loved to dance. He enjoyed his regular dance evenings with Body Choir here in Austin.

Margaret Downs-Gamble honors John’s consuming interest in literature with her piece, “‘The Meanesse of Our Witt”: Jacobean Manuscript Blogging in Verse, the Case of the Somerset Scandal. She reflects on John’s understanding of modernist poetry as attempts to “acknowledge others’ work, pay a compliment or to comment on arguments suggested in others’ poetry, and to engage in conversations in order to allay the isolation inherent in the writing life.” If there was a thread that ran through John’s life and work, it was this theme of lively, sparkling conversations as a medium of art.

Lisa Hernandez reflects on her work with Chicana feminist literature, and John’s support and encouragement in developing online resources, including an online searchable database for the Chicana/Latina Studies journal. It is part of a larger project, This Bridge Called Cyberspace that will provide online accessibility and search capabilities for print-based publications by women, people of color, and other social identity groups.

Bill Wolff, Katherin Fitzpatrick, and Rene Youssef demonstrate the reach of John’s work with accessibility through his article “Rethinking Usability for Web 2.0 and Beyond.” Presenting two case studies, he analyzes the changes in how we understand usability since 1983, when Gould and Lewis first called for usability studies for computer systems. In particular, the emergence of “Web 2.0” has transformed the web with user-generated content, web sites that interact with other web sites and applications, and a shift in how organizations structure hardware and software systems.

Mafalda Stasi provides an article on the subject of organizational learning. Her years in the Computer Writing and Research Lab provided a foundation for this work, as John continued to engage the lab in its own organizational learning, finding ways to support creative, even entrepreneurial projects and administrative structures.

Daniel Anderson provides a reflective essay, “Yes and Yes-and: Time in the Compshop,” recalling his relationship with John in the Computer Writing and Research Lab. It was a bond grounded in the intersection of language, technology, teaching, hypertext, and the
work of imagination in this new realm.

John loved his work with Honoria Starbuck on honoria in ciberspazio, the first internet opera. It was far ahead of its time. This cyberopera was performed with over 60 online contributors from all over the world, from 1994-97. The webtext of the opera is presented here.

John’s playfulness and spirit of adventure are at the heart of the MOO/webtext of Albert Rouzie and Raymond Watkins: “A Sustainable Culture: John Slatin’s Ludic Pedagogy.” Their conversation ranged across diverse topics in just the way that Slatin celebrated, including Hypertext, MOOs, Interchange, authority, play, persuasion, New Media, cultural capital, progressive education, blogs, digital technology, slow reading, Open Source, cloud computing, and Twitter.

The issue concludes with an interview with John Slatin’s wife Anna, who reflects on their personal journey together and the many activities and organizations they were engaged with in such lively ways.

This remarkable collection demonstrates some of the many facets of John’s diamond-clear brilliance, and the high intellectual standards he fostered in his students. John was never happier than when he was teaching, never more generous than he was with his students. He had extraordinarily high standards because he had great confidence and trust in the whole process of teaching and learning, and in the capacities of students. In return, his students tackled the most challenging intellectual projects with dedication and creativity. It was a great pleasure to observe and learn from him, and a wrenching loss that he left us so soon. Yet even in his long, tortured battle with leukemia he was teaching us through his blog, the Leukemia Letters. He was truly a master teacher, and the proof is in the success of his students and their rich, abundant lives.

Share this