PHASE ONE: Beginning


Gus on his first birthday (I had to include a visual, too cute not to post)

Blog Post 1: Introduction

Hi all, my name is Natalia, I am an English and Professional Writing major. I switched my major from Visual Arts and Art History, as I prefer to keep art as a hobby rather than a full-time career. I was a dancer for 10 years studying both ballet and contemporary dance forms. I have now moved on to horseback riding which I greatly enjoy (even though it’s draining my wallet). I pride myself in being extremely self-sufficient and am stubborn at times to accept help when needed. I have the most adorable dachshund named Gus who has still retained his puppy face at 1.5 years old.

I am intrigued by the structure of the course and I am interested in seeing how everything will unfold. This course is definitely an anomaly, however, the new experience of creating/writing/editing podcasts and blog posts will be a fun new challenge. I am somewhat nervous to begin work on an assignment I have never done before -podcasts-, but I am confident that Stephanie will be prepared to lead us through this new territory.

Thus far, I have used the strategies of using multiple scholarly search engines rather than just one; broadening my search terms in order to have many more entries; narrowing searches so as to have one single entry; going to the York University library; and using the bibliography from other works in order to find new works that focus on the same arguments. In future, I need to create a hypothesis for myself, as well as ask specific questions before my searches, in order to find texts that match or oppose my argument. A good place to start for future searches would be to use various search engines, as well as search engines that are available through the York library website. To help further my research I can also use the OED to understand any written works.

Overall, I am hopeful and ready to begin this new and exciting course.


Blog Post 2: A Matter of Opinion

The “opinion” appears to have a more complicated definition than I initially thought. I was always told that an opinion is not fact. However, after Wednesday’s lecture, that no longer appears to be absolutely true. An opinion can be based on fact or knowledge, but a matter of opinion is not a fact -it cannot be proven to be right or wrong.

Is it possible to state that all knowledge is just a matter of opinion? The answer is “perhaps” or “it depends.” This is because all knowledge is discovered by humans one way or another. In that case, as per the examples, one person might describe ice as extremely cold, while another person might describe ice to be burning. As such, all knowledge can be criticized in this way. Even an article in a newspaper of real-life events or historical events described by someone’s journals from the 1800s are from that one person’s perspective. Therefore, all knowledge can be considered a matter of opinion.

On the other hand, concrete facts such as sun producing heat or light are absolute facts. How much heat or light the sun produces are a matter of opinion. Even a thermometer is based on how one or a group of people decided to measure heat. Consequently, knowledge can be considered a matter of opinion. It all depends on what is being said and how it is being said. In turn, this relates to how I will go about my research. All articles and journals are written by someone with a bias. What I need to do is analyze my research critically to separate the matter of opinion from the facts.


Blog Post 3: Summary of Opinion Piece

The opinion piece I will be focusing on is, “Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It?” written by Daniel T. Willingham, which focuses on the difference between audiobooks and written text.

Listening to an audiobook and reading the book are both suitable forms of digesting literature and each has a different purpose. The most important difference in audio and print is prosody –the pitch, tempo, and stress of spoken words- and although writing lacks the symbols for prosody, readers are capable of inferring it as they read.

It seems as though comprehension would be easier when listening, but that depends on how a person learns and understands language. For example, reading for pleasure differs from reading to learn. The printed version of a text also aids a reader in comprehension due to organization, indentation, and headings, which are missed when listening to an audiobook. So even though reading and audio comprehension are similar, a difficult text requires additional mental strategies, and print makes those strategies easier to use. Evidence by which this is grounded are numerous studies linked to the article, as well as opinions made by the author.

I know this is an opinion because there is no scientific study that proves that either of these methods are superior –it is just how the author is portraying information that they have found/discovered themselves. Willingham is a psychologist at the University of Virginia and he is a professor in the department of psychology. His research focuses mainly K-12 education, and the cognitive psychology and neuroscience, which affects them.

With a growth in popularity, listeners are gaining more experience in comprehending audiobooks. But, audiobooks will not replace text because we use them differently. Majority of listeners multi-task while listening and authors are writing more works specifically meant to be heard.

Presently, with our ever-changing world of technology, this is a hot-topic I hear debated about often, and I am interested in exploring every side to this story.


Blog Post 4: Episode Pitch

Audiobooks are often considered as a lower form of absorbing a written text. Many people believe that if you listen to an audiobook you did not in fact read the book at all. However, Daniel T. Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia believes otherwise.

 In his opinion piece, “Is listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading it?” Willingham claims that listening to an audiobook and reading the book are both suitable forms of digesting literature and each has a different purpose. The most important difference in audio and print is prosody –the tempo, pitch, and stress of spoken words- and although writing lacks the symbols for prosody, readers are capable of inferring it as they read.

 Linda Hutcheon, a University Professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, states that printed word and the organization of a text supports readers. Holding a book and seeing the words printed on the page allows them to slow down and re-read for better comprehension (Hutcheon, 2004).

 However, this is not possible for those who are blind, according to the CNIB foundation (the Canadian National Institute for the Blind),

“Today, an estimated 500,000 Canadians are blind or partially sighted. An estimated 5.59 million more have an eye disease that could cause sight loss” (CNIB).

It would appear that audiobook benefit a number of Canadians and provide them with an equal opportunity to learn. As technology advances and more and more books are presented in both text and audio formats, the speed at which humans can digest information is much faster than our ancestors. But is this really a good thing? While a text can be accompanied by an audiobook, is an audiobook enough to cement our knowledge?

Various studies have been completed that have illuminated that a quickly spoken audiobook forces a reader to read a text faster, and creates a lack of comprehension (see, Kosslyn & Matt, 1977; Daniel & Woody, 2010). On the other hand, slower spoken text can provide incorrect stressors and meanings which the author never actually intended to convey. So, although we think listening = comprehension, that isn’t always the case.

According to Linda, the allure of telling the same story otherwise is what provokes us to create these different media. So while audiobooks are a new format, they are not an entirely new concept, what ironically predates the audiobook are plays, operas, and films which are majority of the time just adapations of novels. Is an audiobook just an adaptation? Are these forms any lesser than reading a text?

We will discover the answer together.


Barbara Fenesi, Jennifer J. Heisz, et al. “Combining Best-Practice and Experimental Approaches: Redundancy, Images, and
Misperceptions in Multimedia Learning”. The Journal of Experimental Education, vol. 82, no. 2, 2014, pp. 253-263. Web.

Hutcheon, Linda. “On the Art of Adaptation.” Daedalus, vol. 133, no. 2, 2004, pp. 108–111. JSTOR, Web.

Kosslyn, S. M., & Matt, A. M. “If you speak slowly, do people read your prose slowly? Person-particular speech recoding during reading”. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, vol. 9, no. 4, 1977, pp. 250-252. Web.

Willingham, Daniel T. “Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Dec. 2018, Web.