Category: 13) Refiguring The Interface Agent

Amy C. Kimme Hea and Melinda Turnley make an argument in this chapter that there could be a productive tension in an interface agent if that tension was both transparent and reflexive for the user. The authors see themselves not only as users of technologies, but composers, bringing together different elements to create an artistic contrast. They also see technologies as being invested in complex, dynamic relationships among people rather than being a merely neutral tool. The authors write, “As computer compositionists, we strive to pursue active, critical engagement as users and producers of digital texts.” By understanding this, the authors create an interesting juxtaposition which combines art, cultural references, and the user’s interpretation. Below is a video of Turnley and Hea’s Interface Agent program.


Amy Kimme Hea is the associate professor of rhetoric, composition, and teaching in the English program at the University of Arizona. She received her PhD from Purdue University with a focus in rhetoric and composition. She is the New Start English coordinator at the University of Arizona and the associate director of the writing program. She has attended several conferences on technology and was the Provost’s Author Support Fund, University of Arizona recipient in 2008.


Melinda Turnley is an assistant professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University. Her research highlights the application of critical approaches to media and technology to three areas: writing pedagogies, teacher development, and writing program administration. She has developed and taught a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in areas such as composition, technical, business and professional writing, computers and writing, visual rhetoric, new media studies, digital literacy, and cultural studies. She has occupied administrative roles in both first-year and professional writing programs throughout her career, including her present position as the Professional Writing Program Administrator.

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