Web makers have agency to story the world in powerful ways. By learning to see how these stories work on the web, we can find the leverage points to hack those text to story new possibilities on the web.

Learning objectives

Participants will understand that webmaking involves making choices about audience and purpose (rhetorical), who and what gets featured and what doesn't (critical), and how to combine and remix the building blocks of the web (funtional).


  • Web makers consider who will use their web texts, how, and why.
  • Web makers consider the purposes of their web texts and what these texts will do and accomplish in the world.
  • Web makers think about how their choices about arrangment, style, mediums will achieve their purposes with particular audiences.


  • The Web is made out of building blocks that web makers can rearrange to create new things through iterative processes.
  • Hacking is one such iterative process that is generative, not destructive. It involves finding leverage points or bugs in systems (including webtexts) and using those as entry points to intervene and remix the original.
  • HTML is a language used to tell computers how to build webpages so that humans can consume them
  • CSS means cascading style sheets
  • Parts of a webpage include HTML, CSS, graphic assets and text content that control content, style, and modes of communication.
  • An element is the combination of an opening and closing tag and the content in between.


  • Webmaking is not a neutral activity. Web makers are always making choices about what and who is featured, prioritized and privileged.
  • By looking critically at the web, we can learn to see unequal power distribution as "bugs" in the system and hack stock stories to reveal and create concealed stories, resistance stories, and transformative narratives that imagine new relationships, positions, and futures.
  • The open web movement advocates for a public, cooperative, non-proprietary web that is build on standards that are free and accessible to all webmakers.

What you'll make together

Learners choose a webpage from an organization that matters to them. It might be a school, afterschool, club, employer, civic or advocacy group. The learners will drop the web page link into Web Klipper to "create a new klip." Once the klip is created, you can share that with others to collaboratively annotate the text. Together, look for stock, resistance, or emerging narratives and use the web klipper tools to highlight and comment.

  • Stock story: a story that preserves the status quo and reinforces privileged beliefs.
  • Concealed story: a story that's hidden under a stock story or privileged re-telling of this hidden narrative.
  • Resistance story: a story that uses a stock story's tricks and beliefs to counter, unmake, or reverse it.
  • Transformative/emerging narrative: a story that creates or shares a new logic or belief system that lets readers and participants see themselves in new, othered ways outside the stock/resistance binary or conflict.

Once learners have identified the "story bugs," they will use the XRay Goggles to hack the webpage and make a differnt web story-- one that uncovers what is concealed, one that resists the status quo, and or one that creates an alternative to the story logic of stock and resistance narratives. Replace visual, text, or sound elements to make a new narrative.


Make sure that your computers are set up with a modern web browser. The X-Ray Goggles are easy to install, but to save yourself a few minutes during your event or class, you can prep the computers by preinstalling the Goggles.

Assessment and review

After a day of hacking it’s important to review what was learned. Here are some questions you might want to explore with your learners.
  • What kinds of choices do webmakers make?
  • How do we become more savvy choice makers?
  • Why do these choices matter-- on and off the web?
  • What is hacking? Is it a useful way of thinking about storytelling?
  • How are webpages and websites dynamic systems?
  • Which are the fundamental parts of a webpage?
  • How does a webpage change when you change one of its parts?
  • Why is it important to have open access to the Internet?
  • Why is it important that the web is designed by many individuals?
  • How can web stories help us acheive social justice?

Assessment criteria

How well did the learner show their ability to:
  • Identify and comment on different types of stories
  • Use rhetorical and critical principles to analyze the web pages
  • Use rhetorical and critical principles interpret story "bugs"
  • Use rhetorical and critical principles to guide their hacking practices for general purposes
  • Tweak or enter a URL
  • Switch between browser tabs
  • Use keyboard shortcuts (i.e. for copying and pasting)
  • Recognize HTML and CSS
  • Right-click and scroll with the mouse
  • Use the Goggles to replace both text and images on a site
  • Share a hacked page with peers
  • Use a search engine to find specific content
  • Find the content he/she was looking for
  • Install the X-Ray Goggles
  • Create text on a webpage using basic HTML tags
  • Reflect on the rhetorical, critical, and functional choices of web making