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Toward a Composition Made Whole

Toward a Composition Made Whole

Jody Shipka
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    Toward a Composition Made Whole
    Book Description:

    To many academics, composition still represents typewritten texts on 8.5" x 11" pages that follow rote argumentative guidelines. InToward a Composition Made Whole,Jody Shipka views composition as an act of communication that can be expressed through any number of media and as a path to meaning-making. Her study offers an in-depth examination of multimodality via the processes, values, structures, and semiotic practices people employ everyday to compose and communicate their thoughts.Shipka counters current associations that equate multimodality only with computer, digitized, or screen-mediated texts, which are often self-limiting. She stretches the boundaries of composition to include a hybridization of aural, visual, and written forms. Shipka analyzes the work of current scholars in multimodality and combines this with recent writing theory to create her own teaching framework. Among her methods, Shipka employs process-oriented reflection and a statement of goals and choices to prepare students to compose using various media in ways that spur their rhetorical and material awareness. They are encouraged to produce unusual text forms while also learning to understand the composition process as a whole. Shipka presents several case studies of students working in multimodal composition and explains the strategies, tools, and spaces they employ. She then offers methods to critically assess multimodal writing projects.Toward a Composition Made Wholechallenges theorists and compositionists to further investigate communication practices and broaden the scope of writing to include all composing methods. While Shipka views writing as crucial to discourse, she challenges us to always consider the various purposes that writing serves.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7778-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. INTRODUCTION: Multimodality and Communicative Practice
    (pp. 1-17)

    On December 17, 2001, I hosted a workshop entitled “Writing in Many Modes: Writing as a Way to Learn.” This was the second in a series of four Writing across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines (WAC/WID)–based presentations I conducted as part of my graduate research assistantship at a large midwestern research university. The workshop took place in a living-learning community on campus that catered to students who favored creative, hands-on approaches to instruction and were open to diverse kinds of learning experiences. The session’s attendees were approximately a dozen instructors from various disciplines across campus scheduled to teach courses...

    (pp. 18-38)

    In the introductory chapter of her 2004 edited collection, Carolyn Handa provides readers with two scenes of writing. Here, the writing classrooms of the not-so-distant past are contrasted with the “fully networked” classrooms Handa contends students are “more likely” to encounter today (1). Of the older classrooms, Handa writes, “Not all that long ago our writing classrooms looked like any others in the university. They contained desks arranged in rows, a podium facing the class, and blackboards covering one or two walls. Technology may have existed only as an overhead projector displaying transparencies with additional class material. Occasionally, instructors would...

  3. CHAPTER 2 PARTNERS IN ACTION: On Mind, Materiality, and Mediation
    (pp. 39-56)

    In the previous chapter I argued that the theories informing our scholarship, research, and teaching must support the examination of communicative practice as a dynamic whole and highlight the emergent, distributed, historical, and technologically mediated dimensions of twenty-first-century composing practices. They must help us resist text-dependent, textually overdetermined, or “strong-text” conceptions of literacy (Brandt 1990, 104) by having us examine final productsin relation tothe highly distributed and complexly mediated processes involved in the creation, reception, and use of those products. They must, in other words, illumine the fundamentally multimodal aspects of all communicative practice. In addition to treating...

  4. CHAPTER 3 A FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION: Mediating Process Research
    (pp. 57-82)

    In a 2000 article, John Trimbur blames the “uncinematic character of writing” for the dearth of “telling visual representations of writing” (188). With few exceptions, Trimbur argues, writing is rarely depicted as an activity that “unfolds over time,” demanding of writers the ability to manage physically, emotionally, and temporally the complicated, highly distributed, and oftentimes, less-than-glamorous “busy work” of writing—of producing texts and getting them where they need to go (189). To illustrate how a mediated action framework can inform and enrich research on composing processes, this chapter draws on data collected during two process studies and details some...

    (pp. 83-109)

    Advocates of curricula that privilege rhetorical and material awareness have underscored the limitations of courses that focus on the acquisition of discrete skill sets, skill sets that are often and erroneously treated as static and therefore universally applicable across time and diverse communicative contexts (see, for example, Bawarshi 2003; Devitt 2004; Downs and Wardle 2007; Petraglia 1995; and Russell 1995). Instead of perpetuating the myth that writing is a generalizable skill that, once successfully acquired, will serve students equally well irrespective of what they are attempting to accomplish, many scholars have stressed the importance of flexibility, adaptation, variation, and metacommunicative...

    (pp. 110-129)

    In their 2003 publication, Meredith W. Zoetewey and Julie Staggers recall some of the struggles they encountered after moving their students to computerized classrooms and asking them to make personal Web pages. The authors describe their students’ “carnival-colored extravaganzas”:

    As [new] instructors, we were hanging on by our fingernails trying to cope with technology that was recalcitrant and mystifying. We were far too busy, initially, trying to help students make links link and heads spin to consider our pedagogical objectives, much less whether having a spinning head was, strictly speaking, rhetorically necessary. And our grading criteria were largely reduced to...

  7. CONCLUSION: Realizing a Composition Made Whole
    (pp. 130-150)

    At the end ofGeographies of Writing, Nedra Reynolds (2004) speculates that college students, “as agents who move through the world, know a great deal more about ‘writing’ than they think they do” (176). It is not a matter of them “holding out” on us, refusing to admit what they know, it’s that we “haven’t studied their moves” closely enough (176). In order to study their moves, Reynolds contends that we need to develop maps of writing that foreground “not just the places where writing occurs, but the sense of place and space that readers and writers bring with them...

  8. APPENDIX: Relevant Documents
    (pp. 151-160)