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Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres

Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres

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    Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres
    Book Description:

    A student's avatar navigates a virtual world and communicates the desires, emotions, and fears of its creator. Yet, how can her writing instructor interpret this formof meaningmaking?Today, multiple modes of communication and information technology are challenging pedagogies in composition and across the disciplines. Writing instructors grapple with incorporating new forms into their curriculums and relating them to established literary practices. Administrators confront the application of new technologies to the restructuring of courses and the classroom itself.Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genresexamines the possibilities, challenges, and realities of mutimodal composition as an effective means of communication. The chapters view the ways that writing instructors and their students are exploring the spaces where communication occurs, while also asking "what else is possible." The genres of film, audio, photography, graphics, speeches, storyboards, PowerPoint presentations, virtual environments, written works, and others are investigated to discern both their capabilities and limitations. The contributors highlight the responsibility of instructors to guide students in the consideration of their audience and ethical responsibility, while also maintaining the ability to "speak well." Additionally, they focus on the need for programmatic changes and a shift in institutional philosophy to close a possible "digital divide" and remain relevant in digital and global economies.Embracing and advancing multimodal communication is essential to both higher education and students. The contributors therefore call for the examination of how writing programs, faculty, and administrators are responding to change, and how the many purposes writing serves can effectively converge within composition curricula.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7804-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. INTRODUCTION. “What Else Is Possibles”: Multimodal Composing and Genre in the Teaching of Writing
    (pp. 1-12)
    Tracey Bowen and Carl Whithaus

    InReleasing the imagination,Maxine Greene (2000) maintains that educators are responsible for asking students to reflect on what they do, what they think, and what they produce. But she also argues that faculty and students need to consider “what else is possible” in educational spaces. Greene’s work is hopeful and forward looking. When combined with emerging understandings of genre in writing classrooms, Greene’s “what else is possible” sketches an outline for pedagogies of hope, difference, and challenge to the status quo. Within college writing courses, the emergence of a wide array of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the...

  2. PART I. Multimodal Pedagogies That Inspire Hybrid Genres

    • CHAPTER 1 Genre and Transfer in a Multimodal Composition Class
      (pp. 15-36)
      Cheryl E. Ball, Tia Scoffield Bowen and Tyrell Brent Fenn

      In some other chapter, in some other collection, a teacher writes about how great her semester went teaching a new syllabus that seemed to have worked extraordinarily well. She details that syllabus and discusses how the assignments were sequenced; she concludes by providing quotes from the students’ portfolio reflections to show that they learned a great deal from the class, from her. The reflections would say things like:

      When I was a child, I was fascinated by technology. I had an 8-bit Nintendo, built my own computer, and generally geeked out when it came to science and technology. But I...

    • CHAPTER 2 Back to the Future? The Pedagogical Promise of the (Multimedia) Essay
      (pp. 37-72)
      Erik Ellis

      When we think about new media and emerging genres in composition studies, it can be tempting to move full-speed ahead into the uncharted waters of the digital future, without pausing to look back at familiar shores and genres. The essay, of all things, might seem at first glance an implausible and dubious source of terra firma from which to launch the multimodal, multimedia genres of the future. Too stuffy. Too belletristic. Too old. But if we think about the essay as understood by historians and scholars of the genre and as practiced by essayists from Montaigne on, it shows tremendous...

    • CHAPTER 3 Including, but Not Limited to, the Digital: Composing Multimodal Texts
      (pp. 73-89)
      Jody Shipka

      In “Part 1: Thinking out of the Pro-Verbal Box,” Sean Williams (2001, 23) suggests that composition is a “largely conservative” discipline because it tends to “cling to the idea of writing about representation systems in verbal text because that’s what we do in composition.” According to Williams, while ideas about appropriate subject matter for writing courses have broadened, form has remained fixed as students are still often expected to compose linear, print-based texts. For Williams and others, the goal has been to work toward the destabilization of form by highlighting how “meanings are made, distributed, received, interpreted and remade ....

    • CHAPTER 4 Something Old, Something New: Integrating Presentation Software into the “Writing” Course
      (pp. 90-110)
      Susan M. Katz and Lee Odell

      As the chapter title suggests, we think that oral presentation should play a role in writing courses, but we recognize that this assertion may meet with some resistance. If we take a look at the objectives for the typical first-year writing course, we frequently find something similar to this statement from the University of Minnesota: “The primary purpose of first-year writing at the University of Minnesota is to provide incoming students with the fundamental skills and knowledge about writing demanded in university study.” Although the wording is not always this direct, other programs echo the general idea that students need...

    • CHAPTER 5 Thinking outside the Text Box: 3-D Interactive, Multimodal Literacy in a College Writing Class
      (pp. 111-140)
      Jerome Bump

      For more than twenty years now print has been steadily replaced by electronic media, words by images, and literature by movies, television, computers, and video games. Hence, as Richard Lanham (1993, 264) put it, “we can neither preserve the educational system unchanged nor throw out the ‘literate’ ways of thinking. We have, in some way, to move the humanities from the old to the new operating system.” Many of us have embraced the “digital humanities” and hailed the move of literature to the Internet in sites such as Jerome McGann’sRossetti Archive.But what about the more basic and essential...

  3. PART II. Multimodal Literacies and Pedagogical Choices

    • CHAPTER 6 Invention, Ethos, and New Media in the Rhetoric Classroom: The Storyboard as Exemplary Genre
      (pp. 143-163)
      Nathaniel I. Córdova

      What might it mean to be multimodally literate today, and what would it take to sustain such literacy in an age of rapidly changing cultural and technological innovation? To be sure, the question is not original, many have asked it before me, but it is a persistent question precisely because any possible answer, like the conditions that give rise to such rapid change, must perforce constantly evolve. In a very Darwinian sense then,adaptationis the key. To say, however, that culture and technology change rapidly and that we must adapt if we want to remain “literate,” is as obvious...

    • CHAPTER 7 Multimodal Composing, Appropriation, Remediation, and Reflection: Writing, Literature, Media
      (pp. 164-182)
      Donna Reiss and Art Young

      In his 2004 talk at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Gunther Kress described a “revolution in modes of representation” in which images dominate writing and the medium of the screen is dominant over the book. Concerned that current literacy theories and practice are incomplete, Kress (2003, 35) wrote inLiteracy in the New Media Age,that “language alone cannot give us access to the meaning of the multimodally constituted message; language and literacy now have to be seen as partial bearers of meaning only.” We have been exploring Kress’s notions of “incompleteness” and its presumed corollary “completeness” of...

    • CHAPTER 8 Writing, Visualizing, and Research Reports
      (pp. 183-203)
      Penny Kinnear

      This chapter examines what happens when an instructor attempts to correlate two theoretical frameworks to conceptualize and practice instructional goals and activities in an undergraduate research and writing class. Literacy and writing have been theorized as multimodal design activities by the New London Group (Cope and Kalantzis 2000). Language and other signs were theorized as mediational means in learning by Lev Vygotsky and subsequent sociocultural theorists. Together these ideas could inform the development of a course to take advantage of signs and tools in addition to text to conduct and present research. This chapter focuses on a visualization activity used...

    • CHAPTER 9 Multimodality, Memory, and Evidence: How the Treasure House of Rhetoric Is Being Digitally Renovated
      (pp. 204-222)
      Julia Romberger

      The New London Group (NLG 2000) has discussed extensively the need to teach multimodal composing in our computer-mediated, communication-oriented society. Each of the modes of meaning the NLG (ibid., 26) has identified—audio, spatial, linguistic, visual, and gestural—can be found in digital media compositions. The NLG advocates that these design elements be integrated into curriculum so that students of all backgrounds are at a greater advantage in societies whose communication is dominated by computer-based tools. This group of scholars recognizes that there is a wealth of information being distributed through audio, video, and interactive means that challenge our notions...

  4. PART III. The Changing Structures of Composition Programs

    • CHAPTER 10 Student Mastery in Metamodal Learning Environments: Moving beyond Multimodal Literacy
      (pp. 225-247)
      Mary Leigh Morbey and Carolyn Steele

      Although the abilities to interact with and within virtually mediated spaces are rapidly becoming basic life skills, our awareness and understanding of how this interaction differs from traditional media is still in its infancy. The most advanced research in multimodal literacies is focused on schoolchildren, implying that the earlier technologically appropriate interventions are introduced, the greater their benefits. However, the most advanced usage of virtualized media is by teenagers and young adults, so note Henry Jenkins and coauthors (2006) and James Gee (2007) in their investigations into participatory culture and video game affinity groups. This has spawned an entire subfield...

    • CHAPTER 11 Multivalent Composition and the Reinvention of Expertise
      (pp. 248-281)
      Tarez Samra Graban, Colin Charlton and Jonikka Charlton

      For the three of us writing this chapter, being multimodal is part of being human—part of living through a variety of overlapping and interactive discursive modes as teachers, writers, and thinkers. That does not mean we think all writers and writing teachers have the same conception of “multimodal,” as this collection aptly demonstrates, or that all of us would use “multimodal” to describe our work with multiple texts, forms, ideas, genres, or delivery strategies. It does mean that we are attuned to the tensions that anyone putting two unlike or unfamiliar things together should think about, and that thinking...

    • CHAPTER 12 Going Multimodal: Programmatic, Curricular, and Classroom Change
      (pp. 282-312)
      Chanon Adsanatham, Phill Alexander, Kerrie Carsey, Abby Dubisar, Wioleta Fedeczko, Denise Landrum, Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Heidi McKee, Kristen Moore, Gina Patterson and Michele Polak

      As the students note in this epigraph, we do not live in a monomodal world. Rather, we experience the world and communicate through multiple modalities. “To confine” students to learning in only one mode, typically the textual mode in first-year writing courses, indeed limits students’ understanding and creative potential—a point that has reemerged in considerations of education and the teaching of writing.¹ Instead, introducing students early in their college careers to the different ways of making meaning using a given mode and to a consideration of the contrastive affordances of other modes as they compose leads them to a...

    • CHAPTER 13 Rhetoric across Modes, Rhetoric across Campus: Faculty and Students Building a Multimodal Curriculum
      (pp. 313-336)
      Traci Fordham and Hillory Oakes

      In her 2004 chair’s address at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Kathleen Blake Yancey (2004) articulated the concerns of composition colleagues curious—or anxious—about their pedagogical course of action in the “changing textual landscape.” Yancey reminded listeners (and, important to note in a discussion of multimodality, also herreadersin the substantially revised and published version of her talk) that in some ways compositionists were already engaged in teaching modes other than reading and writing, whether they had explicitly identified their strategies as multimodal or not: course management systems, for example, provided a digital framework for course...