Multimodal Composition Assignments

My Digital Rhetorics and Pedagogies class had their studio review Thursday for  their multimodal composition assignment. They were to write an assignment for their own current or future classroom use that incorporated text and at least one other mode of expression within it. I was very excited about how they were developing. They will still have time to use the peer feedback to make it even better, but for me the best test of their assignments was for them to do it themselves.

The first assignment by M.A. student and Branson High School teacher Paige Dunn used readings from Ayn Rand and also Einstein’s Credo to inspire the students to write their own credo using Google Sites. Dunn’s sample credo is linked here. The other sample assignment was from Technical Communication M.A. student and GTA Tim Knox and was a persuasive essay using Moviemaker. The nice thing about Knox’s assignment was the variety of options available–sound, video, presentation slides–their choice. See it on YouTube.

I am honestly amazed by the professional results possible on the first try with the free or open source software available now. Also, even though this was more work that writing would be for these teachers (and future teachers), they really enjoyed the process. What a great way to meet our students where their literacies are. For those classes that aren’t adept at these other media, trying something that is new can be a good leveler, can allow students to get over past writing fears since this sort of thing is not perceived as writing, even though every assignment in the batch had at least one module where scripting or written planning was done.

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Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.

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