In Writer Designer, the authors maintain that, “To produce a successful text, writers must be able to consciously use different modes both alone and in combination with each other to communicate their ideas to others” (3). Drawing upon work by the New London Group, they describe five modes of communication: linguistic (“The linguistic mode refers to the use of language, which usually means written or spoken words.” (5)), visual (“The visual mode refers to the use of images and other characteristics that readers see.” (6)), aural (“The aural mode focuses on sound.” (8)), spatial (“The spatial mode is about physical arrangement.” (10), and gestural (“The gestural mode refers to the way movement, such as body language, can make meaning.” (12)).

Arguably, as academic writing shifts from the page to the screen, it is becoming more multimodal. Although at present the linguistic mode–in the form of alphabetic text on the printed page–still remains dominant in academic articles and books, artifacts such as Bound by Law, the excellent text Understanding Comics, and the born digital journal Kairos–to name just a few examples–demonstrate that multimodal scholarship is gaining an audience within and beyond the academy. In this class, in addition to reading examples of multimodal scholarship, you have been producing multimodal forms of academic genres such as the annotated bibliography and the primary source analysis.

This week, the blog provides a forum in which you can explore ideas for the portfolio, in particular your introductory reflective essay. What is multimodal composition? How are academic genres or academic communication evolving to become more multimodal? How is the shift to multimodal composition influenced by technology? How have you used or integrated multimodal composition in your work this semester? Have you used images, graphs, diagrams, or perhaps even video or audio files as supporting evidence, in a manner similar to the way you might include a direct quote from a book or article? What does this kind of multimodal evidence add to your argument? Have you relied on images, charts, graphs, diagrams, or video/audio files as sources of information? How did the inclusion of multimodal sources influence your research? How have you integrated visual and aural content, layout and design, with linguistic content  in order to support, organize, and present your argument in your blog posts, your annotated bibliography, your timeline, your primary source description and analysis?

Posting: Anyone who needs the extra credit towards the Blog Project.

Commenting: Anyone who needs the extra credit towards the Blog Project.

This week, use your work in progress as the foundation for your blog post. Consider carefully how you have learned to used and incorporate multimodal composition and design as part of an academic research and composition process. Then discuss what you have learned about combining the linguistic mode with the aural, spatial, visual, or gestural mode to enhance the rhetorical appeal of your arguments. As always, before you post, please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog.

Featured Image Credit: “Vallingby 269.jpg” by Design for Health on Flickr.

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