A Multimodal Composition Class: "When Words Are Not Enough"
Class theme: Exploring New Forms of Rhetoric to Communicate How Systemic Obstacles Prevent Equal Access to the Critical Resources that Enable Success.
Instructor: Carol Robertson
Virtual Class time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 9-10:20 a.m.
Zoom Password: MMC182
Office hours: Virtual office hours: Wednesdays after class and by appointment.
Class website: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses
At a time when we are rapidly expanding the forms in which we communicate, one who hopes to be persuasive must be more than a writer—one must be a designer. Multimodal composers may make use of linguistic modes—written texts and speeches—but they incorporate other modes as well: visual, aural, spatial, and gestural. Visual stories, videos, websites, slide shows, posters, artwork, photographs, socio-political cartoons, music, and dance are among these multimodal forms of making meaning. In this course, we will begin with a review of what effective persuasion looks like in a linguistic text. Then, considering purpose, situation, and audience, we will evaluate the effectiveness of multimodal forms to convey meaning to their readers and listeners. First, we will consider how images—socio-political cartoons, poster art, paintings, and photography—are used to make meaning. We will then enlarge our analysis to include visual stories, films, and other modes. Ultimately, you will research a topic of your interest, present a proposal, and design your own multimodal project. With the help of your instructor and peers, you will reflect upon the effectiveness of your composition. Prepare to expand your rhetorical toolkit as you learn some new strategies to communicate persuasively in the different world of multimodal texts!
Our class theme is “Exploring New Forms of Rhetoric to Communicate How Systemic Obstacles Prevent Equal Access to the Critical Resources that Enable Success.” We will follow this theme in our virtual class-time as well as some short assignments and short readings. While we will suggest topics related to our theme for your rhetorical analysis and multimodal research project, we also invite you to seek approval for a research project related to your own special interests.
Synchronous and asynchronous course work, in two sequences, will include a multimodal rhetorical analysis (MP1), a multimodal research project (MP2), five short assignments, Canvas discussion-board postings, assigned readings, a virtual small-group project proposal, and a virtual final all-class project presentation.
Required Materials: E-textbook: Writer/designer (2018), by Cheryl E. Ball, Jennifer Sheppard, et al. Rent for $17.59 on Amazon. A print version is also available.