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Blog #12: Multimodal Composition

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 research essay.

Once again this week, the blog provides a forum in which you can explore ideas for the research essay. How will you use or integrate multimodal composition in your research essay? Will you be including 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 do you expect such multimodal evidence will add to your argument? Are you relying on images, charts, graphs, diagrams, or video/audio files as sources of information? How has the inclusion of multimodal sources influenced your research? How will you be using layout and type/font design in order to help organize and present your argument in the research essay?

Posting: Everyone

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

Taking a break: No one

This week, use your work in progress as the foundation for your blog post. Consider carefully how your research essay will integrate multimodal composition and design. Then discuss how you will combine the linguistic mode with the aural, spatial, visual, or gestural mode to enhance the rhetorical appeal of your argument. 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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