Readings, and Related Inspirations

Challenging How We Write

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All three of our readings this week:

Borton & Huot’s “Responding and Assessing”

Cheryl Ball’s “Show Not Tell: The Value of New Media Scholarship”

Kathleen Yancey’s “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key”

have in common a discussion about multimodal writing. For the purposes of ease, let’s limit the definition of multimodal to writing done in different online modes, like video, audio, alphabetic text, image, and so on.

Over the last few weeks, I have been working with Don Gammill, a first year PhD at GSU to create a write-up of the last 3-4 years of Kairos, the multimodal composition journal of which Cheryl Ball is editor. Because of this, I felt a relatively close connection with her article “Show Not Tell” and it helped me to see value is some of the Kairos articles where I hadn’t seen value the first time. For example, I had a really hard time with one of the articles published last year in Spring 2011 called “syncretism:mashup” by David Staley I have a hard time when I don’t get the argument straight. If I have to sit there and think about how this mashup might be creating some message, I get kind of bored and move on. And then I noticed, up in the right hand corner, above the images featured, a link called designer’s statement – and it helped clear a lot of that up.

In her article, Ball states that “some new media texts blur the lines between scholarship and art so much that readers new to multimodal genres cannot distinguish the argument for the art” (411), but I don’t think that’s the case only for ‘readers new to multimodal genres’. I teach multimodal in my English 1101 course, though in a very different way than Borton and Huot describe their own teaching, and I still have a hard time finding meaning in some of the abstraction.

In order for scholars to get comfortable assigning and assessing these sorts of compositions to university students, we have to be more comfortable with them ourselves. In 2004, Ball explained that “it is the authors who must create these texts in order for journals to publish them, and without current examples, authors may feel that new media is not viable” (409).

I was in a meeting with the Hybrid Pedagogy board on Friday (yesterday) and we decided to host our next #digped conversation based around just this topic of whether or not non-traditional compositions are accepted as scholarship. By Monday, I will have the article describing the topic and inviting your tweeters to join published.

I will link it here.

Please join us in discussing this issue. Especially since you’ve already done a lot of the reading on it.


One thought on “Challenging How We Write

  1. Valerie, you addressed one of the issues I wondered about – whether assessing multimodal as scholarly was as difficult for those in the field as it is for those not in the field. I look forward to hearing your comments on your Friday meeting in class tomorrow.

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