Multimodal Writing

Photographs courtesy of Elena Nikolova & Co

Asst. Prof. Dr. Alexandra K. Glavanakova, Asst. Prof. Dr. Georgi Niagolov
Lectures: 30
Seminars: 30
ECTS credits: 6

This generation’s students are more likely to be found gathering information, communicating, or seeking entertainment in front of a computer screen than anywhere else. Unlike television, movies, magazines, and books, which comprise old media, new media encompass different forms of electronic communication made possible through the use of computer technology. Examples include the Internet, websites, computer games, blogs, podcasts, to name a few. Just as the pencil is a tool to compose on paper, digital tools are needed to compose in new media. These tools include digital video, iMovie, Photoshop, WordPress, Google Picasa, Garage Band for creating podcasts, social media, most of which are free Web tools and open source programs.

The course is designed to be both theoretical and experiential, involving technology, media, social networking practices, thus stimulating creativity and out of the box thinking. It focuses on the reception, interpretation, analysis and production of multimodal texts.Composition is seen as an act of communication that can be expressed through any number of media. By producing works using the latest digital tools, students will not only learn to create meaning, tell a story, provoke a reaction with sound, images, animation, and other media, but they also learn how theoretical perspectives lead to the rethinking of conventional rhetorical concepts such as authorship, audience, process, revision, and design when applied to digital contexts.

The course introduces students to experimental approaches to writing in different media and different artistic practices including photography, art installations, criticism and performance. The course aims to broaden students’ understanding of written discourse as it is produced, represented, and read across a variety of media based on canonical texts as they are remediated. Students can start from choosing a literary work and approaching it through methodologies from other media including visualization, storyboarding, simulation, social-network diagramming. This would involve a close reading of the primary text, as well as a number of secondary critical texts. Students will learn how writing and composition changes through digital productions that may also rely on sound, still and moving images, animation, and other media to create meaning. The ultimate goal is to advance students’ visual and digital literacy.
Students will be required to complete a significant number of in-class and out-of-class writing assignments, both individually and as parts of groups. In addition to creating digital pieces – e-literature, audio podcast, video, students will examine current scholarship in new media. To effectively deliver content, students as content creators will be required to not only master the use of digital tools, but to also apply solid principles behind composing, regardless of media.

Guest lecturers:
Following the establishment of the English and American Studies Alumni Network, its members who are professionals and experts working in/with different media will be invited on a regular basis to organize workshops with students.

Claire Lutkewitte. Multimodal Composition: A Critical Sourcebook(The Bedford/St. Martin’s Series in Rhetoric and Composition),University of Pittsburgh Press. 2013.
Tracey Bowen and Carl Whithaus (eds). Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres (Pitt Comp Literacy Culture). University of Pittsburgh Press. 2013.
Randall Packer and Ken Jordan (eds.). Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality, edited by Randall Packer and Ken Jordan, W. W. Norton & Company; Expanded Edition, 2002.
Kenneth Smith. Handbook of Visual Communication: Theory, Methods, and Media. Routledge Communication Series. 2004.
Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.
Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in Dynamic Vernacular.
N. Katherine Hayles. “How We Think: Transforming Power and Digital Technologies”, in Understanding Digital Humanities, David Berry (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 42-67
N. Katherine Hayles. “How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine”, in How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012, pp. 55-79.
David Berry. “Introduction: Understanding the Digital Humanities”, inUnderstanding Digital Humanities, David Berry (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 1-21

Projects 2015