2 Reading Response

The following entries are from Multimodal Composition: A Critical Sourcebook edited by Claire Lutkewitte. You can view my visual representation of how the articles hang together here.

NCTE Position Statement on Multimodal Literacies (17-21)

Multimodal literacies are increasing important because of the ubiquity of knowledge, sure, but ultimately is and has always been important for optimum ways of knowing because we cannot possibly all learn the same way. It’s difficult to grade, teach, and incorporate into a composition classroom and at the same time it just makes sense to be a part of how we teach. Multimodality demands more of the creator/writer because aspects like visual design would have previously been done by an expert in that field.

1) Dene Gregar         2) hypertext concoction         3)online interactive

4) thingy from Professor Mike Edwards’ class   5) What are multimodal literacies?

Claire Lauer, “Contending with Terms: ‘Multimodal’ and ‘Multimedia’ in the Academic and Public Spheres” (22-41)

I especially appreciate the immediate clarification of multimodal versus multimedia, as I’ve wonder about  that for a while and have noticed that multimodal definitely seemed to be an in-house thing. And then I appreciated the piece’s priority in elaborating on the differences. As deep thinkers and lovers of words, it is necessary for further study and exploration to find the best word or words to get at meaning; as rhetoricians it is necessary to use the language of the masses to effectively communicate.

1) Cynthia Selfe 2) Anne Wysocki 3 &4)multi: multimedia versus modal 5) semiotics

Geoffrey Sirc, “The Still-Unbuilt Hacienda” (42-61)

Sirc is referencing “retro” or old-fashioned, or maybe hippie ways of teaching as a feeling of home in the classroom that allows for a compelling learning environment where students don’t want to leave. I like his address of this as part of the aesthetic, as modes, not entertaining our students to be liked but real engagement. Perhaps I’m being a bit nit-picky as I grapple with half-understood terms (the sublime for example) but I’m wondering about his title. I suppose hacienda is implied, but I think I missed it in all the happening. And, as how we represent ourselves in language is very (sometimes/often politically) charged – I was hoping for a discussion on the word choice of ‘hacienda.’

Happenings 2) aesthetics 3) Bartholomae 4) the sublime 5) Hacienda

Kathleen Blake Yancey, “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key” (62-88)

First, I like that Yancey has a visually interesting or designed (or I should say, somewhat less common in academia word/visual design) text and that we finally have multiple modes put together in this book on multimodality. I’m wondering about her use of ‘quartet.’ It bothers me actually. As a musician I feel she’s misusing it to seem cool – but maybe when the speech was being delivered there were four different players involved: powerpoint, audio of voice, the writing she wrote and….? Ultimately her call to action does indeed, need to be dramatic. She’s asking a lot as I’ve found trying to implement multimodality into the classroom.

1)Yancey Bio 2) online/digital portfolios 3) Deixis

New London Group, “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures”(193-217)

Prior to reading the first readings, I would have said multimodal has the same “felicitous ambiguities” of design that this chapter begins with. But design as semiotics is interesting to me, though I will very quickly follow up interesting with, wait, what? Semiotics, like the dialectic before it, for me is not quite comprehensible. I think on the one hand it isn’t such a complex idea, but there seem to be subtleties about it that I don’t get yet (that took me a while, several explanations and attempts at application, to get about the dialectic). Design as

First notes on semiotics explanations for me.
First notes on semiotics explanations for me.

applied to linguistics seems at first (and maybe still after reading) a bit like a trick or academics remaking words and definitions, but I find it helpful for thinking about how to apply mutli-modes-literacies. Looking at making sentences and papers as a design makes it seem more plausible to add and grade multimodal assignments.

Diana George, “From Analysis to Design: Visual Communication in the Teaching of Writing” (218-232)

A picture is worth a thousand words – and/or is more efficient. I get that, though I think the obvious immediate argument is that it’s not a matter of art or communication that happens visually, and not in text, as less than, rather that it’s different and composition would be teaching the mode of text writing. But of course, as this article brings up, reading, text is visual communication. And the information we come into contact with on a regular basis now almost always has some “visuals” along with the text.

1)  Africa representation

2 thoughts on “2 Reading Response”

  1. Really great responses here. I’m liking the way you’re summarizing while also digging into your questions and thoughts on the texts. I’m curious how you’re feeling today about semiotics post-K&L. I also am really liking your tags here, I can’t say I quite get them (I don’t need to!) but they’re super compelling.

  2. PS I have a new name for the new writing: dgitial illiteracies. Or how about cave-man pictorials? I’m saddened to hear that the CCCC conference was such a bummer and that scholarly endeavors in the field have become so insipid and monolithic, given their myopic focus these days. You’re right it’s tragic that many of those in the field of comp and rhetoric seem to so terribly unhappy. Their resentful attitude is alarming. I’m affected by it as well each time I read one of those depressing, grievance-filled, tear-jerking journal articles about the poor, underappreciated writing teacher. It seems that many in the field suffer from the Rodney Dangerfield woe-is-me complex of I-get-no-respect; and it’s all because my field is not treated as a legitimate discipline and, for that reason, we’ve been marginalized and don’t know our place’ in the university system. Marginalized? We’re an essential facet of the core curriculum at most universities. We haven’t been any more marginalized than basic math has been marginalized. Just as writing is fundamental to other disciplines, so too is college algebra fundamental to success in the other disciplines, such as business, technology, and the sciences. So the courses we teach are the courses students need to be successful, not only in college, but also in life. But what is most tragic of all (if not negligent) is that the obsession some of these scholars have with the status of FYW within the academy has distracted many scholars from their primary business that of serving the student. Instead of belly-aching, we ought to be embracing our profession with vigor and enthusiasm; we ought to be working on innovative ways to instill in our students a passion for language a passion that’s not achieved by means of cheap pictorials, sad shorthand’ blogs (Sutherland), and slick tech tricks, but with words and the artful crafting of a prose piece. I, like you, am not at all envious, angry, or insecure over the fact that I teach writing. To the contrary, I enjoy the teaching of writing immensely and take pride in my profession, perhaps because I’m of the firm conviction that comp and rhetoric does, in fact, occupy a legitimate place in the university, wherein it fulfills a vital role again, on behalf of the student. For that reason, it is, as you encourage, our job to engage students with the text and with the prose so that they, too, can produce writing that is artfully crafted and effectively used. And in quoting Elizabeth Anscombe, that is my complaint.

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