Reading Rhodes and Alexander

Part 1

multimodal of remixing - group effort
multimodal of remixing – group effort






Part 2

On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies

Alexander and Rhodes also call up Sirc’s ‘Happening’ in their text on multimodality (like Palmeri that we read previously, and part of Sirc’s book on ‘Happening’). However, I gleaned from this book that it wasn’t so much about calling up Sirc’s concept  of Happening exactly, it’s more about how his concept and ‘hippie’ scenarios allow from the non-traditional, doesn’t favor written text for writing and knowledge. Multimodality doesn’t really seem to me that they are going for the borderline spiritual in its complex experience. Multimodality seems more practical – or perhaps really what I mean is that it is in use almost everywhere – despite disparate levels of access. The immediacy of technology, the ubiquity of it, makes it so it seems ridiculous to not include multimedia/modality in our classrooms. The Happening aspect is that we don’t stifle other ways of knowing and that we recognize “ourselves as ‘irreducibly complex’ “ (202).

Complexity, obviously, is quite difficult. Alexander and Rhodes ask: “How do we expand our gaze to include multiple perspectives? How might we deploy an even celebrate our ‘permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints?’ “ (200). These identities and contradictory standpoints are apparent in a variety of case studies, one that they mention is “Cho” the Virginia Tech shooter and the aftermath of that experience. In addition to it being an example of how immediacy effects texts and information now, an interesting contradiction or pull away from emphasis on grammar arose in the comments on “Cho.” In the first peer review in my class this semester (and really every semester so far) the intensity with which grammar is used to judge writing as “good” is apparently. Yet when a blogger noted that Cho’s writing was juvenile or bad – the backlash of the blogger missing what was really important, the content. I guess what I’m getting at, is despite the horrific scenario, it’s fantastic to have people prioritizing content over mechanics and grammar. I want so badly to get my students on board with this – though without this kind of tragedy. But then of course it always comes back to the responsibility of preparing students for their other classes.

More and more I realize, it isn’t really that many people in English that are pushing the current tradition – when they do it is because they are responding to the expectations of outside departments: ‘fix the students writing to appease my standards.’ I think that we will never solve or be able to fully integrate multimodality so long as the sciences (with all their funding) prioritize certain ways of knowing and communicating. And breaking that down is difficult indeed as they seek to be easily translatable, “objective,” or concise. It’s hard to get people engaged  enough to realize the contradictory standpoint of scientific writing being objective (more like, it has an objective).

The way to get at these issues, audience awareness, using and not using multimodality in my English 101 class, is the idea of engagement that keeps coming up in this book. We need, “active, writerly participation” (105). And engagement as opposed to falling in line is something the scientists I’ve known and worked with recognize and extremely important. Engagement gets away from the “banking system” of education, “…it asks us to imagine ourselves as ‘irreducibly complex.’ It asks us to imagine ourselves as more” (202). Imagining ourselves as more is often really hard too, but usually something we would be hard pressed to disagree with doing.

I wanted to get at Storycenter  that Rebecca Goodrich talked about at Friday’s colloquium – tying on to trauma and expression as well as College Saga, but I’m already a bit over the reading response requirement.

Part 3

Exploring engagement – hope it doesn’t go awry. Update to be posted by 3pm 9/21/15






Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.05.47 PM



Engaging with my Freirian learning modes audio and physical.


2 thoughts on “Reading Rhodes and Alexander”

  1. I wish I didn’t agree with you, but I think I do: “I think that we will never solve or be able to fully integrate multimodality so long as the sciences (with all their funding) prioritize certain ways of knowing and communicating.”

    Ooh, also I forgot to comment on the multimobile earlier. Loved it. Creative and metaphorical in a way that totally works for me. I also quite like your audio response here. It’s so great to see you all working with a range of modes. I wish I had been able to see Goodrich’s colloquium (had to be on the Tri Cities campus that day) as I’m intrigued in how digital storytelling can capture some of these ideas we’ve been discussing.

  2. “multimodal” is one of those ridiculous weaesl words that plagues education curriculums. it just means more than one type of text at once. a picture book is a multimodal text, because it has words and also pictures. actually, all books are multimodal texts, because as well as having the meaning gained from the words themselves, you also pick up meaning from the cover, the way the book is formatted, the spacing of the chapters etc.i think digital storytelling is interesting (particularly in the form of computer games). i think all storytelling is interesting, and the more ways we can find to tell stories, the better. (though of course, not at the expense of book-stories)the reason why these conferences are so awash with digital literacy stuff, is because it SCARES THE PANTS off teachers. i talk to a lot of teachers about online stuff, and every time i ask them about how they fill their quota of ICT (in-classroom technology) that they’re required to use. Nearly every single time they respond with two methods:1. word-processing.2. powerpoint.and then i go off and weep. using a word processor ISN’T using technology. it just isn’t. and kids NEED to learn how to use and navigate and negotiate the digital world, because their lives will be dependent on it IN EVERY WAY when they grow up. which is why having filters and bans on school computers is ridiculous.i suppose that’s what we’re trying to do with insideadog – use digital/online tools to learn/talk about books. bringing the old and the new together. that’s how it should be. one shouldn’t muscle out the other. engaging in one should enhance the experience of engaging with the other.unfortunately the kind of stuff offered at many of these conferences is just doing digital for digital’s sake. and the programs and curricula are not designed by people who really understand how this stuff works, and the amazing opportunities it provides.okay. that’s enough ranting from me.

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