Compositing & New Recursivity: Assessing Multimodal Production

In the last #digped conversation, I cited Cheryl Ball’s paper “Show, Not Tell” explaining “Most people have not been trained to view online forums as scholarly. We are encouraged to read and write, in any and every way, but ‘new media scholarship may be dismissed as having an unnecessarily fussy ‘advertising aesthetic’… making it unworthy as a scholarly text in the eyes of the reader.’” After spending time with Ball’s article for a Computers and Composition course I’m taking here at Georgia State University, I then spent some time writing a critique for a paper called “After Digital Storytelling: Video Composing in the New Media Age” by Megan Fulwiler and Kim Middleton. This article came out earlier this year and opens up a very interesting, and very relevant discussion about digital media production. It asks the question, “when we ask out students to produce multimodal compositions, what is it that we are asking them to do?” For many of us, this question directly translates to another: “How do I evaluate a product that deals in multimodality?” If a students creates something flashy or high in aesthetic quality, how do we begin to critique, or evaluate this?

I propose a session in which we discuss the questions above. Multimodal texts, such as video production, blog posting, or even slide shows are present in all courses we teach and it is crucial that we are clear in what we ask for from students. So I ask another question: “If we know what we are asking for, do we then know what to evaluate?” And another (they just keep coming) “what do we do with the unexpected?”

About the author


My name is Valerie Robin and I am working on my PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at Georgia State University. Currently, I am embroiled in looking at how new media affects our teaching practices, and I am considering pursuing/reviving the process movement and how the use of computers in composition might breathe new life back into an old topic. I did my Master's degrees in Education/Foreign Language/English at Northern Arizona University, and I hold a BFA in Art History from Arizona State University. Aside from studies, I am writing a novel with my brother, and I work in paper art - cutouts mostly, but also multimedia real-time art. I love cabbage and my best recorded Galaga score on a standard machine is 220,137. It's much higher on a rapid fire machine.

1 comment

  1. Sara Q. T.

    Well, shoot. I just posted a proposal about student portfolios and interdisciplinary assessment that would probably tie in really well with these questions on multimodal work. I would love to hear more about this!

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