Multimodal Composing, Sketchnotes, and Idea Generation
By Kendra L. Andrews
Using the mixed media of sketch notes, animation, and voiceover, this video explores the field of composition’s relationship between multimodality and composing. The piece illustrates how multimodal strategies such as sketchnotes can enhance idea generation and learning and provide classroom stategies for multimodal composition.
The video was originally presented as part of a panel, “Sketchnoting, Mobility, and Writing a Spatial Self,” at the 2016 Thomas R. Watson Conference with Stacey Pigg, Chen Chen, and Desiree Dighton, all of North Carolina State University. The transcript was developed and written by Kendra L. Andrews and was illustrated by T. Mark Bentley.
WIX Websites AND Digital design
For many years, my composition research has brought me into the digital realm. Starting with mandatory e-portfolios in a First-Year Writing and moving into digital essays and websites, I have developed quite a cache of digital pieces using the website builder Wix. I initially chose Wix due to its relatively small learning curve for the students and its intuitive design for new web designers.
My websites represent a number of different facets of my life including my work in Composition 2.0, my predilections for Wix, digital syllabi for my classes, and personal websites I have created. To see the different websites, please click on the image to learn more.
Website Development and Updating
As part of my work with the NCSU First-Year Writing (FYW) Program, I was tasked with updating and developing new content for websites commonly used within the program.
FYW Online/Hybrid Space – This space was originally created as a blog, but it never took hold in the program. With my mentor, Dr. Dana Gierdowski, I developed new content for the space and changed it to an archival resource platform. Instructors can easily access best practices, technology tips, theoretical frameworks, and usable classroom material.
FYW Flex Website – At NCSU, there is a strong presence of universal design and developing flexible classroom spaces. Although there was an older website that was originally developed for these classrooms, I worked on updating the language, creating a new layout, and providing enhanced visual design.
Work with Multimodality
I have attended and led multiple workshops on multimodality and have served as the “digital pedagogy” go-to person for a number of years. Aside from my extensive work with my students on websites, I agree with Jody Shipka and think it’s very important to keep in mind that multimodal isn’t necessarily digital.
For our collection of student texts and genre expectations at the NCSU Writing Program, I wrote the section titled, “What is Multimodal Composition?” and I am including an excerpt below.
What does multimodal composition look like?
As Andrea Lunsford points out, “where writing once meant print text—black marks on white paper, left to right and top to bottom—today ‘writing’ is in full Technicolor; it is nonlinear and alive with sounds, voices, and images of all kinds” (xiii). There are endless possibilities of making meaning in this Technicolor world of multimodal composition; however, the choices that you make as a writer/composer/designer have real consequences in your text. When composing in a multimodal or a digital space, you are no longer constrained by the 1-inch margins set by Microsoft Word or the flat, linear space of the page; you are free to choose how to make your own meaning. However, with that freedom of choice, comes a responsibility to be a critical composer and to be a responsible maker of meaning.
In order to make informed, responsible, and critical choices for multimodal composition, there are certain considerations that you should always keep in mind when composing in a multimodal fashion.
The Rhetorical Situation
a. There will be new concerns over audience, purpose, context, genre, and medium.
b. The genre(s) that you compose in will have different limitations and affordances.
Layout, Structure, and Genre
a. Elements of design (layout and structure) affect the meaning of the writing
b. There is a need to pay attention to visual design concepts & guidelines.
a. The use of text, videos, images, hyperlinks, audio, or shapes can work together to convey an argument.
b. Certain types or kinds of multimedia can make a better argument than others within a particular composition.
Connections and Remediation
a. Connecting items (through juxtaposition, placement, or hyperlinks) can offer new meaning for your readers.
b. There should be consideration to how your work may be a remix, mashup, or remediation of another genre.
Composing for a Public Space
a. Composing in online spaces can change your audience and their participation.
b. Writing for a public audience or composing outside of the classroom offers different challenges and possibilities than a traditional essay reader.
Creating Authority and Agency
a. Develop authority over your work since you have agency in how you choose to make meaning in multiple ways.
b. As the meaning-maker of a text, your choices in composition have real consequences.
It is important to keep those considerations in mind as you compose your multimodal text, but it is also important to develop a critical eye when it comes to reading or receiving multimodal texts. Since the majority of the reading and writing that we do everyday is in a digital space, much of what we read has been composed in a multimodal way. Rather than being a passive recipient of these multimodal texts, it is important to become a critical consumer of texts and ideas.
Excerpt from Andrews, Kendra L. “An Introduction to Multimodal Composition.” Chapter introduction for new edition of InterTEXTS. 2016.