Screen Arts and Cultures Associate Professor, Matthew Soloman, redesigned the written essays for his SAC 236: The Art of Film, Winter 2017 course. Students will now work to create their own critical arguments about film style in the form of multimodal essays using a combination of film clips, photographs, audio, and written text. At the end of the term, students will have the opportunity to share their final multimodal essay with their peers during a SAC 236 Multimodal Essay Festival. Streaming of the course’s films were made available on Canvas through the Askwith Media Library for students to analyze and use clips as part of their multimodal essays. LSA Instructional Support Services (ISS) and the Sweetland Center for Writing assisted in the essay redesign process and will be providing support to students during the duration of the course in regards to technology uses (ISS) and writing strategies (Sweetland).
What are Multimodal Essays?
As defined by the Australian Curriculum, multimodal is defined as the use of two or more communication modes in order to make meaning, such as image, gesture, music, spoken language, and written language. Therefore, a multimodal essay would be one that combines various mediums of composing including audio, video, photography, printed text, websites, etc. Some examples of multimodal essays are podcasts, blogs, storyboards, video/audio essays, and comic strips.
Designing Multimodal Assignments
When designing multimodal assignments it is important to keep in mind what knowledge and skills students will need to create this type of text. Here are some questions to think about when developing a multimodal assignment:
- What prior knowledge and experience do students have?
- What is the purpose of the assignment?
- Who will be the audience?
- What is the content?
- What mediums will provide the best platform for presenting the content?
How can ISS Help?
LSA Instructional Support Services is available to assist instructors in designing multimodal assignments. Sit down with an ISS-LT consultant to discuss your course needs and ideas for incorporating multimodal assignments. Faculty and students can also take advantage of the ISS Media Center and Loan Desks for their technology needs when creating multimodal projects. Finally, ISS BlueCorp can help both students and instructors in learning how to use new technology. Call 734-615-0099 or email lsa-iss-LTC@umich.edu to schedule a consultation.
Anstey, M. & Bull, G. (2010). Helping Teachers to Explore Multimodal Texts.