Multimodality: Myself and Kress

While thinking through the multimodal composing I have done for various classes I realized the vast amount of both digital and nondigital multimodal assignments I’ve been assigned; because of this, I am just going to discuss a couple of those assignments that I either enjoyed the most or was the most proud of with the end product.  The first composition that came to mind was being tasked with creating a “Poem in a Box” for Modern Poetry.  All of the examples and even the ideas of my classmates who I talked to about it were very artistic and creative.  Even though I am someone who enjoys doing crafts and such, I am not particularly good with artsy so I went a different route with my Poem in a Box.  I printed out lines from the poem I chose and then put images of symbols that represent my own personal connection to the poem on my box.  I used Natalie Diaz’s poem “The Beauty of a Busted Fruit” so I also made gluten free brownie bites with little crushed maraschino cherries baked into each and put them in my box.  At the end of presenting it I passed the brownies out individually to my classmates to represent the idea in the poem of how giving parts of yourself to others can make you “busted.”  

The Poem in a Box assignment was doing quite a few things as a multimodal composition.  The only parameters for the creation of the Poem in a Box was that students use one specific poem and have some sort of container involved, even using an actual box was not a requirement.  When applying Kress’ ideas concerning multimodality to this assignment it is clear how important the use of meaning making is for the students themselves in the creation of the Poem in a Box.  Students are then tasked with illustrating the meaning making they’ve made to others and showing how each component of the box is intentional, much like the intention Kress discusses in the video “What is Mode?” with the example of the BBC website and how the writing as well as the images on each page have a certain intention.

An example of a digital multimodal composition I have created for a class assignment is the website I created last semester in Laura Sparks’ Human Rights Rhetoric course and the many other things I ended up composing as a part of this project.  Many people have probably heard me talk about this project before because for awhile there it took over many aspects of my life (including actual physical space in my house) and became much more than just a digital creation.  The final project assignment for this course was even more open-ended than the Poem in a Box project I already discussed.   The requirements for the Human Rights Rhetoric project were simply to create something to show what you have learned, what you are still questioning, and what conclusions you have come to concerning some aspect of human rights.  While the actual proposal for the project was much more structured, the project itself could really be anything as long as students were able to explain in their proposal what work their project would be doing in the form it is in.  As Kress states in the video “Why Adopt a Multimodal Approach?” learning is an on-going process and using a “multimodal lens gives you the ability to see more.”  By being able to decide what we actual would compose, the Human Rights Rhetoric project was allowing us to inject our own identity and ideas into a formal project which would then create even more student investment in the project.  

The final product of my Human Rights Rhetoric project is the website that is also a platform for a Purse Project.  Not only did I create the website itself but, after I presented my initial research at the EGSC Symposium in November, it was suggested that I make little pieces of paper about it and the Purse Project to leave in the women’s restroom, give out, and to give to others to pass out as well.  At the time the final project for Human Rights Rhetoric was actually due I was still collecting feminine hygiene products and purses to donate to the Jesus Center in order for them to be distributed to homeless women in need so this ended up being the first class assignment I had continued once the actual class it was for was over.  By the beginning of February I had collected 27 purses and over 400 hygiene items and decided to donate it all in time for women to receive them for Valentine’s Day (I know it is a little dorky but the lady at the Jesus Center at least agreed it was a cute idea).  This amazing outcome for what began merely as a project for a class required me to make even further compositions.  First, I would consider filling the purses and rationing out all the hygiene products as a creation of sorts.  The pictures I set up, took, and ultimately downloaded to my website of all the filled purses is also a composition.  Finally, I composed thank you cards for every woman who donated purses, hygiene items, or both.  I think each of these examples of the many things I composed that had to do with my website and Purse Project would be what Kress terms a mode and it also shows how all these modes together further communicate meaning successfully than one mode would on its own.

  1 comment for “Multimodality: Myself and Kress

  1. Austin Dewart
    March 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    All your samples of mutkimodality I really enjoyed reading, especially about a Purse Project as a charitable act, and for its multidoality you used as an example of the digital humanities as well. I’m wondering if modern poetry is Eng 451? I may have been on the wait list for that course last semester. Good job on being so detailed in explaining multimodality.

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