While academic writing assignments privilege printed texts, the majority of works students view daily are multimodal. That is, they combine language, visuals, sound, and spatial layout for specific rhetorical purposes. Moreover, they invite audiences to disseminate and speak back to the text via comments, liking, and social media sharing. The primary vehicle through which viewers access multimodal texts is the web.

In English 282, we will explore how various modes—linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial—allow us to effectively communicate on the web. We will analyze elements of effective multimodal work, discuss the affordances of discrete modes, and produce our own multimodal texts, both individually and in groups. While students will use selected online platforms, software and hardware to complete coursework, technical savvy is not a course prerequisite. Students will receive instruction in all technical tools used in the classroom.


Students in the course work toward several goals:

1. Critically engaging in rhetorical and design analysis of multimodal web texts produced for specific audiences and purposes;
2. Producing complex multimodal work that demonstrates awareness of audience, context, and stakes; engages specific genre conventions; incorporates appropriate evidence; and strategically combines selected modes;
3. Locating, evaluating, and ethically using sources;
4. Collaborating with other stakeholders (peers, the instructor, UW librarians) to create, critique, and revise multimodal texts;
5. Gaining facility with hardware, software and online platforms used to produce websites, images, and video; and
6. Reflecting on learning and drawing connections between coursework and out-of-class interests, life goals, and career plans.

Course activities promote active learning, incorporating a blend of small-group activities, discussion, hands-on technical skills practice, and mini-lecture. The course design reflects a process approach to composition, with students building large projects via a series of short assignments. My role is to provide the tools and resources you will need to advance your own thinking and composing. I will pose questions, design activities to help you generate ideas, and provide feedback on your work. Your role is to do the hard work. You will analyze texts, produce multimodal projects, critically respond to others’ work, and revise your own work multiple times.