Date of Award

Fall 12-7-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Mary E. Hocks

Second Advisor

Beth Burmester

Third Advisor

George Pullman

Abstract

When college composition teachers carefully consider the role and function of multimodal composition in their classrooms, they can enhance the teaching of writing and communication, engage and empower students, and better prepare students for the challenges and possibilities of life in our rapidly changing digital age. To meet this teaching challenge and study the impact of multimedia on student writers, I designed this mixed-methods case study to examine how video documentary essays function as a form of multimodal composition in first-year composition courses and how these types of texts may enhance the teaching of traditional composition skills, as well as contribute to the academic and professional communication skills of students. The study was designed to determine how students react to multimodal composition and how they view the benefits as well as pitfalls of composing new kinds of texts in their first-year writing courses. This teacher research was conducted at a mid-sized, urban community college located in southern Tennessee. I used surveys, interviews and reflection essays to collect the data from student participants. I then analyzed the collected data for this project. My conclusions are that students learn valuable skills in the multimodal composition process, such as organization and time management, in addition to learning how to use movie-making software. Students also develop a keener sense of audience and purpose when they compose video documentary essays. Multimodal composition can be used to teach traditional writing and rhetoric. Multimodal composition can be used to enhance the teaching of writing and communication, engage and empower students to participate in convergence culture, and better prepare them for the challenges and possibilities of life in our rapidly changing digital age.

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