The Available Means of Persuasion: Mapping A Theory and Pedagogy of Multimodal Public Rhetoric
by David M. Sheridan, Jim Ridolfo, and Anthony J. Michel

Book Review by Rachel Dortin, the University of Findlay


Pedagogical Application:

Towards the end of the book, the Sheridan, Ridolfo, and Michel provide specific examples for how to apply their reinvited New Media Theory in the classroom. The Appendix provides a sample assignment sequence for a composition course integrating multimodal public rhetoric. The authors claim rhetors should “consider other modes and media before committing to words on paper [because] other modes and media might address the rhetorical exigency more effectively than words alone can…rhetorical compositions can only address exigencies if they get to an audience and they can only get to an audience if they are reproduced and distributed” (171).  The process of multimodal composition forces the student to consider their audience and immerse themselves in the public sphere – an important life skill. Through their sample syllabus, which encourages students to discover a cultural problem and create a multimodal presentation in the medium of their choosing to best address Sheridan, Ridolfo, and Michel’s redefined rhetorical terminology. Through this, the author’s claim students “learn that they can learn” (187). Their final section functions as a call to action for composition professors to immerse their students in multimodal composition and involve them in public rhetoric.