Organization

    Multimodal Composition is well organized into a foreword, thirteen chapters, and an afterword. Also included are a useful glossary of technical terms and over thirty appendices that consist of sample assignments, lists, charts, handouts, and other resources. The index at the back of the book is another helpful tool when searching for specific terms or concepts. Another essential feature is the included DVD, which contains samples of the audio and video assignments discussed throughout the book, as well as PDF versions of all the appendices so that readers can use and edit them to fit their needs.


Sections


    The book’s chapters are organized into three major sections. Takayoshi and Selfe in Chapter One, “Thinking about Multimodality,” outline the themes for each. Part One “leads instructors through the preliminary stages of theorizing how and why multimodal composition will enter their classrooms, then through the planning stages of extending composition assignments beyond the limits of conventional and print essays” (p. 11). Two sample assignments are discussed throughout this section, and actual examples of completed student projects are included on the DVD. Part Two centers on “composition processes and pragmatic pedagogical concerns…focusing on scheduling collaboration, rhetorical thinking, experimentation, response, and assessment” (p. 11). Finally, Part Three “explores productive approaches to problem solving and trouble shooting, ways to connect with writing centers, and strategies for sustaining multimodal composing efforts” (p. 11). The authors use the pronoun “we” to refer collectively to the group, who are all part of “the broader community of multimodal composition teachers and scholars around the world” (p. 11).


Layout


    Although the cover is brightly colored and visually stimulating with a collage of images including a video camera and speakers, I am disappointed by the page layouts. A couple of the tables near the beginning of the book use hard to read fonts, and the images that accompany the start to each chapter are too small and appear blurry. For a book that touts the importance of visual elements, I expected more. However, its lack of striking graphics does not detract from its message, and the many tables, figures, and charts help visually represent and reiterate the information presented. Moreover, true to the theme of multiple modalities, the DVD does contain video and audio samples that are key to understanding this type of composition, as words alone do not do justice to the description of the rhetorical power inherent in a multimodal text. You have to hear and see it for yourself.

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