Composition Committee meeting memo


TO:                  All Faculty

FROM:            John Talbird & Laurel Harris

DATE:             October 17, 2013

SUBJECT:       Multimodal Composition in the 21st Century


Dear colleagues:

We’re writing to remind you of the next Composition Committee meeting on Wed. October 30th, 12:10-2 in H446.


In answer to popular demand, our next meeting will address the topic of multimodal composition in the 21st century. To prepare for this meeting please read Kathleen Blake Yancey’s “Made Not Only In Words: Composition in a New Key” (go to Some questions we’d like you to consider in advance of the meeting:


  • How did you read this text? Did you read the sidebars as you went? How did this breaking-up of the narrative flow make you connect, or not, with her text? How do you ask students to rethink the traditional college essay (and, if not, why not)?
  • In what ways have you asked students to “compose in a new key”? Which “keys” have you resisted and why?
  • Yancey writes about the 21st century production of texts in relation to the 19th century consumption of texts. How does the relationship between consumption and production exist in your classroom?
  • Yancey cites the inadequacy of our national writing assessments several times in “Composition in a New Key” (298, 320), and she concludes that “ultimately , new composition may require a new site of learning for all of us” (320). How, then, should we assess and evaluate multimodal writing and/or writing in genres with which we ourselves are not especially comfortable?
  • Yancey writes of the “envisionment” of technology, a user’s repurposing, on pages 319-320. How do or can we encourage student reflection on the technologies they use? Is it worthwhile to promote creativity and repurposing in the use of technologies in the composition classroom?

And please bring your own questions.

We will also have brief presentations followed by Q&A from our following colleagues:


Jodie Childers:  “Writing in Motion: Using Video in EN 101”

Kiki Byas:                    “Assessing the Multi-Modal Text”



Also, a heads up for the November 13th meeting: “Teaching Students to Read Like Writers.” More information forthcoming.

A reminder: Every participant on the blog also has author status so you’re encouraged to make comments, start your own composition-related threads and, post links to relevant articles and video.

Best wishes,


John Talbird

Director of First-Year Writing


Laurel Harris

Assistant Director of First-Year Writing

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