Multimodal Mondays: Finding Our Comfort Zones in the New Year...and maybe even breaking out of them!

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Bohannon_Pic.jpgToday’s guest blogger is Jeanne Bohannon (see end of post for bio).

Over the semester break, I had a chance to relax and re/engage with some of my favorites tomes.  This was such a rare treat for me, and I thoroughly relished the time to sit with these works and spend time with them. As a new semester is now upon us, I want to share a serendipitous moment from my in situ biblio-experience.  I was reading “Arts of the Contact Zone, which is a foundational text for me in my teaching.  My spouse asked me what I was reading, and I mistakenly said "arts of the comfort zone" instead of the actual title. At the time it seemed like small matter, probably as a result of sugar shock of the malted milk variety. 

As I was prepping my syllabi a good week later for the upcoming semester, I thought again about comfort zones and how we all practice our own pedagogies in a multiplicity of them, based on geography, time, and venue.  [Here's that serendipitous moment I promised] –what if we approach critical-digital teaching and its multimodal compositions as shared practices, with each of us providing expertise from our own "zones of comfort" while learning from our colleagues who operate in their own zones? Mary Louise Pratt suggests that learning sites can be spaces where meaningful challenge and dissent can create consensus and growth.  Andrea Lunsford suggests further that these spaces may be enriched when they are both digital and public. I suggest to you that our Macmillan Community is such a space, and that we should take this new year as an opportunity to follow each other's work in the Community as well as comment, play, and experiment with our individual and collective ideas in other social media spaces where we practice, such as Twitter and Facebook, and

For me, "doing" digital teaching is about helping learners gain deeper understandings that lead to producing situated knowledge(s) and challenging dominant ways of knowing.  I think that when learners authentically experiment and play with knowledge they empower themselves and their communities to affect change both with-in and with-out traditional learning environments.

These ideas, and their associated learning activities and outcomes, are what I bring to the Community.  I am excited to start this year by talking with my colleagues about how they embrace digital pedagogies within their own comfort zones.  I am really excited to talk about challenges and disruptions to teaching writing that can meet us in and maybe even draw us all out of our comfort zones.

Here's your mission: connect with me in the Macmillan Community and let's talk about how we teach writing through critical-digital lenses. Send me direct messages, tag me in a blog post or discussion, and/or use the tag talkteaching2016​ in any of your postings.

Here's my mission: I will spend the next 15 weeks research-teaching, gathering, and posting some of my best and worst attempts at critical-digital strategies, along with some reflections from my students, so that we have some additional departure points for conversations. Wanna get started? :smileygrin: 


Jeanne Law Bohannon is an Assistant Professor of English in the Digital Writing and Media Arts (DWMA) department at Kennesaw State University. She believes in creating democratic learning spaces, where learners become stakeholders in their own rhetorical growth though authentic engagement in class communities. Her research interests include evaluating digital literacies, critical pedagogies, and constructionist learning theory; performing feminist rhetorical recoveries; and growing informed and empowered student scholars. In addition to the Macmillan Community, please reach out to Jeanne at: and

Want to offer feedback, comments, and suggestions on this post? Join the Macmillan Community to get involved (it’s free, quick, and easy)!

About the Author
Andrea A. Lunsford is the former director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University and teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English. A past chair of CCCC, she has won the major publication awards in both the CCCC and MLA. For Bedford/St. Martin's, she is the author of The St. Martin's Handbook, The Everyday Writer and EasyWriter; The Presence of Others and Everything's an Argument with John Ruszkiewicz; and Everything's an Argument with Readings with John Ruszkiewicz and Keith Walters. She has never met a student she didn’t like—and she is excited about the possibilities for writers in the “literacy revolution” brought about by today’s technology. In addition to Andrea’s regular blog posts inspired by her teaching, reading, and traveling, her “Multimodal Mondays” posts offer ideas for introducing low-stakes multimodal assignments to the composition classroom.