Multimodal Mondays: Makin’ it Funky at the 4Cs

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This blog was originally posted on March 30th, 2015.

Today’s guest blogger is Kim Haimes-Korn.

It is clear that Multimodal Composition is “alive and well” in the field and in our writing classrooms.  I just got back from a great teacher experience at our annual, national Conference on College Composition and Communication — 4Cs — in Tampa, where digital writing is central to the conversation. In his Chair’s address, “Funk, Flight, and Freedom,” Adam Banks spoke about the ways that the field of composition engages in the “funk.”  By that, he means that we are willing to “sweat and that we will look at all that pains us and still dance.” He extends to talk about the ways flight and freedom have always also been part of our discipline as we continually redefine ourselves in relation to the changing world in which we live.  He defines flight “as embracing and investing in exploration” and positions composition as a “hub for intellectual and critical dialogue” that gives us the “freedom to fly.” In his talk, he challenged us to move beyond the school essay and disciplinary boundaries and “promote other intellectual genres” as we “expand our vision to other forms.” He calls for boldly bringing technology and digital writing into our literacy practices – the kind of boldness that “climbs up from the soles of your feet.”


Adam Banks’s Chairs’ Address at CCCC 2015

This keynote address drove the crowd to their feet, ready to embrace their “funk” and set the tone for the rest of the conference.  Adam’s motivating words and ideas wove themselves into many connections and conversations. I also had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Andrea Lunsford about her work in the field and the ways that we are embracing multiple visions of composition as we re-identify our writing programs and rethink our writing classes.  She speaks from a long career of shifts and changes and says it is “safe to say that multimodal writing is alive and well and prospering in writing programs across the country.” Our own Department of Digital Writing and Media Arts represents this kind of reframing as we teach courses that are both interdisciplinary and intra-disciplinary, and that transcend traditional writing programs to prepare students for professions in integrated, interactive content creation that bring together texts and visuals, writing and design, and emerging technologies. As Andrea notes in an earlier post, there is a “whole lot of shakin’ going on.”

Perhaps, this was most evident once again at the Bedford/St. Martin’s Celebration of Multimodal Composition Showcase, where teachers from programs all around the country displayed and discussed practical, multimodal classroom strategies and assignments. For three non-stop hours we got the opportunity to talk to many teachers from different kinds of institutions at different places in this process of incorporating digital writing practices into their curriculum and classes. Jeanne Bohannan and I got to show off work we have shared on the Mulitmodal Mondays blog over the past year. Jeanne presented her ideas on DIY blogs, wikis and twitter assignments and I got to share some of my assignments such as literacy timelines, mapping, and lifehacks.  Laurie Goodling showed how Microblogging and social networking for a cause can promote participatory learning and student activism. Niki Turnipseed shared a dynamic series of multimodal blog assignments such as a Genre Analysis and community ethnography, and Molly Scanlon’s shared assignments included a researched feature article on students’ chosen majors. Kristen Arola shared her student’s informational campaign, and Casey Miles’ Remix presentation encouraged students to analyze and compose in new ways through transforming ideas in new forms or modes. These examples represent just a few of the many interesting ways the showcase teachers engage students through multimodal composition.  It was great to meet people who followed our blogs, show off our amazing student work and support and encourage teachers wanting to learn more about multimodal composition.  The quality and complexity of the range of assignments showed the ways students, when given the opportunity, take ownership and critically and creatively engage with their own language and ideas to participate in the kinds of public conversations that multimodal composition affords. It is truly an exciting time to be a writing teacher and embrace our FUNK.

Check out Jeanne Bohannon’s storify archive of the event.

Featuring my students’ work at the Bedford/St. Martin’s Multimodal Showcase

Guest blogger Kim Haimes-Korn is a Professor in the Digital Writing and Media Arts (DWMA) Department at Kennesaw State University. Kim’s teaching philosophy encourages dynamic learning, critical digital literacies and focuses on students’ powers to create their own knowledge through language and various “acts of composition.” She likes to have fun every day, return to nature when things get too crazy and think deeply about way too many things.  She loves teaching. It has helped her understand the value of amazing relationships and boundless creativity.  You can reach Kim at or visit her

Want to collaborate with Andrea on a Multimodal Monday assignment? Send ideas to for possible inclusion in a future post.

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.