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Welcome to English 239!

We have a rare opportunity in this class this semester–to produce a digital video based on the theme “The New Work of Composing,” which is also the theme of a multimodal composition conference we have been invited to attend, and film, in Louisville, Kentucky, October 16-18. This video will be submitted for consideration to the digital ‘book’ collection that will result from the conference. Thus, the main project for this class will be to collaborate on this scholarly video, which could be published in the first digital, multimedia book in the field of English studies. Should the video be accepted for the book (and I am confident about our chances!), then you will all be listed as contributors to this peer-reviewed publication — a coup for anyone in school, especially for those of you continuing on to graduate or professional work.

In order to prepare ourselves for this opportunity, we will need to understand what multimodal composition means in the field now, which we will learn about by reading and analyzing print and digital, multimodal texts that relate to the history of multimodal composition as well as those that are authored (or feature) the main speakers at the conference, who we will be filming and possibly interviewing while we are in Louisville.

In addition to the readings and group video, we will produce several smaller multimedia texts in a range of genres and modes to help you learn about composing and editing in multiple media. Some of these assignments will include designing and contributing to a blog, working in visual and auditory modes (such as creating graphics and soundtracks), filming and editing a 1-minute video, creating a remix, providing “director’s commentary” for projects, and producing a DVD portfolio of all your work. You will be working on multiple platforms this semester (PC and Mac), so I hope you will be flexible.

You do not need to attend the conference in order to take this class, although you will certainly have fun and learn even more by attending. I am making arrangements to get funding to pay for your travel and lodging, but we will have to discuss the issue more if such funding doesn’t come through. (I will not require you to pay your way; that option is entirely up to you. Should you not be able to attend, it won’t reflect on your participation for this class.)

This is a once in a lifetime learning opportunity for this course — a relatively new one at ISU — so I hope you will enjoy the experience as much as I hope to.

Dr. Ball