Final Portfolio: Multimodal WAM Essay Examples

Hi all,

We sped through a student example of the Multimodal WAM essay portion of the final portfolio in class today, so I wanted to make this work accessible and viewable to you on the course blog.

Here’s the example we looked at in class. I’ll also offer a bit of commentary on it since we ran out of time during today’s session.

  • I like that the composer took advantage of spatial arrangement to clearly outline and organize discussions of affordances and constraints as they relate to alphabetc text, audio, and video.
  • The color coding is a nice touch too, as it reinforces commonalities and differences across these media.
  • I do think that the author could have made more clear references to specific points in their reflective statements across the board. So why was it a problem for the composer that they had to describe their graffiti—what part of it made it more difficult to talk about in words? Or why do videos require more attention, and why was this the case in this composer’s video reflection specifically? So be sure to attend to specific instances in your reflective statements when doing your work here.

And here’s another example that I didn’t show in class. The composer, when presenting this at the end of the semester, scrolled through their slides and, though it’s not embedded in this particular example, played an audio recording of themselves speaking through this information simultaneously. Their goal was to make a disability-inclusive multimodal text by, word-for-word, delivering the same information visually (through text) and aurally at the same time.

This example isn’t entirely successful for a few reasons. There are some nice bits of information present in what the composer put together with regard to affordances and constraints. And the idea of creating a multimodally hospitable genre is a good one. But this project (a) doesn’t stray too far from chunking up a traditional alphabetic text essay and presenting it in slide format and (b) without any explanation of what it is that this text is doing, it’s not obvious as to why we’re seeing / hearing what we’re seeing / hearing. It’d be easy to look at this Multimodal WAM Essay and to just see it as Powerpoint text overload.

And as a general comment I’ve reiterated a few times, I think it’s more important to answer the prompt’s questions than to feel constrained or boxed in by the genre of the essay. Keep that in mind as you’re working in your medium of choice.

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