Making Meaning across Modes
The WAT initiative will ask students to compose multimodally, exploring linguistic, aural, visual, gestural, and spatial modes of meaning-making. The course will focus on both critical engagement with and producing innovative composition through these modes, the technologies for which run from pencil or keyboard to performance and digital media.
Digital media are not just ‘external wrapping’ put on a ‘thought package’ to make it seem cool. This is how thinking and learning are increasingly happening in the first place: Everywhere across the curriculum. Todd Taylor, Director of the Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The multimodality of the work will open the course to more interdisciplinary engagement through introductions to methodologies, genres, technologies—and epistemologies— in the humanities, hard and social sciences, engineering, business, the arts, and so on.
Technologies are not simply neutral means of delivering content. We’re not approaching writing across technologies in a functional or instrumental way.
The student-as-maker’s engagement requires more fluency in and agility with the technē, technologies, and tools to create knowledge and content, to participate in cross-disciplinary and transnational collaboration, and to position themselves as responsible digital citizens. The difference between functional skills and “technē,” knowing how to do, would be the difference using an application to produce a vector graphic and imagining how to visualize the data that vector graphic would represent.