Toward a Composition Made Whole (Pitt Comp Literacy Culture)
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To many academics, composition still represents typewritten texts on 8.5” x 11” pages that follow rote argumentative guidelines. In Toward a Composition Made Whole, Jody Shipka views composition as an act of communication that can be expressed through any number of media and as a path to meaning-making. Her study offers an in-depth examination of multimodality via the processes, values, structures, and semiotic practices people employ everyday to compose and communicate their thoughts.
Shipka counters current associations that equate multimodality only with computer, digitized, or screen-mediated texts, which are often self-limiting. She stretches the boundaries of composition to include a hybridization of aural, visual, and written forms. Shipka analyzes the work of current scholars in multimodality and combines this with recent writing theory to create her own teaching framework. Among her methods, Shipka employs process-oriented reflection and a statement of goals and choices to prepare students to compose using various media in ways that spur their rhetorical and material awareness. They are encouraged to produce unusual text forms while also learning to understand the composition process as a whole. Shipka presents several case studies of students working in multimodal composition and explains the strategies, tools, and spaces they employ. She then offers methods to critically assess multimodal writing projects.
Toward a Composition Made Whole challenges theorists and compositionists to further investigate communication practices and broaden the scope of writing to include all composing methods. While Shipka views writing as crucial to discourse, she challenges us to always consider the various purposes that writing serves.
desire to overcome a general feeling of failure in life, an irrational hatred of an opponent, the desire to test a new piece of equipment, and so on. In the case of the soon-to-be-ex-smoker, she might be motivated to quit to save money, to improve her health, and more generally, to feel better. The examples offered thus far appear to suggest that motive is an individual matter (self-generated); however, external sources may also provide motive or motivation. The smoker may want to avoid the
different ways of structuring their own work. By contrast, consider how a task like “Lost and Found” (LF) facilitates rhetorical and material sensitivity (see appendix C for the full task description). Inspired by course readings that examine the production, reception, distribution, and valuation of found or authorless texts, LF requires students to collect and analyze an assortment of found texts and create a context in which, and audience for which, the texts assume meaning when viewed in
responding to each new task. Upon receiving the OED task description, however, Mike felt he had “lucked out” since he knew exactly what he hoped to do: I chose the word “power” because it has a great deal of meaning to me. I love war movies that talk about military and political power and I love to weight lift which is about muscular power . . . it is also an older word and I was confident that I could find a lot of research on it in the OED. . . . I wanted to do a fun movie. I felt that a lot of
single mode perspective on communicative practice, new maps of composing would examine the way writing functions as but one “stream within the broader flows of” meaning-making and person-making activity (Prior 1998, 11). These new maps of composing must work to highlight semiotic remediation practices by examining the various ways that semiotic performances are re-presented or re-mediated through the combination and transformation of available resources (human, nonhuman, and natural). Put still
technology texts, defined, 40 things, role of, in composing process, 90, 119. See also material dimensions of composition Tobin, Lad, 112 toolbox approach, 43, 52, 53 traditional English programs. See freshman English programs Trimbur, John, 27–29, 35, 37, 57 unified course content, 24 video-based studies, 146–47 Vygotsky, Lev, 42–43 Wardle, Elizabeth, 24 Wertsch, James, 14, 40–44, 46–50, 53–54, 56, 85, 90 Wiebe, Russel, 10 Williams, Sean, 21–22 Witte, Stephen P., 37 Wooten, Judith, 11, 12 word