Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Multimodality and marginalized millennials: the aesthetic design and transduction of college writing in a 21st century 'underprepared' medial landscape
by Buono, Marilyn Frances, Ph.D., Hofstra University, 2014, 309; 3673960
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the ways in which the incorporation of a multimodal social semiotic curriculum into a university composition class provided non-traditional options for learning that brought about agentive and empowering identity shifts in students who were labeled as academically underprepared for college level work. Building on a body of research that challenges the dominant discourse of deficit through a view of literacy and of learners as a complex and context-related social practice, this qualitative study employs ethnographic methods to track and document the self-affirming transformations in student's identities as manifested in their written, multimodal, and discoursal performances.

The data collected from this study indicates that students' perceptions of self and of potential for academic success within the University were influenced by prior institutional labels and were exacerbated by feelings of marginalization brought on by placement into a University support program. In order to counter the sense of deficiency that usually accompanies such labeling practices, a transformative pedagogical approach designed to invoke change was practiced with the aim to create a learning environment which countered the rigidity of an autonomous view of literacy and instead, embraced a view of literacy that was sociocultural and ideological in nature. To this end, curricular choices were made in an effort to offer students alternative, non-traditional methods of demonstrating their individualized ways of meaning making.

The data indicated that a multimodal infused pedagogy and interactions with multimodality served to reveal, track, capture, and document the ways in which identities shifted and changed with the resultant finding of an increased sense of academic achievement and agency in students as identity transformation took place. In addition, significant instances of students' acquisition of agency through self-generated writing and consequent successful repositioning were documented. In light of these findings, I encourage and endorse the assimilation of non- traditional transformative and multimodal practices into the 21st Century college composition class.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McGinnis, Theresa A.
Commitee: Flurkey, Alan D., Gaughan, Frank P., Henry, Jeanne M., Hull, Glynda A.
School: Hofstra University
Department: Literacy Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Pedagogy, Higher education
Keywords: College composition, Multimodality, Underprepared students
Publication Number: 3673960
ISBN: 978-1-321-51625-8
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