Increasingly, writing centers are assisting students with compositing multimodal texts. In this article, Sohui Lee, Associate Professor and Faculty Director of the Writing & Multiliteracy Center, CSU Channel Islands, and Russell Carpenter, Professor of English and Assistant Vice Provost of Eastern Kentucky University, shared three key strategies to launch multiliteracy centers in their own institution, respectively. Collaborating with faculty from surveying existing multimodal assignments, to engaging with programs that require multiliteracy support, to developing programming for teaching multimodal composition has been conducive to their success.

Click here to read Startup Multiliteracy Centers and Faculty Collaboration on Multimodal Pedagogy.

Here’s an update from the authors on September 28, 2022:

When we wrote the piece in 2019, we argued that “understanding how writing centers can transition into multiliteracy centers may be even more pressing as more writing centers can be expected to assist with multimodal assignments in the future” (11). We suspect this statement is still relevant now, three years later, as it was in 2019.  According to the 2017 National Census of Writing, the majority of writing centers are functioning as multiliteracy centers with almost 70% supporting multimodal assignments and more than 50% supporting presentations. While COVID-19 may have impacted the work, particularly in oral presentations, the growth trajectory suggests that these percentages will only increase.

Both multiliteracy centers at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) are no longer startups–they are now well-established at their respective universities with dramatically increased campus impact through faculty collaborations. At EKU: Faculty collaboration continued to expand beyond e-portfolios, building on the earlier work in multimodal pedagogy, to projects such as infographics. As the university navigated COVID-19 challenges, multimodal projects were infused on a large scale into curricula, for example in our first-year experience courses. The Noel Studio for Academic Creativity designed the multimodal project assignments that were then implemented at a programmatic level across multiple sections. At CSUCI: Faculty collaboration remains at the heart of the work at the Writing & Multiliteracy Center (WMC) and has allowed WMC programs to successfully promote multimodal pedagogy across campus. The WMC’s Embedded Multiliteracy Tutor (EMT) program now serves 50 courses with over thirty faculty across disciplines, customizing integration of embedded tutors in classes, co-curricular tutor-led activities, and multimodal workshop led by WMC faculty that includes a range of multimodal topics including data visualization and storytelling, video storyboarding, and more. WMC also received two major external grants (federal and donor gift) that allowed for more active and deep collaboration through faculty fellowships; faculty fellows are provided stipends for revising and designing curriculum with WMC faculty, intentionally integrating embedded WMC tutors, and attending professional development workshops. Finally, faculty from across disciplines collaborate with the WMC to lead a major campus event called Plot-a-Thon, which places students from STEM, Social Sciences, and Humanities in competitive teams to learn about data visualizations and communicate the data story for prizes.

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