While teachers like Jody Shipka have long advocated for the benefits of multimedia learning and genre studies, there is still very little research available today concerning the effects of multimodal learning in the literature classroom.
In the past two years, I have incorporated multi-genre projects into two of my literature courses (one at the University of Boston and the other at the University of Florida). Alongside these courses, I have also taught key concepts such as “discourse community”, “strategic knowledge”, and metacognition”, thus helping my students to more easily recognize the ways in which their learning approaches to reading, writing, and thinking can influence their perceptions of themselves and the world around them. This kind of teaching model seeks to highlight the complexity of communication, and, more importantly, it emphasizes the difficulties concerning communicative choices in the 21st century (i.e. the challenges related to metacognitive thinking and attentiveness in a media-dominant world). In this way, my literature courses require students to carefully assess their deliberate communicative choices and, in turn, investigate the ways in which each communicative choice can be seen to change in the meaning and perception of the messages being conveyed. While these assignments haven’t always productively contributed to the literary conversation, I would like to discuss the ways in which this kind of learning approach may allow for a more complex understanding of communication, genre, and transparency in the 21st century.