BWe Special Issue: Multimodal Composing

full name / name of organization: 
Barbara Gleason
contact email: 

Multimodal Composing:
Opportunities and Challenges in Basic Writing Contexts

Basic Writing Electronic (BWe) Journal
Guest Editor: Barbara Gleason

Traditional print essays (8-15 pages) and webtexts &
other multimodal/digital compositions are welcome.

Submission Deadline: October 15, 2010
Send inquiries to
Submit manuscripts to

For the upcoming issue of BWe, we seek essays on multimodal writing in college and pre-college composition and rhetoric classes. As Cynthia Selfe argues in the June 2009 issue of College Composition and Communication, our profession's continuing tendency to focus primarily on print literacy limits our understanding of rhetoric, discourages students from "identify[ing] their own communication needs" and needlessly limits individuals who have developed expressive identities in a digital age ("The Movement of Air, The Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing" in CCC, June 2009, 618). By widening the possibilities for composing in their classrooms, instructors may establish more compelling and inclusive learning environments for students of diverse races and cultures, language backgrounds, ages, and communication interests. Teachers may also create classes that can better serve the needs of students who have learning differences, e.g., in the areas of vision, hearing, or attention.

Along with the potential advantages of incorporating multiple modes of composing into their curricula, instructors may well experience challenges that can obstruct curricular change or dampen enthusiasm of both instructors and students. Integrating new technologies into classes sometimes creates unwanted hurdles. Access to technology and digital literacies can sometimes encumber students. Instructors may experience new technologies as more burdensome than beneficial, especially when faculty are not rewarded for integrating new communication technologies into their curricula. In addition, educational institutions are increasingly demanding that digital texts and multimodal composing options be integrated into their curricula--sometimes before they have acquired the funds or the staff to support these efforts. We already know that we are experiencing a major transformation in communications that is permeating both our daily lives and our institutional realities. Most of us are struggling to develop our own expertise in multimodal composing while simultaneously teaching others to compose in digital environments.

We encourage prospective authors to consider both opportunities and challenges associated with teaching/learning multimodal composing. We hope to receive submissions that focus on one (or more than one) of these roles/perspectives: writer, student, teacher, tutor, program administrator. We also welcome reviews of books & web sites that enhance instructors' knowledge of teaching with new technologies OR that facilitate adult learners' expertise in multimodal composing. Finally, since basic writing instruction is moving into new venues (e.g., as test-preparation courses in for-profit companies or in adult education programs), we welcome submissions that explore uses of multimodal composing in a variety of institutional environments.

All submissions must be submitted electronically.
Both multimodal texts and traditional print essays are welcome.
Print essays should be saved in Word or in Rich Text Format before being
emailed as attachments.

Citation Style: Submissions should be formatted in MLA style.
Manuscript Submission Deadline: October 15, 2010
Email inquiries to Barbara Gleason at
Submit manuscripts to