Columbia College Chicago and CPS

Lauer states, “though multimodal  has become more commonly used in scholarly literature related to the new kinds of texts students are exploring in the composition classroom, it is almost entirely absent from course titles, program names, and more public decisions outside of the academy where the term multimedia is more prevalent”.

In this specific project above with Chicago Public Schools and Columbia College Chicago, they too are using the term “media arts” in the description of their TEAM program and what their main focus is. This is another area of impact to which educators are trying to address to bridge the gap of the digital divide. When you look at programs that are offered at Columbia College they are all “art” form, or art based titles like:  Interactive Arts & Media; Audio Arts & Acoustics; Arts, Entertainment & Media Management. I found it interesting that none of their courses or programs contain the terms “multimedia” or “multimodal”. When you look at other colleges like IADT they have a program in Multimedia& Web Design. So the point that I am trying to make is that I think it makes a difference in who the audience is and what the presenter, institution or educator is trying to address. I don’t agree that these two terms of “multimedia” and “multimodal” are only being used in certain contexts because one is more familiar than the other. I believe the use is being judged by the educator, or presenter in terms of who their audience is and what they are trying to teach or present. Yes, multimodality is a newer term that many may not be familiar with but I don’t believe it should not be used in an education setting just because there are many who are not familiar. That is the process of learning and technology continues to evolve at lighting speeds, every day. Educators especially, need to keep up with that speed and continue to come up with processes and ideas to evolve students and learning new media. In this TEAM project with CPS and Columbia College, they too will be producing multimodal projects through this program and I believe that should be known and addressed. I think they are missing out on an important new topic the I believe is going to continue to grow especially in the professional sector of new media.


I’ve learned that multimodality has many, many aspects to it. Multimodality can be used to describe so many different types of projects which make it such a beast to understand. There just is not one definition to describe multimodality; it’s really hard to define in my opinion. Although Lauer does talk a lot about the use of multimodal not being used as much as multimodality, I do like the fact that she addresses that they are used interchangeable. The example that she gave on Jonathan Alexander’s Computers and Composition on “Media Convergence” stuck out to me when I found this project below.

 Haptimap is a very interesting project I came across. This is a brief description of what the project is about: The HaptiMap project is aimed at making maps and location based services more accessible by using several senses like touch, hearing and vision. Our end goal is to increase the number of persons who are able to use mainstream map services. Thus our user group contains both sighted persons and persons with visual impairments (including elderly persons).

This project touches subjects of: Multimodal techniques to augment visual map displays, Multimodal navigation systems for runners, and Multimodal navigation systems for extreme sports. These are areas to which I’ve never thought about. However, they make perfect sense to me. To be able to design a product that is more accessible to several senses while thinking of converging several modes is genius. It seems like a difficult task at hand but I am very interested in finding out what the end result will be. Navigation being a form of multimedia and now the development of multimodal navigation is very cool. This again reminds you that multimedia and multimodality can be interchangeable.

Music journalism and data

This Music Journalism Multimedia project stood out because it reminded me again of Lauer’s argument of using multimedia versus multimodal in an educational setting. With this project there is a lot of activity and work that is related to the theory of multimodality. They are fusing audio, video, interactivity, data and visualization. This indeed is what multimodality is about. Through this project they are working to create meaning form the data that has been gathered. Lauer’s argument is still holding to be true in this case. As Lauer said, “multimodal is a term that is more theoretically accurate to describe the cognitive and socially situated choices students are making in their compositions, multimedia works as a gateway term for composition instructors to interface in familiar ways with their students and those outside of academia”. Although I see that “multimodal” is being used in some projects it seems as though “instructors” are still using multimedia more often than multimodal. What bothers me about that is the fact that the projects they are giving are indeed reflective of what multimodality is.

Because I am very interested in teaching new media in the future and consulting, it worries me that people, especially educators, will not adjust to the theory and use of the term multimodal. This is an important aspect of the change and shift in technology and defining it’s use and capabilities. Although I thought Lauer didn’t have much of a case while first reading her argument I am seeing a pattern after looking up some current projects.


About moremediamoe

I am a first year student in the New Media Studies graduate program at DePaul University, seeking More knowledge in new Media, I am More Med
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