Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Multimedia as Composition: Research, Writing and Creativity

“Multimedia as Composition: Research, Writing and Creativity” was originally published in Academic Commons January 2009 issue, “The Difference that Inquiry Makes: A Collaborative Case Study on Technology and Learning, from the Visible Knowledge Project.”

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Over a period of three years, I taught three courses that integrated multimedia with literature, film, history, and American studies. I did not want multimedia to simply be added on to my courses as some technological addition, like bringing a TV into a classroom. Rather, I wanted to conceptually integrate multimedia with course content. In order to do so, I built these courses around a simple question: how do we tell stories about America?

The assumption behind this question was that dominant culture’s stories about the United States have been partial and limited in many ways. My courses examined the gaps in literary, filmic, and historical narratives about the United States, and also studied the attempts by authors from excluded populations to fill in these gaps, or to construct completely alternative narratives altogether. The students used multimedia to tell their own stories about America based on what they had seen and read. Multimedia enabled the students to be both critical and creative in discussing American stories, and in telling their own American stories.

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