Assessing New Media Compositions

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Sorapure, Madeleine. “Between Modes: Assessing Student New Media Compositions.” <em>Kairos 10.2 (2005). Online journal. Web. 6 November 2013.

Since computer use changes the writing experience, the article argues that assessment must also change and suggests that the litmus test should be the effectiveness with which the modes (image, text, sound) are combined. Discussions of assessment indicate the importance of new media, but many assessments are based on the print component. The strategy of borrowing from other fields to teach and assess, Sorapure argues, decontextualizes the guidelines from their own field and puts rhetorical theory at risk of marginalization. Sorapure constructs a definition of new media as a combination of modes and the combination both creates and defines the “coherence in digital texts.” She then argues that metaphor and metonymy are two primary meaning-making activities. Her presentation of the student assignment is straightforward: create a collage illustrating Ginsberg’s quote on controlling the image to control the world using Photoshop. Visually all of the work is pleasing, but as a multimodal composition activating both metaphoric and metonymic relationships between verbal and visual is the most effective; Sorapure provides student examples and her assessments. She then introduces a second assignment (with links) and assesses them in the same way.

The argument for multimodal assignments to be assessed beyond the written is strong. The inclusion of specific examples and developed narratives of assessment is helpful. Problematically the assessment is not quantitative and is only one element, which Sorapure discusses. She mentions technical or aesthetic challenges as possible other elements. This assessment model is insufficient to stand alone, but does add depth to multimodal assessment.

This assessment could be added to my assessment rubric for digital storytelling without difficulty. It would add a level of complexity to the assessment which could possibly allow the better videos to be more accurately described.

“Metonymy designates a relation based on combination; modes can be metonymically related when they are linked by an association, as when lines from a poem are combined with a melody from a song. It is a relation based on contiguity between elements in different modes.”

RrNm Ann Bib

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