“Multimodal Composition in Multilingual Contexts”

Special Issue Editors:

Shyam B. Pandey, Purdue University

Ai-Chu Elisha Ding, Ball State University

Santosh Khadka, California State University Northridge 

Associate Editor

Stephie Minjung Kang, Michigan State University

Since the scholarly community New London Group coined the term multimodality in literacy studies in the 1990s, subsequent works by scholars of composition studies, applied linguistics, education, and communication studies have laid the foundation for the multimodal composition to grow as a vibrant interdisciplinary field with its own set of scholarship, journals, and conferences. According to Bruce Horner et al. (2013), multimodality is associated with multiple forms of representation and its definition includes other forms of texts, such as images, web pages, movies, sound, and graphics in addition to print. When writers actively employ the multiple modalities of expression, it allows them to use extra-linguistic resources in their meaning-making process (Archer & Breur, 2018). 

Multimodality and multilingualism are two closely connected notions that complement each other. Like any other group, multilingual writers benefit equally from the multimodal composition as it provides alternatives for them to compose in modes other than the alphabetic mode (Tardy, 2005). Thus, it is crucial to unravel the multilingual writers’ confrontation with multimodality in their composing process (Shin & Cimasko, 2008; Fraiberg, 2010; Dagenais et al., 2017). In this juncture, it is important to understand the complexities of multimodal composition and how multilingual writers engage it as a field of study and as a mode of composing. That would be a very timely undertaking, indeed, as a group of rhetoric and composition scholars recently came up with an open call, “A Manifesto” in their term, in which they urge us to nurture and cultivate plural voices in our composing and pedagogical practices and nonlinearity in our historical development by focusing our teaching and curriculum on multiple ways of making and receiving meaning (Wysocki et al., 2019).

Furthermore, with the advent of information and communication technologies in the 21st-century globalized world, there should be new possibilities for understanding and composing a wide array of multimodal texts. Because the traditional way of understanding literacy through reading and writing in print mediums does not suffice in the current literacy and communication scenario defined by new digital and communication media and technologies, it is critical that scholars of literacy and language education make efforts to understand how we could make sense of multimodal composition while continuing to innovate pedagogies and technology uses in our classrooms in order to support our students’ multimodal meaning-making practices both in monolingual and multilingual contexts.

Given this background, this special issue will examine the intricacies of multimodal composing, specifically at the intersection of technologies and composing in different multilingual contexts. We are inviting submissions that address the following issues, among others: 

  • Multimodal composing and multilingual writers:  Multilingual writers are ubiquitous in any writing classroom. What challenges and opportunities are identified while implementing multimodal pedagogies in multilingual composition classrooms? How do multilingual writers construct their identities and voices in multimodal compositions? 

  • Multimodality in first-year college composition: First-year writing programs have gradually started incorporating multimodal composition in their curricula. How have writing programs been implementing multimodal composition? What challenges, struggles, and successes have been identified, particularly among multilingual student population? How can writing instructors better integrate multimodality in their writing curriculum?

  • Multimodal teaching pedagogies in second/foreign language teaching contexts: Multimodal composition pedagogies are gradually making headway into diverse language teaching contexts. What challenges and opportunities do language teachers encounter when implementing multimodality in their teaching contexts? How do students respond to multimodal teaching pedagogies in second or foreign language teaching contexts? 

  • Multimodality in EAP or ESP teaching context:  English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) are also two teaching contexts where instructors implement multimodality. What successes and challenges have instructors experienced, and what are the takeaways from EAP and ESP teaching contexts?

  • Multimodal composing, digital technologies, emerging media, and multilingual writers: Social media (Twitter, Tumbler, etc.), collaborative and interactive sites (Google Drive, Wikipedia, Weebly, etc.), visual and web design programs (Piktochart, Adobe Photoshop, Medium, WordPress, etc.), movie-making programs (Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, etc.), and audio editing programs (Garageband, Audacity, etc.) have been used extensively for multimodal teaching lessons in writing classrooms. How have the uses of these digital technologies and emerging media been instrumental in making multimodal composition successful? What were the lessons learned in the process? How do the different variables of students, such as age, sex, class, access, abilities, literacy level, and socioeconomic status play into the successes or failures of multimodal composition pedagogies in writing or literacy classrooms?

  • Professional development of faculty in the areas of multimodality, multilingualism, and technology integration: As mentioned above, multimodal pedagogies, multilingualism, and technology uses have intricate relationships. Yet, faculty knowledge and competence in adopting them in their curricula is without a doubt the key factor for successful technology engagement in the classroom. What professional development opportunities have been provided for the faculty in higher education to develop their competence in adopting multimodal pedagogies or in supporting multilingual writers’ engagement with multimodal writing technologies? What were the successes and challenges in any of those professional development initiatives?

In addition to full-length articles, we are also seeking brief empirical reports, issue statements, or teaching artifacts. Full-length articles should be between 6,000 to 10,000 words, while brief reports/statements/teaching artifacts should be between 2,500 to 4,000 words, including references, tables, figures, and appendices. Interested authors should submit a 250-word abstract along with a brief biography to the special issue editors by November 15, 2019. The abstract should indicate whether a full-length article or a brief report/statement is being proposed. For complete guidelines for manuscript preparation, please consult the “Guide for Authors” available on the JOGLTEP website. Queries, proposals, and papers for consideration for this special issue should be emailed to Shyam Pandey at, Ai-Chu Elisha Ding at, and Santosh Khadka at


Timeline for Articles:

  • Abstract submission (250 words): November 15, 2019

  • Notifications for inviting full-length article: December 01, 2019

  • Full manuscript due: May 15, 2020

  • Double-blind review period: May 16-August 16, 2020

  • Notification to authors of manuscript acceptance/rejection/revise and resubmit: November 05, 2020

  • Submission of papers with all author revisions complete: December 18, 2020

  • Projected publication of Special Issue: February 15, 2021

Timeline for Teaching Artifacts Submission:

  • Submission of Teaching Artifacts: December 01, 2019

  • Editorial review period: December 02, 2019-March 02, 2020

  • Notification to authors of Teaching Artifacts acceptance/rejection/revision: April 01, 2020

  • Submission of Teaching Artifacts with all revisions complete: July 31, 2020

  • Projected publication of Special Issue: February 15, 2021

Some Relevant Sources on “Multimodality and Multilingual Writers” that the Contributors could Find Useful: 

Archer, Arlene & Breuer, Esther. Multimodality in writing: The state of the art in theory, methodology and pedagogy. The Netherlands: Koninklijke BRILL, 2015. 

Ball, Cheryl, and Byron Hawk. “Special Issue: Sound in/as Compositional Space: A Next Step in Multiliteracies.” Computers and Composition 23.3 (2006): 263–65.

Baron, Dennis. A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.

Beach, Richard, Chris M. Anson, Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Thomas Reynolds. Understanding and Creating Digital Texts: An Activity-Based Approach. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

Brooke, Collin G. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media (New Dimensions in Computers and Composition). Chesskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2009.

Dagenais, Diane, Toohey, Kellen, Fox, Alexa Bennett., & Singh, Angelpreet. “Multilingual and multimodal composition at school: ScribeJab in action.” Language and Education, 31.3(2017): 263-282.

DeVoss, Dànielle Nicole, Ellen Cushman, and Jeffrey T. Grabill. “Infrastructure and Composing: The When of New-Media Writing.” College Composition and Communication, 57.1(2005): 14-44.

Fraiberg, Steven. Toward a Multilingual and Multimodal Framework. “College Composition and Communication.” 62.1(2010): 100-126. 

Horner, Bruce & Selfe, Cynthia. Translinguality/transmodality relations: Snapshots from a

Dialogue. University of Louisville: Negotiating Differences in Language and Literacy: Practices and Pedagogies. 2013. 

Khadka, Santosh. Multiliteracies, emerging media, and college writing insturcition.New York, NY: Routledge, 2019. 

Khadka, Santosh & Lee, J.C. Bridging the multimodal gap: From theory to practice. Louisville, Colorado: Utah State University Press, 2019. 

Khadka, Santosh & Lee, J. C. “Special Issue: Multimodality.” Journal of Global Literacies, Technologies, and Emerging Pedagogies, 3(1), 2015: 234-235. 

Khadka, Santosh. “A broad-based multiliteracies theory and praxis for a diverse writing classroom.” Computers and Composition, 47(2018): 93–110. 

Kennedy, Krista. “Textual Machinery: Authorial Agency and Bot-Written Texts in Wikipedia.” The Responsibilities of Rhetoric: Proceedings of the 2008 Rhetoric Society of America Conference. Eds. Michelle Smith & Barbara Warnick. Waveland Press, 2009.

Kress, Gunther. (2015). “Applied linguistics and a social semiotic account of multimodality.” AILA Review, 28 (2015): 49–71.

Kress, Gunther. “Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning.” Computers and Composition 22 (2005): 5–22.

Maranto, Gina and Matt Barton. “Paradox and Promise: MySpace, Facebook, and the Sociopolitics of Social Networking in the Writing Classroom.” Computers and Composition, 27 (2010): 36–47.

McKee, Heidi. “Sound Matters: Notes Towards the Analysis and Design of Sound in Multimodal Web Texts.” Computers and Composition 23.3 (2006): 335-54.

National Writing Project, DeVoss, Danielle Nicole, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, and Troy Hicks. Because Digital Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Online and Multimedia Environments. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

Palfrey, John, and Urs Gasser. Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. New York: Basic Books, 2008.

Porter, James E. “Recovering delivery for digital rhetoric.” Computers and Composition 26.4 (2009): 207-224.

Rife, Martine Courant. Invention, Copyright, and Digital Writing. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2013.

Rosinski, Paula and Megan Squire. “Strange Bedfellows: Human-Computer Interaction, Interface Design, and Composition Pedagogy.” Computers and Composition, 26 (2009): 149–163.

Schmidt, Christopher. “The New Media Writer as Cartographer.” Computers and Composition 28.4 (2011): 303–314.

Skains, R. Lyle. “The adaptive process of multimodal composition: How developing tacit knowledge of digital tools affects creative writing.” Computers and Composition, 43(2017): 106–117. 

Selfe, Cynthia L. “The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing.” CCC 60.4 (2009): 616-663.

Shin, Dong-shin & Cimasko, Tony. “Multimodal composition in a college ESL class: New tools, traditional norms.” Computers and Composition, 25(2008): 376-395.

Shipka, Jody. “Sound Engineering: Toward a Theory of Multimodal Soundness.” Computers and Composition 23 (2006) 355–373.

Shirky, Clay. Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. New York: The Penguin Press, 2010.

Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations. London: Allen Lane, 2008.

Sorapure, Madeleine. “Information Visualization, Web 2.0, and the Teaching of Writing.” Computers and Composition, 27 (2010): 59–70.

Smith, Blaine E. Collaborative multimodal composing: Tracing the unique partnerships of three pairs of adolescents composing across three digital projects. The United Kingdom Literacy Association, (2018): 1-8. 

Takayoshi, Pamela, and Cynthia L. Selfe. “Thinking about Multimodality.” Multimodal Composition: Resources for Teachers. Ed. Cynthia L. Selfe. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton P, 2007. 1–12.

Tapscott, Don, and Anthony D. Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.  New York: Portfolio, 2008.

Tardy, Christine. M. “Expressions of disciplinarity and individuality in a multimodal genre.” Computers and Composition, 22 (2005): 319-336.

Turner, Kristen Hawley, and Troy Hicks. “That’s not writing: Exploring the intersection of digital writing, community literacy, and social justice.” Community Literacy Journal, 06.1 (2011): 55-78.

Vie, Stephanie.  “Digital Divide 2.0: “Generation M” and Online Social Networking Sites in the Composition Classroom.” Computers and Composition, 25 (2008): 9–23.

Wysocki, Anne Frances. “The Multiple Media of Texts: How Onscreen and Paper Texts incorporate Words, Images, and Other Media.” In What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analysis of Text and Textual Practices. Edited by Charles Bazerman and Paul Prior. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, 2003: 123-163.

Wysocki, Rick, Udelson, Jon, Ray, E. Caitlin, Newman, S. B. Jessica, Matravers, S. Laura, Kumari, Ashanka, Gordeon, M. P. Layne, Alvarez, P. Sara, & DeVoss, Dànielle Nicole. “On multimodality: A manifesto.” In Bridging the Multimodal Gap: From Theory to Practice. Edited by Santosh Khadka & J. C. Lee. Louisville, Colorado: Utah State University Press. 2019: 17-29. 

Yang, Yu-Feng (Diana). “Multimodal composing in digital storytelling.” Computers and Composition, 29 (2012): 221–238.