Elaine M Jolayemi and Kris Purzycki

Table topic: 10 minutes

Levels of Support
As we often remind students, familiarizing yourself with the available resources can make academic life much easier. For instructors, there are numerous levels of support available not just online or in our home institutions but in our own classrooms as well. In this brief session on issues, we’ll discuss how to best utilize these support strata to reduce the risk and increase the value of multimodal curricula.Prior to integrating multimodal assignments into the curriculum, conduct a survey of the resources available at these levels.

Online Support
Online resources are numerous and reliable to varying degrees. Do not assume that students’ first impulses will be to Google a tutorial (especially if their device is incapable of multitasking) or that the tutorial they find will be adequate to support the desired outcome of the assignment. Each platform (Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry) will have it’s own warehouse and community forum that may provide application specific support. For instructors, organizations such as NCTE provide a wealth of resources to assist us in better serving our students.

Institutional Support

  • Are there FERPA documents that must be collected?

  • If photography is a part of the activity, are there necessary photo release forms?

  • Are there dedicated campus professionals to assist with devices

  • Instructional Technologist

  • Title ??? Monies for assistance to target groups (at-risk, TRIO)

  • Honors students doing service learning hours

Kris: “With the numerous computer labs and support services around campus, I feel confident that students are able to receive support in software they may need help with. As part of the institution, however, I try to be as supportive as possible and if I cannot offer assistance, will try to direct a student to an on-campus or online resource.”

Peer Support

  • According to the NCTE Position Statement on Multimodal Literacies, “Students should be invited to collaborate with their teachers in the study of new literacies and in the practical aspects of integrating those literacies into the curriculum” Alongside instructor guidance, students can be (and should be!) the strongest and most reliable source of support for multimodal composition.

Kris: “With my classes, I’m starting out small with just a couple students who have demonstrated interest and prior experience with blogging and social media. With their assistance, I can determine what is a comfortable jumping off point for those that are less inclined to HTML programming and multimedia compositions.”

Instructor Support

  • Aside from providing direction to these other tiers of support, instructors must provide expertise and attention while maintaining focus on the desired outcome of the assignment. A more inexperienced instructor may also consider working with other instructors interested in similar multimodal projects in collaborative mentoring groups.

  • Other instructors with interest in engaged student learning – maybe they would like to learn your assignment.. enlist their support to explore together

  • Do not need to be experts
  • Have a work-around ready
  • Prepare an alternate activity
  • Provide extension activities that reuse the data collected

Kris: “I’ve made the mistake of not enlisting the opinions of other instructors when attempting multimodal in-class activities. Spur-of-the-moment projects can backfire significantly and leave the classroom with that state of “what just happened?”.  Even though there’s an incredible group of mentors available, I would like to see focus groups where instructor members are attempting longer-term multimodal projects in their respective classes. This way we can plan and discuss how a specific project went, hiccups we experienced, and successes to expand upon.”

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