Multimodal Essay


Your first writing project for this course is to compose, revise, and present a multimodal essay. This is an essay meant to be read online and that makes strong use of the affordances of the web. You will publish the final version of this essay to become a live website and present it during the times scheduled in the syllabus to your peers. I have assigned you to use the Wix engine to complete this assignment, but the use of another engine/application may be used upon approval.

An affordance is an aspect of an environment, technology, or object that allows an individual to do something. An affordance of writing, for instance, is that it allows us to make our thoughts visible to ourselves—to note something down on a page. An affordance of print is  that it allows us to circulate our thoughts to a much larger readership—to publish. And some of the affordances of the web are . . . well, finding that out is one of the main points of this assignment. But, clearly, one thing the web affords is an ability to combine modes of expression—to mix prose with still images, hyperlinks, sound files, and videos.  (For this assignment, I would like you to combine at least two of these.)

So another way of putting this is to say that your task here is to compose a digital essay in which you do something you could not do (or could not do as evocatively or as well) if you were limited to printing out your work on paper.  Beyond that, there are few limits to this assignment—other than to say that your work should be substantive, researched, imaginative, and carefully composed, designed, and edited.


Feb. 5: Proposals Due.

Mar. 1: Rough Drafts Due for Peer/Instructor Feedback via informal presentation.

Mar. 18, April 8: Progress Check Up

April 19: Final Draft Due: live, clickable link sent to

April 19 & 22: Formal Presentations of Multimodal Essay.



Humbly adapted from a Digital Writing assignment by Professor Joseph Harris, Duke University. 2011.