VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Multimodal Assignments

Physical Location

Workshop logo red square.jpgThe Innovative Media department is located in The Workshop on the lower level of the James Branch Cabell Library.

804.827.3594
901 Park Avenue, Suite 078
library.vcu.edu/workshop

Innovative Media staff

Eric Johnson's picture
Eric Johnson
Contact:
Cabell Library, Lower Level Room 078

Mailing:
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033

(804) 828-2802
Website

About this guide

Multimodal Project Guide

How to plan, create, and edit a creative project

This guide will help you find resources for creating a multimodal project.

When we communicate, we use different processes, or what are called modes. A mode is a way of communicating. For example, in a written essay, the words used to explain the idea are a particular mode (linguistic). The writer could have chosen pictures to communicate the same message, but they chose print words because it better suited the purpose.

A multimodal composition is one that uses more than one modality to achieve its intended purpose. The modalities are “visual, audio, gestural, spatial, or linguistic means of creating meaning” (Selfe, 195). We encounter multimodal communication every day: memes, social media, advertisements, brochures, presentations, websites, videos, comics and more. Multimodal projects gives you the opportunity to develop and practice composing in the new media age. 

Considerations

Creators of multimodal projects should consider:

Audience
Who will encounter this piece? what information can we count on our audience knowing? What info would be good to include?

Purpose
What do we want our audience to understand? How do we want them to feel? What do we want our audience to do when they engage with our communication object?

Context
How is it meant to be consumed? Where?

Genre
What type of product is it? (presentation, essay, video)?

Relationships between modes by Karen Schriver:

  • Redundant: Visual and verbal modes tell the same story, “providing a repetition of key ideas.”
  • Complementary: Content is different across two or more modes and both modes are needed for understanding.
  • Supplementary: Content is different in written and visual modes, but one mode dominates the other, “providing the main ideas, while the other reinforces, elaborates, or explains how to interpret the other.”
  • Juxtapositional: Key ideas are created by a “clash” in different content of words and visuals. Both modes must be viewed simultaneously for meaning to be achieved.
  • Stage-setting: Content is different in verbal and visual modes and one mode “forecasts” the other mode’s content, theme, etc.