Approaches to Multimodal Revision

Both with my own students and other instructors, and at our most recent CIC Workshop, I’ve had a lot of conversations about anxiety when approaching multimodal projects—specifically, anxiety over how to tackle revision. I’ve felt that anxiety myself; developing a philosophy on multimodal revision, a necessity within a portfolio-based writing program, can be tricky. What does substantive revision look like for a multimodal project? What do you emphasize as the end-goal of multimodal revision? And what do you do with multimodal assignments that are difficult to revise within the course’s timeframe?

While everyone’s approach varies with context (and often even by assignment!), here are a few tips for facilitating and framing multimodal revision:

Scaffolding the Revision Process

Assignment sequences that allow you to pace out feedback and the timeline for revision can make the whole process much less daunting, both for you and your students. To scaffold the revision process into your course design, you might…

  1. Consider dividing projects into preliminary draftsPreliminary drafts are often easier for students to revise; they’re much more malleable, and students are often more receptive to feedback during the drafting stage. This also helps focus your feedback, which can be geared toward students actualizing their project. You might have shorter assignments that ask students to first create scripts, storyboards, mock-ups, “minimum viable product” drafts, or pitches, depending on the nature of their multimodal project.
  2. Create opportunities for peer review during the drafting process

    Similarly, incorporating peer review into the earlier stages of drafting provides students with concrete insight into how their project is working and where they could make adjustments. These early interventions create a more collaborative class environment and make it easier to resist the urge to backload revision at the end of the course.
  3. Set clear expectations for revision and articulate them before feedbackPotentially as early as in your syllabus, in your first few class sessions, or within the assignment prompt itself, you might find it helpful to clearly state what goals and expectations the class will have with revision. What does substantial multimodal revision look like for your course? For an assignment? If this is a question that you want your class to negotiate from project to project, what general, core expectations might you let these individual negotiations stem from?
  4. Consider crowd-sourcing assessment criteria with your classNot only does this create space for students to more actively and equitably engage with their own assessment, but establishing a communal vocabulary for assessment can make understanding and incorporating feedback easier for students. It can also make peer review more effective, as well. You might begin with the course outcomes and ask students to brainstorm what these outcomes would look like specifically for the assignment, or you might have students assess a past sample together.

Process Over Product

In framing revision, it can be helpful to emphasize gaining and understanding new skills over producing perfect final products—this allows students to experiment with genres they may not feel like they have mastery over and places the focus on growth, student choice, and active use of course outcomes.

  1. Use reflection prompts or revision plans.These encourage students to demonstrate knowledge of course outcomes and concepts, as well as to explain their rhetorical choices as composers. Revision plans create space for students to explain what they would revise if they had time or were asked to do so; revision plans keep the focus on the process of learning multimodal composition and negotiating feedback with questions of rhetorical effectiveness, while acknowledging the time constraints of the course (“If I had more time to work with this project, I would…”). Additionally, these types of assignments tie in well with the goals of the final portfolio and incorporating metacognition.
  2. Provide multiple opportunities for students to reflect at different stages of the composing processReflecting across a project’s composition helps students break down the creative process and see how feedback, revision, and trial and error shaped their work. Ask students to focus on the effects of their compositional choices and incorporate evidence from their compositions.

Giving Feedback to Multimodal Assignments

Sometimes, anxieties about facilitating multimodal revision are tied to broader anxieties about giving feedback on multimodal projects. In addition to emphasizing process over product, here are a few things that might demystify the feedback process:

  1. Be aware of time managementMultimodal pieces often take more time to grade, but it’s important to experience the piece in full—the pace at which the audience engages with the material is a rhetorical aspect of the text. You might try to develop systems for responding quickly and effectively to multimodal texts, like taking screenshots or marking areas to return to after your first viewing.
  2. Consider Higher Order Concerns for multimodal feedbackWith multimodal projects, keeping tabs on how much revision you’re guiding students toward can make your feedback more straightforward and their revision process less overwhelming. Like in any other composition classes, use rhetorical principles to guide your comments. With HOC in mind, you might focus feedback on:
    • The composition’s effectiveness in addressing the rhetorical situation
    • Where the composition could better meet the requirements of the assignment or tie to the course’s overall goals and conversations
    • How effectively the composition uses multiple modes symbiotically, rather than considering the modes separately in your feedback. Does the composition combine appropriate modalities effectively to communicate the piece’s purpose? Or do the multiple modes overlap in ineffective, redundant ways or seem extraneous?

An effective, consistent feedback system and scaffolding revision into your course are just a few of the larger approaches that you can take to make multimodal revision a little less intimidating in the composition classroom. Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any tried and true approaches to framing multimodal revision to add to this conversation!

For further reading, check out these sources that helped inform this post:

–A. Gilbert

Tips for Creating Your Remote Learning Course 

Because of Covid-19, we must adapt in ways that we’ve never been asked to before. One of those ways in online or remote learning. To be frank, many of us know what we’re doing, but we’re in this together. And in the name of solidarity, here are some tips, collected from the internet and from fellow multi-modal instructors, to help you in designing your own remote learning course:

  1. Adapt and/or re-use the materials provided for you. There are a lot of resources in the EWP archives, website, and from different universities; resources like, syllabi, lesson plans, rubrics, etc. You don’t have to stress so much about creating something new when you can use artifacts that have already been tested and revised for multimodal and/or remote classrooms. Although adapting materials can feel like a chore in and of itself, it can still save you some time and may relieve some “is this going to work/ make sense” anxieties.   
  1. 2.  Re-think control. Remote learning gives students the opportunity to lead and drive themselves, as well as hold themselves accountable. Although you may hear some say that remote learning can lead to apathy, it can also lead to trust and confidence that students are able to learn and develop skills in a more flexible manner. So relax! Just because you don’t see your students every day, doesn’t mean they aren’t learning. When re-using and developing materials, think about redesigning to learner-navigated activities while continuing to keep in mind the learning goals of the materials.
  1. Keep in mind accessibility by using captions, sound quality, words that can be seen clearly on PowerPoint, and direct links. There is an accessibility check available at UW and on canvas. Zoom and Panopto have amazing tools like adding captions and providing a transcript, you just have to adjust in your settings page. Also canvas has a mini-course you can take called Teaching with UW technologies, consider signing up so that you can learn more fluidly how to use these resources for increased accessibility. It’s also a good idea to test your technology equipment before class session to make sure it’s accessible.
  1. Be adventurous with activities. Remote learning doesn’t have to be limiting at all! In fact, it can be the opposite. There are many platforms designed for remote collaborations, like google docs and social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, even Spotify. Also consider how they can obtain the learning objective in their kitchen or backyard. Rather than conversations with their classroom peers, how might they engage and learn with socially distant community or familial dialogues?
  1. Pro and con synchronous, asynchronous, or hybrity course. Deciding on whether to be fully asynchronous or synchronous, or a mixture of both, might depend on the types of learners in your class and who you are as a teacher. Ask your students how they learn best before or on the first day of class. And also ask yourself what makes you comfortable and confident as an instructor.  You may find that a hybrid model might be best, or perhaps one where you have asynchronous activities and communal, synchronous, optional office hours. Beyond access needs, time difference may also determine whether to have an async or sync class. If time differences in your class are wide-ranging, this might be the biggest argument for pro-async class. However, if students need social learning, consider encouraging students to group themselves, or you organize groups, based on time zones; they can decide on optimal times to meet synchronously. Ultimately, these two models allow for different ways of engagement in remote learning. Synchronous learning gives ways to some form of traditional classroom engagement, discussions include immediate feedback and conversation, and technical difficulties might be felt harder. Asynchronous gives way to more flexibility regarding pacing, time scheduling; students often navigate and guide themselves; technical difficulties are less noticeable; and it could lead towards isolated feelings.

— B. Frantece

Gaming & Gamification in Composition

A few weeks ago, we had a CIC workshop on gaming & gamification in composition.  This post will be a summary, follow-up, expansion, and resource bank of some of the key take-aways for teachers and researchers interested in the potential for gaming and play in teaching composition.

Workshop Participants with Meeple Avatars

Workshop participants show off their meeples from one of the workshop activities.

First of all, here is an introduction to some shared vocabulary that informs our conversation (from Deterding et al & Envato):

  • Play: a free-form, expressive, improvisational recombination of behaviors & meanings
  • Game: playing structured by rules and competitive strife toward goals
  • Gamification: the use of game design elements in non-game contexts
  • Gamefulness: the experiential & behavioral quality of gaming
  • Game Design Elements: Challenge, Choice, Change, Chance

Example Gamification Books

We can think about gaming as literacy practices, which are tied to composition (see Kurt Squire & the New London Group in particular for connections with multimodality).  We should also recognize gaming practices to be embedded and emerging from within social and cultural practices, especially as they move into economic and educational systems and contexts.  As critical educators, we need to be careful of adopting “gamification” concepts wholesale.  Consider the source and purpose of tips and strategies you may find to “gamify your class.”  In the ethics of argumentation, we don’t want students to just “crush the competition!”

Multimodal & Gaming Literacy Excerpts

Multimodal resources excerpted include Writer/Designer by Kristen Arola, Jennifer Sheppard, and Cheryl Ball, “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies” from the New London Group, and “Video Game Literacy” by Kurt Squire.

Since many CIC instructors hold a variety of teaching philosophies and approaches to the level of technology integration in their classes, we also find it useful to identify ways that gaming and play can be used along an integration spectrum.  As a caveat, there are many additional ways that gaming can take place in classes, so this is not an exhaustive set of examples, but rather a starting point.

  • Minimum integration: Game as text used to analyze course theme(s); gamefulness in class activities (example prompt)
  • Medium integration: Game/game element as assignment or class activity in addition to game as text (example prompt)
  • Maximum integration: Game as text to investigate multimodal literacy practices and games as texts/integration points for related compositions in multiple genres (example prompt)

One example of a student-composed game for a multimodal composition class at UW that was later published is now publicly available via the following link (excluding accompanying reflection writing):

Scratch – STEM Curator: Women in STEM

In this game you will play as a museum intern tasked to design a museum to help girls stay interested in STEM, Science Technology Engineering and Math. The purpose of this project is to educate people that the discouragement women face when entering STEM fields is entirely cultural. We as …

This game was featured on Scratch and received positive reviews.  Reflection writing revealed the students’ composition process and intentions.

Students can also interact with and analyze games as texts.  In role-playing games, students can choose an avatar to play, which allows them choices for playing a character that seems closest to who they are in real life or to experiment with an identity at a greater distance.  Because of this, they have opportunities to conduct inquiry into issues of identity and representation without being obligated to reveal vulnerabilities in class.  They can draw on primary sources from their play experience and secondary sources like online forums to explore and research their position within the game world (as well as how this connects to real-world issues of identity and representation).  For example, imperialism, nativism, and racism all appear in the game Skyrim with different material impacts and choices for different characters’ play experiences.  The available (and customizable) races in Skyrim are included below:

Avatars for Exploring Identity Issues

Skyrim character images subject to creative commons license from Wikia.

In the following class activity, various students’ experiences and responses were used to refine the conception of inquiry in research.  Students responded to a set of questions using Survey Monkey, and the class moved from a basic binary question like, “Which side did you choose?” to identifying better non-binary questions and then moving to more nuanced research questions like, “To what extent are the Stormcloaks justified in the civil war?”  The choices players were given from the game designers on any issue in time remained open for investigation and connection to real-world issues.  Students also practiced framing evidence for their own purposes with the graphs produced from class responses.  These were also issues they were invested in through play experience, rather than an abstract research topic that they might not feel authorized to write about yet.

Survey Monkey Results for Class Inquiry

Graphs generated by student participants using Survey Monkey.

In the game Skyrim – like many others – players also choose to develop “skill tree” items as they level up depending on their play style.  For example, they may choose skills to develop related to a warrior (heavy armor, archery, smithing, etc.), mage (illusion, conjuration, destruction, etc.), or thief (light armor, lock-picking, sneak, etc.).  In order to start owning the language of the outcomes and create a revision plan during the portfolio sequence, students created analogies between the available Skyrim skill tree items and EWP course outcomes.  This also modeled the way students could enter the discourse communities of their majors beyond the game and the composition class.

For assessing assignments that deal with gaming and play, we need to consider the following elements:

What are we assessing?

  • Game design
  • Statement of purpose, reflection
  • Achievement of statement goals
  • Fulfillment of assignment goals

Who is involved in developing assessment criteria and how are students internalizing criteria?

  • Creating or co-creating criteria
  • Practicing assessment
  • Revising criteria

Here are some resources available on and beyond campus to explore how you might implement some of these ideas or some of your own.

For Accessing/Analyzing Games:

For Designing Games:

CIC Sample Prompts and Activities:

While many of these examples and resources tend to follow digital medium games, it is important to note that the same play and gaming principles can be available through table top gaming as well.  The UW library system is currently acquiring table top gaming resources that should be available for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Please check with the UW English Studies Librarian Faye Christenberry for questions or updates.

CoMotion Makerspace: How to Utilize UW’s Makerspace in Your Own Classes

On Monday, Kimberlee and I went to check out UW’s very own makerspace, which is called CoMotion Makerspace.  For those of you who are not aware, a makerspace is a collaborative space with a variety of creation tools that can be used for DIY projects.  Spaces like these have proliferated around the country, particularly in urban areas.  There are other makerspaces in Seattle like SODO Makerspace, Seattle ReCreative, or Metrix: CreateSpace.  And of course there are many shops on UW’s campus.  CoMotion Makerspace is different than the shops on campus because the goal of the space is to host as many fabrication tools as possible and to welcome users of all skill-level.  What I feel like makes CoMotion Makerspace such an intriguing space and pedagogical tool is its ability to foster cross-disciplinary project based learning here on campus.

CoMotion Makerspace opened its doors just last year, and it is located at Fluke Hall in Suite 215.  For those of in Padelford, that’s a 5 minute quick walk.  We encourage you to check out the space when you have time!  In case you decide to visit the space on your own, want to use the space for a project you’re working on, or you’d like your students to use the space on their own time this quarter, here are their Spring Quarter Drop-In Hours: Monday-Friday 12:30pm-8:30pm // Saturday 9-6pm // Sunday 12-6pm.  Closed for University Holidays (Memorial Day, May 30th).

Registered matriculated UW Seattle students, full-time UW faculty and staff (all campuses), part-time UW faculty and staff (all campuses) who work an average of at least 16h/week, and visiting scholars all have access to the space free of change (see their FAQ for more information on eligibility for other users).

To use the space, you must do a safety training, which almost ~1,100 people have done in the past year. The event calendar hosts information about the safety training.  Once you’re done with the training, you can then use the space during drop-in hours.  There will be someone on-hand to ask for help on various machines.

CoMotion Makerspace also has the potential of hosting events, like the think-a-thon that you see the aftermath of below:

But perhaps most exciting for us, CoMotion Makerspace can host your classes in future quarters, either weekly, bi-weekly, or for one/multi-time use.  Their availability is in the mornings (typically before 12.30), and there is a Catalyst request form for you to fill out.  There is a fee for classroom use, and if you plan to use fabrication equipment, CoMotion Makerspace staff must be present ($30/hr).  Email CoMotion Makerspace staff at if you would like more information.

If you do decide to reserve this space as a classroom, you will have a teaching station with a computer, projector, and document camera.  Almost everything in the space is on wheels so you can configure and re-configure as appropriate for your classroom needs.  And of course, you will have access to all the equipment in the space. To list just a few things that might be of interest to you, they have laser cutters, industrial sewing machines, 3D printers, a circuit board mill.  It’s an adult playground.

Regardless of your experience or comfort level — or your students’ experience or comfort level — all are welcome to make and play in the space.  Perhaps what struck me most when we were touring the space is how much it inspired creativity and collaboration.  Some of us reading this blog (including me) sometimes struggle with stepping outside are comfort zone.  We’re experts in alphabetic writing projects, and it might be foreign to spend time in a space that incorporates so many other ways of meaning making.  I think this space welcomes us to interact with composing tools that we may or may not be familiar with, and (I hope) our experience in the space will broaden our understanding of what counts as composition, both in our classes and in our own work.

The equipment that CoMotion Makerspace has at its disposal is extensive, making the space valuable to various audiences: UW groups, classes, and individuals.

And to use the making equipment, you can bring your own materials or purchase from CoMotion Makerspace.

If you have any questions about the space, please feel free to leave them in the comments or contact me.  I have a lot of ideas for how EWP/IWP instructors might use the space for one-time use, sequence, or an entire class, so contact me if you’d like to talk more about that.  Feel free to leave your own comment with ideas of how you might use the space.  

By Jacki Fiscus

New CIC Assistant Director: Jacki Fiscus

Hello CIC instructors and teaching with technology fans!  My name is Jacki Fiscus, and I am the new CIC Assistant Director (AD).  I am very excited to be working with all of you!  I’ll use this first blog post as a way of introducing myself and reminding us (or telling newcomers for the first time) what my role is and how I can assist those interested.

For those of you that did not know, Ann completed her AD term last quarter and now is back to teaching (in the CIC — no surprise!), and my term will run for the next year.  (So yes, as many of you have already asked, I’m “the new Ann.”  I am honored to be following in her footsteps.)

To get in touch with me, feel free to email me ( or find me on Twitter (@jackifiscus).

jacki.fiscus copy

A little about me: I’m a PhD student who focuses on english language studies and composition.  I am particularly interested in language ideologies, sociolinguistics, and multimodal composition.  In the last couple of years, I have taught English 108, 121, and 131, a lot of which were hosted in the CIC.  The CIC is my favorite place to teach on campus because I enjoy the way the space naturally decentralizes the classroom power dynamic, shifting the energy and focus of students onto one another.  The CIC is an excellent place to utilize technology productively while also playing with student-centered and activity-based pedagogy.  If you are at all interested in project-based learning, flipping the classroom, or group work more generally, I would love to brainstorm lesson plans or assignment sequences with you.  In particular, I have experience with guiding students through multimodal projects of their own choosing, so do contact me if you would like to give me insight into your best practices, swap stories, or brainstorm how to design a project that gives students a chance to respond to exigencies of their choosing.

For those of you who are regularly teaching in the CIC this quarter, know that I’m always on campus during your scheduled lab times.  Please call me or text me if you need my immediate assistance in your classroom.  Know that I can always come assist you with introducing new technology or trouble-shoot with you when technology malfunctions.  Most importantly, I am here to help you via doing observations, brainstorming ideas for your classes, working through any interesting classroom dynamics, or anything else you might need.  Email me if you would like to make an appointment to chat about all things CIC, teaching in general, or whatever you think I could help you with.

And for those of you that are not regularly scheduled in the CIC, remember that you can (and really should!) request a CIC lab for your class by emailing me.  Of course these labs are a great space to introduce portfolios, but I encourage everyone to try using a lab for another lesson as well, particularly one where you want students to interact in groups or with a certain technology.  I can also come to your classroom to help introduce a new technology to your students.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Like Ann, I will be using this blog space to post about teaching with technology tips and general information.  Please use the comment box below if you have any special topics you would like to see addressed.

Evaluation Questions on Space and Technology

As you probably know by now, UW’s online evaluation system allows instructors to add questions to the standard evaluation form, and the EWP encourages instructors to add questions regarding teacher and peer feedback and conferences (see the recommended questions and step-by-step instructions, with screenshots, for adding those questions here).

Whether you teach in our state-of-the-art CIC labs or in a windowless basement room with no classroom technology, you know that the physical space and technologies available in your classroom impact how you teach, and how you use the space and technologies impacts how your students learn. To encourage instructors to develop a reflective practice about their use of available space and technologies (however challenging they may be!), we’ve developed a set of space and technology questions you can add to your evaluations.


  1. How did the instructor’s use of the physical space of your classroom support or detract from your learning?
  2. What suggestions do you have for making more effective use of the classroom space?
  3. How did the instructor’s use of classroom technology (if any) support or detract from your learning?
  4. What suggestions do you have for making more effective use (if any) of the classroom technology?

And here’s how to add those questions:

Go to your IAS Faculty page.


From the “Add Items to Evaluation” page, you’ll type each question into the Comment Items add option.


After you type one question, click “add.”


Then repeat this process to add the remaining questions.


Then you can review and reorder your newly added questions using the tools to the right of the questions.


Finally, you can preview how the questions will look to your students.


As always, if you have any questions, let us know! And if you have additional evaluation questions you add to your form, or if you want to talk about your students’ responses to these questions, we’d love to hear from you.

Enabling Apps on Canvas

Hello CIC Instructors!

As many of you know, Canvas contains a variety of apps that enable you to use certain functions directly through the site, rather than having students open another window and navigate to pages separately. For example, if you would like students to post videos from Youtube as part of a Discussion, they don’t need to copy and paste links. If you enable the Youtube app, they can easily embed the video without going through any extra steps.

To enable an app such as Youtube, click on “Settings” in Canvas’ left-hand menu. From there, click on “Apps.” That should show you all of the apps that it is possible to enable:


To add an app, simply click on it and then select “Add app.”

add app

After you’ve done this, you and your students will automatically see the option reflected in Discussion and Announcement windows. For example, after you’ve enabled Youtube, you will see it in the taskbar like this:

app appears

We hope this proves to be convenient in your teaching!

As always, have a great week and let us know if you have any questions.

Resources for Using Video Media

Hello CIC Instructors!

Though many instructors have started using Panopto to capture lectures or draft presentations, we wanted to share a couple of the other resources that are available for students to construct less formal projects, like filming a documentary or commercial advertisement.

This post is inspired by CIC Instructor Jacki Fiscus, who has had great success in her 121 using video media and other forms of multi-modality (assignment provided below!). When her students were wondering about resources that they might use to film and edit a documentary, we found a few links to share:


– The Odegaard Learning Commons has video editing workstations; moreover, all machines in that space have iMovie:

* Odegaard has a new video studio students can reserve:


– UW-IT online tutorials for using digital video authoring software available in general access computing labs:

* Note that the CIC lab has Adobe Premiere. UW-IT staff can come to the lab and give a custom workshop during class. See the workshop guide for more information.

We’re really excited by the possibility of incorporating video composition into our CIC classes!

Here is Jacki’s excellent assignment:


If you are interested in learning more about this, please contact us and we’d be happy to help (or, we can put you in touch with Jacki, the expert)!


Managing Canvas Navigation

Hello CIC Instructors!

As we all know, Canvas is an excellent platform for creating and sharing course content. There is so much you can do (in fact, there is almost TOO much to do!)! Since there are so many options, the site can seem overwhelming to both students and instructors.

An excellent fix for this is to control what you want your students to see by reducing the amount of options in the navigation bar on the right hand side of your screen. If you’re not using – say, Tegrity – in your class, great!  You can eliminate that as an option!

To manage the navigation bar, first click on Settings.


Next, select Navigation from the bar at the top of the screen.


Now, you can drag and drop menu items in order to eliminate them from the navigation bar. Select the items that you don’t want students to see, and drop them!


Here is where the eliminated items will live (in case you want to reintroduce them in the future):


…and that’s that!

Thanks, and have a great week in the CIC! As usual, please let Kimberlee or Tesla know if you’re experiencing any issues.



Introducing the Amazon Education for Canvas App

Hello CIC Instructors,

We hope your quarter has gotten off to a good start!

We wanted to let you know that the UW is participating in an ongoing project with, piloting an app that lets you distribute course content directly from Canvas to a Kindle app in your students’ mobile devices (Kindle, iPad, Android, etc.).

Obviously, using this app would enable your students to read course documents directly on their phones or tablets, which may increase their engagement with the texts (or change it in interesting ways!)!


Some of the other benefits include:

– Documents that are uploaded to Canvas “Files” are synced automatically to the students’ devices (they don’t have to go back and sync each one individually)

– As new documents are added or existing documents are changed, an updated version is automatically sent to students

– Any work that students do with a document on one device (such as highlighting or annotating) is automatically synchronized across all Kindle readers

There is no cost for the UW to participate in this pilot. Similarly, it is free for students to download the Connect to Kindle app here. Amazon also offers a $10 gift card to students who participate.

UW IT Connect is running the pilot. If you are interested in trying the app with your current or future courses, please contact Tom Lewis (Director of Academic and Creative Applications) at This will definitely be an interesting opportunity to provide feedback that actually influences the future of this app and its role at UW!

For any questions about the Amazon Education for Canvas app specifically, please email As usual, for all other questions or concerns, please email Tesla at or Kimberlee at

Have a great rest of the week, CICers!