Multimodality in Higher Education theorizes writing practices and pedagogy from a multimodal perspective. It looks at the theoretical and methodological uptake of multimodal approaches in a range of domains in Higher Education, including art and design, architecture, composition studies, science, management accounting and engineering. Changes in the communication landscape have engendered an increasing recognition of the different semiotic dimensions of representation. Student assignments require increasingly complex multimodal competencies and Higher Education needs to be equipped to students with these texts. Multimodality in Higher Education explores the changing communication landscapes in Higher Education in terms of spaces and texts, as well as new processes of production and creativity in the new media.
Multimodality in Writing attempts to generate and apply new theories, disciplines and methods to account for semiotic processes in texts and during text production. It thus showcases new directions in multimodal research and theorizing writing practices from a multimodal perspective. It explores texts, producers of texts, and readers of texts. It also focuses on teaching multimodal text production and writing pedagogy from different domains and disciplines, such as rhetoric and writing composition, architecture, mathematics, film-making, science and the newsroom.
Multimodality in Writing explores the kinds of methodological approaches that can augment social semiotic approaches to analyzing and teaching writing, including rhetoric, Systemic Functional Linguistics, ethnographic approaches, and genre pedagogy. Much of the research shows how the regularities of modes and interest of sign makers are socially shaped to realize convention. Because of this, the approaches are strongly underpinned by social and cultural theories of representation and communication.
It is a key professional skill to be able to create texts which are comprehensible not only within a professional community, but also to external stakeholders and clients. However, professionals often appear unable to produce written communication appropriate to task and context. In particular, the fields of Technology and Health are often regarded as sources of unclear and confusing written texts. The foundations for appropriate writing skills should be laid during professional education; yet there is confusion about relevant requirements, goals and pedagogical methods. This might reflect context-specific academic traditions or professional orientations. Approaches to learning to write in the education of professionals were investigated by means of a survey in the UK and Germany. Responses were sought from students, specialist subject teachers, writing teachers, and practitioners in two contrasting fields, namely Engineering and Health. The questionnaire data support the view that there are marked differences amongst the groups of respondents in their experiences and in their views, but considerable scope for development through exchange of good practice. The robustness of the conclusions is, however, constrained by the limitations of the survey method. In the conclusion complementary research strategies are outlined whereby understanding of these issues may be further advanced.