Course Description
This course is designed to investigate the diverse field of multimedia from multiple perspectives. We will examine the kinds of communications created using multimedia, the kinds of choices designers face as they plan development, and the processes used to produce such work. All of our readings and activities will center around three key concepts:
  1. Multimodality
  2. Narrative
  3. Interactivity

We will explore how these how these concepts are negotiated in audio, film, digital animation, video games, and other multimedia. We will use and discuss examples from these genres, hear from specialists who work with them, read what theorists have to say, and engage in hands-on projects to increase understanding of how multimodality, narrative, and interactivity are enacted through production.

Required Materials

  • Kress, Gunther and Theo Van Leeuwen. Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-340-60877-3
  • Wardrip-Fruin, Noah, and Pat Harrigan. First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. ISBN 0-262-23232-4
  • Miller, Carolyn Handler. Digital Storytelling: A Creator's Guide to Interactive Entertainment. Burlington, MA: Focal Press, 2004, ISBN 0-240-80510-0
  • Blank CD-RWs, DVDs or USB Flash drive (for storing and sharing your digital work)


Course Goals
By the end of the semester, students will

  • have an understanding of how multimodality, narrative, and interactivity
    are used in the central genres of multimedia
  • become familiar with theories about multimedia and the issues raised
    by various disciplinary perspectives
  • develop rhetorical and aesthetic strategies for examining multimedia
    texts and their effect on users/audience members
  • become knowledgeable about the kinds of technologies, software, and
    practices used to produce a variety of multimedia
  • gain a sense of how utilizing multimedia communication might be
    relevant to their own professional interests