Event: Undergraduate Research Symposium
Date: May 18, 2019
Location: UCI Student Center
Presenter: Phuong Nghi Le
Mentors: Mark Warschauer, Soobin Yim
Title: Multimodal Compositions for Struggling Writers in Higher Education
With the technological era surrounding students today, tech-savviness is a beneficial trait to have for education and career advancement. The pervasiveness of digital technology gives students an opportunity to scaffold their academic literacy skills through digital compositions. This case study follows the use of digital storytelling (DST) by undergraduate writers and examines the affordances of DST on the processing, revising, and rewriting of their academic texts, and students’ perceptions of using DST in an academic writing class. The study will focus its attention on two particular struggling writers in an upper-division writing course (EDUC 179W) at the University of California, Irvine. These students wrote a literature review on a writing pedagogy topic and submitted it as a written academic essay and as a multimodal project (DST). Students’ written essays, DST projects, interviews, surveys, class observations, and end-of-quarter reflection essays were obtained. Qualitative coding results of focal students’ DST experiences guided by constant comparative method showed that digital storytelling was able to motivate and encourage students to continue writing, and support the planning, envisioning, and revising of their compositions. However, students felt constrained by time and topic limitations of the DST project. This case study serves as a starting ground for further implementation of DST projects in upper division composition courses, as DST is able to support the various needs of struggling writers in an engaging and motivating way. With continued research expanding the guidelines of DST projects, a clearer view of its affordances can be seen.