The days when text-based information reigned supreme are gone.  Readers have become consumers of information and writers have become designers.  To be an effective communicator in today’s complex global information age, writers can easily think in visual and kinetic ways in addition to text (writing).  Text alone may not be the optimum way to convey certain messages, so it is modern to think in terms of composition, and that all that text, visuals, and video can offer connections well above text-based products alone.  Here are just a few ideas to enhance text compositions:

Digital Scholarship Lab

The Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) is a state-of-the-art lab that supports digital scholarship, e-research, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and innovation. Researchers can access, integrate, and share current and future research across all disciplines using digital tools and resources such as the following:

  • Graphics Intensive Applications - create professional presentations and multi-media productions, including photographic, audio, animation, and video editing.
  • Rendering & Visualization - use a 3D scanner to make accurate models of medium-sized objects.
  • Large Video Display Wall - use for viewing presentations in a theater-like area.
  • Interactive Computing - can use for team-based activities, presentations, video teleconferencing, and active learning.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - produce fully detailed maps layered with current and historical data for cross-disciplinary geospatial projects.
  • Modeling - use 3D Modeling software like SolidWorks, Creo, and Tableau to create a fast simulation.
  • Mathematical calculation and statistical software - find software such as SPSS and MatLab
  • Z Space Virtual Reality - can view interactively models in 3D.  View tutorial.
  • Prototyping and Creation - turn your models created virtually, into low-cost real-world prototypes with 3D printing.
  • Technology Lending - check out the latest gadgets and innovative devices available from the iDesk.
  • Workshops and Consulting - check the DSL schedule for upcoming workshops or schedule a consultation.

Prezi:  This presentation software can replace or augment PowerPoint It can be interactive and multi-modal in nature using video, video editing, zooming and more.

PowerPoint: Since 1987, Microsoft has provided PowerPoint as a mainstay for presentations.  There are many applications beyond briefings which warrants some discovery

Video and computer animation: Video compositions and animations can stand alone as digital stories, and can also enhance presentations.  Animation and video can also be imbedded in digital reports.  There are several software options for creating video and animation for projects.

Web Design (Wireframe, Mockup, Prototype, Final Product): Designing a website starts with a concept, then a wireframe of how items might look on the different pages, then it becomes a prototype which is the navigational website, and then the final product.  It is a process with well-defined rules for making the usability of the site favorable.  Web compositions are different from text-based ones and the writing is more concise.  The main idea is to create content that is very quickly absorbed by the reader and readily understandable.  The other consideration when creating a website is to create a companion site for mobile devices.  Here, the restricted frame size and movement of the mobile device is taken into consideration when designing the website. 

Infographics & Images:  Statista - The Statistics Portal for Market Data, Market Research and Market Studies

Multi-modal Composition

This concept is simply thinking of communicating information and ideas in a way that uses more than one mode.  Composition modes include writing, audio, video, blogs, animation, and a combination of all of these to create the best experience for the consumer.  We used to state reader, but now reading is often only one part of a multi-modal composition.  The designer has to think in a multi-modal way and make decisions based on the greatest effect.

Digital Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse

Slide Cast: This is a combination of Powerpoint and an audio track into a single presentation where the slides are timed to the audio which can be oral and, or with music and even sound effects.

Prezi using flash based navigational path toward animation and video to enhance the conveyance of information.  This may be most helpful when you wish to convey a process, especially one that may be rather complex to understand textually.

Digital Story:  This is a short video with audio story that is about two-five minutes long.  It can stand alone or it can be imbedded into another presentation and is especially helpful if you wish to include a testimonial or expert opinion.  Digital stories can be fictional, creative accounts, and they can also be stories that depict a complicated process, for instance.  Digital stories can be an exciting component to a report or proposal where something rather complicated is best conveyed in a video but it is composed in a way to provide additional support to the written, text document.

Digital Stories as Technical and Scientific Documentation:  Rhetorical approaches that lend themselves to digital story telling are before and after comparison, process analysis, description, procedures, etc.  Digital stories to document technical concepts is about making the information easy to read, review, absorb, recall, and relate to other related concepts. 30 Sites and Apps for Digital Storytelling

Digital Reports:  Proposals and reports can be created digitally using web-based software that provides animation, movement, and even video/audio where appropriate.  Examples of digital reports can be found online when you look at digital annual reports, for instance.

Universal Design & Accessibility:  Universal Design: Process, Principles, and Applications


Questions or Comments

Dr. Ingrid Bradley
DA, English Pedagogy