Multimodal Dissertation Opportunities: Reflections from a Supervisor and Student
Many aspects of the texts, events, and practices that constitute academic literacies have changed as of late, reflecting larger socio-political and material trends such as increased cultural and linguistic diversity and technological innovation across a variety of domains. In turn, the very nature of the dissertation has had to respond, resulting in the widening of the modalities and forms acceptable as part of the genre. This presentation is offered by a PhD graduate who conducted a study of multimodal dissertations and their supervisor, the principal investigator of an ongoing SSHRC-funded study of equity and academic reading. Predicated in their research relationship, the presenters offer an overview of pertinent literature associated with multimodal dissertations, examples of a variety of successfully completed non-traditional dissertations, and recommendations and illustrations of what graduate students need so that they may engage in scholarship, both its composition and critical reading, across modalities. The goal is to produce insights that instructors in higher education may use to enhance their own repertoires for mentoring graduate research.
Dr. Annie Tran has over a decade of pedagogical experience in public and private spaces of education. She is currently a senior learning experience designer, working for the Canadian Personal and Business Banking team at Bank of Montreal. Her research interests include multiliteracies, multimodality, online/hybrid learning, and non-traditional ways of communication in higher education.
Rachel Heydon, PhD, is a professor in the Faculty of Education at Western University and president of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association. Heydon’s scholarship focuses on literacy curriculum and professional learning with a special focus on intergenerational solidarity. Her current SSHRC-funded project as PI is an inquiry into equity and academic reading in higher education. Recognition of her work includes Faculty Scholar, Invited Visiting Professorship, Institut für Bildungswissenschaft, University of Vienna and Winner, Faculty Mentorship Award, Canadian Committee of Graduate Students in Education. Heydon’s books include Why Multimodal Literacy Matters (with Susan O’Neill) and Negotiating Spaces for Literacy Learning: Multimodality and Governmentality (with Mary Hamilton, Kathryn Hibbert, and Roz Stooke).