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Mackenzie Raetz

Multimodal and multimedia are two terms that are related, but have
different meanings. They are also terms that will be applied to projects and
essays in the EWM major. Though they can sometimes seem
interchangeable, they have separate definitions. Lauer distinguishes these
two terms by highlighting that modes and media are different (227). Modes
can be understood as ways of representing information, or the semiotic
channels we use to compose a text (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2001). Examples
of modes include words, sounds, still and moving images, animation and
color (Lauer 227). So multimodal projects have things like audio, pictures,
videos or text. Media, on the other hand, are the tools and material
resources used to produce and disseminate texts (p. 22). Examples of media
include books, radio, television, computers, paint brush and canvas, and
human voices (Lauer 227). An example of a multimodal project in the major
is the blogs, which can have moving images like gifs along with the words. A
multimedia project is something like a case study, where you analyze the
topic and themes of another text, like an advertisement. After youve made
your argument, like saying the advertisement has feminine themes, you can
support your argument by including different media like books and television
shows on the subject. When thinking of the difference between mode and
media, using a book an an example, the text is the mode and the book itself
is the medium. In a Youtube video, audio is the mode and the media is the
video itself. So while multimodal and multimedia are connected, you cant
always use one term in place of the other.
English majors are sometimes seen as people that just deal with words. The
EWM major teaches you how to enhance the words of a text with multimodal
and multimedia elements. As one effect of the social and the
representational changes, practices of writing and reading
have changed and are changing (Kress 17). The major uses multimedia and
multimodality to keep up with these changes in the writing world, because
English majors still need to be able to communicate well, but through these
new medium and modes. These multimedia projects teach you how these
new elements enhance your story. For example, the Wix I made as a digital
portfolio taught me that having multiple media makes my portfolio more
interactive for the reader. Instead of the reader being passive while reading a
text, then can interact with videos and links to other websites that I included.
This enhances the experience for the reader by giving them that active role
they are used to having on the internet.
The core classes in the major teach you the evolution of texts, how you
should communicate within these new spaces and the difference between
print and online. They also introduce multimedia and multimodality. Youll be
applying these skills with projects like Day of Text, blogs, websites, a viral
campaign, a photo essay and an image-text analysis.

Works Cited
Lauer, Claire. "Contending with Terms: "Multimodal" and "Multimedia" in the
Academic and Public Spheres." Science Direct (2009): 226-27. Web.
Kress, Gunther. "Gains and Losses: New Forms of Texts, Knowledge, and
Learning." Science Direct (2004): 17. Web.