Teaching digital-multimodal composition for digital-born students: Exploring pedagogical applications of interactive narrative media

August 2023
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Digital-immigrant rhetoric and composition instructors bear a heavy burden of teaching digital-born students who have an intrinsic potential to be fluent in digital-multimodal texts but require philosophical and technology-driven pedagogical interventions to build digital literacy skills and rhetorical proficiency with multimodal texts. In today’s educational landscape, which is constantly changing due to digital technology, applying all-inclusive and interdisciplinary narrative theories – which have invariable communicative and pedagogical value – is the most suitable solution for digital-immigrant instructors. But despite narrative’s immense educational potential, in the English discipline, there is a long-standing devaluation of narrative, exemplified by the dominant utilitarian tendency found in both literature and rhetoric and composition courses. In this complex educational environment, interactive narrative – a descendant of traditional narrative – is a tool that can be applied 1) to teach students how to navigate new media technology with creative and critical thinking skills and understand how rhetorical meaning can be created and delivered, 2) to give digital-born students a wider perception of the physically explorable or even unexplorable world through interactive and immersive participation, and 3) to enlighten both digital-immigrant instructors as well as digital-born students about using their voices effectively in public rhetorical spheres by exercising the maximized agency that interactive narrative provides. Validating the educational value of interactive narrative, this dissertation argues interactive narrative needs to be integrated into current multimodal composition courses, acting as a convergent “lens” to shed light on the pedagogical value of a unified liberal arts education in the lightning-fast digital revolution and to build a narratological bridge between multimodal media technology, digital immigrant teachers, and digital-born students.

Language, Rhetoric and Composition, Education, Language and Literature