English Ph.D. Dissertations


Harnessing Multimodality in First-Year Composition Classroom in Second Language (L2) Settings to Enhance Effective Writing

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


English (Rhetoric and Writing)

First Advisor

Daniel Vincent Bommarito (Committee Co-Chair)

Second Advisor

Sue Carter Wood (Committee Co-Chair)

Third Advisor

Farida A. Selim (Other)

Fourth Advisor

Kimberly Kaye Spallinger (Committee Member)


Digital space in the 21st century has given a new meaning to how second language (L2) learners can effectively use visual imagery to make meaning during writing in the composition classroom. The active participation of students to engage text during writing has drawn the attention of scholars to talk about the use of multimodal text in L2 settings. Shin & Cimasko assert research has noted that multimodal writing allows for better communication of knowledge and expression of personal identities through various modes of representation (2008). Jason Palmeri (2012) suggests that multimodal composing can enhance student invention and revision of alphabetic text (p. 32). Flower & Hayes on the other hand assert that if students are writing about a familiar place, the writer might perceive sensory (auditory, visual, olfactory) images of the place (p. 33). Drawing on these concepts, my research will explore how ESOL 1010 Academic first year composition students in second language settings at BGSU used multimodal tools in the composition classroom to participate in a General Writing Studies (GSW) showcase event, a regular writing program which gives opportunities to composition students to exhibit their writings. The study will also adopt a narrative approach to tell student’s stories about their multimodal experience before, during, and after using such tools in writing terms papers for the class. I will analyze survey data and personal interviews to assess the impact and usefulness of the multimodal approach in guiding students to develop text and making meaning, and how such learning skills can be applied in and outside the composition classroom to enhance student writing.