English Ph.D. Dissertations


Answering the Call of Duty: Composition Pedagogy Problems, Multimodal Solutions, and Gaming Literacies

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


English (Rhetoric and Writing)

First Advisor

Kristine Blair (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Richard Gebhardt (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Lance Massey (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Tim Messer-Kruse (Committee Member)


Acknowledging calls for future research involving video games and rhetoric and composition, this dissertation project answers those calls and furthers our understanding about playing video games as rhetorical action, but more importantly, this dissertation shows how a writing pedagogy based on gaming helps students better understand traditional and multimodal composition processes if the playing experience and the writing experience are considered together.

The dissertation situates video games within multimodal composition and as a result shows how multimodal principles are being demonstrated through an analysis of a variety of video games as case study examples. The dissertation reveals how students might realize connections between traditional and multimodal literacies easier and how instructors might solve common composition pedagogy problems through analyzing and adapting gaming literacy practices. The dissertation concludes with theorizing about how writing pedagogy based on gaming practices influences writing assessment with special attention toward student selfassessment and motivation.

As a collection of five chapters, this dissertation will help rhetoric and composition scholars understand video games as a form of multimodal composition. The dissertation will also help scholars approach playing video games as a rhetorical action and explore how contemporary composition pedagogy benefits from understanding how players work through video games using a variety of resources in print and electronic media.