While the study of cases remains a constant throughout the entire program, including year three, the build up of skills in producing the various elements of the Writing Portfolio in Years 1 and 2, along with the written products submitted to this point, function as the scaffolding towards a multi-media project.
Students will pursue the work of re-contextualizing their text-based case studies in the world of resources the web makes available. We will provide a rich, flexible template that will allow the students to devote all their energies to composing with the appropriate multimedia resources. Over time, we plan to expand the range of web-based publishing options so that, as future cohorts come up through the program, our most experienced and adventurous students can participate actively in both the composition of their case studies and the design of the web space used for showcasing their work. In any event, from the first cohort onward, our graduates will have learned how to compose with and for the screen and will leave our program prepared to share the fruits of their research with fellow practitioners the world over. In practice, this translates into requiring that the students produce their work in an online composing environment that supports the use of still and moving images, animation, graphics, and sound, as well as text.
There are a number of pedagogical reasons for having our students submit dissertations that are multimedia case studies. First, and foremost, our highest goal is to have the case studies engage with multiple contexts and for the case studies to be trans-disciplinary in their range of reference. While an exclusively text-based case study could meet this standard, the advantage of the multimedia case study is that it can engage with non-text-centric contexts and sources, including still and moving images, sound files, as well as all the ephemeral evidence available on the web itself, such as tweets, Facebook posts, and chat room exchanges. Second, we want our students to be composing in a format that is designed for immediate, global circulation. While any text-based case study that has been converted to a .pdf can meet this standard, the multimedia case study is designed from the outset for the screen and for a readership that assumes that any important contemporary document is born digital. Third, we want our students to all be literate in the culture’s most powerful means of communication and to be conversant with the challenges that digital technology poses for young and old alike.
In the third year, students will continue to add to their annotated bibliographies as they locate new resources for their multi-media projects.