Three of the authors of this webtext were charged by our institution with redesigning first-year composition to accommodate the rapid growing population of online learners. Among many aspects to the redesign, one central element was to engage students in 21st century literacies as defined by NCTE's executive committee (2008). We began with learning outcomes for first-year composition that are widely used across the nation, the Writing Program Administrators Outcomes Statement (WPA OS) along with the Habits of Mind from the Framework of Success in Postsecondary Writing. Using a learner-centered pedagogy and heavy process-centered instruction with reflective writing, we developed assignments and tasks that gave students opportunities to respond to the learning outcomes.

We revised writing assignments that encouraged the development of multimodal composition. We aimed to help students understand that authors develop texts in response to a rhetorical situation for a specific audience and purpose, as opposed to defaulting to essay production for teacher as audience. The projects that students produced included, but were not limited to, blogs, videos, websites, sound portraits, newsletters, advertisements, and articles both for print and online forums.

When designing assignments, teachers must be aware of, and open to, available modes of representation and locate resources to aid students in multimodal composition. Student projects can include images, audio, and video to "expand the notion of control beyond the page that they [students] could think in increasingly broad ways about texts" to include multimodal assignments (Takayoshi & Selfe, 2007, p.2). Writing projects should present students with ways to engage their critical thinking skills in determining how best to respond to the rhetorical situation as presented in the writing assignment. In "Composing Multimodal Assignments," Mickey Hess (2007) stated, "Teachers who compose the best assignments, then, don't outline a step-by-step procedure for students to follow; instead, they create assignments that prompt writers to think in new ways" (p. 29). In an effort to incorporate multimodal composition, students were provided a rhetorical situation as scaffolding for each project and then invited to determine an audience, purpose, and genre.

As discussed in the course syllabus, throughout the semester students strived to achieve a "portfolio-ready" status on each of the major projects. Students developed a minimum of four required drafts of each project, and in lieu of a project grade, students received the status of "revise and resubmit" or "portfolio-ready" on the final copy. In addition to the final copy, students were required to submit a project metacognitive self-reflection, accounting for decisions made within the project and demonstrating an understanding of the learning outcomes. Once a project reached a "portfolio-ready" status, the project with all corresponding drafts and the metacognitive responses were moved into the course digital portfolio. In the digital portfolio, students had to make claims to demonstrate understanding for each learning outcome from all areas of the WPA OS and habits of mind. Using finished projects, discussion responses, early drafts, and invention work, students were asked to provide evidence that illustrated their learning.

As foundation to the redesign, we looked methodically at how students could successfully understand, engage with, and respond to the learning outcomes through multimodal composition by providing multimodal instruction. By engaging students with multimodal texts on portfolio development, we aimed to help students better process and more clearly understand expectations (Mayer et al, 1999). We developed a series of videos to support students' understanding of the portfolio, as many students had not previously produced a course portfolio. At the onset of the course, students were provided material on the course portfolio, which included a video on the learning outcomes, a video on constructing the portfolio, and the scoring guide. As the students worked on their projects and moved work into their portfolio, they were offered additional materials on how to construct the portfolio reflection that was summative of all work developed in the course. Students had access to a portfolio module, which included a video that provided guidance for making decisions about content selection and layout along with methods for constructing a course portfolio; a video that analyzed a student's successful portfolio; and instructional support for developing a portfolio in the digital platform Google Sites. Students also were provided links to multiple student example portfolios. Access to these digital assets offered students scaffolding for developing digital portfolios and aided them in producing a comprehensive portfolio that illustrated their learning throughout the semester.