Review of Toward a Composition Made Whole by Jody Shipka

Reviewed by Brandy Dieterle, University of Central Florida

link to summary pagelink to introduction pagelink to Rethinking Composition and Processlink to Partners in Actionlink to Framework for ActionLink to Making Things Fitlink to Negotiating Differencelink to ConclusionLink to References


Photo of the book cover

Multimodal composition has been gaining ground in the field of composition studies for years, and Jody Shipka is a foundational voice in that conversation. Toward a Composition Made Whole advocates for a broadened definition of composition to include non-print, non-linear texts and asks composition teachers to revisit the idea of the writing process. In her text, Shipka redefined the term technology to mean more than computer-mediated writing. Similarly, she portrayed rhetoric as a much richer and more complex process than what has been captured in previous studies, and she provided an alternative pedagogical approach to writing assignments.

This video serves as my goal statement for this book review. View transcript.

Kairos readers interested in multimodal composition will find a unique perspective as well as various assignments to try for themselves. One such assignment was the multimodal goal statement, in which "students detail how, why, and under what conditions they made their rhetorical, technological, and methodological choices....the statements serve an additional purpose in providing [Shipka] with ways of both navigating and responding to texts that may not look or work like texts with which [she is] more familiar" (p. 113). Here, I offer my own goal statement in presenting this book review just as Shipka asked her students to do in her classroom. Within my goal statement, I've attempted to "attend to how the goals [I] set, and how the genres, materials, methods, and technologies [I] chose to work with authorize certain courses of action and outcomes while blocking or forbidding others" (p. 119). I specifically address the various settings I composed in, note-taking methods, support of human actors, and design choices. According to Shipka, these goal statements increase awareness of the sometimes invisible writing strategies that help writers accomplish their rhetorical goals and impact an audience. The goal statement and assessment of multimodal texts is discussed in more detail in the Negotiating Difference section.

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