Multimodality Review

The method of publication and access were especially important to consider when reviewing this book. The digital publication takes the text beyond the library walls and makes knowledge accessible to the masses. Anyone with Internet access can read most of this book. This format suited the theme of collaboration in digital spaces, as it made knowledge useful and applicable, and as a collaborative book, it stands as an example of the success that can come from collaboration.

As mentioned several times throughout the review, the degree to which each chapter takes advantage of the medium of publication varies. All chapters include some links. Some of the links are to institutional websites and others are to teaching resources. While many links are still active and therefore useful, many of the other links lead to pages that have been moved. In most if not all cases, the links act as supplemental material, so the intent of the chapters is not impacted; but again, the sustainability of links proves to be an issue worth considering in regards to the long-term sustainability of digital publications.

Some chapter authors embed videos within the text. As discussed previously, the issue with videos is where and how the text is read. If the chapters are downloaded and opened in Adobe Reader, the videos play as long as there is an Internet connection. But, if the chapters are only opened in a browser window, the videos do not play. Each video is still accessible to a degree, however, because of transcripts provided in the appendix for the chapters.

One additional consideration with the format of the book again relates to how the reader experiences the text. If the chapters are opened in a browser, when the reader clicks a link, the reader is directed away from the chapter rather than opening the link in a new window. While this is a minor inconvenience, it does interrupt the reading process. When the reader navigates back, their spot in the chapter is not saved and they are returned to the beginning of the chapter. If a reader is reading the entire book as a single PDF, this becomes even more of an issue. While there are easy ways users can get around this, putting the onus on readers is unique to this publication format.

Final Thoughts

Collaborative Approaches built a strong discussion of how collaboration is being used in digital English studies and why it should be used even more. From preparing graduate students to engaging students in an American university poetry class, this book sets out to bring attention to collaborative work and is ultimately successful in that.

This book would be most useful for professors and scholars within higher education. The language and concepts speak directly to English studies departments, although the collaborative ideas presented may be applied to various departments in a university setting. Secondary teachers could also benefit by exposing their students to the ideas put forth in Collaborative Approaches early in their education, possibly giving them a head start on ideas they may encounter with the further development of the digital landscape.

A word cloud image that lists various key terms that come from the text under review.