Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


English and Theatre

First Advisor

Dominic Ashby

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Erin Presley

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Jill Parrott

Department Affiliation



The research presented here focuses on approaches to developing multimodal literacies through social semiotics, digital modes of communication, and multiliteracies. Intentionally developing these literacies opens the door for first-year writing students to build upon social discourses in which they already engage and develop new modes of meaning making outside of solely alphabetic literacy. Composition textbooks today, both traditional and Open Educational Resources (OER), become more effective in developing post-process and collaborative pedagogy writing standards when they focus on multimodal literacies and practices as outlined in this research. My research addresses both the historical precedent for multimodality in the Composition classroom as well as scholarship on how and why it is used in Composition classrooms today. I conclude by comparing and contrasting two first-year writing textbooks, one a traditional class text and the other an OER text, in order to assess their capacity for and applicability of multimodal approaches. Specific focus is given to both textbooks in terms of competency in adaptability, sociality, and digital contexts as they relate to student literacies.