FIU English students share how to get the most out of online classes

Class community is always important. As we face a pandemic that isolates all of us in unprecedented ways, it’s easy to feel like we interact more with the screen than with people in real life.

Multimodal activities are one way of challenging this isolation.

English students Bruna Goulart, Karla Rodriguez and Samantha Soria, and assistant teaching professor Christine Martorana represented FIU at the 2020 CCCC Virtual Conference at the University of Southern California.

While the lack of physical, in-person interaction in an online course can leave students feeling isolated, the group shared four specific activities they used in their online writing class to overcome this hurdle:

  • Introduction videos on FlipGrid
    • The use of videos allowed students to introduce themselves by combining visual, gestural and aural modes. This activity challenged the loss of body/voice/face of virtual classes as students saw each other’s faces.
      • “I felt more comfortable talking about personal experiences whenever it seemed fit for our discussions,” Goulart said. “We weren’t talking to strangers. We had already met each other through this activity.”
  • Translation moments videos
    • Each student recorded a video using linguistic and gestural modes to recount a moment they had to translate something.
      • “We were able to relate with one another the most when we all shared our translation examples in the use of bilingual language,” Soria said.
  • Print zines
    • Through this exercise, students had a hands-on experience taking a message from one medium and translating it into another, gaining further knowledge on multimodality.
  • Multimodal Theories of Writing
    • The final activity gave students creative self-expression to combine different modes in diverse ways.

For more on their presentation, click here.