Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Julia E. Romberger

Committee Member

Kevin Depew

Committee Member

Rochelle Rodrigo

Committee Member

Scott Lloyd DeWitt


Providing a close examination of how professors approach twenty-first century literacy practices and production of multimodal texts, this project focuses on community college professors’ perceptions and expectations of students’ composing abilities pertaining to academic discourse across disciplines. Participants included 24 professors from a variety of disciplines at a large community college. The project examined survey responses, assignment guidelines, course syllabi, course outcomes, and video interviews of five of the 24 participants. Video interviews provided greater insight into participants’ perceptions and expectations. Additionally, research questions targeted course and assignment design, course outcomes, and assessment practices. Data findings suggest that despite access to technology, increased availability of mobile devices (for both instructors and students), and ample information technology support, student production of multimodal texts is occurring minimally at the site in question. Participants appear to struggle with meeting course outcomes and addressing course content when attempting to integrate modes other than written or alphabetic; therefore, they do not actively pursue a multimodal pedagogy.

Recognizing the value of integrating digital technologies into course and assignment designs is often challenging for community college instructors who might struggle with understanding the technologies available to them or who do not possess the skills or time to develop technologically advanced courses. However, literacy practices today include producing texts in written, visual, aural or digital modes, all of which encourage the use of digital technologies and production of multimodal texts. Most recent scholarship has not fully examined whether making meaning of and producing multimodal texts is congruent with academic discourse in a community college setting. Indeed, community colleges enroll “43% (7.5 million credit students) of the postsecondary education student population, yet they continue to be the most understudied” (Kater & Levin, 2013, p. ix). Reporting on faculty perceptions across disciplines, this study provides a valuable analysis of the challenges community college professors confront and confirms an interest in developing a multimodal pedagogy, but recognizes that resistance occurs due to limitations in time and ensuring alignment with course outcomes.