The cognitive and affective domains are inseparable” (Rimland). Outcomes related to the affective domain teach students the value and application of course content. In other words, this domain emphasizes self-reflection and internalization. It makes learning meaningful. It challenges students to value their education, to think critically about their belief systems, and to make behavioral and attitudinal changes based on new learning experiences.

Therefore, instructors should consider the following educational outcome: “Apply knowledge, skills, and values learned from course work and life experiences to new situations” (Waller 12). This outcome requires students to engage in the affective domain.

In addition to this learning objective, Simonson and Maushak offer six guidelines for effective design of attitude instruction:

  • Make the instruction realistic, relevant, and technically stimulating
  • Present new information
  • Present persuasive messages in a credible manner
  • Elicit purposeful emotional involvement
  • Involve the learner in planning, production, or delivery of the message
  • Provide post-instruction discussion or critique opportunities (qtd. in Miller)

Meaningful assignments yield meaningful student work. Through multimodal media projects, composition instructors can teach rhetorical and technical skills necessary for students to succeed in college, all while tapping into the affective domain.

First, instructors must let go of the belief that students have to churn out 6-8 print essays each semester:

To prepare students to communicate effectively, literacy educators need to create opportunities for them to investigate the intersections that exist between old and new literacies. Teachers need not accomplish this in a fragmented way . . . Instead, as we have argued, it is possible to design assignments that invite students to integrate multiple literacies, thus equipping them ‘with the skills necessary to read, write and critique the ‘old forms’ of literacy—specifically verbal literacy—and to read, write and critique the ‘new forms’ of visual representation that exist in digital media like the World Wide Web (Connors 225).

Next, instructors should teach students to master composition in more than one medium:

Historical studies of writing technologies have demonstrated how all writing is hybrid—it is at once verbal, spatial, and visual. Acknowledging this hybridity means that the relations among word and image, verbal texts and visual texts, “visual culture” and “print culture” are all dialogic relationships rather than binary opposites” (Hocks 631).

This website will present seven affective, multimodal composition projects that will engage students in more than one domain—in more than one medium. Faculty may choose to assign one or more of these projects as alternatives to print essays.

  • “Family Quilt” Soundmap
  • “What is that?” Infographic
  • “Collage” Computer Graphic or Animation
  • “Public Service Announcement” Voiceover Video
  • “Advertisement” Remix
  • “Digital Symphony” Soundscape
  • “Collective Intelligence” Transmedia

Each project includes the following sections:

The “Educational Outcomes” section lists specific cognitive and affective strategies to engage and retain at-risk college students. Students will learn the rhetorical, technical, and emotional skills necessary to succeed at college and in professional life.

The “Preparation” section lays the theoretical foundation for each assignment. Instructors will reference literature by experts in the field of digital media and rhetoric. Instructors will also teach traditional essay modes as they relate to alternative assignments.

The “Activity” section provides step-by-step project instructions for students.