Digital and Multimodal: Shifts in Vocational Higher Education Academic Literacy and Textual Practices

By Lynn Coleman.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 16, 2016 $US5.00

This article reports on a research study that explored students’ assignment production in a vocational web design and development course in South Africa. In this course, digitally-mediated multimodal texts dominated the assessment regime, while written texts like essays were less prominent. Informed by an academic literacies perspective, this study used an ethnographically orientated research methodology to explore the research question “What are the student academic literacy practices in the web design and development course”? A thematic analysis highlighted how the academic and professional contexts of web design and development and its interrelationship in the curriculum influenced the kinds of texts and academic literacy practices that gained status in the course. The findings of this study highlight the dominance of literacy and textual practices associated with the professions and challenge the continued dominance of essayist literacies, especially in vocational higher education. The argument presented in this article adds weight to the increased recognition that the textual and literacies landscape of the university is shifting, while also emphasizing the central role played by the academic environment in the shaping the digital and multimodal texts and practices that are privileged.

Keywords: Academic Literacy Practices, Digitally-mediated Multimodal Texts, Vocational Higher Education

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 23, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 16, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 788.504KB)).

Dr. Lynn Coleman

Senior Lecturer, Fundani, Centre for Higher Education Development, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa