Flexibility in Use in Multimodal Assignments

The Universal Design principle of flexibility in use will ensure that multimodal assignments accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities (or disabilities). According to the Center for Universal Design, this means “providing choice in methods of use” and “provide adaptability to user’s pace.” For multimodal assignments, this could mean:

  • Offering students choices of how to complete the assignment. For instance, allowing students to:
    • select which modes to rhetorically engage;
    • decide whether to use digital or material modes of expression;
    • decide which tools/technologies to engage for composing;
    • select how to present their multimodal composition (e.g. pre-recorded video, oral presentation); and
    • choose how to spend class workshopping time.
  • Avoiding normative assumptions of how long it will take students to create their multimodal compositions or to learn new technologies. In designing the unit or assignment, err on the side of offering additional time instead of a tight assignment sequence. At a minimum, offer flexible deadlines to allow students, who encounter challenges in the composing process, the opportunity to succeed.


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