Reading Response II

The link to Ball reading annotations: Ball Reading Annotations  (spittman16 is Hypothesis name) 

For Unit II, we had to read two separate pieces. The first reading was by Ball and titled What Are Multimodal Projects and the second reading was by Howard Rheingold and titled Net Smart.

The reading response serves as an opportunity to compare and contrast both readings. While I unintentionally did this assignment incorrectly, I believe that the aspects of multimodality discussed in the Ball reading can be compared and contrasted with the platform of the Web, which Rheingold discusses in his article. 

As a quick note, I fully understand that multimodality and the interweb are two different platforms. However, I would asssert that the Web undoubtebly contains the aspects in which Ball discusses. The web is its own platform but it contains a lot of factors which contribute to a mulitmodal project. With that being said, I feel that I was able to indentify some aspects which Ball discussed in put them to practice in the Rheibgold article. 

I found that the Ball reading introduced, defined, and exemplified aspects of multimodality, while the Rheingold reading took a specific platform, the internet, and examined the pros and cons of the internet from a  perspective that was inclusive towards multimodal ideas. 

Ball asserts that the idea of being “multimodal” is not based off one sole factor, but instead the works of many different models working together to create the idea of multimodality. The linguistic mode, the visual mode, aural mode, and the gestural mode all are combined in a variety of ways to create multimodal platforms.

The modes of multimodality serve as a pathway for effective communication. This is vital to the process of creating the final presentation poster. While the post descriptions are a way to execute multimodality, I find that the final poster will be the test of effectively using multimodal strategies to illustrate our research.

My biggest take away from the Ball reading was the multimodality is not just inserting pictures and videos for the sake of entertainment, but rather for the sake of effectively communicating a message, expressing an idea, or presenting ideas in a clear and concise fashion.

Howard Rheingold’s article plays off of Ball’s article in the sense that Rheingold uses the Web as an example of a platform. I was able to find that aspects such as visual, audial, and the way a site is layed out play into the terms which Ball has introduced previously. From social media to research powerhouses, the Web is full of resources in which students have access to. However, Rheingold warns his header that while the Web is full of purpose, us researchers must ensure that the sources we use are credible. He finds that Web to be a place where ideas can be exchanged, a platform where connections can be made with people, and most importantly, plays off the idea that the Web serves the purpose of communicating.

In short, Ball’s article is a broader layout of multimodal projects, while Rheingold takes the Web specifically and draws out intentionally how multimodality has affected the web and how we as researchers can identify ways in which multimodality is intertwined within the Web.

My assertions may be off, but I find that the Web has been able to thrive due to multimodal aspects. The Web is engaging, it is playful, and it serves a variety of purposes that play into the rhetoric of multimodality. 


Ball, Cheryl E., et al. Writer/Designer: a Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. Bedford/St. Martins, 2018.


Rheingold, Howard. Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. The Mit Press, 2014.