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By any means necessary: Understanding the literacy and technology practices of using multimedia in a college history course

, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States

Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded


This dissertation presents the results of a research study conducted at a private university on the uses of a "Multimedia Study Environment" (MSE) in an undergraduate African-American history course. The Autobiography of Malcolm X MSE is a hypertext environment composed of the entire text of the autobiography, interviews with key players and critics, transcripts as well as audio and video of Malcolm X's speeches and writings, the entire FBI file on Malcolm X, annotations on the original text, and links to other online resources. Through this environment, then, readers can become immersed in the text, studying each passage not only by reading it but also by following the links or watching multimedia presentations of additional information. Currently, many researchers believe that technological innovations like the MSE help to define and shape literacy practices. Therefore, as literacies are used in and through technology, questions about the impact of technology on defining literacy practices emerge. New technologies may even catalyze new literacy practices. This research study used ethnographic methodologies including participant observation, subject interviews of three focal students as well as the professor and teaching assistant, and artifact collection to study the uses of the Malcolm X MSE in the history course and outside it. All data collected were analyzed using nVIVO analysis software and a constant-comparative analysis framework. Findings indicate specific patterns of use of the MSE in ways that were both consistent with and opposed to the uses of other, print-based texts in the class as well as shifts and challenges in the overall power structure and epistemological position of the course. These findings and their implications for literacy and technology practices in higher education, as well as for more general pedagogical questions, are presented and discussed.


Cammack, D.W. By any means necessary: Understanding the literacy and technology practices of using multimedia in a college history course. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved August 15, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

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