Publication Date

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Bradley Smith, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Amanda Athon, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Becky Nugent, Ph.D.


Looking at multimodal composition through the perspective of disability studies, this thesis explores the links between multiple intelligences and multimodality to discover the rhetorical skills students report learning as a result of this method of teaching. The exploration of this topic includes a study involving students enrolled at a small Midwestern university. A qualitative approach was used, with the author directly interviewing students about their experiences with multimodal composition to determine the skills developed as a result of this approach. Prior to the interview, the student volunteers took a test based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. This test was included to discover any links between multimodal composition, multiple intelligences and rhetorical skills students reported developing. Using grounded theory as a foundation, the author analyzed the study results and concluded by suggesting a pedagogy framed in universal design for learning that provides access to the composition classroom to all students.