Not another website. That phrase came into my head earlier this evening. I was giving some more though to how a dissertation could be presented in a non-traditional (i.e. entirely text-based) format. In particular, I was thinking about multimodality, the rationale being to present a dissertation that reflects the nature of my wider participation in the course. Or to put it another way, the dominant themes and tasks during the MSc haven't been concerned with putting text on the page therefore why start now?
An obvious choice might be to present the dissertation across a website. I've built a few websites for coursework assignments during the MSc therefore it feels like there would be a certain safety in doing so for the greater task of the dissertation. I recognise that the mode of presentation should be aligned to the content or the subject matter I choose to focus on within the dissertation (I'm thinking about Gunther Kress's 'aptness of mode', here) however a website feels like treading old ground.
One idea that may or not be appropriate (but I'm going to record it here anyway) would be to create an online publication/e-book - like the documents I've create in issuu. One that springs to mind is the commonplace book I prepared for the E-Learning and Digital Cultures course. On the one hand, this type of document/resource allows for academic conventions (such as presentation, structure, citations) to be met. At the same time however, it allows for hyperlinks, audio, video, imagery and probably other digital jiggery pokery depending on how much time/money I would be prepared to spend on the software. In terms of structure, it would also be relatively straightforward or consistent with a traditional dissertation. I quite the combination of experimentation, without going so far from the norm that it becomes risky.
I've just retrieved the commonplace book I mentioned. In fact it turns out I put two together for the EDC course. The one pictured above is my lifestream summary assignment. I think the screenshot shows how this approach can be seen as multimodal and reflective of some of the strands that have run through my participation on the MSc programme. The presentation of information is visual, textual and aural (the post it note cites sound that accompanies what's on the page. I think it will be interesting to consider whether this could lend itself to a dissertation.