Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Lucy Spence

Second Advisor

Catherine Compton-Lilly


The purpose of my dissertation study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of English language instructors about the use of multimodal digital technologies in the teaching of academic writing. Writing academically in English as a second language (L2) is complex and multilayered for international students, and multimodal digital literacy practices are essential in the writing process in the age of information technology. The literature on multimodal digital literacies applied to L2 English instruction and to academic writing and the literature on teachers’ impressions about instructional technologies are vast. However, there is a need for further studies that address the perceptions of L2 language instructors and their experiences with instructional technologies in the teaching of L2 English academic writing in intensive English programs (IEP). This qualitative study explored that topic through the theoretical lens of multimodal literacies using a semiotic approach. Five instructors contributed to the study with individual interviews, weekly reflections, and teaching artifacts. The findings highlight the affordances of new digital media, and they add insight into the multimodal nature of second language writing. The participants highlighted positive affordances of digital literacies as well as their concerns. The findings brought up (1) issues related to the digital divide among adult international students; (2) the instructor’s philosophies of L2 teaching and learning; and (3) the instructor’s socio-semiotic perspectives on L2 English academic writing. In the discussion, I identified and unpacked what they named as the underlying factors that inform their choices of multimodal digital literacy practices, which can inform programs for teacher education and professional development as well as future research on multimodal digital literacies.


© 2023, Priscila Jovazino Bastos Medrado Costa