Comics in the Literature Classroom: How Multimodal Learning Can Create Better Citizens


  • Nicole Flynn


assessment, graphic novel, humanities


This essay describes an adaptable, multimodal assignment in which students create a comic in lieu of a traditional essay or exam. I outline the theoretical and practical value of this assignment and provide a detailed description of its implementation in two different literature courses: an introduction to the major course and a course on literature of diverse cultures. Based on the research and my experience, I argue that this assignment increases student engagement and teaches crucial skills, such as critical thinking, textual analysis, and argumentation. I suggest that an assignment such as this, in which students not only read but also produce comics, enables them to develop multimodal literacies essential in the twenty-first century. Furthermore, it helps students develop the imagination, empathy, and creativity necessary to be productive citizens in our Republic of Opinion.

Author Biography

Nicole Flynn

Nicole Flynn is an Assistant Professor of English at South Dakota State University who specializes in twentieth century British Literature and theatre. She is the author of “Clockwork Women: Temporality and Form in Jean Rhys’s Interwar Novels” in Rhys Matters (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012) and “The Magazine-Programme and the Broadbrow Sophisticate: Britain’s Interwar Theatre Culture (forthcoming in Modernist Cultures). She teaches literature and composition in the English Department’s undergraduate program, graduate program, and the Honors College.