The MuLVu Project: an innovation project that starts in practice

TIMDA har bjudit in två norska kollegor Eli Tronsmo och Cornelia Egge att skriva ett blogginlägg från projektet MuLVu – Multimodale lærings- og vurderingsformer.

Teachers in the MuLVu-project during a workshop. 

In this blog posting, Eli Tronsmo (postdoc) and Cornelia Egge (Phd-candidate) share experiences from the Norwegian innovation project “Multimodal Learning and Assessment in 1:1 classrooms” (MuLVu).  Drawing on a socio-material lens, they first illuminate researcher–practitioner collaboration in design-based research.  Next, they provide a peephole into an ongoing PhD-project that empirically investigates the progression of multimodal digital student texts in the Norwegian L1 subject.

Teacher-researcher collaboration

The MuLVu project empirically investigates how pupils in lower secondary education in Norway (age 13-15) compose multimodal texts, and how teachers assess these texts in one-to-one classrooms. In this blog post, we share some methodological reflections on the researcher-teacher collaboration during our research.

Over a number of years, assessment research has documented that assessment is not only one of the most important areas of competence for teachers; it is also one of the most demanding (e.g. Brown & Harris, 2016). The way teachers assess, their perceptions of assessment, and the assessment tools they use, are not trivial issues.

Few guidelines exist, however, for practitioners in the area of assessment of multimodal texts in 1:1 classrooms. A review article on multimodal literacies practices reveals that there is a disjuncture between multimodal production and assessment practice (Tan et al. 2020). Hence and as previously discussed on this blog, there is a need for more knowledge about the assessment of multimodal student texts, both in research and practice.

By virtue of being an innovation project, the methodological framework for MuLvu was set as Design-based research (DBR). (For further reading on DBR, see McKenney and Roblin, 2018).  The innovation in the MuLVu project includes, among other things, the modelling of adequate and productive forms of assessment of multimodal student compositions. Therefore, the design of learning and assessment environments is woven together with the exploration and testing of theory, in close teacher-researcher collaboration. A feature of DBR is that it intends to produce both useful products (in our case, a national resource for teachers to further develop assessment practices of multimodal student texts) and scientific insight into ways in which these products can be used in education (McKenney and Roblin, 2018).

For us as researchers, a persistent theme along the way has been the choice of strategies for teacher involvement in the project. How could we provide nuanced accounts of emerging practices in complex settings while maintaining methodological rigor? As DBR contains research-practice interactions through the processes and the expertise of the various people involved, we looked for ways to make our research more “co-generative” through processes of researcher–practitioner interactions.

In our approach to these questions, it was refreshing to read a paper by the innovation scholars Arne Carlsen and colleagues (2014). They offer a methodological contribution for ways to make the co-production of knowledge generative for both research and for practice. Through a method developed in research collaboration with an architectural firm and an international energy company – both highly innovative organizations, they show how they ”…shifted the interaction from something that tends to be monologic, and researcher-owned to a dialogue of tactile involvement where participants are granted agency to rate, compare, and combine” (p.295). This inspired us in the way we structured our work with the teachers:

In joint workshops, the teachers from different schools modelled experiences and ideas for each other. We established spaces where the design of learning and assessment environments for multimodal student products was in itself turned into objects of collective exploration. One strategy was to supplement the teachers’ modelling with concepts, pictures, short texts, and models based on our observations from the field. These socio-material visual and textual modes of meaning mediated the co-construction of knowledge and made it possible to involve the teachers in analyses and theory development along the way. From an analytical researcher perspective, this approach allowed us to identify the teachers’ innovative practices as a series of material instantiations within wider circuits of knowledge.  

Students’ meaning making in relation

to tasks and feedback

The MuLvu project has generated a rich data corpus on students’ multimodal texts; both in terms of processes and products. As such, the project has not only focused on teachers and their assessment practices, but also on students’ work in 1:1 classrooms. A recently established PhD project within the MuLVu umbrella takes a closer look precisely at the multimodal text production of students. In the context of the school subject of Norwegian L1, PhD candidate Cornelia Egge takes students’ digital texts (age 13-15) as a starting point. Drawing on video data from students’ work with group assignments in classrooms, individual assignments, and final versions of multimodal texts, the project explores the complex processes involved in the ways students make meaning in relation to the task and the feedback provided by the teacher. Through selected empirical cases (e.g. a poetry analysis), the teacher’s assignment formulation, assessment criteria, the students’ available tools, and the process toward the final multimodal product, are seen in context.

As for the school subject of Norwegian L1, students are expected to produce a wide range of texts. During their three years in lower secondary school (age 13-15), the Competence Aims described in the curriculum serve as a presumption of competence development in which students progress from “explorative” to “conscious” production of multimodal texts. After completing Year 10, students are, according to the curriculum, expected to “create multimedia texts and justify the choice of forms of expression”. However, few researchers have looked into how this progression happens in practice, and which competencies teachers emphasize when providing feedback to their students. 

The L1 subject is particularly interesting in this context, as students’ varied text competence forms a central part of what they are expected to learn and are assessed in. Thus, there is a need for more knowledge of the ways in which students navigate in concrete situations in 1:1 classrooms, and we need to understand more of the texts the students produce. In addition to the question of what is given value by the teachers through processes of assessment, Cornelia will explore these topics in more detail.


Brown, G. T., & Harris, L. R. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of human and social conditions in assessment (p. 323). New York, NY: Routledge.

Carlsen, A., Rudningen, G., & Mortensen, T. F. (2014). Playing the cards: Using collaborative artifacts with thin categories to make research co-generative. Journal of Management Inquiry23(3), 294-313.

Magnusson, P., & Godhe, A.-L. (2019). Multimodality in Languaga Education – Implications for Teaching. Designs for learning, 11(1), 127-137. 

McKenney, S., & Roblin, N. P. (2018). Connecting research and practice: Teacher inquiry and design-based research. In Second handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education (pp. 449-462). 

Tan, L., Zammit, K., D’warte, J., & Gearside, A. (2020). Assessing multimodal literacies in practice: A critical review of its implementations in educational settings. Language and Education34(2), 97-114.

Guests from Norway blogging about The MuLVu Project: an innovation project that starts in practice


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