Digital Storytelling in a Liberal Arts Context

Thursday, Héctor and I (and Deb Ellis, if she’s not filming in Boston) drive down to Williams College to join the folks at the Digital Storytelling Symposium. I know that Bryan Alexander will be there, but who else? And what kinds of projects have they embarked on? I really know nothing of the digital storytelling going on in the Northeast and am especially interested in hearing about other liberals arts teachers are incorporating the work into their classrooms.

Héctor and I will give a short presentation of our work at Middlebury:


Digital Stories within Six Academic Settings: Emergence Theory at Work

I. Literature and Film-based First-year Seminar:
Contemporary Ireland through Fiction and Film

DS Pedagogical Goals:

A. To Build A Learning Collaborative through the Process and Outcomes

B. To Enable Students to Connect the Course Content to their Own Cultural Context

C. To Expand Viewpoints and to Deepen Understanding of Film and Literature

Example: Dan’s Story

Additional/Emergent Outcomes:

C. Coupled with the Blog and A Strong Student-Centered, Project-Based Syllabus, students, without prompting, folded digital storytelling into their own collaborative research projects, using digital stories as a means of serious academic discourse.
Example:Dan and Elise’s Project

D. Students Incorporated Digital Storytelling in the Interpretation and Analysis of Literature.
Example = Amanda’s’s “The Frontier of Writing”

E. Students used digital storytelling to add a personal context to a research project.
Example: Marisa’s Final Project

F. Student-made digital stories became course material.

II. Creative Writing Course

Pedagogical Goals:

A. For students to re-see language, to re-invigorate their relationship with words, to have them explore the relationship between text, sound and image.
Example: Alex’s Digital Story

Additional Outcomes:

B. Students moved digital stories into a realm of slam poetry/visual improvisation, what I believe might be a new genre of writing:
Example : Zoey’s “Dad Dance” (on DVD right now)

III. Composition Classes

WP 101

Arts writing course

Pedagogical Goals:

A. To foster the learning community

B. To help students move gracefully between formal and informal, academic and create modes of discourse.

Examples: Suzie Mozes
Katy Olson

Additional Outcomes:

C. Students re-create citations as digital stories: the story becomes the source and the authority.

IV. Independent Study Courses–Advanced Work

Dominique’s moving from Digital Stories in El170 to an independent study with Héctor in Diigtal Stories to filmmmaking courses with Deb Ellis.

Alex Moody’s Full-Year Project : A Collection of Digital Stories

V. Digital Storytelling as Service Learning


Irish Film Project

Links to the Rural Medicine Preceptorships and
The Digital Storytelling Community Collaborative

VI. Storytelling in the Library

In Process: Library Stories to Celebrate the Opening of the New Middlebury College Library


3 Responses

  1. Excellent presentation, Barbara! Very exciting to see the projects and hear your thinking about teaching and writing.

  2. Thanks, Bryan. It was good to see you there, too, and I was glad that you asked the question about maps/GIS and digital stories. Maps came up at BLOGTALK, too–I’d like very much to incorporate them into some of my courses. I can see, for instance, using maps for the artswriting ‘zine. Any ideas?

    Looking forward to November’s NITLE presentation. In my fall artswriting course I will continue to work on the effective integration of digital media into the work and so will, by then, if all goes well, have taken all this work one more step down the road.


  3. Thanks for posting the outline from your presentation, Barbara. In an online discussion on BreadNet, as the summer “Writing to Make a Difference” class keeps rolling, a question came up about what digital storytelling is. I’ve shared your postings and links with these students.

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