Digital Storytelling

During the 2013 Spring Semester, I taught a course in digital storytelling for students in the Masters in Public Humanities program at the Center for Public Humanities at Brown University.

  • To download the syllabus I developed for the course, click here.
  • For a sample of stories developed during the course, click here.

Online resources used during the class are listed below the course description.

Course Description

The digital humanities present dynamic and daunting challenges for public humanists. Digital technologies are creating opportunities to engage diverse publics in the construction and dissemination of knowledge. They expand access to vast amounts of information that need to be curated and interpreted in ways that demand multimodal capabilities. Digital technologies are driving disciplinary convergences that open up new opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and reconsideration of how narratives are constructed and why. One implication is that public humanists are increasingly facing the challenge of how to become digital storytellers.

Digital storytelling takes the traditional craft and attributes of telling stories and merges it with diverse digital media. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to a broad set of digital storytelling genres and technologies. It will invite a critical and contextual examination of how digital narrative is constructed and how narrators position themselves and their audiences. Exploring digital storytelling will expand students’ capability to engage diverse publics in the construction and dissemination of knowledge in the arts and humanities. The course will explore digital storytelling in its many forms, including narrated film shorts, movement capture, locative media, digital timelines, DJing, electronic novels, audio documentaries, narrative computer games, podcasting, and blogging among others.

This class is workshop-based and production-oriented. In class, students will view and critique digital stories and participate in StoryCircles, whereby students share their works-in-progress and receive feedback. Each student will create a portfolio of digital stories.  This portfolio will include stories students have made, including a snapshot story, a personal story, a locative media and/or digital timeline story, a non-linear, interactive story, and a final project of student’s choice. Students will have the chance to create digital stories independently and in small groups. Students’ digital stories will be published to a course blog and showcased in class. Students will curate a final, public exhibition of work produced in the class.

The class will be the firrst workshop-based class to be held in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab located in the Rockefeller library. The Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab features a large- scale visualization video wall comprised of twelve 55-inch high-resolution LED screens, creating a 7 x 16 foot display with a combined resolution of over 24 megapixels, offering high quality viewing and analytical space not publicly available elsewhere on campus. The Lab is also outfitted with a wide range of soware for scholars across the disciplines, a high-de#nition audio system, video conferencing capabilities, specialized lighting, and several individual touch-screen monitors that can be used independently or linked to the video wall for collaborative display and interaction.

Students will be required to make active use of Twitter (#AMST2699). We will be using Twitter to curate digital storytelling and share information with one another. The class will build a network of followers who will consume our curated information and share information with us. We will also use Twitter to document and share how our class unfolds. If you do not have a Twitter account, register now. A list of optional sources for digital stories can be found on page 16. I look forward to adding sources throughout the course.

Online Resources

 Digital Storytelling Software

  • iMovie is included with Apple OS X
  • MovieMaker is included with Windows XP
  • Microsoft Photo Story (see http://www.microsoft.com) is free for Windows XP and newer.
  • InAlbum (www.inalbum.com) is a slideshow maker for older versions of Windows, available as a free or shareware version.
  • Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net) is a sound editor with versions for Apple OS X, Windows and Linux.
  • Gimp (www.gimp.org) is a free image editing program for Linux, Unix, Windows and Apple computers.