Storytelling and the Digital Media Course
Assistant Professor, Communication/Journalism
St. John Fisher College
Please follow along
Introduction to Digital Media
Offered three times to date.
COMM 260 Topics
Digital Media Tools
Place in curriculum
First course in Digital Media “track” within
Major Elective for Applied Information
Fulﬁlls a core requirement for all students.
(Perspectives in the Arts)
Be creative/think outside the box.
Think in terms of stories.
Something (one thing) for everyone.
Core Learning Goals
Students will have at their disposal ways of identifying the
cultural assumptions implicit in artistic representations.
Students will discern how design or form inﬂuences
Students will be able to analyze a work from a
variety of perspectives. (e.g., creative, formal/aesthetic,
Students will produce a creative project.
Used Blackboard for grades and to post PDFs.
Feel free to become a fan during 2009.
Theory Integrated into Class
Convey the qualities and value of
Digital media offered as an art form.
Article links available on Facebook.
Wide Range of Articles
“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
“Computer Lib” and “Dream Machines”
“A Rape in Cyberspace; or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian
Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned
a Database into a Society”
Inspiration from Laurie Burruss’s
NMC Conference presentation in 2008:
“Digital Storytelling: Old Ways, New Tools.”
Fall Semester: personal blog and articles
Spring Semester: articles
Simple grading rubric
Used Wordpress, Blogger or something else.
First exploration of digital storytelling
Assignment completed in PBWiki.
Graded on story coherence and participation.
Editing is difﬁcult for students
Next time, Twitter story
Fairy Tale Practice
Fall Semester: personal story (enhanced)
Spring Semester: personal story and “show”
Next Semester: No enhanced podcast. One story and
one Commentary (to introduce political/performance art.)
Paper 1: New Media Art
1) Describe the work and discuss its form (considering the technological
requirements, including interactive elements; how it appears or stimulates
the senses; and aesthetic considerations.)
2) Discuss the work in terms of its content:
cultural or political meaning
3) Discuss how the work might be viewed by different cultures.
What cultural assumptions have been made by the artist about the viewer
that would allow the viewer to appreciate/understand the work?
Fall Semester: Animation
Spring Semester: Animation and
Preferred topic for some students;
others found it difﬁcult.
Keep it simple. Textbook used.
Provided step-by-step instructions.
Second Life: Identity
1. How could one consider this creation of identity function as a form of
art? Consider creative, cultural, political, and/or formalistic
approaches (include at least two approaches in your paper.)
2. How do these approaches help one's understanding of avatar
creation as personal expression and of Second Life in general?
Students should include both research sources (at least three: scholarly
or popular press) and 2-3 brief interviews with Second Life citizens.
3. How does this analysis help us understand artistic expression in
Second Life: Culture
Tour (architecture, religion, and amusement)
Students took photos and wrote about
experiences in blogs.
Birthing Center experience/Rules of Conduct
Second Life: Building
Building objects, furniture and dwellings
Some students were “hooked.”
Our land seemed to be getting smaller.
(for the SLURL to the NMC rented land)
You are encouraged (but not required) to produce a work that encourages
collaboration (Web 2.0). You may work in groups of two if the project demands it.
The work must be substantial and worthy of two months effort. You will be graded on
whether the project has/is
1) A “ﬁnished quality”
2) Artistic in either the aesthetic and/or political sense
5) Leaves the user with a “lasting impression.”
(And the use of quotes conﬁrm that I realize this is vague.)
A paper discussing their project as a form of new media art was also required.
The focus was “why was this project important.”
Students presented in a small auditorium and Second Life. (Don’t do this.)
The Projects: Examples
Students created online poster session
(Did you check out my Interactive?)
http://tinyurl.com/podcast1ex (Talk Show)
http://tinyurl.com/podcast2ex (Politics/Sexual Identity)
http://tinyurl.com/ﬂash1ex (Choices/Stop Motion)
http://tinyurl.com/virtualmovement (Flash dance)
http://tinyurl.com/secretﬂash (Secrets /Flash)
Interest Level for Each Topic
“Extremely” or “Very” interesting or useful
Second Life: 71%
Assignment Ratings I
Which were worthwhile (students deﬁned)?
66% or more of class chose “Extremely” or “Very.”
Second Life: Building
Assignment Ratings II
Which were not worthwhile (students deﬁned)?
20% or more of class chose
“Somewhat” or “Not Worthwhile.”
Digital Media Art paper
Virtual Worlds paper
More time should be spent on...
...and a new course is coming Spring 2010.
More digital storytelling focus
Twitter instead of wikis
More emphasis on performance in
Flash: Simpler interactivity
Second Life: more use of events
Teach this class!
Great ﬂexibility to explore tools.
Allow students to understand the “why” in
addition to the “how.”
Recruits students to ﬁeld/department.
How to ﬁnd me
Would you like a copy of the survey?
Any questions or comments?
Contact me via Facebook (Jeremy Sarachan)
or at firstname.lastname@example.org or in (Jarold