Academic Computing Services (ACS) is embarking on a new initiative to share the best of our thinking on various academic technology topics with the Vassar faculty. Our Technology White Papers will be brief, informal reports on technologies that we think you’ll find interesting. Each will explain what the technology is, what its potential benefits are, how it’s currently being used in higher education, and how you can get started with it.
Our inaugural white paper, researched and reported by Senior Academic Computing Consultant Baynard Bailey, is on the topic of digital storytelling. Possible future topics include high performance computing, virtual reality, and microcredentials, or digital badging. Please let us know if these efforts are useful for you, and if there are particular topics that you’d like us to address.
Steve Taylor Director, Academic Computing Services
I love teaching digital storytelling workshops to classes at Vassar. The students seem to enjoy it and the faculty are pretty happy with the results. Departments include French, Japanese, Psychology, Education and Anthropology. I was reviewing students’ examples in preparation for the upcoming LACOL panel and I was blown away by all the amazing and diverse work done by the students.
Here’s a quick summary of the kinds of digital storytelling projects that I have helped classes with over the years:
French – Digital Storybooks for FREN 206 with Mark Andrews, Tom Parker and Susan Hiner.
Japanese – Digital Storybooks for 200- and 300-level courses with Peipei Qiu and Hiromi Dollase.
Psychology – End-of-term research presentations with Mark Cleaveland’s students
Education – Semester-long collaborations with Adolescent Literacy students and their middle school partners (workshops every week)
Anthropology – A variety of uses, including digital ethnographies and engaged research
We use Final Cut Pro X at Vassar for these classes. FCP X is a powerful and easy-to-use editor. It is available in the Library’s Electronic Classroom and Digital Media Zone. Students with Macs can get a 30-day free trial license.
The goals vary by classes. Sometimes the professor wants a rich medium to tell a story. In Mark’s class, he wanted polished presentations that acted as crucibles to bring together all their research. For
Provide lots of support
Don’t assume the students know how to do things
Sound is more important than video
Things improve with iteration
Set clear expectations
More faculty / instructional technologist collaboration is better
It is helpful if the faculty member can model or provide examples
Allow time for things to go wrong
Try to keep track of where you put things
Measure success by faculty “happiness” level
This is an example of a digital ethnography.
This was produced for community engaged research:
This is an example from a final group project for a Psychology class.