WRD 530: Digital Storytelling (Summer 2015)

Course Description

Digital storytelling is a community-based media arts practice for creating first-person video narratives. In recent years, organizations and communities worldwide have launched digital storytelling initiatives to start important discussions and create powerful media for outreach and advocacy. This course introduces digital storytelling and its allied values of personal storytelling, participatory process, and affordable, DIY production methods. You will read foundational digital storytelling texts, create your own digital story, and learn about a wide range of real-world digital storytelling and related new media personal storytelling projects. The course will prepare you to conceive of and carry out compelling digital storytelling and new media personal storytelling projects in organizations and communities.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Create a polished digital story, demonstrating intermediate-level knowledge about the following processes: narrative script writing and revision; story circle facilitation; digital audio recording and editing; image sourcing and editing; and video editing.
  • Articulate the core values of digital storytelling, and describe how these values can be deployed in new media personal storytelling projects in organizations and communities.
  • Describe the ‘state of the art’ of new media personal storytelling in sector(s) and/or around issues of interest to you.


Dush, L. (2013). The ethical complexity of sponsored digital storytelling. International Journal of Cultural Studies 16(6), 627-640.

Ganz, M. (2011). Public narrative, collective action, and power. In S. Odugbemi & T. Lee (Eds.), Accountability through public opinion: From inertia to public action (pp. 273–289). Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Higgins, L.D. & Brush, L.D. (2006). Personal experience narrative and public debate: Writing the wrongs of welfare. College Composition and Communication 57(4), 694-729.

Lambert, J. (2013). Digital storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community. 4th ed. NY: Routledge.

Meyer Foundation. (2014). Stories worth telling: A guide to strategic and sustainable nonprofit storytelling. Washington, DC. Available: https://csic.georgetown.edu/research/strategic-storytelling/stories-worth-telling/

Nelson, H. L. (2001). Narrative repair: reclaiming moral agency. In Damaged identities, narrative repair (pp. 1-35). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Rockefeller Foundation. (2014). Digital storytelling for social impact. New York. Available: https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/digital-storytelling-social-impact/

Rockefeller Foundation (2015, March). The digital storyteller’s toolkit: A primer. Retrieved from https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/digital-storytellers-toolkit-primer/

Vivienne, S. & Burgess, J. (2012). The digital storyteller’s stage: Queer everyday activists negotiating privacy and publicness. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 56(3), 362-377.


  1. Your Digital Story: You will craft your own 2-4-minute digital story, on a personally meaningful topic of your choice.
  2. Short Paper: In a short paper (1250-1500 words), you will apply theoretical concepts and analytical techniques from our course readings to the assessment of a digital storytelling project of your choice.
  3. Entries into Stories That Work Database: You will identify at least four story collections that meet the inclusion criteria for the Stories That Work database, and for each, 1) code the collection’s features, and 2) write a short and long summary of the collection. Your entries will be published in the database.
  4. Collaborative Presentation and Blog Post: With a partner from the class, you will research the ‘state of the art’ of digital storytelling and related new media storytelling practices in a particular sector (e.g., higher ed, health care, religious organizations) or in the service of a particular advocacy cause (e.g., marriage equality, immigration reform, health care reform). You will write a blog post for the Stories That Work website on your sector/topic, plus deliver a 15-minute presentation to our class, which describes the typical and best practices in your sector or cause.