WRD 531: Digital Storytelling (Winter 2024)

Course Description

In this course, you will learn how to craft short, substantive personal experience narratives with digital media and how to circulate these narratives for organizational and community-building purposes. Much of our work will be oriented around two major creative production projects: you will make a digital story grounded in your own experience and an online profile about a person that you interview. Along with this creative work, we will also watch, listen to, and read stories created in projects sponsored by organizations and movements, plus engage with ideas about digital storytelling from scholars and practitioners. Overall, the work of WRD 531 will enable you to better conceptualize and execute digital storytelling projects in both personal and professional contexts.

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

  • Create personally meaningful digital stories, drawing on knowledge about how to write and revise narrative scripts, source media, and edit video
  • Craft online profile stories for specific audiences, drawing on knowledge about how to conduct good interviews, shape and revise stories, and ethically represent others  
  • Talk with academic and professional peers about the possibilities and perils of telling and sharing stories, informed by the perspectives of scholars and practitioners
  • Imagine possible personal, professional, or community-based storytelling projects and understand how to deploy these projects


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  1. Your Digital Story: Using the digital storytelling method devised by StoryCenter, you will craft your own 3-4-minute digital story on a personally meaningful topic of your choice.
  2. Interview-Based Story: Using interview, listening, and story-shaping skills learned in WRD 531, you will interview one person and craft a story that either fits within an organization’s existing online spaces or serves as a prototype for content that will go in a new online space for the organization. Project deliverables include an interview transcript, a story (online print, with at least two photos), and a Creative and Process Brief.
  3. Landscape Analysis, StoryBase Entries, & Presentation: This project asks you to produce a ‘landscape analysis’ that summarizes your research into digital storytelling practice in a particular sector (e.g., higher ed, health care, religious orgs) or in the service of a particular advocacy cause (e.g., immigration reform, environmental justice). You will synthesize your findings in an online article for storytelling practitioners on Medium.com. As part of this task, you will also add at least five new story collections to the StoryBase and share your findings with the class through an in-class presentation.
  4. Class Engagement, Weekly D2L Posts, Leading a Class Discussion: You will submit at least six informal, yet polished D2L posts on our course readings, as well as prompted reflections on your learning at the midterm and end of the course. Additionally, once during the term, you and a partner will be responsible for preparing slides on our weekly readings and co-leading the class discussion.