Course & Assignment Description – Closer (2.1)

Visual Text Project

English 399/Journalism 399:
Digital Storytelling

Catalog Description

EL 349, Digital Storytelling. Explore theory and practice of digital, multimodal writing and storytelling. Students will analyze and create digital stories using freely available tools for capturing, editing, and presenting audio, video, and text.
Syllabus Description

This course explores the theory and practice of writing and storytelling in our emerging digital culture, looking closely at how digital tools radically expand the creative resources available to writers of all kinds. During this course, you will both analyze multimodal, digital stories and create digital stories of your own as you learn to use freely available tools for capturing, editing, and presenting audio, video, and text.

We’ll be thinking about fundamental visual, aural, and textual building blocks useful for composing stories, narratives, and other kinds of artful texts in the 21st century. Our overarching goals: Not to make you an expert in all things digital (which would be impossible to do in just three weeks) but to get you thinking about how to use non-text media in your storytelling, and to build your vocabulary for talking about multimodal storytelling, and to empower you to learn more about digital storytelling on your own.

Four Key Propositions

Stories are powerful. Storytelling is a fundamental human activity that helps us clarify values, organize our lives, build a society, achieve success. We must use storytelling well and be aware of how and why others use it.

Cheap digital technology sets storytelling free. Digital technology has made multimodal, multimedia communication so easy and affordable that everyone who CAN do it WILL do it, one way or another. This new technology fundamentally changes the ways that people can tell and transmit stories, and THAT, alone, is a more than ample topic for an English/Journalism course.

Selection, design, and sequence are crucial. Our awareness of the ways that visuals, audio, and text are selected, designed, and sequenced is key to both our production of and our interpretation of multimodal texts.

We can get better at this kind of storytelling. We have been reading and interpreting multimodal texts our whole lives, but—as with written texts—we can improve and refine the ways that we read and create such texts.