Digital Storytelling: Connecting Scholarship, Teaching, and Community Engagement

Project Summary: This foundation thinking around the pedagogy, implementation, and dissemination of digital storytelling will serve as the centerpiece of our project.  Our goal is to promote the value of digital scholarship and pedagogy by designing and piloting three tiered and interconnected projects to affect and improve university programming.  This consortium of three major research universities (Duke University, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Virginia Tech) will provide opportunities for implementation on different levels.  Ideally, successful pilots will serve as a contagion for further thinking about digital scholarship on each campus as well as models for other universities.

By embracing digital storytelling as new media literacy, our team will develop a series of institution-wide initiatives that advance the understanding and implementation of digital scholarship.  More than the use of technology, these initiatives will provide specific training and support to university faculty and adjunct/grad student teaching staff in the digital storytelling process.  So trained, the campus can quickly become a hub of digital literacy and proficiency, and those skill sets can be applied to research, scholarly, and community pursuits.

An explicit component of this shift will be a tri-university collaboration that allows for scaled action steps.  Our understanding of the discipline will be informed by a partnership with the Center for Digital Storytelling, and our efforts will focus on the following identified needs and gaps:

  1. To consider the design and development of a campus-wide initiative in Rhetoric and Communications.  This model works to roadmap the integration of digital storytelling into the RhetComm requirement that all students must take.  Duke University will develop a curriculum approach to undergraduate writing and composition program that integrates various modalities in order for students to author multi-modally.
  2. To consider the design and development of a community engagement program that allows for the use of digital storytelling to capture, curate, and author the unique narrative of a university landscape.  Virginia Tech will create a constructed narrative of alumni, of community, and of scholars through a digital storytelling hub.
  3. To consider the specific impact of digital storytelling on an academic field.  UNC will develop a new protocol for oral history work by providing training in digital storytelling to active participants in oral history programs.  Instead of simply being interviewed, these participants would interpret their own story, thereby creating a first-person prompt that can serve as a more authentic entry into the oral history process.

Each scenario will be designed to serve a specific purpose on the university campus, but also find connection points that allow for deep collaboration and implementation.

FUNDING & SUPPORT: Funding pending from Scholarly Communication Institute.

Team Biosketches