Jim Groom's Digital Storytelling Syllabus

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Please Note: the course calendar and syllabus are subject to change depending on the way in which the class unfolds. This class is not premised upon coverage, but rather focused on practical application and theoretical interaction with a series of ideas from a wide-range of disciplines.


Digital Storytelling Syllabus

CPSC 106: Digital Storytelling

Jim Groom

DuPont 205 T/TH 6:00-7:15 PM

Spring 2010

Email, Office Hours, and Location

Email: jimgroom@gmail.com

Office: Dupont 310

Office Hours: T/TH 5:00-6:00 PM or by appointment

Course Description

The Wikipedia articles on Digital Storytelling defines it rather succinctly as "using digital tools so that ordinary people can tell their own real-life stories." It then goes on to elaborate as follows:

[Digital Storytelling] is an emerging term, one that arises from
a  grassroots movement that uses new digital tools to help
ordinary people  tell their own ‘true stories’ in a compelling and 
emotionally engaging form. These stories usually take the form
of a relatively short story (less than 8 minutes) and can involve  
The term can also be a broader journalistic reference to the
variety of emergent new forms of digital narratives
(web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertexts, and
narrative computer games).
As an emerging area of creative work, the definition of digital  
storytelling is still the subject of much debate.

There are a number of ideas and assumptions here that we will be interrogating over the course of this semester, namely the idea of "ordinary people," "true stories," and the debate around the meaning of this term. The above article is rather vague about the details surrounding this emerging genre of narrative, and it is our responsibility to interrogate the term digital storytelling within the cultural context of our moment. This means each of you will be experimenting with our own digital platform for storytelling, as well as placing yourself within a larger narrative of networked conversation on the internet at large.

This course will require you to both design and build an online identity and narrate your process throughout the fifteen week semester. Given this, you will be expected to openly frame this process and interact with one another throughout that course as well as engage and interact with the world beyond as a necessary part of such a development.

In many ways this course will be part storytelling workshop, part technology training and, most importantly, critical interrogation of the digital landscape all around us that is ever increasingly defining the the way we communicate with one another.

Course Objectives

  • To develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression
  • To frame a digital identity wherein you you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking
  • To critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres

Department of Computer Science Grading Scale

A 92-100% | A- 89- 91% | B+ 87-88% | B 82-86%| B- 79-81% | C+ 77-78%

C 72-76% | C- 69-71% | D+ 67-69% | D 60-66% | F 0-59%

Grading Breakdown

Participation (25% of Final Grade)

This class will in many ways be anchored around your participation both in and outside of class through the various technologies you will be experimenting with. If you are not present both physically in-class, and virtually outside of class (asynchronously or synchronously) then your the overall effect of the course will be compromised. I expect active and engaged participation, which for the purposes of this class means responding thoughtfully and critically to your classmates work. This will be accomplished in several ways, and we will discuss them at length in class.

Course Blogging (40% of Grade)

Everyone will be expected to regularly contribute their reflections, course work, and projects to their personal blog. We will discuss the specifics of this practice more thoroughly during class. The course blog will host all of your regular digital storytelling assignments. (40% of grade)

In-class Presentations (10% of Final Grade)

There will be several in-class presentations on a variety of technologies, artists, and organizations. I will be establishing a list of topics and a sign-up sheet over the first few weeks. You may also consult with me about a specific topic you would like to present on if something you are interested on is not included on the list of topics (10% of final grade)

Final Project (25% of Final Grade)

A Digital Story of your making


You will be expected to attend class on a regular basis, enough said. If, for some reason, you need to miss class I expect that you will contact me prior to class to let me know as much. In the event your attendance begin to represent a problem I will contact you directly.

The Honor Code

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the letter and spirit of the Honor Constitution. A violation of the Honor Code is a very serious matter. As always do only your own work. If others ask you for help, please refer them to their instructor.

Disability Service Statement

“The Office of Disability Services has been designated by the University as the primary office to guide, counsel, and assist students with disabilities. If you receive services through the Office of Disability Services and require accommodations for this class, make an appointment with me as soon as possible to discuss your approved accommodation needs. Bring your accommodation letter with you to the appointment. I will hold any information you share with me in strictest confidence unless you give me permission to do otherwise.

DS106 Syllabus Fall 2010

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