The process of creating the digital story has been a good opportunity for me to experiment with video editing. […] this project has also helped with my confidence in my digital literacy skills because I do not tend to associate computer skills as being one of my strengths, and is often something which I’m quite nervous about, but learning how to navigate entirely unknown software and producing something which I am ultimately proud of has boosted my confidence in being able to approach projects in the future which may use technology that is unfamiliar to me.
[…] After completing this activity, I will certainly be more open to considering videos as a format for other projects, whereas I think that before doing it I would have shied away from the format unless I had a lot of support or encouragement. Overall, I enjoyed being able to do a different type of assessment and have variety compared to all my other modules and assessments
Embedding Digital Storytelling in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
An innovative module in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities in the Workplace is an innovative pioneering module (launched 2022) which sits within Liberal Arts in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The module has been proposed and led by Christine Bohlander and Gemma Messenger in Careers, Employability and Enterprise and has been largely designed and conceived to support the employability agenda of the Faculty and broader university.
To be addressed effectively, employability should be embedded into all learning and teaching policies, processes and practices – particularly in the curriculum – and considered throughout the student lifecycle, from the very start of a student programme through to completion of their studies. The Framework for enhancing Student Success, Advance HE (2020)
The module thus provides a structured course in which employability is embedded into a curriculum that comprises of input on varied disciplinary and skills development, plus a work placement experience in schools and the creative, cultural and heritage sectors which provides a way in which to provide students with ‘an authenticity of experience to develop skills useful and valuable for work’ (Ugiagbe-Green, 2008: 122). The module meets the following strategic aims:
- To support and prepare students for the application and recruitment processes for the placement year, Year Abroad or the job market as graduates.
- To help students develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills as well as employability skills such as communicating your subject to a particular audience, negotiating with employers, project management and digital skills.
- To support those students who want to work in the heritage sector but who cannot afford to take unpaid/low paid opportunities outside the curriculum.
- To support the Faculty with school outreach and its widening participation agenda.
- To support the Faculty strategy of attracting students interested in the creative industry
Digital Storytelling and the ‘Arts and Humanities in the Workplace’ Module
Digital Storytelling and the Arts and Humanities in the Workplace Module
Part of the module development involved ensuring that the module offered a clear and useful prospectus for students which allowed them opportunities to reflect on their learning and on the skills and attributes they brought from their own disciplines already as well as those they were developing over the course. Christine approached Teti and Alistair following their 2021 presentation Digital Storytelling as a Pedagogic and Skills Development Practice for English Studies Undergraduates and they, along with Laura Mazzoli Smith were consulted and the work began in earnest to further work to embed this meaningfully into curriculum to achieve the learning goals of the module.
This module extended work already begun in English and in other contexts as outlined on this site and offered another useful opportunity to explore the meaningful way in which digital storytelling can bring insights and new skills into the learning environment.
Although this module is conceptualised as a faculty-wide interdisciplinary module, students’ disciplinary knowledge base and identity must be the foundation of the learning gain. Engagement with certain ethical or social challenges, e.g. sustainability development or critical perspectives on digital advancement through digital storytelling will be the basis for reflection on how their discipline-specific knowledge and skills can be applied during their placement and in the world of work in general. This holistic vision for students to evolve their academic orientation and apply disciplinary knowledge to the solution of present-day challenges through transferable as well as subject-specific skills and competencies can be fulfilled through a combination of teaching by academics and careers staff and the way in which it can be reflected on an explicated will be through the creation of a digital story. Moreover, it has been pointed out by the creative industries that applicants are frequently not aware that they need digital capabilities such as social media or graphic design skills. As the data from the English modules already shows us, digital storytelling provides us with an opportunity to support both these aims and transitions, which are crucial for students in the Arts Faculty who are often more ambiguous regarding who their disciplinary expertise can ‘translate’ into the ‘real world’ of the labour market.
Digital Storytelling methodology brings a strength to this space and bridges the gap, covering that aspect of skills development. As Laura Mazzoli Smith (2020:79) points out, ‘digital storytelling also serves the Widening Participation goal. Through narrative imagination and learning it affords students a voice about what matters as defined by them, developed through a unique series of skills-based, dialogic workshops’.
Three Digital Storytelling workshops have been developed and are led by Dr Teti Dragas and run in the Michaelmas term 2022-3. The students will create stories and write a reflection on their learning.
Read more about how the module is going below…
I have thoroughly enjoyed the Digital Storytelling process and found it incredibly refreshing in the way it has helped me to understand my discipline.Arts and Humanities Student