Digital Storytelling: The Autobiography vs Pure Exposition Argument

The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media

by Bryan Alexander (Praeger, 2011)

I’m reading this comprehensive new book by Bryan Alexander, which covers the history and multiple use of digital storytelling. In it, he talks about the first time he and his colleagues developed and offered a DS class at their college. A classic critical divide appeared almost instantly: the old chestnut that the classroom should or should not include autobiographical material.

“First, some faculty argued that while they wanted to create a digital story, the content should not be personal in nature. Indeed, more than a few professors were adamant about removing themselves from narratives. ‘I care about teaching African politics,’ one told me, ‘not teaching about my own interest in the subject.’ Second, others evoked C. P. Snow’s two cultures model, arguing that the CDS [Center for Digital Storytelling] curriculum was really suited only to the humanities, as the home of expressive art in academia; personal storytelling could not map well onto the hard, quantitatively based science. In response, we shifted our class focus slightly, welcoming ‘both personal and impersonal’ stories to our ‘multimedia narrative’ workshop. So far, the two coexist quite well, with stories of self-discovery appearing alongside explorations of molecular processes.”

Sandy Brown Jensen

I am a retired writing instructor and faculty tech specialist from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. I still teach and am also a photographer, poet, blogger and digital storyteller (short videos).

View all posts

6 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I’m so glad to find you’re folding Brian A. and Alan L. into the Lane DS discussion. These guys are pioneers and thought leaders in this field. More to the point – there is debate about limiting student work to autobiographical material! Que! Writing (storytelling) is an art – why impose limits on creativity. It seems to be obvious to me that this process is about both “personal and impersonal” stories.

  • Now this is getting weird. I know of this Bryan A. as an axe-wielding digital storytelling authority. I know of Cogdog through his ground breaking work as an EdTech blogger. I know Lane Community College because it’s in my hometown.

    What I don’t understand is how these three disparate elements suddenly appeared in my RSS reader.

    Oh wait a seccond, now I know: ds106.

    Once again, humbled and bemused by the enormity of this thing.

  • Thanks for connecting ds106 into Lane Community College. We have so much more in common than we ever knew and ds106 really helps makes these connections in ways I had never imagined.
    Like @scottlo says, I am constantly “humbled and bemused by the enormity of this thing”

  • OK I am confused. Where is your digital story? Why am I missing it? Looking. Love the new blog format. The extended painting looks so good I am going to try painting it that way next time! And yes, I am up for receiving bags of gold. The digital storytelling idea is fantastic. It would be ridiculous to limit the subject matter.Why would anyone want to do that?

Sandy Brown Jensen

I am a retired writing instructor and faculty tech specialist from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. I still teach and am also a photographer, poet, blogger and digital storyteller (short videos).

Subscribe to my posts



Created by Webfish.