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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


TLN – Digital Stories and Why buttons go bad

By Matt Jenner, on 28 March 2011

Dominic Furniss and Rachel Benedyk explained in this weeks Teaching and Learning Network how their use of Digital Stories have been used with their HCI students during induction week.

What is a Digital Story?
Pictures + audio + narrative = digital story

Think of a narrated set of images, but with the potential to demonstrate a high level of understanding of a topic mixed in with a visual and narrative forms to explain a topic or concept. A digital story is designed to show this and Dominic and Rachel’s students did this brilliantly.

After taking part in a session at another university, Dominic wanted to bring the idea of Digital Stories to UCL. He realised they can be used as a short exercise with students and can be a very effective learning tool. Creating a digital story brings out many transferable skills such as emphasising students working together, communicating a message and synthesising their understanding.

The HCI students worked in groups to create a digital story in a half-day workshop. Set during induction week and working in groups the students did not yet know one another, nor did they know at what level to be aiming for. Each group shared their creation in a class-wide presentation session. After this the groups were asked to peer review each submission which proved a useful exercise for gaining skills in marking and criticising each other’s work. In addition, the feedback from the students gave a multifaceted view on group work, settling in and understanding the context. The teaching staff noted during the year that the students were more tuned into the subject and willing to work in groups – however this would need deeper research to ascertain how linked it may have been to this induction exercise.

Value in creation
Something Dominic and Rachel hadn’t envisaged was the quality of the digital stories created. One excellent example is below, entitled Why buttons go bad, which shows clearly how students fresh to UCL have arrived at good academic pace:

This video has since been used by UCL TV and on the UCLIC website for public engagement across the campus and beyond.

The idea of creating a Digital Story is so simple that it may pass you by, but their application can be widely-adopted. Think replacing a conference poster, a summary of what your students have learned during the year or the outline of a proposed paper. Creating a story takes only half a day, and if you’re interested the LTSS or Dominic and Rachel would be very happy to talk to you about it some more.

More information on the TLN programme page for this event.

Echo 360 logo View the recording of this event (UCL authentication needed)