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GMU Week 1: What is Story?

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Once upon a time not so long ago… or this week, there is a new course in digital storytelling. You are now in it.

As a guide to these weekly assignments posts, they are meant to provide everything you need to do for this unit, especially important for registered students. They rather long, so we put them into sections that you should click a heading to expand. A general structure for what you will find in each is

  • Introductory Video / Inspiration Video This is where you are now. Everything else opens below for each heading. Don’t forget to open them all!
  • Overview of Week Overall summary of everything else that follows.
  • Things to Watch/Read/Listen Each week there will include videos, audio recordings, or web site/documents to review; these are things you will be asked to write about in your blog as a reflection.

    Some notes on a suggested approach. I am not looking for you to write prosaic academic summaries but to find what small “nnuggets” are meaningful; as you watch/listen/read, use what best works for you to take notes. Maybe pen and paper, maybe an open document. When you are listening, and you hear something that gets your attention, arouses your curiosity, or makes you want to jump up and disagree… STOP. Note the time stamp in the audio/video, and make a note. Keep track of these “nuggets”, ideas, questions as you listen and read. Use this as a basis to write your summaries.

  • Things to Do These are specific assignments that are usually creating media or tasks you should do on your blog.
    Specific things within a weekly post will be marked like to indicate a required task for GMU students

    Each one should be written up as a separate post on your blog, and categorized appropriately. There are three main components expected in an assignment writeup– The Work Itself; Telling the Story Behind the Story; and Narrating the Process. See How to Write Up Assignments Like a Blogging Champ

  • Checklist Summary for Final Reflection Each week you are expected to write up a summary that includes a description and links to all the assigned work for the week. You will asked in essence to also grade yourself on the criteria for your work that week, and provide additional notes on the connections you make from the assignments to the more general concepts of communication or content creation, a well as assessing your level of participating for the week. This is a chance to get to the “So What” of storytelling (see below). For registered students, this is the basis for your weekly grade.

The weekly inspiration is meant to get your creative juices in gear for the week. There is no assignment, except to enjoy them (or criticize them).

This commercial for Google features Pixar Filmmaker Andrew Stanton; we will get a chance down the page to hear him explain his approach to storytelling in film.

Setting Up Your Digital Work Space
Exploring the Shape of Stories
What Makes Stories Work?
Your Starting Perspective on What is Story
Storified and Non Storified Content
Checklist for Weekly Summary

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