(Spring 2018) English 382 A - Digital Storytelling: Translating Projects & Connecting Audiences
Multimodality is an approach to composition that recognizes and uses multiple modes of communication – linguistic, visual, spatial, aural, and gestural. In many instances, this means digital communication across contexts, communities, and cultures. In this advanced multimodal composition course, we will be focusing on digital storytelling. Students should have an outside research project or community-based work beyond the class they can translate and present as a digital story for a particular audience or audiences. Narrative is a powerful way of communicating and learning across fields from humanities to STEM and students are encouraged to make connections between their work in this class and other courses or communities. There are no prior technical skills required, but this is a computer integrated class, so prior knowledge and skills are welcomed.
(Autumn 2017) ENGL 382 A - Digital Storytelling: The Multimodal Hero's Journey
According to scholars like Joseph Campbell, all storytelling traditions—regardless of geographical or cultural origin, historical context or political agendas— have a common genre, which he calls “the monomyth,” or “hero’s journey.” This epic structure consists of three phases with several milestones each, at the end of which the mortal who began the journey returns transformed into a mythic hero. Though your mind may be jumping to classical epics you (kinda) remember from high school—The Illiad and The Odyssey are, in fact, two of the examples Campbell uses—in actuality, contemporary pop culture is flooded with examples of the monomyth: not only relatively obvious replications of the genre such as Star Wars and Fight Club, but also more subtle reinterpretations that may come to us in the form of podcasts, albums (hey there, Lemonade), hype videos, movie trailers, pretty much anything to do with sports, documentaries, websites, vlogs, apps, exhibits, ad campaigns, etc., etc.
All of these types of texts have the potential to create a compelling hero’s story, which in turn makes things happen in the world. Yet, unlike older monomyths, these contemporary stories are digital, which opens up a whole toolkit of different modes as means of reinterpreting the hero’s journey, therefore allowing the author to use a combination of things like sound, bodily movement, images, layout, etc. to tell a tale that gets into their audience’s bones. That, in turn, has the capacity to transform narratives into Epics, and humans into Heroes who can move mountains. In short, such composition has the power to produce change